Lossing's Field Book of the War of 1812, Chapter XXIX - Events on the Northern Frontier in 1813.






Wilkinson concentrates his Forces. – The Secretary of War at Sackett’s Harbor. – Colonel J. G. Swift. – Governors Tompkins and Galusha. – General Dearborn moves into Canada. – Repulse of the British at La Colle. – They rally and defeat the Americans. – Lieut. Ward and Lieut. Col. Carr. – End of Dearborn’s Canada Expedition. – Preparations for War on Lake Champlain. – Early Naval Operations there. – Colonel Murray’s Raid. – Movements of Hampton in Northern New York. – Operations on Lake Ontario. – Commodore Chauncey tries to engage Sir James Yeo. – Serious Disaster. – The British Commander avoids a Conflict. – Capture of American Vessels. – The British Commander very prudent. – A Battle at last. – Perilous Situation of the British Squadron. – British Transports captured. – A new Expedition. – Wilkinson’s Expedition leaves Sackett’s Harbor. – A disastrous Voyage. – Gallantry of Captain Myers. – Hampton in the Chateaugay Country. – Position of the Belligerents. – Hampton’s criminal Negligence. – Disgraceful Events. – Hampton’s inglorious Retreat. – Wilkinson’s Expedition on the St. Lawrence. – American Camp at French Creek. – The attacking British repulsed. – Wilkinson pursued down the St. Lawrence. – Difficulties in Wilkinson’s Way. – A Council of Officers. – Number and Position of the British Force. – General Brown invades Canada. – Wilkinson in Peril. – Preparations for Battle at Chrysler’s Farm. – Position of the British on Chrysler’s Farm. – Character of the Ground. – Assault on the British Vanguard. – Battle on Chrysler’s Farm. – Incidents of the Contest. – The Americans repulsed. – The American Flotilla descends the St. Lawrence. – Bad Conduct of General Hampton. – The American Army at the French Mills. – Character of its chief Leaders. – Hampton censured. – Death and Burial of General Covington. – Head-quarters of General Officers. – Hampton’s Disobedience of Orders. – The Army relieved of Hampton’s Presence. – Sufferings of the Army at the French Mills. – Departure of the Troops. – Attempt to seduce the American Soldiers from their Allegiance. – Visit to Carleton Island. – Remains of Fortifications there. – Their History. – First Seizure of a Military Post. – Interesting Relics on Carleton Island. – Perilous Voyage on the St. Lawrence. – Visit to Rock Island, the Home of Johnston of the Thousand Islands. – Peel Island and its Associations. – Johnston’s Exploits among the Thousand Islands. – His Arrests and Imprisonments. – His Commission as Commodore. – Johnston’s heroic Daughter. – His Birthplace. – His Services in the War of 1812. – Johnston’s Perils in Canada. – Journey from Clayton to Malone. – Visit to French Mills or Fort Covington. – Veteran Soldiers at Fort Covington. – Journey to Rouse’s Point. – La Colle. – Passage of St. Lawrence Rapids. – Visit to the Battle-ground on Chrysler’s Farm. – A British Soldier and his Medal of Honor. – Scene on the St. Lawrence.


"For a nautical knight, a lady – heigh-ho! –

Felt her heart and her heart-strings to ache;
To view his dear person she looked to and fro.
The name of the knight was Sir James Lucas Yeo,
And the Lady – ’twas she of the Lake."


General Wilkinson, as we have seen, arrived at Sackett’s Harbor on the 20th of August, 1813, where he formally assumed command of the Northern Army, and, with the co-operation of a council of officers, formed a general plan of operations against the enemy at Kingston and down the St. Lawrence. His first was to concentrate the forces of his command, which were scattered over an extensive and sparsely-settled country, some on the Niagara frontier, some at the eastern end of Lake Ontario and on the St. Lawrence, and some on Lake Champlain. He accordingly directed those on the Niagara and at Sackett’s Harbor to rendezvous on Grenadier Island, in the St. Lawrence, about eighteen miles from the Harbor, and at French Creek (now Clayton), about the same distance further down the river. Those composing the right wing, on Lake Champlain, were directed to move at the same time to the Canada border, at "the mouth of the Chateaugay, or other point which would favor the junction of the forces and hold the enemy in check."

For the purpose of promoting harmony of action between Wilkinson and Hampton, as we have observed, and to add efficiency to projected movements, the Secretary of War, accompanied by the adjutant general, Colonel Walbach, established the seat of his department at Sackett’s Harbor [September 5, 1813.]. He, and Wilkinson, and the late venerable General Joseph Gardner Swift (then chief engineer of the Northern Army, and bearing the commission of colonel) 1 held consultations with Governor Tompkins at Albany, who, from the beginning, had employed his best energies for the promotion of the general good, and especially for the defense of his commonwealth against invasion.

Before considering Wilkinson’s expedition, let us turn back a little, and take a glance at military and naval operations on Lake Champlain up to the autumn of 1813. We shall then better understand several aspects of that expedition.

When war was declared in June, 1812, zealous supporters of the national administration were governors of New York and Vermont, 2 between which lay important Lake Champlain. These magistrates, sustained by their respective Legislatures, seconded the administration in all its measures. The Legislature of Vermont prohibited all intercourse with Canada except with the permission of the governor, and they adopted measures for calling out the militia of the state when needed. New York was not a whit behind her sister of the Green Mountains in zeal and efficiency.

During the summer of 1812 Brigadier General Bloomfield was sent to the Champlain frontier with several regiments, and on the 1st of September had collected about eight thousand men at Plattsburg – regulars, volunteers, and militia – besides some small advanced parties at Chazy and Champlain. General Dearborn arrived there soon afterward, and assumed direct command; and on the 16th of November he moved toward the Canada line with three thousand regulars and two thousand militia, and encamped upon the level ground near the present village of Rouse’s Point. There he advanced across the line toward Odell Town, for what ultimate object no one knew, and on the banks of the La Colle, a tributary of the Sorel, he was confronted by a considerable force of voltigeurs, chasseurs, militia, and Indians, under Lieutenant Colonel De Salaberry, an active British commander.

On the morning of the 20th, just at dawn, Colonel Zebulon M. Pike, with about six hundred men, crossed the La Colle, and surrounded a block-house which had been occupied by a strong picket-guard of Canadians and Indians. These had fled during the previous evening. At about the same time a body of New York militia, who had been detached by another road, approached for the same purpose, and in the dim light of the early morning were mistaken by those at the block-house for enemies. Pike’s men opened fire upon them, and for nearly half an hour a sharp contest was sustained. When they discovered their mistake, they found De Salaberry approaching in force with a strong advance guard, when Lieutenant Ward, 3 of the Twenty-ninth New York Militia, with his company of fifty men, moved slowly upon the enemy, and, after receiving three discharges from them without returning a shot, gave the order to fire and charge. This was promptly obeyed, and the appalled foe, taken completely by surprise, were driven back to the main body. This gallant performance of the lieutenant elicited the highest praise from his superiors. But De Salaberry’s force was too overwhelming to be successfully withstood. To the Americans a retreat was sounded, and they fled so precipitately that they left five of their number dead and five wounded on the field. 4 It was a fruitless expedition, and the army returned to Plattsburg [November 23, 1812.] out of humor and depressed in spirits. Three of the regiments of regulars went into winter quarters at Plattsburg, and three others at Burlington, the former under the command of Colonel Pike, and the latter under Brigadier General Chandler. The light artillery and dragoons returned to Greenbush (opposite Albany), the head-quarters of General Dearborn, and the militia were disbanded.

There were no farther military movements on Lake Champlain of special importance until July, 1813. Naval preparations had been somewhat active under the superintendence of Lieutenant Thomas Macdonough, who, in the fall of 1812, superseded Lieutenant Sidney Smith in the command on Lake Champlain. 5 When war was declared the whole American naval force on the lake consisted of only two gunboats that lay in Basin Harbor on the Vermont shore. 6 Two small sloops and four bateaux were fitted up and armed, each carrying a long eighteen-pounder. The British had two or three gun-boats and armed galleys in the Richelieu, or Sorel River, the outlet of Lake Champlain into the St. Lawrence.

In the spring of 1813 Macdonough put the new-armed sloops Growler and Eagle afloat, the former commanded by Lieutenant Smith and the latter by Mr. Loomis. At the beginning of June intelligence came that the British gun-boats had attacked some American small craft near Rouse’s Point. Macdonough ordered Smith, with the Growler and Eagle, and one hundred and twelve men (including Captain Herrick and thirty-three volunteers), to look after the matter, and, on the evening of the 2d of June [1813.], these vessels anchored near Rouse’s Point, within a mile of the Canada line. On the following morning they went down the Sorel with a stiff favoring breeze from the south, and at Arch Island gave chase to three British gun-boats. The pursuit continued to a point within sight of the fortifications on Isle aux Noix, where prudence caused Smith to tack and beat up the Sorel against the wind. When this movement was discovered by the British, three armed row-galleys were sent out from the shelter of the batteries on the island, and gave chase. They soon opened upon the flying sloops with long twenty-four pounders. At the same time a land force was sent out on each side of the river, who poured severe volleys of musketry upon the decks of the Growler and Eagle. These were answered by grape and canister. This running fight had been kept up for about four hours, when a heavy cannon-shot tore planking from the Eagle below water, and she went down almost immediately. At about the same time the Growler became disabled and ran ashore, and the people of both vessels were made prisoners. The Americans lost in the engagement one killed and nineteen wounded. The loss of the British was much greater – probably at least one hundred. But they gained a victory, and with it secured, for the time, the full control of the lake. The captured sloops were refitted by them, named respectively Finch and Chubb, and placed in the British naval service. Macdonough recaptured them at Plattsburg in September the following year.

Macdonough was not disheartened by his loss. It stimulated him to greater exertions, and by the 6th of August he had fitted out and armed three sloops and six gun-boats. Meanwhile a British force of soldiers, sailors, and marines, fourteen hundred strong, under Colonel J. Murray, conveyed in two sloops of war, three gun-boats, and forty-seven long boats, had fallen upon Plattsburg [July 31.]. That place was entirely uncovered, there being no regular troops on the west side of the lake. The enemy landed on Saturday afternoon without opposition, and began a work of destruction which lasted until ten o’clock the next day. Major General Hampton was at Burlington, only twenty miles distant, with almost four thousand men, yet he did not attempt to cross the lake, or in any way oppose the inroad of Murray. The latter officer shamefully violated the promises made to the civil authorities of Plattsburg when he entered the village, that private property should be respected, and that non-combatants should remain unmolested. After destroying the block-house, arsenal, armory, and hospital in the town, and the military cantonment (known as Pike’s) near Fredenburg Falls, on the Saranac, two miles above the village, he wantonly burned three private store-houses, and plundered and destroyed private merchandise, furniture, etc., to the amount of several thousand dollars. The value of public property destroyed was estimated at twenty-five thousand dollars. 7

Having accomplished the object of his raid, Colonel Murray retired so hastily that he left a picket of twenty men, who were captured. He went up the lake several miles above Burlington on a marauding expedition, destroying transportation boats, and on his way back to Canada he plundered private property on Cumberland Head, on the Vermont shore, and at Chazy Landing. Such was the condition of affairs on Lake Champlain at the close of the summer of 1813, when Wilkinson took command of the Army of the North, and prepared for his expedition down the St. Lawrence.

