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Sketches Illustrating the Early Settlement and History of Glengarry in Canada
Chapter 21

Opening of Parliament February, 1814--Campaign of that Year.—Americans Defeated at Lacolle.—Raid near Cornwall.—Oswego Taken by British May 6th.—General Brown Succeeds to Command of Northern Division U.S. Army.—Drummond's Dire Distress.—Abandonment of Upper Canada Contemplated Owing to Lack of Supplies.—Desperate Fighting on Niagara Frontier.—Fort Erie Surrendered 3rd July.—-Americans Victorious at Chippewa July 5th.—The Battle of Niagara or Lundy's Lane, the Most Sanguinary of the War, 25th July.

When the House of Assembly met at York on the 15th February, 1814, General Drummond, as President administering the Government of the Province, was able, as had been his piedecessor Sir R. Sheaffe at the commencement of the former session, to congratulate the members and the country upon the results of the previous year's campaign, proving as it did what could be accomplished m a good cause by men who had nothing in view but their own honour and the country's safety. He alluded, more as a matter of regret than surprise, to the fact that two members of the Legislature, Benjamin Mallory and Joseph Willcocks—the same two traitors who in the inception of the war had so seriously hampered General Brock when prompt action was so imperative, and had purposely wasted the time of the Legislature by futile discussion on school matters when the exigencies of the situation called for martial law and the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act—had found their proper place in the ranks of the enemy. Wilcocks' treachery had been rewarded by his being placed in command of what they were pleased to term a Canadian regiment in the United States army. He shortly met his fate—far too good for him—being killed when planting a guard at the siege of Fort Erie.

A small reinforcement, consisting of the second battalion of the 8th (King's) Regiment came overland on sleighs through New Brunswick in February, and two hundred and fifty seamen for the lakes by the same route.

The campaign of 1814 opened in the neighbourhood of Lake Champlain, Brigadier General Macomb with a division of the American forces crossing the lake on ice to St. Armands, while General Wilkinson prepared for an attack on Odelltown, where he was soon joined by Macomb, their joint force numbering some five thousand men. The Americans made an attempt to take a blockhouse in the vicinity of Lacolle, scarcely deserving the appellation of a military post, but were driven off by a small British force composed of the flank companies of the Thirteenth Regiment, the Grenadiers of the Canadian Fencibles and some of the Voltigeurs, and retired in good order upon Plattsburg. Major Hancock, who commanded the British forces, which consisted of one hundred and sixty men in the blockhouse, with reinforcements which arrived during the action to the number of two hundred, had reason to be proud of his achievement in repelling an army more than seven times his number. His loss was ten killed and four missing, two officers and forty-four men wounded; that of the Americans, thirteen killed, a hundred and twenty-three wounded and thirty missing. The action took place on 30th March. General Wilkinson cannot have been regarded by his countrymen as a successful commander, or a marked improvement upon Hull, Smythe, Van Ransaller, Dearborn or Hampton. As was to be expected, his services were not again called into requisition.

In Upper Canada during the winter matters had been quiet, the only incident of note being a raid from Cornwall organized by Captain Sherwood, of the Quartermaster-Generars Department, who, with twenty marines and ten militia men under Captain Kerr (I presume of the Glengarry Regiment) on the night of the 6th February made an incursion upon Madrid on the Grass River, fourteen miles below the village of Hamilton, and recaptured a quantity of merchandize plundered from British merchants near Cornwall in October precedirg when on their route to Upper Canada.

An unsuccessful attack was made by the British on the 4th March on Longwood in the extreme west of the Province. A small detachment consisting of the flank companies of the Royal Scots and the light companies of the Eighty-Ninth, with a few of the Kent militia and some Indians, under the command of Captain Barsden, of the Eighty-Ninth, attempted to dislodge a strong party of the enemy, who were strongly entrenched, by a gallant charge up an ice-covered hill, but after a spirited contest of an hour and a half the troops were withdrawn, the enemy, however, shortly abandoning the position. Two British officers and twelve men were killed, and three officers and forty-nine men wounded; the enemy's loss being unknown.

It was not, however, until the opening of navigation that the campaign can be said to have begun in earnest. The taking of Oswego by the British was the first noteworthy event.