The right wing of the army, under General Hampton, was first put in motion, when it was thought that Kingston would be the first point of attack. He was ordered to penetrate Canada toward Montreal by way of the Richelieu or Sorel, to divert the attention of the enemy in that direction. For this purpose his forces were assembled on Cumberland Head at the middle of September, consisting of four thousand effective infantry, a squadron of horse, and a well-appointed train of artillery. On the 19th [September, 1813.] he moved forward to the Great Chazy River, the infantry in boats, convoyed by Macdonough’s flotilla, and the squadron of horse and artillery by land. They formed a junction at Champlain on the 20th [September.], and on the same day the advance, under Majors Wool, Snelling, and M‘Neil, marched as far as Odell Town, just within the Canada borders, westward of Rouse’s Point. A severe drought was prevailing over all that region. Hampton was convinced that he would not be able to procure water on the route northward over that flat country for his horses and draught-cattle, and he at once returned to Champlain [September 21.] and took the road westward, which led to the Chateaugay River. At the "Four Corners," not far from the present village of Chateaugay, he encamped [September 24.], and remained there awaiting orders twenty-six days.

In the mean time preparations for the expedition were going on at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, over whose waters Commodore Chauncey and Sir James Yeo had been for some time playing a sort of hide-and-seek game. As Chauncey’s fleet was a co-operative force in the expedition of Wilkinson, we may here appropriately consider the naval movements on Lake Ontario not already described, up to the departure of the expedition down the St. Lawrence.

We have already observed the active co-operation of the naval with the land forces in the capture of York 8 and Fort George, 9 and the attempt of Sir James Yeo to seize or destroy the post at Sackett’s Harbor. 10 Intelligence of the fact that the British squadron was out upon the lake reached Chauncey on the 30th of May, while lying in the mouth of the Niagara River. He immediately weighed anchor, crossed over the lake and looked into York, and then ran for Kingston. No foe was to be seen, and he sailed for Sackett’s Harbor, where the embers of the recent conflagration were smouldering. Chauncey felt some doubts of his ability to cope with the heavy vessels of the enemy, and he used every exertion to have the new ship, the General Pike, put afloat. She was a corvette, pierced for twenty-six long twenty-fours. She was launched on the 12th of June, and on the day before, Captain Arthur Sinclair had arrived and was placed in command of her. But it was late in the summer before she was fully equipped and manned, for much valuable material intended for her had been consumed, and men came from the sea-board tardily, a part of whom were sent to the importunate Perry, then anxiously preparing his squadron on Lake Erie to cooperate with General Harrison. Meanwhile the keel of a fast-sailing schooner, afterward named the Sylph, was laid by Eckford at the Harbor; and a small vessel was kept constantly cruising as a scout between the Ducks (a group of islands) and Kingston, to observe the movements of Sir James. On the 16th of June the Lady of the Lake, Lieutenant W. Chauncey, engaged in that service, captured the British schooner Lady Murray, loaded with provisions, shot, and fixed ammunition, and took her into the Harbor. At about this time the British squadron made a cruise westward, and, as we have seen, interfered seriously with vessels bearing supplies for the Americans at Fort George, and destroyed stores at Sodus. 11 Sir James, as we have observed, had looked into Oswego, but thought it prudent not to land. 12

We have alluded to the appearance of Sir James and his squadron off Niagara on the 7th of July, just after Chauncey, with the troops under Colonel Scott, had returned from the second expedition to York. 13 The British squadron was first seen about six miles to the northwest. Chauncey immediately weighed anchor, and endeavored to obtain the weather-gage of his enemy. He had thirteen vessels, but only three of them had been originally built for war purposes. 14 The enemy’s squadron consisted of two ships, two brigs, and two large schooners. These had all been constructed for war, and were very efficient in armament and defensive shields.

All day the belligerents manœuvred, with a good breeze, without coming into conflict. At sunset there fell a dead calm, and sweeps were used. When night came on the American fleet was collected by signal. During the evening the wind came from the westward, freshened, and at midnight was a fitful gale. Suddenly a rushing sound was heard astern of most of the fleet, and it was soon ascertained that the Hamilton, Lieutenant Winter, and Scourge, Mr. Osgood, had disappeared. They were capsized by a terrific squall, and all the officers and men, excepting sixteen of the latter, were drowned. This was a severe blow to the lake service, for these two vessels, carrying nineteen guns between them, were the best in it.

Soon after dawn [July 8, 1813.] the British squadron was seen bearing down, as if for action, but when within a league of the Americans it bore away. Again the belligerents commenced manœuvring for advantages. Alternate wind and calm made the service severe, and at length the considerate Chauncey, whose men had been at quarters full thirty-six hours, ran in and anchored at the mouth of the Niagara River. All night the lake was swept by squalls. When, in the morning [July 9.], the enemy was seen at the northward, Chauncey weighed anchor and stood out to meet him. Another day and night were consumed in fruitless manœuvres. At length, at six o’clock on the morning of the 10th, having the weather-gage, Chauncey, with a light wind, formed his fleet in battle order, and a conflict seemed imminent. 15 But varying breezes, and an unwillingness on the part of the enemy to engage, caused another day to be spent in manœuvring. At ten o’clock at night the enemy made chase, and at eleven the Fair American (the sternmost of the schooners) opened fire upon the advancing foe. The enemy continued to draw ahead, and a general action seemed unavoidable. The commanders of the Growler (Lieutenant Deacon) and Julia (Mr. Trant), 16 in the excess of their zeal, took their vessels out of the prescribed line. They became separated from the rest of the fleet, and were captured after a severe but short struggle, with small loss. There was but little fighting elsewhere, and at midnight, the gale increasing, Chauncey determined to run for shelter into the Genesee. He changed his course, however, and went to Sackett’s Harbor, where, after encountering a calm, he arrived with the remains of his fleet on the 13th. On the same day he took in provisions for five weeks and sailed on another cruise, with eight vessels. Off Niagara, on the 16th, he fell in with the enemy, who had the same number of vessels; but, after a cruise of three days more, he returned to the Harbor [July 19, 1813.], where he found the new vessel (the Sylph) launched. Great sickness prevailed in the fleet, and Chauncey lay inactive in the Harbor for some time. 17 On the 28th of August Chauncey put out again upon the lake, but it was not until the 7th of September that he came in sight of the enemy. At dawn of that day the British squadron was seen off the Niagara, and Chauncey, with the Pike, Madison, and Sylph, each with a schooner in tow, made chase. For six days he endeavored to bring his antagonist into action; but Sir James Yeo, following the strict injunctions of his superiors to risk nothing, avoided a contest. The critical situation of Canada at that time made the preservation of a naval force sufficient to protect harbors and keep Chauncey employed, very important.

On the 11th Sir James lay becalmed off the Genesee. Catching a gentle breeze from the northwest, Chauncey bore down upon him, and was within gun-shot distance of his enemy when the British sails took the wind, and their vessels, being the faster sailers, escaped, not, however, without sustaining considerable damage during a running fight for more than three hours. The Pike had been hulled several times, but not seriously hurt, while the British vessels were a good deal cut up. Yeo finally escaped to Amherst Bay, whose navigation was strange to the American pilots, and he was not followed. Chauncey lay off the Ducks until the 17th, when Sir James made his way into Kingston harbor. Chauncey now ran into Sackett’s Harbor for supplies.

On the 18th the American squadron sailed for the Niagara for troops to be conveyed to Sackett’s Harbor, and was followed by the enemy. After remaining a few days, Chauncey crossed the lake with the Pike, Madison, and Sylph, each with a schooner in tow, having been informed that the enemy was in York harbor. When he approached, Sir James fled, followed by Chauncey in battle order and with the weather-gage. The baronet was now compelled to fight, or to cease boasting of unsatisfied desires to measure strength with Americans. An action commenced at a little past noon, when the Pike for more than twenty minutes sustained the desperate assaults of the heaviest vessels of the enemy. She was managed admirably, and delivered tremendous broadsides upon her antagonists. She was gallantly assisted a part of the time by the Tompkins, Lieutenant W. C. B. Finch, of the Madison; and when the smoke of battle passed away, the Wolfe (Sir James’s flag-ship) was found to be too seriously injured to sustain a conflict any longer. She had lost her main and mizzen top-masts, and her main yard, besides receiving other injuries, and when discovered she was pushing away dead before the wind, crowded with canvas, and gallantly protected by the Royal George in her flight. A general chase was immediately commenced, and a running fight was maintained for some time. The pursuit was continued toward Burlington Bay for two hours, when Chauncey called off his vessels. No doubt, by pressing sail, and with proper support, he might have captured or destroyed the British squadron, 18 but the wind was increasing, and there was no good harbor or place of shelter on the coast, where, in the event of being driven ashore, capture by land troops would be almost certain. Taking counsel of prudence, Chauncey sailed into the Niagara, and there lay safely during a severe gale that lasted forty-eight hours.

For two days after the gale had subsided the wind blew strongly from the east, when it shifted to the westward [October 2, 1813.]. All the transports with troops had now departed for Sackett’s Harbor, and Chauncey went out again in search of the foe. The weather was thick, and the Lady of the Lake, sent to reconnoitre Burlington Bay, reported that only two gun-boats were to be seen there. Supposing the enemy to have escaped under cover of mist or darkness, Chauncey sailed away eastward, and at sunset of the 5th of October, when near the Ducks, the Pike captured three British transports, Confiance, Hamilton, 19 and Mary. The Sylph captured the Drummond cutter, and the armed transport Lady Gore. These carried from one to three guns each. The whole number of persons found on the five vessels, and made prisoners, including the officers, was two hundred and sixty-four. Among the latter was a lieutenant and two master’s mates of the royal navy, four masters of the provincial marine, and ten army officers. During the remainder of the season Sir James Yeo remained inactive in Kingston harbor, and Commodore Chauncey was employed in watching the movements of the enemy there, and in aiding the army in its descent of the St. Lawrence.

After much discussion at Sackett’s Harbor between the Secretary of War, General Wilkinson, and other officers, it was determined to pass Kingston and make a descent upon Montreal. For weeks the bustle of preparation had been great, and many armed boats and transports had been built at the harbor. Every thing was in readiness by the 4th of October. 20 Yet final orders were not issued until the 12th, when a plan of encampment and order of battle was given to each general officer and corps commander, to be observed when circumstances would permit. Four days more were consumed without any apparent necessity, when, on the 17th, orders were given for the embarkation of all the troops at the harbor destined for the expedition. At the same time, General Hampton, who, as we have seen, had been halting on the banks of the Chateaugay, was ordered to move down to the mouth of that river.

With a reckless disregard of life and property, the troops under Major General Lewis were embarked at the beginning of a dark night, when portents of a storm were hovering over the lake, at a season when sudden and violent gales were likely to arise. They were packed in scows, bateaux, Durham boats, and common lake sailboats, with ordnance, ammunition, hospital stores, baggage, camp equipage, and two months’ provisions. The voyage was among islands and past numerous points of land where soundings and currents were known to few. There was a scarcity of pilots, and the whole flotilla seemed to have been sent out with very little of man’s wisdom to direct it. The wind was favorable at the beginning, but toward midnight, as the clouds thickened and the darkness deepened, it freshened, and before morning became a gale, with rain and sleet. The flotilla was scattered in every direction, and the gloomy dawn [October 17, 1813.] revealed a sad spectacle. The shores of the islands and the main were strewn with wrecks of vessels and property. Fifteen large boats were totally lost, and many more too seriously damaged to be safe. For thirty-six hours the wind blew fiercely, but on the 20th, there having been a comparative calm for more than a day, a large proportion of the troops, with the sound boats, arrived at Grenadier Island. 21 These were chiefly the brigades of Generals Boyd, Brown, Covington, Swartwout, and Porter 22 (the three former had encamped at Henderson Harbor), which had arrived.

General Wilkinson in the mean time was passing to and fro between the Harbor and Grenadier Island, looking after the smitten expedition. A return made to him on the 22d showed that a large number of troops were still behind, in vessels "wrecked or stranded." The weather continued boisterous, and on the 24th he was compelled to write to the Secretary of War, "The extent of the injury to our craft, clothing, arms, and provisions greatly exceed our apprehensions, and has subjected us to the necessity of furnishing clothing, and of making repairs and equipments to the flotilla generally. In fact, all our hopes have been nearly blasted; but, thanks to the same Providence that placed us in jeopardy, we are surmounting our difficulties, and, God willing, I shall pass Prescott on the night of the 1st or 2d proximo."

The troops remained encamped on Grenadier Island until the 1st of November, except General Brown’s brigade, some light troops, and heavy artillery, which went down the St. Lawrence on the 29th [October, 1813.], and took post at French Creek. In the mean time Hampton, pursuant to Wilkinson’s orders, moved [October 21.] down the Chateaugay toward the St. Lawrence for the purpose of forming a junction with Wilkinson from above. He found a forest ten or twelve miles in extent along the river in the line of his march, in which the vigilant and active De Salaberry had felled trees across the obscure road, and placed Indians and light troops to dispute the passage of the Americans. General George Izard was at once sent out with light troops to gain the rear of these woods, and seize the Canadian settlements on the Chateaugay in the open country beyond, while the remainder of the army made a circuit in an opposite direction, and avoided the obstructed forest altogether. The movement was successful, and on the following day [October 22.] a greater portion of the army encamped at Spear’s, near the confluence of the Outard Creek and the Chateaugay River. 23 It was an eligible position, and there Hampton remained until the stores and artillery came up on the 24th.

Immediately in front of the army at Spear’s was an open country, seven miles along the river, to Johnson’s, 24 where another extensive forest lay in the way. These woods had been formed into abatis, covering log breastworks and a log block-house. On the latter were some pieces of ordnance. In front of these defenses were Indians and a light corps of Beauharnais militia, and behind them, under the immediate command of Lieutenant Colonel De Salaberry, was the remainder of the disposable force of the enemy, charged with the duty of guarding a ford at a small rapid in the river, and keeping open communication with the St. Lawrence. De Salaberry’s force was almost a thousand strong, and Sir George Prevost and General De Wattville were within bugle call with more troops.

Hampton determined to dislodge De Salaberry, take possession of his really stronghold, and keep it until he should hear from Wilkinson, from whom no tidings had been received for several days. He was informed of the ford opposite the lower flank of the enemy, and on the evening of the 25th he detached Colonel Robert Purdy, of the Fourth Infantry, and the light troops of Boyd’s brigade, to force the ford, and fall upon the British rear at dawn. The crack of Purdy’s musketry was to be the signal for the main body of the Americans to attack the enemy’s front. But the whole movement was foiled by the ignorance of the guides and the darkness of the night. Purdy crossed the river near the camp, lost his way in a hemlock swamp, and could neither find the ford nor the place from which he started. His troops wandered about all night, and different corps would sometimes meet, and excite mutual alarm by the supposition that they had encountered an enemy. 25 In the morning Purdy extricated his command from the swamp labyrinth, and, within half a mile of the ford, halted and gave them permission to rest, for they were excessively fatigued. In the mean time Hampton put three thousand five hundred of his army in motion, under General Izard, expecting every moment to hear Purdy’s guns; but they were silent. The forenoon wore away; meridian was past; and at two o’clock Izard was ordered to move forward to the attack. Firing immediately commenced, and the enemy’s pickets were driven in. The gallant De Salaberry came out with about three hundred Canadian fencibles and voltigeurs, and a few Abenake Indians, but Izard’s overwhelming numbers pressed him back to his intrenchments.

Firing was now heard on the other side of the river. Purdy, who seems to have neglected to post pickets or sentinels, had been surprised by a small detachment of chasseurs and Canadian militia, who gained his rear. His troops, utterly disconcerted, fled to the river. Several officers and men swam across, bearing to General Hampton alarming accounts of the great number of the enemy on the other side of the stream. That enemy, instead of being formidable, had fled after his first fire, and the ludicrous scene was presented of frightened belligerents running away from each other. All was confusion; and detachments of Purdy’s scattered men, mistaking each other for enemies in the dark swamp, had a spirited engagement. The only sad fruit of the blunder was the death of one man.

De Salaberry had perceived that superior numbers might easily outflank him, and he resorted to stratagem. He posted buglers at some distance from each other, and when some concealed provincial militia opened fire almost upon Hampton’s flank, these buglers simultaneously sounded a charge.

Hampton was alarmed. From the seeming extent of the British line as indicated by the buglers, he supposed a heavy force was about to fall upon his front and flank. He immediately sounded a retreat, and withdrew from the field. The enemy in a body did not venture to follow, but the Canadian militia 26 harassed the army as it fell slowly back to its old quarters at Chateaugay Four Corners, where its inglorious campaign ended. The whole affair was a disgrace to the American arms, and, as one of the surviving actors in the scenes (now a distinguished major general in the United States Army) has said, "no officer who had any regard for his reputation would voluntarily acknowledge himself as having been engaged in it." 27 In this affair, which has been unwarrantably dignified with the character of a battle, the Americans lost about fifteen killed and twenty-three wounded. The British lost five killed, sixteen wounded, and four missing. 28

Storm followed storm on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence. Snow fell to the depth of ten inches, and the troops collected by Wilkinson on Grenadier Island suffered much. The season was too far advanced – a Canadian winter was too near – to allow delays on account of weather, and General Brown and his division moved forward, in the face of the tempest and of great peril, on the 29th of October. They landed at French Creek, and took post in a thick wood about half a mile up from the present village of Clayton. Chauncey in the mean time attempted to blockade the enemy in Kingston Harbor, or at least to prevent his going down the river either to pursue the Americans or to take possession of and fortify the important old military post at the head of Carleton Island, just below Cape Vincent. But Chauncey’s blockade was ineffectual. British marine scouts were out among the Thousand Islands; and when, on the afternoon of the 1st of November, they discovered Brown at French Creek, two brigs, two schooners, and eight gun-boats, filled with infantry, were out and ready to bear down upon him. They did so at about sunset of the same day. Fortunately Brown had planted a battery of three 18-pounders on Bartlett’s Point, a high wooded bluff on the western shore of French Creek, at its mouth, under the command of Captain M‘Pherson, of the light artillery. This battery, from its elevation, was very effective, and it was served so skillfully that the enemy were driven away after some cannonading. At dawn the next morning the conflict was renewed, with the same result, the enemy in the two engagements having suffered much loss. That of the Americans was two killed and four wounded. It was with much difficulty that the British saved one of their brigs from capture.

Troops were coming down from Grenadier Island in the mean time, and landing upon the point on which Clayton 29 now stands, and along the shore of French Creek as far as the lumber and rafting yard on what is still known as Wilkinson’s Point. Wilkinson arrived there on the 3d, and on the 4th [November, 1813.] he issued a general order preparatory to final embarkation, in which he exhorted his troops to sustain well the character of American citizens, and abstain from rapine and plunder. "The general is determined," he said, "to have the first person who shall be detected in plundering an inhabitant of Canada of the smallest amount of property made an example of." 30


On the morning of the 5th, a clear, bright, crisp morning, just at dawn, the whole flotilla, comprising almost three hundred boats, moved down the river from French Creek with banners furled and music silent, for they wished to elude discovery by the British, who, until now, were uncertain whether the expedition was intended for Kingston, Prescott, or Montreal. 32 The vigilant foe had immediately discovered their course, and, with a heavy armed galley and gun-boats filled with troops, started in pursuit. The flotilla arrived at Morristown early in the evening. It had been annoyed by the enemy all the way. Several times Wilkinson was disposed to turn upon them; and at one time, near Bald Island, about two miles below Alexandria Bay, he was compelled to engage, for the enemy’s gun-boats shot out of the British channel on the north, and attacked his rear. They were beaten off and Wilkinson determined to run by the formidable batteries at Prescott during the night. It was found to be impracticable, and his boats lay moored at Morristown until morning. A corps of land troops from Kingston had also followed Wilkinson along the northern shore of the river, and arrived at Prescott before the American flotilla reached Ogdensburg.


For the purpose of avoiding Fort Wellington and the other fortifications at Prescott, Wilkinson halted three miles above Ogdensburg, where he debarked his ammunition and all of his troops [November 6.], except a sufficient number to man the boats. These were to be conveyed by land to the "Red Mill," four miles below Ogdensburg, on the American shore, and the boats were to run by the batteries that night. At the place of debarkation he issued a proclamation to the Canadians, intended to make them passive; 34 and there, at noon, he was visited by Colonel King, Hampton’s adjutant general. By him he sent orders to Hampton to press forward to the St. Lawrence, to form a junction with the descending army at St. Regis.