The American forces in the neighbourhood of Lake Champlain were withdrawn and moved towards Lake Ontario early in the spring, shortly after the fiasco at Lacolle, the object being to strengthen the army, which was to recommence offensive operations in the Niagara District as soon as the fleet at Sackett's Harbour should be in a state to co-operate with the land forces. General Drummond and Sir James Yeo determined upon intercepting the enemy's naval stores for the fleet at Oswego, and with this object in view an expedition against that place was determined upon. A force consisting of the light companies of the Glengarry Regiment, six companies of DeWatteville's Regiment, the second battalion Royal Marines, with a detachment of artillery and two field pieces, a detachment of a rocket company with a few sappers and miners, set sail :n the fleet, which had been strengthened by two additional ships, the "Prince Regent "and "Princess Charlotte" on the 4th May, arriving at Oswego on the following day, but were unable to land owing to a stiff gale which sprung up. On the 6th, however, a landing was effected by about a hundred and forty of the troops and two hundred seamen armed with pikes, in the face of a heavy fire of round and grape shot from the battery and of musketry from a detachment of three hundred of the Americans posted on a hill and in a neighbouring wood. Nevertheless our men pushed on with true British pluck, pressed up the hill and captured the battery, from which the enemy retreated, leaving sixty of their wounded behind. The fortifications were dismantled, the barracks burnt and the stores found in the fort carried off, but the naval stores which it was hoped would have been secured had been moved some miles up the River Oswego, and were thus saved to the enemy. The British loss was severe, Captain Holtaway, of the Marines, and twenty-one men killed, six officers and sixty-seven men wounded. In his despatch General Drummond specially mentioned for gallant conduct Captain McMillan, who commanded the light company of the ubiquitous Glengarries, who covered the left flank of the troops u the advance. The fleet returned to Kingston on. the following day.

On the Niagara frontier the command of the American troops had passed to Major-General Brown, formerly an officer in the New York militia, who had gained some distinction among his countrymen by his good fortune in defending Sackett's Harbour in the previous year, and on General Wilkinson's retirement he became commander of the northern division of the United States army. He had some excellent officers under him, notably Brigadier-Generals Winfield Scott and Ripley—the former of whom was one of the most talented and best trained officers in the army. Both sides now required their ablest generals, for the skill and judgment of the commanders as well as the pluck and endurance of their armies were shortly to be put to the severest test. The Americans had this great advantage over their opponents, namely, that their troops were not worn out with fatigue as were those of the British, which from the scarcity of their number in comparison with the extent of the country they had to cover and protect, and the number of posts they had to garrison, were so reduced from exposure and fatigue, and consequent ill-health, as to be largely unfit for duty. Stores, too, of all kinds had to be brought up from Montreal at enormous trouble and expense, and provisions were difficult to obtain owing to the ravages of the enemy, and so many of the farmers, then comparatively few at the best of times, having been in the two previous seasons engaged in co-operation with the regular forces in the defence of the country to the total neglect of their ordinary avocations.

General Drummond had been unremitting in his preparations for the coming campaign. Through the worst of weather and execrable roads he hurried from York to Kingston and from Kingston to Delaware, making enquiries into the resources of the country and the condition of the inhabitants, with a view to procuring supplies. In the month of January, indeed, it had become evident that the supply of meat would soon be exhausted and he began to entertain serious apprehensions that he would be compelled to abandon all that part of the Province west of Kingston from sheer want of food. In addition to his troops, he had several thousand non-combatants to feed, most of the Western Indians who had survived General Proctor's defeat, as well as the whole of the Six Nations from the Grand River, three thousand persons in all, of whom two-thirds were women and children, had sought refuge near the British cantonments at Burlington. Their depredations so harassed and alarmed many of the inhabitants in the vicinity that they abandoned their farms and took shelter in the soldiers' quarters. In addition to these the homeless fugitives from Niagara were also dependent upon the overtaxed commissariat, Thus while the armed force numbered less than two thousand, between seven and eight thousand rations were issued daily. The Indians alone consumed twice as much flour as the whole of the troops.