By the skillful management of General Brown, the whole flotilla passed Prescott safely on the night of the 6th, with the exception of two large boats heavily laden with provisions, artillery, and ordnance stores, 35 which ran aground at Ogdensburg. They were taken off under a severe cannonading from Fort Wellington, and soon joined the others [November 7, 1813.] at the "Red Mill." Wilkinson was now informed that the Canada shore of the river was lined with posts of musketry and artillery at every eligible point, to dispute the passage of the flotilla. To meet and remove these impediments, Colonel Alexander Macomb was detached, with twelve hundred of the élite of the army, and on Sunday, the 7th, landed on the Canada shore. He was soon followed by Lieutenant Colonel Forsyth and his riflemen, who did excellent service in the rear of Macomb.

The flotilla arrived at the "White House," opposite Matilda, 36 about eighteen miles below Ogdensburg, on the 8th, and there Wilkinson called a council of his officers, consisting of Generals Lewis, Boyd, Brown, Porter, Covington, and Swartwout. After hearing a report from the active chief engineer, Colonel Swift, concerning the reported strength of the enemy, 37 the question, Shall the army proceed with all possible rapidity to the attack of Montreal? was considered, and answered in the affirmative. General Brown was at once ordered to cross the river with his brigade and the dragoons, for the purpose of marching down the Canada side of the river in connection with Colonel Macomb, and the remainder of the day and night was consumed in the transportation. 38 Meanwhile Wilkinson was informed that a British re-enforcement, full one thousand strong, had been sent down from Kingston to Prescott, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Morrison. They had come in the armed schooners Beresford and Sidney Smith, and several gun-boats and bateaux under Captain Mulcaster, which had eluded Chauncey’s inefficient blockading squadron. They were joined at Prescott by provincial infantry and dragoons under Lieutenant Colonel Pearson, and on the morning of the 9th they were close upon Wilkinson with the vessels in which they came down the river, and a large portion of the land troops were debarked near Matilda for the purpose of pursuing the Americans. General Boyd and his brigade were now detached to re-enforce Brown, with orders to cover his march, to attack the pursuing enemy if necessary, and to co-operate with the other commanders.

Wilkinson now found himself in a perilous position. The British armed vessels were following his flotilla, and a heavy British force was hanging upon the rear of his land troops, ready to co-operate with the water craft in an attack upon the Americans. They constantly harassed Brown and Boyd, and occasionally attacked the rear of the flotilla. The forces on the shore also encountered detachments coming up from below, and were compelled to make some long and tedious circuits in their march because of the destruction of bridges in the front.

On the morning of the 10th [November, 1813.], when Wilkinson was approaching the "Longue Saut," a perilous rapid in the St. Lawrence, eight miles in extent, he was informed that a considerable body of the enemy had collected near its foot, constructed a block-house, and were prepared to attack him when he should come down. General Brown was ordered to advance at once and dislodge them, and at noon cannonading was heard in that direction for some time. At the same hour the enemy came pressing upon Wilkinson’s rear, and commenced cannonading from his gun-boats. The American gun-barges were so slender that the eighteen-pounders could not be worked effectively, so they were landed, placed in battery, and brought to bear upon the enemy so skillfully that his vessels fled in haste up the river. In these operations the day was mostly consumed. The pilots were unwilling to enter the rapids at night. It was necessary to hear from Brown, for when the flotilla should once be committed to the swift current of the rapids there could be no retreat. These considerations caused Wilkinson to halt for the night, and his vessels were moored a little below Chrysler’s Island, nearly in front of the farm of John Chrysler (a British militia captain then in the service), a few miles below Williamsburg, while Boyd, with the rear of the land force, encamped near.

At ten o’clock in the morning of the 11th Wilkinson received a dispatch from Brown, addressed from " five miles above Cornwall," announcing his success in his attack upon the British post at the foot of the rapids, informing him of the wounding of Lieutenant Colonel Forsyth and one of his men, and urging him to come forward with the boats and supplies as quickly as possible, because his wearied troops were "without covering in the rain." This dispatch found Wilkinson extremely ill, and his reply, in which he told Brown of the presence of the enemy upon his rear, and his apprehensions that he intended to pass him with his gun-boats and strengthen the British force below, was addressed "From my bed." "It is now," he said, "that I feel the heavy hand of disease – enfeebled and confined to my bed while the safety of the army intrusted to my command, the honor of our armies, and the greatest interests of our country are at hazard." 40

CHRYSLER’S IN 1855. 41

Wilkinson now ordered the flotilla to proceed, and Boyd and his command to resume their march. At that moment information reached the commanding general that the enemy were advancing in column, and that firing from their gun-boats was heard. He immediately sent Colonel Swift with an order for Boyd to form his detachment into three columns, advance upon the enemy, and endeavor to outflank him and capture his cannon. At the same time the flotilla was ordered to lie moored on the Canada shore, just below Weaver’s Point, while his gun-boats lay off Cook Point.

The brave Boyd, anxious for battle, instantly obeyed. Swartwout was detached with the fourth brigade to assail the vanguard of the enemy, which was composed of light troops, and Covington was directed to take position at supporting distance from him with the third brigade.

Swartwout, on a large brown horse, dashed gallantly into woods of second growth, followed by the Twenty-first Regiment, commanded by Colonel E. W. Ripley, and with them drove the light troops of the enemy back upon their main line in open fields on Chrysler’s farm, below his house. 42 That line was well posted, its right resting on the St. Lawrence, and covered by Mulcaster’s gun-boats, and the left on a black-oak swamp, supported by Indians and gathering militia, under Colonel Thomas Fraser. They were advantageously formed back of ravines that intersected the extensive plain and rendered the advance of the American artillery almost impossible, and a heavy rail-fence. 43

Swartwout’s sudden and successful dash was quickly followed by an attack on the enemy’s left by the whole of the fourth brigade, and a part of the first, under Colonel Coles, who advanced across plowed fields, knee-deep in mud, in the face of a heavy shower of bullets and shrapnel-shells. 44 At the same time General Covington, mounted on a fine white horse, gallantly led the third brigade against the enemy’s left, near the river, and the battle became general. By charge after charge, in the midst of difficulties, the British were pushed back almost a mile, and the American cannon, placed in fair position by General Boyd, under the direction of Colonel Swift, did excellent execution for a few minutes. The squadron of the Second Regiment of Dragoons was early on the field, and much exposed to the enemy’s fire, but, owing to the nature of the ground, was unable to accomplish much. At length Covington fell, severely wounded, 45 and the ammunition of the Americans began to fail. It was soon exhausted, and the fourth brigade, hard pushed, fell back, followed by Colonel J. A. Coles. This retrograde movement affected the third brigade, and it too fell back, in considerable disorder.

The British perceived this, and followed up the advantage gained with great vigor, and were endeavoring by a flank movement to capture Boyd’s cannon, when a gallant charge of cavalry, led by Adjutant General Walbach, who had obtained Armstrong’s permission to accompany the expedition, drove them back and saved the pieces. The effort was renewed. Lieutenant Smith, who commanded one of the cannon, was mortally wounded, and it fell into the enemy’s hands. 46

The conflict had lasted about five hours, in the midst of cold, and snow, and sleet, when the Americans were compelled to fall back. During that time victory had swayed, like a pendulum, between the combatants, and would doubtless have rested with the Americans had their ammunition held out. Their retreat was promising to be a rout, when the flying troops were met by six hundred men under Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Upham, 47 of the Twenty-first Regiment of Infantry, and Major Malcolm, whom Wilkinson had sent up to the support of Boyd. These checked the disorderly flight, and, taking position on the ground from which Boyd’s force had been driven, they gallantly attacked the enemy, seized the principal ravine, and, with a severe fire at short musket range, drove the British back and saved the day. 48 Meanwhile Boyd had reformed his line in battle order on the edge of the wood from which Swartwout drove the foe at the beginning, and there awaited another attack. It was not made. Both parties seemed willing to make the excuse of oncoming darkness a warrant for suspending farther fighting. The Americans, under cover of night, retired unmolested to their boats, and the British remained upon the field. Neither party had gained a victory, but the advantage was with the British. 49

On the morning after the battle the flotilla and gun-boats passed safely down the Long Rapids without discovering any signs of an enemy, and at the same time the land troops marched in the same direction unmolested. At Barnhart’s, three miles above Cornwall, they formed a junction with the forces under General Brown, and Wilkinson expected to hear of the arrival of Hampton at St. Regis, on the opposite shore of the St. Lawrence. But he was disappointed. General Brown had written to Hampton the day before informing him of rumors of a battle above, and saying, "My own opinion is, you can not be with us too soon," and begging him to inform the writer by the bearer when he might be expected at St. Regis. 50 Soon after Wilkinson’s arrival, Colonel Atkinson, Hampton’s inspector general, appeared as the bearer of a letter from his chief, dated the 11th, in which the commander of the left of the grand army of the North, who had fallen back to Chateaugay Four Corners, declared his intention not to join Wilkinson at all, but to co-operate in the attack on Montreal by returning to Champlain and making a descent from that place. 51 Wilkinson was enraged, and declared that he would "arrest Hampton, and direct Izard to bring forward the division." He was too feeble in mind and body to execute his threat, or do any thing that required energy; and, after uttering a few curses, he called a council of war, and left Hampton to do as he pleased. That council decided that the "conduct of Major General Hampton, in refusing to join his division to the troops descending the St. Lawrence, rendered it expedient to remove the army to French Mills, on the Salmon River." 52 "The opinion of the younger members of the council was," says General Swift, "that, with Brown as a leader, no character would be lost in going on to Montreal; 53 but the majority said no, and on the following day [November 13, 1813.], at noon, when information came that there was a considerable British force at Coteau du Lac, the foot soldiers and artillerymen were all embarked on the transports, under the direction of General Brown, and departed for the Salmon. 54 The horses of the dragoons, excepting about forty, were made to swim across the cold and rapidly-flowing river, there a thousand yards wide, and the squadron proceeded to Utica.


The flotilla passed up the Big Salmon River about six miles to its confluence with the Little Salmon, near the French Mills, when it was announced that the boats were scuttled, and the army was to go into winter quarters in huts. 56 Thus ended in disaster and disgrace an expedition which, in its inception, promised great and salutary results. It was composed of brave and patriotic men; and justice to those men requires the humiliating confession from the historian that their failure to achieve complete success is justly chargeable to the incompetency of the chief commanders, and the criminal indulgence on the part of those commanders of personal jealousies and animosities. The appointment of Wilkinson to the command of the Northern Army was a criminal blunder on the part of the government. His antecedents were well known, and did not recommend him for a responsible position. The weakness of his patriotism under temptation, and his too free indulgence in intoxicating liquors, were notorious. Hampton was totally unfitted for the responsible station in which he was placed; 57 and Armstrong, who was a fellow-soldier with them both in the old War for Independence, lacked some of the qualities most essential in the administration of the extraordinary functions of his office in time of war. His presence on the frontier during the progress of the expedition was doubtless detrimental to the service, and he left for the seat of government at a moment when the counsel and direction of a judicious Secretary of War was most needed. 58

On arriving at Salmon River the army was immediately debarked on the frozen shores, and set to work in the construction of huts for winter quarters. Their first labor was the sad task of digging a grave for the remains of General Covington. He was shot through the body on the 11th, and died at Barnhart’s on the morning of the 13th, just before the flotilla departed for French Mills. 59 Wilkinson at once left for Malone, after transferring the command of the army to General Lewis [November 16, 1813.], who, with General Boyd, made his head-quarters at a long, low building, yet standing in 1860, a dingy red in color, on the left bank of the Salmon, near the present lower bridge over the river at French Mills or Fort Covington. 60


Lewis and Boyd obtained leave of absence, and the command of the army devolved upon Brigadier General Brown, who made his head-quarters on the right bank of the river, in a house built by Spafford in 1811 (store of P. A. Mathews in 1860, corner of Water and Chateaugay Streets), and there he received his commission [February 11, 1814.] of major general of the United States Army.


Hampton, in the mean time, had retired to Plattsburg with his four thousand men. By special orders, sent from Malone by the hand of Colonel Swift (when on his way to Washington with dispatches), 61 Wilkinson directed Hampton to join the army at French Mills. This, like other orders, were utterly disregarded by Hampton. He had accomplished the defeat of efforts to take Canada, 62 and, leaving General Izard, of South Carolina, in command, he abandoned the service, and returned to his immense sugar plantations in Louisiana, 63 followed by the contempt of all virtuous and patriotic men.

General Brown at once adopted measures for making the troops as comfortable as possible. Huts were constructed, but this was a work of much labor, and consumed several weeks. Meanwhile severe winter weather came. They were on the forty-fifth parallel, and at the beginning of December the cold became intense. Most of the soldiers had lost their blankets and extra clothing in the disasters near Grenadier Island, or in the battle on Chrysler’s Field. Even the sick had no shelter but tents. The country in the vicinity was a wilderness, and provisions were not only scarce, but of inferior quality. A great quantity of medicines and hospital stores had been lost through mismanagement, and these could not be procured short of Albany, a distance of two hundred and fifty miles. The mortality among the sick became frightful, and disease prostrated nearly one half of the little army before they were fairly housed in well-regulated cantonments. 64 Taking advantage of this distress, British emissaries tried, by the circulation of written and printed placards, to seduce the suffering soldiers from their allegiance. One of these written placards (see a fac-simile on the next page), found one morning upon a tree in one of the American camps, and presented to me by Colonel Carr, reads thus:


"NOTICE. – All American Soldiers who may wish to quit the unnatural war in which they are at present engaged will receive the arrears due to them by the American Government to the extent of five month’s pay, on their arrival at the British out Posts. No man shall be required to serve against his own country."



It is believed that not a single soldier of American birth was enticed away by such allurements.

The enemy frequently menaced the cantonment at French Mills, as well as at Plattsburg, and toward the close of January Wilkinson received orders from the War Department to break up the post on Salmon River. Early in February the movement was made. The flotilla was destroyed as fully as the ice in which it was frozen would permit, and the barracks were consumed. The hospital at Malone was abandoned; and while Brown, with a larger portion of the troops, marched up the St. Lawrence and to Sackett’s Harbor, the remainder accompanied the commander-in-chief to Plattsburg. The enemy at Cornwall were apprised of this movement, and crossed the river on the ice on the day when the last American detachment left French Mills. They were regulars, Canadian militia, and Indians, and plunder seemed to be their chief object. In this they were indulged, and the abandoned frontier suffered much. No discrimination seemed to be made between public and private property, and it was estimated that at least two hundred barrels of provisions were carried away.

Thus closed the events of the campaign of 1813 on the Northern frontier.

I visited the theatre of the scenes described in this chapter partly in the year 1855, and partly in 1860. In the evening of Monday, the 23d of July, in the latter year, I journeyed with a friend, as already mentioned on page 619, from Watertown to Cape Vincent 65 by railway, and lodged in an inn connected with the road station there, standing on the margin of the St. Lawrence. It was a chilly night. The next morning was clear and blustering, and the surface of the river was dotted with the white caps of the waves. After an early breakfast we started for Carleton Island, three miles down the St. Lawrence, in a skiff rowed by a son of the proprietor of the hotel.


As we approached the rocky bluff at the head of the island we observed several chimneys standing alone (built of stone, some perfect, some half in ruins), which mark the remains of strong and somewhat extensive fortifications erected there by both the French and English during the last century, that post being a key to the internavigation of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. We moored our boat in a small sheltered creek by which the head of the island is made a pleasant peninsula of eight or ten acres. On this stand the residences of Mr. Charles Pluche, an intelligent French Canadian (who owns five hundred acres of the western end of the island), 67 and of his brother. That creek separates the peninsula from the higher bluff on which the ruins of Fort Carleton are seen. Mr. Pluche kindly accompanied us to these ruins and other interesting places near, and, but for the increasing violence of the wind, which became almost a gale at noon, our visit would have been one of unmixed satisfaction.

The ruins of Fort Carleton are upon the most elevated portion of the island, and from the ramparts may be viewed some of the most picturesque scenery of the famous Thousand Islands and the New York shore. At what precise time fortifications were first erected there is not positively known. The English found it quite a strongly fortified post at the time of the conquest of Canada, at a little past the middle of the last century, and, perceiving its value in a military point of view (for it commands the main channel of the St. Lawrence), they greatly strengthened it. 68 They occupied it until 1812. On the declaration of war that year most of the barracks to which the now standing chimneys belonged were in good order, and before Cape Vincent was settled two or three families resided on the island. A garrison, composed of a sergeant and three invalid soldiers, and two women, occupied the fort when the war broke out. As soon as intelligence of the declaration reached the frontier, Captain Abner Hubbard, of Hubbard’s (now Millen’s) Bay, a soldier of the Revolution, started in a boat, with a man and boy, to capture Fort Carleton. He succeeded, and this was the first seizure of a military post after the declaration of war. He sent a boat on the following day to bring away the stores, and soon afterward the barracks were burned. Nine bare chimneys have stood there ever since, gray and solitary tokens of change. There were about twenty originally within the fort, some of which are in ruins. There were also chimneys on the little peninsula near Mr. Pluche’s house, and along the shore northward, where, on a fine grassy point, vestiges of the gardens that were attached to the officers’ quarters may yet be seen. The moat that surrounded the fort was dug in the rock, and so was the well in the northwestern portion of the works.


A little northward of the fort was the garrison cemetery; and beyond this, a fourth of a mile from the ramparts, is an ancient Indian burial-ground, in a grove of small trees on the verge of the river. In a grave that was opened there in the spring of 1860 was found the skeleton of a chief, bearing evidence that the body was first wrapped in the hide of a buffalo, then swathed in birch-bark, and next deposited in a board coffin. With the skeleton was found a silver gorget, on which was engraved a running deer; also a fine silver armlet (now in possession of the writer) bearing the royal arms of England, 69 silver ear-rings, and other trinkets. Near this burial-ground was found, the year before, a silver medal given by the British government to Colonel John Butler. It is known that Butler and Sir John Johnson encamped, with the Indians from the Mohawk Valley, on Carleton Island in 1775, when on their way to join the British at Montreal. The medal was doubtless lost there at that time, and the chief who bore the armlet and gorget was probably one of the expedition, who perished there.

After partaking of some refreshments from the hands of Mrs. Pluche and daughter, we re-embarked in our little boat at noon. The wind was blowing almost a gale from the direction of Lake Ontario, bringing down waves that made the voyage a dangerous one. At times, when in the trough, we could not see the land. Our oarsman, a stout, resolute young man, labored faithfully, with the boat’s bow up stream, but he could not make an inch of headway toward Cape Vincent; so, after heavy exertions and some anxiety, we were driven to the southern shore of the river, at a point opposite our place of departure. There we abandoned the boat and started on foot for Cape Vincent, when we met a farmer, with his wagon and rick, going to his field for hay. We hired him to take us to the Cape, and on soft, sweet dried grass we lay and rested in the cool air to the end of the wagon journey. The remainder of the afternoon was spent at the Cape in strolling about the little village, for the river was too rough to make a wished-for voyage to Grenadier Island either safe or pleasant. There we met General William Estes, who was conspicuous in the "Patriot War" in Canada in 1838, and visited the dwelling of Dr. Webb, the kitchen part of which is the remnant of the house of Richard M. Esseltyne, which, with others, was destroyed by the British. In it an American was shot.


We lodged at Cape Vincent that night, and at five o’clock the next morning departed in a lake steamer for Clayton (French Creek), sixteen miles below, where we landed, and breakfasted at the "Walton House," kept by a son of William Johnston, known among his British contemporaries in 1838 as "the Pirate of the Thousand Islands." There we were informed that the hero of many a romantic legend of the frontier was still living, in the light-house of which he was keeper, on a solitary island a few rods in circumference, five miles below, where, in company with two young ladies – traveling companions – I had visited him two years before. Hiring a boat, and a good fisherman as oarsman, we set out after breakfast to visit Mr. Johnston, prepared with fishing tackle to indulge in sport on the way. We trolled faithfully, but only a solitary pickerel of moderate size rewarded our watchfulness of the lines. Our dreams of mighty masquelonges, forty pounds in weight, which some young ladies, they say, sometimes "hook," were dispelled; but the kindly oarsman came to the assistance of our humbled pride as sportsmen with the pleasant suggestion that the late storm of wind had so roiled the water that "nobody couldn’t do nothin’ at fishin’ when the creeturs couldn’t see the spoon." And we were no more successful in catching a hero. Silence reigned on Rock Island. 70 Not a living thing was seen. Johnston lived there entirely alone, at the age of seventy-eight years. He was now absent, and the island was deserted. 71


After making a sketch of the light-house and its locality, we left in disappointment, and again trolled unsuccessfully as we floated down the current about two miles to Peel Island, the scene of Johnston’s exploit which caused him to be declared an outlaw by his own government, and gave him the name of "Pirate." This exploit was the destruction of the British mail steamer Sir Robert Peel at this place on the night of the 29th and 30th of May, 1838, by Johnston and some disguised associates, who were engaged with the Canadians in their armed resistance to government. The immediate object of the assailants appears to have been the capture, and not the destruction of the steamer, and with her aid to seize, on the following day, the steamer Great Britain, and convert the two into cruisers on the lake. Johnston had but thirteen men with him, but was promised that two hundred should be within call on the shore of the neighboring main. They were not there. He had not sufficient men to manage the powerful steamer, and, toward morning, he committed her to the flames. She was seized at Ripley’s dock, on Wells’s Island, taken into the stream, set on fire, and floated down and lodged against a small island near (represented in the sketch on the preceding page), which has since been known as Peel Island. 72