Mrs. Edgar points out that with but three thousand British troops, garrisons were maintained at Forts George, Niagara, Erie and Mississagua (build early in 1814 after the burning of Newark by the Americans), the important post at Burlington Heights had to be protected, detachments were required to guard the provision depots at Twelve Mile Creek and Twenty Mile Creek. York from its exposed position and liability to be again attacked, had to be defended. Port Dover, on Lake Erie, was also in need of protection, owing to the danger that troops might be landed there and gain the rear of General Riall's division by the Western road; while at the crossing of the Grand River (Brantford) and also at Delaware other detachments had to be posted to guard the advance of the enemy by way of the Thames. It was owing, of course, to the Peninsular War that material reinforcements could not be sent to Canada until too late for any practical use, although it is customary with American writers to describe General Drummond's forces as being composed of Wellington's veterans. In May, the Sixteenth and Ninetieth Regiments, besides a corps of Rifles and some artillery, landed at Quebec, but it was not until the autumn of this year that consequent upon the downfall of Napoleon, Wellington's troops, released from service on the continent, were despatched in large numbers to Canada, and enabled us to compete with the enemy on anything like equal terms. The disaster at Plattsburg, which was the one engagement of importance in which they participated, could not. however, have been congenial to regiments which had so recently shared with Wellington the glory of the Peninsular War.

By the end of June the American forces concentrated on the Niagara frontier were ready for another invasion of Upper Canada. They consisted of five thousand regular soldiers and three thousand New York and Pennsylvania militia, admirably drilled at the Buffalo camp of instruction, which had been organized under Brigadier-General Scott; together with some six hundred Indians under the celebrated Seneca Chief Red Jacket. On the 3rd July the enemy embarked in boats and batteaux, and effected a landing on the Canadian side, with two brigades under Brigadiers Scott and Ripley respectively, the former about one mile below and the latter the same distance above Fort Erie. At this post was a small British detachment of some seventy men under Major Buck, of the King's Regiment, who had been engaged in placing it in a state of defence, more with a view of causing a temporary check to the anticipated invading force than for defending it against a regular seige, which would have been impossible. The Americans, after hawing erected some batteries, and placing their cannon in position, summoned Major Buck to surrender, giving him two hours to determine. Had he held out even for a few hours, General Riall would have been able to have concentrated his troops in the vicinity, and have fallen upon the enemy before they could have had time to prepare for an effective resistance. Major Buck, however, tamely surrendered to the enemy without making even a show of resistance, his force being sent across the river prisoners of war. The loss of this important post was a most serious matter to the British forces, and many a life was lost around it before the American General Izard, previous to abandoning the Niagara peninsula, mined it and on the 5th November laid it in ruins.

The Americans advanced the next day to Chippewa and were making preparations to carry the post when General Riall, having collected his forces, and being reinforced by the arrival of the 8th and 100th Regiments, on the 5th July, gave them battle. The enemy had much the advantage in point of numbers and a most sanguinary conflict ensued. After an hour of desperate fighting, General Riall, having lost no less than six officers and one hundred and forty-two men killed, twenty-six officers (among them Lieutenant-Colonel the Marquis of Tweeddale, severely) and two hundred and ninety-five men wounded and an officer and forty-five men missing, was obliged to fall back upon Chipnewa. The enemy stated his loss at seventy killed, two hundred and forty-nine wounded and nineteen missing. Had the American fleet been in the vicinity, the whole of our forts in the neighbourhood of Niagara might at this time have been reduced and the greater portion of the Province again subjugated, as shown in the letter of General Brown to Commodore Chauncey, dated 13th July, begging him "for God's sake" to meet him with the fleet at Fort George, where they "would be able to settle a plan of operations that will break the power of the enemy in Upper Canada and that in the course of a short time." Fortunately, however, Chauncey was still safely blockaded in Sackett's Harbour by Sir James Yeo. As was the enemy advanced upon and occupied Queenston and made demonstrations upon Forts George and Mississagua, without any result however, falling back on Queenston on the 25th July, and after firing the village of St. David, retreating to Chippewa, his object being to disencumber his army of its heavy baggage, draw a supply of provisions from Fort Schlosser, and then proceed in the direction of Burlington Heights with a view to capturing that important post.

General Drumrnond had repeatedly requested that more troops should be sent him for the relief of the Niagara frontier, but the only reinforcements he received were four hundred of the Glengarry Regiment, which had formed for some time, past the garrison at York, a small portion of Marine Artillery, the Hundred and Third Regiment and some of the Eighty-Ninth, under Colonel Morrison. He also had the able assistance of Colonel Harvey which came most opportunely.

Sir George Prevost could not, however, be made to appreciate the imminence of the situation. He was convinced that the attack would be made from the neighbourhood of Lake Champlain. Pencilled upon the margin of General Drummond's letter of June 21st, 1814, expressing his firm belief that the main attack would be made on the Niagara frontier, and that the movement of troops towards Plattsburg was simply a feint to prevent reinforcements from being despatched from Lower Canada to his assistance, there is this significant memorandum in Prevost's own handwriting.

On the 25th July, then, with such forces as there were at his disposal, General Drummond had to fight the most stubbornly contested and sanguinary battle ever fought in Upper Canada. It began between six and seven in the evening and lasted five hours and a half. Nothing could have been more awful or impressive than this midnight struggle. In Canada it is commonly known as Lundy's Lane, in British official records Niagara, while by American writers it is styled Bridgewater, but by whatever name it many be known it was a glorious victory for the British forces. The Glengarry Regiment constituted the right wing of the British army. General Riall had early in the morning sent the Glengarry Regiment, with the Provincial Dragoons and Incorporated Militia, to reconnoitre the American camp at Chippewa and watch the movements of the enemy. They took up their position on the high ground near Lundy's Lane, and in the afternoon were joined by General Riall and Lieutenant-Colonel Drummond of the Hundred and Fourth The best and naturally most authentic account of the battle that ensued is that of the gallant General Drummond himself in his official despatch to Sir G. Provost;

From Lieutenant-Generai Drummond to Sir G. Prevost.

Head-quarters, near Niagara Falls, July 27, 1814.


I embarked on board His Majesty's schooner "Netlcy," at York, on Sunday evening, the 24th instant, and reached Niagara at daybreak die following morning. Finding, from Lieutenant-Colonel Tucker, that Major-General Riall was understood to be moving towards the Falls of Niagara, to support the advance of his division, which he had pushed on to that place on the preceding evening, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Morrison, with the Eighty-Ninth Regiment and a detachment of the Royals and King's, drawn from Forts George and Mississaga, to proceed to the same point in order that, with the united force, I might act against the enemy (posted at Street's Creek, with his advance at Chippeway) on my arrival, if it should be found expedient. I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Tucker, at the same time, to proceed up the right bank of the river, with three hundred of the Forty-First, about two hundred of the Royal Scots, and a body of Indian warriors, supported (on the river) by a party of armed seamen, under Captain Dobbs, Royal Navy. The object of this movement was to disperse, or capture, a body of the enemy, encamped at Lewistown. Some unavoidable delay having occurred m the march of the troops up the right bank, the enemy had moved off previous to Lieutenant-Colonel Tucker's arrival. I have to express myself satisfied with the exertions of that officer.

Having refreshed the troops at Queenstown, and having brought across the Forty-First Royals, and Indians, I sent back the Forty-First and Hundredth Regiments, to form the garrisons of Forts George, Mississaga and Niagara, under Lieutenant-Colonel Tucker, and moved with the Eighty-Ninth and detachments of the Royals and King's, and the Light company of the Forty-First —in all about eight hundred men.—to join Major-General Riall's division at the Falls.