We returned to Clayton, and there found "Commodore" Johnston, a hale man, full of spirit, but suffering some from recent illness. I spent two hours pleasantly and profitably with him and his courageous daughter, listening to narratives of the stirring scenes in which they had been engaged twenty-two years before, and of which I have given a meagre outline in note 1, page 662. The "Heroine of the Thousand Islands" was now Mrs. Hawes, an intelligent and interesting woman, and mother of several children. Mr. Johnston is a man of medium size, compactly built, and full of pluck. His life-history was a stirring one previous to the "Patriot War." During the War of 1812 he was employed by Chauncey and Wilkinson in active service on the frontier waters; and he gave the British, whom he cordially disliked, a great deal of trouble. He was a native of Canada. 73 On the breaking out of the war he was residing at Bath, above Kingston, and conveyed some Americans across the lake to Sackett’s Harbor in a large bark canoe. Not being satisfied with the militia service, in which he had been engaged, he remained on the American side, and from that time until the close of the war was engaged in the secret service on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, with a permit to capture all British public property that he might find afloat. His vessel was a gig, or light, swift boat, called the Ridgeley, and his companions were a corporal and five armed seamen. With these he captured bateaux and stores; with these he conveyed Wilkinson down the St. Lawrence, beyond the Longue Sault; 74 and with these he bore the body of the gallant Covington from Barnhart’s to the French Mills. 75 On one occasion he captured the Canadian dispatch mail on its way from Governor Prevost at Montreal to the lieutenant governor at Toronto, which, on delivery to Chauncey, was found to contain information of great value to the American commander. On another occasion he was out in Chauncey’s boat, and was wrecked on the Canada shore in a storm. The boat was a ruin. They were discovered. Johnston was identified, and a body of militia and Indians were sent out from Kingston (where he had been hung in effigy) to arrest him. He directed his men not to avoid capture, but to affirm that they had been sent out for deserters, and were returning home when struck by the storm. Their story was believed, and within a week they were sent home on parole. Johnston meanwhile concealed himself in a huge hollow stump, in a field of oats, for several days, and it was three weeks before he found a way to return to Sackett’s harbor.

There was a crowd of visitors at the "Walton House," for it is a favorite place of summer resort for those who love good fishing, boating, and the most picturesque scenery of the Thousand Islands. The St. Lawrence, filled with these islands, is there about nine miles wide. During an afternoon I visited the place of Brown’s encampment when attacked by the British, 76 and made the sketch on page 649. Toward sunset the quiet of the little village was disturbed, and the faces of all the inhabitants were turned skyward to observe the passage over them of a man in a balloon, a thousand feet in the air, who had ascended from Kingston, and, as we were informed next day, descended far toward the Sorel, the outlet of Lake Champlain. On the following morning I went down the St. Lawrence to Ogdensburg, and made the visits there and in the vicinity recorded in Chapter XXVIII. On Friday, the 27th, I breakfasted at Malone, 77 and after a brief interview with Sidney W. Gillett, Esq., whose elegant new mansion stood fronting on Main Street in that village, on the site of the arsenal established there in 1812, I rode out to Fort Covington (French Mills), about fourteen miles northward, in a light wagon drawn by a span of fleet black ponies.


The Honorable James Campbell, who was an ensign, and was stationed at French Mills and vicinity during a greater portion of the war, in the service of the Quartermaster’s and Commissary Departments, was yet living, and residing with his daughter at Fort Covington. I had been at his house, on the road between Massena Springs and St. Regis, a few years before; and I found him now, as then, able to say that he had never been sick in his life, though almost fourscore years of age. His mental vigor seemed perfect, and his memory of events in his experience was vivid. He was stationed at French Mills early in the war, in charge of rations, which were served regularly to the St. Regis Indians in order to keep them quiet. 79 He was assistant store-keeper, and when Wilkinson left there he was placed in charge of all the provisions of the army. He continued in that service until its departure in February, 1814.

Judge Campbell kindly accompanied me to places of interest about Fort Covington, namely, the original mill; 80 the head-quarters of Boyd and Brown; 81 the place of debarkation, where the gun-boats were destroyed; 82 the site of the respective cantonments of the army; and of the blockhouse on the M‘Crea property, 83 whose well, contained within the building, was yet standing.


While on the lower bridge over the Salmon, sketching the picture of the Mills on the opposite page, an old gentleman approached, and was introduced to me by Judge Campbell. He was Colonel Ezra Stiles, the deputy collector of the port at Fort Covington, 84 who enlisted in the Eleventh Regiment in December, 1812, when a little more than fourteen years of age. He was with Hampton in the affair at Chateaugay, and was with General Brown in all of his military operations on the Niagara frontier during the remainder of the war. He left the service when the army was disbanded in 1815.

I returned to Malone in time to take the cars for Rouse’s Point at about three o’clock P.M. It was a bright and very delightful day. In that journey, fifty-seven miles, we crossed the foot of the great Adirondack slope, the northernmost portion of the Alleghany or Appalachian range of mountains, that traverse the sea-board states from Georgia to the St. Lawrence level. The lofty peaks of the Adirondacks were in sight southward, while the eye, glancing northward over an immense wooded prairie, rested upon the Mountain back of Montreal. At near six o’clock I took a hurried meal at the village of Rouse’s Point, and hiring a light wagon, fleet horse, and intelligent driver, rode to La Colle River, a tributary of the Sorel, and made a sketch of a block-house there before sunset. By a slight circuit we rode through La Colle village and Odelltown in the twilight. I spent the night at Rouse’s Point, and on the following morning journeyed to Champlain, Chazy, and Plattsburg. Of the events which have made all the places just named famous in our history, and of my visit there, I shall hereafter write.

In the summer of 1855 I spent a short time at Massena Sulphur Springs, on the Racquette River, seven miles by road from the St. Lawrence. While sojourning there I visited St. Regis, as already mentioned, and, on leaving, crossed the St. Lawrence from Lewisville, at the head of the Longue Sault, for the purpose of visiting the battle-field on Chrysler’s Farm. It was a warm and pleasant day late in August [August 22, 1855.], and a friend accompanied me. At Lewisville we hired a water-man, who engaged to take us safely across the swift and, in some places, turbulent stream, there divided by two or three islands. We shot obliquely across and down the first channel, rounded the lower cape of an island, went up its farther shore in an eddying current, and in a similar manner shot across to another island. In this zigzag way we made the really perilous passage of the rapids to the village of Chrysler, where we lunched on apple-pie, cheese, and cold water, and hired a conveyance to the battle-ground and Williamsburg beyond.

We were kindly welcomed at the Chrysler mansion, delineated on page 652, by Mr. James Croile, the proprietor, who pointed out the various localities of the battle, and accompanied us to the house of his nearest neighbor, Peter Brouse, who was a soldier in the Dundas militia, and participated in the fight. Mr. Brouse related with much self-satisfaction the exploits of the British on that day, and, with much genuine pride, exhibited a small silver medal, suspended by a ribbon, which he had lately received. These had been presented to the surviving soldiers of that and other battles, from 1793 to 1814, by the British queen as a sort of "Legion of Honor."


The picture here given is the exact size of the original, and exhibits both sides. On one side is the effigy of the queen and her name; and on the other a representation of her majesty crowning a soldier with a civic wreath, and the words, "TO THE BRITISH ARMY – 1814-1793."

One of Chrysler’s barns, pierced and battered by bullets, was yet standing, and appears the larger (though the most remote) in the group of outbuildings in the picture on page 652. In the orchard, between the mansion and the river, may be seen the burial-places of the killed in the battle.

We dined with Mr. Croile and his family in the Chrysler mansion, and at two o’clock started for Williamsburg, four and a half miles up the river. Our road lay along the margin of the stream, through one of the most fertile districts of Canada. We had not proceeded far before a small cloud, whose gathering we had scarcely noticed, sent down a violent shower of rain. We sought shelter under a wide-spreading tree in front of a plain dwelling, from which came the giggling of girls who were amused at our plight. The tree was no shelter, and we unceremoniously took refuge from the storm in the house, where those who had innocently made merry over our drenching kindly regaled us with strawberries and cream, and made the balance-sheet of courtesy in their favor. The storm was brief. The sun burst forth in sudden splendor, and its rays, wedded to the retiring rain-drops, wove a gorgeous iridescent vail, marked, like the bow on the cloud, with specific curves, but lying prone upon the bosom of the St. Lawrence, and bathing its surface and islands in prismatic beauty. It was a charming spectacle, and has left an ineffaceable picture on the memory.

At four o’clock we reached Williamsburg (whose name had just been changed to Morrisville, in honor of a distinguished officer in the postal department of Canada), where we dismissed our carriage, intending to go by water to Prescott. We were directed to the "Grand Trunk Hotel" as the best in the village, which is remarkable in our recollection for swarms of flies, flocks of spiders, and an obliging host. There we supped and lodged, and before dawn took passage in a Montreal steamer for Prescott, where we breakfasted. Crossing to Ogdensburg, we spent the day and night there, and on the following day made a voyage through the Thousand Islands to Cape Vincent, from whence I journeyed by railway to my home on the banks of the Hudson.



1 Joseph Gardner Swift was born in Nantucket on the last day of the year 1783. He entered the army as a cadet at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1800, and was the first graduate of the Military Academy at West Point. He became attached to a corps of United States Engineers, and in 1807, having attained the rank of captain, he was appointed commandant of West Point. He was military agent at Fort Johnson, South Carolina, early in 1812, and was soon afterward made an aid-de-camp to Major General C. C. Pinckney, of South Carolina, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He succeeded Jonathan Williams as commander of the United States corps of Engineers, with the rank of colonel. For his valuable services on the St. Lawrence frontier in 1813 and 1814, and in defense of the city of New York, he was breveted as brigadier general. He was connected with the Military Academy at West Point for several years after the war, and in 1818 he, with several officers of the corps, left the service because of the appointment of General Bernard, a French officer of distinction, to the control of important engineering services on the coast. For nine years General Swift was Surveyor of the port of New York, and from 1829 to 1845 he was superintendent of the harbor improvements on the Lakes. He was in charge of several important works as civil engineer, among which may be named the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad, the New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain Railroad, and the Harlem Railroad. He went on a mission of peace, by order of President Harrison, to the British American Provinces in 1841, and in 1852 he made a tour in Europe. General Swift contributed many valuable papers to publications on scientific subjects. After 1830 he resided in Geneva, New York, spending his winters in Brooklyn, Long Island. I am indebted to him for many valuable letters relating to the subject of this work. He retained his mental faculties in great perfection until near the time of his death, which occurred at Geneva on the 23d of July, 1865.