When arrived within a few miles of that position, I met a report from Major-General Riall, that the enemy was advancing in great force. I immediately pushed on, and joined the head of Lieutenant-Colonel Morrison's columns just as it reached the road leading to the Beaver Dam, over the summit of the hill at Lundy's Lane. Instead of the whole of Major-General Riall's division, which I expected to have found occupying this position, I found it almost in the occupation of the enemy, whose columns were within six hundred yards of the top of the hill, and the surrounding woods filled with his light troops. The advance of Major-General Riall's division, consisting of the Glengarry Light Infantry and Incorporated Militia, having commenced a retreat upon Fort George, I countermanded these corps, and formed the Eighty-Ninth Regiment, the Royal Scots detachment and the Forty-First Light company, in the rear of the hill, their left resting on the great road; my two twenty-four pounder brass field guns a little advanced, in front of the centre, on the summit of the hill; the Glengarry Light Infantry on the right; the battalion of Incorporated Militia, and the detachment of the King's Regiment on the left of the great road; the squadron of the Nineteenth Light Dragoons in the rear of the left, on the road. I had scarcely completed this formation when the whole front was warmly and closely engaged. The enemy's principal efforts were directed against our left and centre. After repeated attacks, the troops on the left were partially forced back, and the enemy gained a momentary possession of the road. This gave him, however, no material advantage, as the troops which had been forced back formed in the rear of the Eighty-Ninth Regiment, fronting the road, and securing the flank. It was during this short interval that Major-General Riall, having received a severe wound, was intercepted as he was passing to the rear, by a party of the enemy's cavalry, and taken prisoner. In the centre, the repeated and determined attacks of the enemy were met by the Eighty-Ninth Regiment, the detachments of the Royals and King's, and the light company of the Forty-First Regiment, with the most perfect steadiness and intrepid gallantry, and the enemy was constantly repulsed with very heavy loss. In so determined a manner were their attacks directed against our guns, that our artillerymen were bayoneted by the enemy while in the act of loading, and the muzzles of the enemy's guns were advanced within a few yards of ours. The darkness of the night, during this extraordinary conflict, occasioned several uncommon incidents; our troops having been for a moment pushed back, some of our guns remained for a few minutes in the enemy's hands; they, however, were not only quickly recovered, but the two pieces (a six pounder and a five and a half inch howitzer) which the enemy had brought up, were captured by us, together with several tumbrils, and in limbering up our guns at one period, one of the enemy's six-pounders was put by mistake on a limber of ours, and one of our six-pounders limbered on one of his; by which means the pieces were exchanged; and thus though we captured two of his guns, yet, as he obtained one of ours, we have gained only one gun.

About 9 o'clock (the action having commenced at 6) there was a short intermission of firing, during which it appears the enemy was employed in bringing the whole of his remaining force; and he shortly afterwards renewed his attack with fresh troops, but was everywhere repulsed with equal gallantry and success. About this period the remainder of Major-General Riall's division, which had been ordered to retire on the advance of the enemy, consisting of the Hundred and Third Regiment, under Colonel Scott; the headquarter division of the Royal Scots; the head-quarter division of the Eighth, or King's; flank companies of the 104th; and some detachments of the militia, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton, Inspecting Field Officer, joined the troops engaged; and I placed them in a second line, with the exception of the Royal Scots and flank companies of the Hundred and Fourth, with which I prolonged my line in front to the right, where I was apprehensive of the enemy outflanking me.

The enemy's efforts to carry the hill were continued till about midnight, when he had suffered so severely from the superior steadiness and discipline of His Majesty's troops, that he gave up the contest, and retreated with great precipitation to his camp beyond the Chippeway. On the following day he abandoned his camp, threw the greater part of his baggage, camp equipage, and provisions, into the rapids, and having set fire to Street's Mills, and destroyed the bridge at Chippeway, continued his retreat in great disorder towards Fort Erie. My light troops, cavalry and Indians are detached in pursuit, and to harass his retreat, which I doubt not he will continue until he reaches his own shore.

The loss sustained by the enemy in this severe action cannot be estimated at less than one thousand five hundred men, including several hundred of prisoners left in our hands; his two commanding generals, Brown and Scott, are said to be wounded, his whole force, which has never been rated at less than five thousand, having been engaged.

Enclosed I have the honour to transmit a return of our loss, which has been very considerable. The number of troops under my command did not, for the first three hours, exceed one thousand seven hundred men; and the addition of the troops, under Colonel Scott, did not increase it to more than two thousand eight hundred of every description.

In enumerating those by whose valour and discipline this important victory had been obtained, special mention was made of the Glengarry Light Infantry, which under Lieutenant-Colonel Battersby. It was stated, had displayed most valuable qualities as light troops, while in reviewing the action from the commencement the first object which presented itself was * * " the very creditable and excellent defence made by the Incorporated Militia Battalion under Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson, who was dangerously wounded, and was succeeded in the command by Major Kirby, who continued very gallantly to direct its efforts. This battalion has only been organized a few months, and much to the credit of Captain Robinson, of the King's Regiment (Provincial Lieutenant-Colonel), has attached a very respectable degree of discipline."

The British loss was: killed eighty-four, wounded five hundred and fifty-nine; missing one hundred and ninety-three, prisoners forty-two; total, eight hundred and fifty-eight. The Glengarry Regiment suffered severely, four privates being killed, Lieutenant R. Kerr and thirty non-commissioned officers and men wounded, Ensign Robins and twenty-one non-commissioned officers and men missing. The Incorporated Militia suffered most of all the provincial corps, losing one hundred and forty-two officers and men killed, wounded and missing out of about three hundred engaged, among the wounded being Captain John Macdonell, a brother of the wife of the late Colonel Alexander Chisholm, of Alexandria. He had his arm shot off, and died shortly afterwards of wounds at York, now Toronto. Lieutenant McDougall, of the same corps, was also mortally and Ensign Macdonell severely wounded, and a gentleman who was afterwards Sheriff of this district, then an officer in the Eighth (or King's) Regiment, Donald Æneas Macdonell, was also severely wounded. General Drummond himself received a painful bullet wound in the neck, which narrowly missed being fatal, through he paid so little attention to it that he did not even dismount to have it dressed. A few minutes later his horse was shot, under him. General Riall, too, rashly brave and impetuous, was before being taken prisoner wounded in the arm, which it was feared, would require to be amputated, though the operation was, fortunately, eventually found to be unnecessary.

The command of the American forces, in the absence of Generals Brown and Scott, who had retired for the recovery of their wounds, devolved upon General Ripley for the time being, but that officer was severely called to account by his Government for his retreat, and was superseded in the command of the army by General Gaines, who was summoned from Sackett's Harbour to take command until General Brown should recover from his wounds. The aides to the commanding officers on either side, Captain Loring, A.D.C. to General Drummond, and Captain Spencer to General Brown, were both taken prisoners by their respective opponents, but were exchanged without the usual delay customary in such cases. Captain Spencer, who was mortally wounded, died the day he arrived at Fort Erie.

Ripley's retirement to Chippewa met with the full approval of General Brown, as appears from a despatch of the latter to the American Secretary-at-War.

The bravery of the militia engaged in this desperate conflict is stated by Mr. Christie, upon the authority of Lieutenant-Colonel (afterwards Lieutenant-General Sir John) Harvey, to have been beyond all praise. The scene of battle must have been a gruesome and awful sight. Mr. Christie says than if nothing could have been more awful and impressive. The desperate charges of the enemy were succeeded by a death-like silence, interrupted only by the groans of the dying and the dull sounds of the Falls of Niagara, while the adverse lines were now and then dimly discerned through the moonlight by the gleam of their arms. Those anxious pauses were succeeded by a blaze of musketry along the lines and by a repetition of the most desperate charges from the enemy, which the British regulars and militia received each time with the most unshaken firmness. The battlefield remained, of course, in the possession of the British during the remainder of the night, Pearson's brigade had marched fourteen miles and had been deprived of sleep the previous night, Morrison's detachment had accomplished the same distance, and the remainder not less than twenty-one miles in the heat of a July day. Almost one third of their number had been killed or were wounded or missing. The survivors were utterly exhausted and threw themselves down to rest among the dead and dying upon the blood-stained hill they had finally re-conquered. On the following day the British buried their own dead and sent a message to the Americans to send back a detachment to bury their late comrades, which duty they were, however, unable to fulfil, and the heat being so excessive, nothing was left for the British but to burn their bodies

Having claimed Queenston Heights not only as a victory, but declared it to be the chef d'oeuvre of the War, it is not surprising to find their historians claiming this battle, too, or to learn that "Niagara Falls" is emblazoned on the flags of such of their regiments as participated in it. It fell to their lot not infrequently in this War to extract sunbeams from cucumbers.