2 Daniel D. Tompkins was Governor of New York, and Jonas Galusha of Vermont.

3 Lieutenant Aaron Ward received his commission on the 30th of April, 1813. He was promoted to captain a year later. At the close of the war he was charged with the conducting of the first detachment of British prisoners from the States to Canada. Law was his chosen profession, and in 1825 he became a law-maker by being elected a representative of his district in the State of New York in the National Congress. He was an active and efficient worker, and his constituents were so well satisfied with his services that he kept his seat twelve out of eighteen consecutive years. He assisted in framing the new Constitution of the State of New York in 1846, and after that he declined to engage in public life. He traveled extensively abroad in 1859, and afterward published a very interesting volume, entitled Around the Pyramids. For many years he was major general of the militia of Westchester County. He died early in 1867. His residence was at a beautiful spot overlooking the village of Sing Sing, and the Hudson and its scenery from the Highlands to Hoboken.

4 MS. Journal of Colonel Robert Carr. Christie’s History of the War in the Canadas, page 90. Robert Carr, whose journal is here cited, was born in Ireland on the 29th of January, 1778. He came to America at the age of six years, and settled, with his father, in Philadelphia. They lived next door to Dr. Franklin, and he was often employed by that great man as an errand-boy. He learned the art of printing with Benjamin Franklin Bache, a grandson of Dr. Franklin, with whom he commenced his apprenticeship in 1792. He rose to the head of his profession, and in 1804 received a first premium as the best printer in Philadelphia. He printed Wilson’s Ornithology from manuscript; also Rees’s Cyclopedia. In March, 1812, he received the commission of major in the Sixteenth Regiment of Infantry, and in August, 1813, was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the Ninth, from which he was transferred to the Fifteenth. He was disbanded in 1815, and for several years he was the last surviving field-officer of the army of 1812 in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware. He was a member of the M‘Pherson Blues of Philadelphia, and one of the firing party on the occasion of the Congressional funeral of Washington in that city. See note 4, page 110.

Colonel Carr married a daughter of William Bartram, proprietor of the celebrated Botanical Gardens near Philadelphia, and, in right of his wife, carried on the establishment from the year 1805 to 1850, a period of more than thirty years. From 1821 to 1824 he was adjutant general of the State of Pennsylvania; and, by order of the Legislature, he compiled a work on "Rules and Regulations for the Field Exercise." He was a long time an alderman and a justice of the peace in Philadelphia, and has ever been held in the highest esteem by his fellow-citizens. Deprived of his property in his old age by the vicissitudes of fortune, he was for some time gate-keeper at the Pennsylvania Asylum for the Insane, situated in a beautiful spot beyond the Schuylkill. There I visited him on a blustry afternoon late in November, 1861, when he was almost eighty-four years of age. He was in excellent health and spirits, and assured me that he had not been sick in more than sixty years. He had led a strictly temperate life, never having been intoxicated but once. It was when he was a boy, and was produced by eating rum-cherries. A month before I visited him he had been among the American camps in Virginia, near Arlington Heights, where he walked seventeen miles in one day, and attended a theatre in Washington the same evening. "I could have danced a cotillon after that," he said. He attended the celebration of Bradford’s birth-day by the New York Historical Society in May, 1863, as a delegate from Philadelphia, and was then doubtless the oldest printer in the United States. On the 22d of February, 1864, Colonel Carr, then past eighty-six years of age, read Washington’s Farewell Address before the veteran soldiers of the War of 1812, at the Union soldiers’ celebration in Philadelphia. He never used spectacles, excepting when his photograph was taken, yet he wrote with grace and facility until the time of his death, which occurred in Philadelphia on the 15th of March, 1866. He kindly lent me his Diary, kept during the War of 1812. It is written in a fine hand, and contains much valuable matter. I shall ever remember with pleasure my interview with an errand-boy of Dr. Franklin, and one who had READ PROOF, as a printer, with President Washington when correcting his own compositions.

5 Sidney Smith was fifth lieutenant under Commodore Barron in the Chesapeake at the time of her affair with the Leopard. In 1810 he was ordered to Lake Champlain, and remained in command there until the arrival of Macdonough, his senior in rank. He died a commander in the service in 1827.

6 Basin Harbor is considered the best on Lake Champlain. It is near the southwest corner of Ferrisburg, Addison County, Vermont, and nearly opposite Westport on the New York side of the lake.

7 History of Lake Champlain from 1609 to 1814, by Peter S. Palmer, page 168. Mr. Palmer says: "Soldiers would break into private dwellings, and bear off back-loads of property to the boats in the presence of British officers, who, when remonstrated with by the plundered citizens, replied that they could not prevent it, as the men did not belong to their particular company." Among the sufferers in this way, according to an inventory made at the time, and published by Mr. Palmer, were Judge D. Lord, who lost property to the amount of $1079 81; Peter Sailley, $887 77, besides two storehouses valued at $900; Judge Palmer, $386 50; Doctor Miller, $1200; Bostwick Burk, $150 00; Jacob Ferris, $700; and lesser amounts by other citizens. A store-house belonging to Major Platt was also burned.

8 See page 587.

9 See page 598.

10 See page 609.

11 See page 605.

12 See page 606.

13 See page 628.

14 Pike, Madison, Oneida, Hamilton, Scourge, Ontario, Fair American, Governor Tompkins, Conquest, Growler, Julia, Asp, and Pert.

15 On the night of the 9th, Chauncey, becoming convinced that he could not get the wind of the British while the latter were disposed to avoid an action, formed his fleet in an order of battle well calculated to draw the enemy down. It was considered an admirable movement. His vessels were formed in two lines, one to windward of the other. "The weather line," says Cooper, in giving an account of it, "consisted altogether of the smallest of the schooners, having in it, in the order in which they are named from the van to the rear, the Julia, Growler, Pert, Asp, Ontario, and Fair American. The line to leeward contained, in the same order, the Pike, Oneida, Madison, Governor Tompkins, and Conquest." – Naval History of the United States, ii., 364. Commodore Chauncey, in his dispatch to the Secretary of the Navy on the 13th, said, "The schooners, with long, heavy guns, formed about six hundred yards to windward, with orders to commence a fire upon the enemy as soon as they could reach him with effect, and, as he approached, to edge down the line to leeward. The Julia, Growler, Pert, and Asp to pass through the intervals, and form to leeward, the Ontario and Fair American to take their stations in the line." The same disposition was made on the night of the 10th, when an action ensued. "Nothing could have been simpler or better devised," says Cooper, "than this order of battle; nor is it possible to say what would have been the consequences had circumstances allowed the plan to be rigidly observed." A sketch of the positions of the vessels in this engagement was sent by Chauncey with his report of the affair to the Navy Department.

16 James Trant was a native of Ireland, and came to America in 1781 with Captain Barry, in the Alliance. He was a sailing-master in the United States Navy from its formation. He was marked by eccentricities of character and opinions, and for the most unflinching courage. He lived until he was about seventy years of age. Toward the close of his life he was commissioned a lieutenant (May 5, 1817), which gave him great comfort. He died at Philadelphia on the 11th of September, 1820.

17 It appears, by the official reports made at about that time, that one fifth of the men were left on shore in consequence of illness. Of two hundred men on board the Madison, eighty were on the sick-list at one time.

18 Chauncey was indignant and loud in his complaints of a want of support on this occasion. Speaking of this, the Hon. Alvin Bronson, of Oswego, New York, in a letter to me, dated August 28, 1860, says: "while on board the British fleet as a prisoner in May, 1814, and associating familiarly with its subordinate officers, I received ample confirmation of reports that had been current in the army and navy of the bad conduct of some of the officers under Commodore Chauncey in a then late naval engagement at the head of the lake. It was a running fight, and the British sailors facetiously called it the Burlington Races, as it was fought partly off Burlington Heights. Chauncey was the assailant, and would have destroyed the British fleet, or have driven it on shore, had he been properly sustained by his best and heaviest vessels, particularly the Madison, Commander Crane, and the heavily-armed and fast-sailing brig Sylph, Captain Woolsey. These vessels never got into close action." The only excuse was that they had gun-boats in tow; but Chauncey’s signal for close action, which he kept flying, implied that the vessels must cast off every encumbrance. "The British officers," continues Mr. Bronson, "awarded Chauncey all credit for skill and bravery, and admitted that their fleet must have been destroyed if he had been properly sustained by his subordinates."

The bearer of a flag of truce who went into Sackett’s Harbor on the 12th of October admitted that Sir James Yeo was so badly beaten on this occasion that be had made preparations to burn his vessels, and would have done so had Chauncey chased him twenty minutes longer. Every gun on the Wolfe’s starboard side was dismounted. – Letter to the Editor of the Democratic Press, dated at Sackett’s Harbor, October 13, 1813, and copied in The War, ii., 86.

19 The Confiance and Hamilton were the Growler and Julia, captured from the Americans on the night of the 10th of August. Their names had been changed by the captors.

20 General Morgan Lewis’s testimony on the trial of Wilkinson.

21 The now venerable Major Mordecai Myers, of Schenectady, New York, to whom I am indebted for an interesting narrative of the events of this campaign, was very active in saving lives and property during this boisterous weather. It was resolved to send back to Sackett’s Harbor all who could not endure active service in the campaign. Nearly two hundred of these were put on board two schooners, with hospital stores. The vessels were wrecked, and Captain Myers, on his own solicitation, was sent by General Boyd with two large boats for the rescue of the passengers and crew. He found the schooners lying on their sides, the sails flapping, and the sea breaking over them. Many had perished, and the most of those alive, having drank freely of the liquors among the hospital stores, were nearly all intoxicated. The hatches were open, and the vessels were half-filled with water. By great exertions and personal risk Captain Myers succeeded in taking to the shore nearly all of the two hundred persons who had embarked on the schooners. Forty or fifty of them were dead.

22 Colonel Carr’s MS. Journal. "October 19, first brigade, under Boyd – 5th, 12th, and 13th Regiments; second brigade, under Brown – 6th, 15th, and 22d Regiments, already arrived and encamped. October 20, the third brigade, under Covington – 9th, 16th, and 25th Regiments; and fourth brigade, under Swartwout – 11th, 21st, and 14th, have arrived. The fifth, under Porter – light troops and artillery – arriving hourly. The weather still stormy, and continual rains for the last two days."

23 This point is seen at the junction of "Hampton’s route" and "Smith’s road" on the map on page 881. The stream seen along "Smith’s road" is the Outard.