Fort Erie, to which after the battle the Americans had retreated, was now their only foothold on our side of the river, and here Ripley, under orders from his superior officer, though much against his own judgment and inclination, which would have led him to forsake an inhospitable shore, proceeded to entrench himself and to rebuild, strengthen and enlarge the fortification. General Gaines had arrived on the 6th to take command. The American fleet had arrived at the head of the lake, but on finding the army far from being in a state to co-operate, cooped up at Fort Erie, and incapable of holding any communication with the naval force on the lake, returned to Sackett's Harbor.

Captain Dobbs, R.N., had on the night of the 12th August captured two of the enemy's schooners, the "Ohio* and "Soiners," close to Fort Erie, each mounting three long twelves, with complements of thirty five men, which gave spirit to our army, and General Drummond, after ascertaining their position, determined to storm the American entrenchments. He accordingly opened a battery on the 13th, and on the following day made the necessary preparations for an assault, the troops getting under arms at mid-night of the 14th of August, his force being divided into three divisions —the first under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Fischer, of De Watteville's Regiment the second under Lieutenant-Colonel William Drummond, of the Hundred and Fourth, a nephew of General Drummond, who had already done much good service, but was fated after this night to do no more; and the third, under Colonel Scott, of the Hundred and Third, who also now fought his last battle. At two o'clock in the morning the attack became general. Colonel Fischer's column had gained the point of attack two hours before daylight, and the two other columns advanced as soon as the firing upon his division was heard, and at the same moment stormed the fort and entrenchments on the right, and after a desperate resistance succeeded in securing lodgment in the fort. The enemy took to a stone building, being driven from their posts at the point of the bayonet, which was used with terrible effect. The victory was about complete when a terrible explosion occurred within the fort, the ammunition under the platform on which the guns were placed taking fire, whether accidently or by design has never been ascertained, and almost all the British troops who had entered the fort were blown to pieces.

An immediate panic ensued. Those of the British who survived could not be rallied. Colonel Scott had been shot dead and Drummond killed by a bayonet thrust in the contest at the fort, at the head of their respective columns. The enemy had received reinforcements from the left and centre of their lines, which, taking advantage of the darkness and confusion of the moment, pressed forward with a heavy and destructive fire, and compelled their assailants to retire from the works they had so gallantly carried. General Drummond stated his loss as follows: killed—four officers, fifty-three non-commissioned officers and men; wounded, twenty-three officers, two hundred and eighty-five non-commissioned officers and men; missing, nine officers, five hundred and thirty nun-commissioned officers and men—a total in killed, wounded and missing of 904, while the American loss was but 84 all told!

Mrs. Edgar states that in poor Colonel Drummond's pocket was found a secret order in Colonel Harvey's handwriting, "The Lieutenant-General most strongly recommends the free use of the bayonet." Through this paper General Gaines is authority for the statement that the mark of the bayonet which had him low is to be seen! She also mentions the fact that Colonel Scott was buried the same evening by his own men in the presence of the only three officers of his Regiment who came out of that fatal fort unhurt.

Among the names of those mentioned in despatches for conspicious gallantry on this occasion was that of Lieutenant Colonel Battersby, of the Glengarry Regiment, as also that of Captain Powell, of whom Sir Gordon Drummond reported, "Captain Powell, of the Glengarry Light Infantry, on the staff as Deputy Assistant in the Quarter-Master-General's Department, who conducted Lieutenant-Colonel Fischer's column, and first entered the enemy's entrenchments, by his coolness and gallantry particularly distinguished himself."

General Drummond was reinforced a day or two after this assault by the arrival of the Sixth and Eighty-Second Regiments from Lower Canada, which, however, were barely sufficient to supply the recent casualties, and he did not deem it expedient to hazard another attack on Fort Erie, contenting himself with continuing its investment, thereby cutting off the enemy's communication with the adjacent country, and by compelling him to draw all his resources from his own country, rendering the occupation of Fort Erie for the remainder of the campaign of no service to the invaders. He also constructed new batteries, and harassed his neighbours constantly with hot shot, shell and rockets, On the 28th August General Gaines narrowly escaped with his life, a shot descending through the roof of his quarters and exploding at his feet. He was so severely wounded that he was obliged to relinquish his command and retire to Buffalo.


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