24 See Map on page 881.

25 "Incredible as it may appear," said Purdy, in his official report to Wilkinson, "General Hampton intrusted nearly one half of his army, and those his best troops, to the guidance of men each of whom repeatedly assured him that they were not acquainted with the country, and were not competent to direct such an expedition." "Never, to my knowledge," said Purdy, in another part of his report, "during our march into Canada, and while we remained at the Four Corners, a term of twenty-six days, did General Hampton ever send off a scouting or reconnoitring party, except in one or two cases at Spear’s, in Canada."

26 In his official dispatch Sir George Prevost asked from the Prince Regent a stand of colors for each of the five battalions of Canadian militia as a mark of approbation. They were granted.

27 Major General John E. Wool, who then held the commission of major in the Twenty-ninth Regiment United States Infantry. I am indebted to written and oral statements of General Wool for many of the facts given concerning the affair near Johnston’s, on the Chateaugay. Hon. Nathaniel S. Benton, of Little Falls, New York, late Auditor of the State of New York, and author of a History of Herkimer County and the Upper Mohawk Valley, was captain of a militia company engaged in this affair. He informed me that his company numbered 109 men, and all of them his own height – six feet.

28 American and British Official Reports; General Orders; Christie’s, Auchinleck’s, Thompson’s, Perkins’s, and Ingersoll’s Histories; Armstrong’s Notices, etc.

29 This was formerly called Cornelia, and is yet called by the name of French Creek. It was named in honor of Senator John M. Clayton, of Delaware, in 1833. French Creek was called by the Indians Fallen Fort, from the circumstance that, long before a white man was ever seen there, a fort had been captured on its banks by the Oneidas.

30 General Order, French Creek, November 4, 1813.

31 This is from a sketch made in the summer of 1860, from the place of Brown’s encampment, at the lumber and rafting yard on Wilkinson’s Point. In the water, in the foreground, is seen a raft partly prepared for a voyage down the St. Lawrence. The bluff in the distance, beyond the little sail-vessel, is Bartlett’s Point, on which M‘Pherson’s battery was placed. The vessel without sails indicates the place where the British squadron lay when it was repulsed. The land seen beyond is Grindstone Island, from behind which the British vessels came. The point in the middle distance, on the extreme right, is the head of Shot-bag Island.

32 The boat that conveyed Wilkinson and his military family was commanded by the now venerable William Johnston, who was an active spy on that frontier during the war. He is better known as "Bill Johnston," by some called the "Hero," and by others the "Pirate," of the Thousand Islands. Of Mr. Johnston and his remarkable career I shall write presently.

33 This is from a sketch by Captain Van Cleve (see note 1, page 517), who kindly allowed me the use of it. Bald Island is one of the Thousand Islands, and lies on the left of the American or steam-boat channel of the river. It is mostly bare, and rises to the height of about thirty or forty feet above the water in the centre. At some distance beyond it, northward, is the British channel. The gun-boats that attacked Wilkinson’s flotilla came out at the lower end of Bald Island, through a lateral channel in which the sail-vessel lies.

34 He assured them that he came to invade, and not to destroy the province – "to subdue the forces of his Britannic Majesty, not to war against unoffending subjects. Those, therefore," he said, "who remain quiet at home, should victory incline to the American standard, shall be protected in their persons and property; but those who are found in arms must necessarily be treated as avowed enemies. To menace is unmanly; to seduce, dishonorable; yet it is just and humane to place these alternatives before you." – Proclamation, November 7, 1813.

35 The flotilla moved at eight o’clock in the evening, under cover of a heavy fog, General Brown, in his gig, leading the way. There was a sudden change in the atmosphere, when the general’s boat was discovered at Prescott, and almost fifty 24-pound shot were fired at her, without effect. The gleaming of bayonets on shore, in the light of the moon in the west, caused a heavy cannonade in the direction of the American troops on the march, also without effect. Brown halted the flotilla until the moon went down, but its general movement was perceived by the enemy. For three hours they poured a destructive fire upon it, and yet, out of about three hundred boats, not one was touched, and only one man was killed and two wounded. – General Wilkinson’s Journal, November 6, 1813.

According to the statement of Captain Mordecai Myers, already referred to (note 1, page 646), there were traitors in Ogdensburg. He says that the British at Prescott were apprised of the approach of the flotilla by the burning of blue lights in one or more houses In Ogdensburg.

36 Matilda is a post village in Dundas County, Canada West, on the Point Iroquois Canal. The "White House" had disappeared when I visited the spot in 1855, when the place belonged to James Parlor.

37 Colonel Swift employed a secret agent, who reported to him that the enemy’s forces were as follows in number and position: 600 under Colonel Murray, at Coteau du Lac, strongly fortified with artillery; about 300 men of the British line of artillery, but without ammunition, at the Cedars; 200 sailors, 400 marines, and an unknown number of militia at Montreal, with no fortifications; 2500 regular troops expected daily from Quebec; and the militia between Kingston and Quebec, 20,000. Wilkinson reported his own force to be 7000 men, and that he expected to meet 4000, under Hampton, at St. Regis. – Journal of Dr. Amasa Trowbridge, quoted by Dr. Hough in his History of St. Lawrence County, page 639.

38 A part of this force landed on the property of Christian Delabough, near Matilda, owned, in 1855, by Daniel Shaw. Another portion landed at Snyder’s, now Pillar’s Bay.

39 General Brown’s MS. Letter-book. Colonel Carr, in his MS. Journal before me, says: "We are wet to the skin, and, having no tents or shelter but bushes, must pass a very uncomfortable night." Dated "Near Cornwall, November 10, 10 P. M."

40 General Brown’s MS. Letter-book.

41 This is a view of Chrysler’s house and the outbuildings as they appeared when I visited the spot in August, 1855, a circumstance {original text has "cirumstance".} to be noticed presently. The house fronted the St. Lawrence. The road, in which the oxen and cart are seen, is the fine highway along the river from Cornwall to Prescott.

42 This conflict is usually called the battle of Chrysler’s Field. It is sometimes called the battle of Williamsburg, that village being almost within cannon-shot range of the battle-field. Chrysler’s name is frequently spelled with a t.

43 The British army, on this occasion, was slightly superior in numbers, counting its Indian allies, to the Americans, and had the double advantage of strong position behind ravines and of freshness, for the Americans had undergone great fatigue. They were formed in what Wellington called échelon, or the figure of steps, with one corps more advanced than another, as follows: Three companies of the Eighty-ninth Regiment were posted on the extreme right, resting on the river, with a 6-pounder, and commanded by Captain Barnes. On their left, and a little in the rear, were flanking companies of the Forty-ninth and a detachment of fencibles, with a 6-pounder, under Lieutenant Colonel Pearson. Still further to the left and rear were other companies of the Forty-ninth and Eighty-ninth Regiments, and a 6-pounder, under Lieutenant Colonel Morrison, whose left rested on a pine forest. In front of all were voltigeurs, under Major Herriott, and some Indians, under Lieutenant Anderson.

44 Shells containing a quantity of musket-balls, which, when the shell explodes, are projected still farther.

45 Covington was killed a short distance from Chrysler’s barn (see picture on page 652), which was yet standing, well bored by bullets, when I visited the battle-ground in 1855. The British fired from that barn, and it is believed that a bullet from it was the one fatal to the general. The place where he fell was on the site of a nursery of thrifty trees in 1855.

46 William Wallace Smith was a cadet in 1809. He was a native of New Jersey. He was commissioned second lieutenant of light artillery on the 1st of June, 1812, and promoted to first lieutenant in October, 1813. In the battle on Chrysler’s Field he was serving his field-piece himself, having lost all of his men, when he was mortally wounded. He died, a prisoner, at Fort Prescott, on the 13th of December, 1813.

47 Upham was a gallant soldier. We shall meet him again on the Niagara frontier.

48 MS. sketch of the military career of Colonel Timothy Upham, by an officer of the army.

49 Official dispatches of Wilkinson and Boyd, and Lieutenant Colonel Morrison; Wilkinson’s Journal; Life of General Macomb, by Captain George H. Richards; General Brown’s MS. letter-book; Colonel Robert Carr’s MS. journal; the various published Histories of the War; oral statements to the author in 1855 by Peter Brouse, a surviving British soldier in the battle, living near the ground; Dr. Amasa Trowbridge’s narrative, quoted by Hough.

The loss of the British in this engagement was 22 killed, 150 wounded, and 15 missing. The Americans lost 102 killed and 237 wounded. Among the killed and mortally wounded were General Covington, and Lieutenants Smith, Hunter, and Olmstead; and their wounded officers were Colonel Preston, Majors Chambers, Cummings, and Noon, Captains Foster, Campbell, Myers, Murdoch, and Townsend, and Lieutenants Heaton, Pelham, Lynch, Williams, Brown, and Crary. Among the officers specially mentioned with praise were General Covington, Colonel Pearce, who took command of his corps when he fell, Colonels E. P. Gaines, E. W. Ripley, and Walbach, Lieutenant Colonel Aspinwall, Majors Cummings, Morgan, Grafton, and Gardner, and Lieutenants Whiting (his aid) and (late Major General) W. J. Worth.

The wounded in the battle were placed in barns and log houses, and the mansion of Chrysler was made a hospital. A bullet passed through Captain Myers’s arm, near his shoulder, while at the head of his men in assailing the British behind the stone wall. The desperateness of the encounter may be conceived when the fact is stated that of 89 men he lost 23. He shared General Boyd’s quarters at French Mills. Dr. Man, a noted physician, took him to his house, ten miles distant, where he remained four months. He there became acquainted with the daughter of Judge William Bailey, of Plattsburg, and in March following they were married in that town.

Mordecai Myers was born at Newport, Rhode Island, on the 1st of May, 1776, and is now (1867) in the ninety-second year of his age. He was educated in New York City, and became a merchant in Richmond, Virginia. There he served in a military company under Colonel (afterward Chief Justice) Marshall. He soon returned to New York, engaged in business there, and served in an artillery company under the command of Captain John Swartwout. He was afterward commissioned an officer of Infantry, and for two years studied military tactics assiduously. When war was threatened he was active in raising volunteer companies, and in March, 1812, he was commissioned a captain in the Thirteenth United States Infantry, and ordered to report to Colonel Peter B. Schuyler. During the war he performed laborious and gallant services under several commanders in the Northern Department, and in 1815 the disability produced by his wound caused him to be disbanded and placed on the pension roll for the half pay of a captain. Then ended his military career. He has resided many years in Schenectady. He has been mayor of that city, and represented New York city in the Legislature of the State for six years.

50 Brown’s MS. Letter-book.

51 Letter of General J. G. Swift to the author of this work, dated "Geneva, N. Y., February 13, 1860."

52 "The grounds on which this decision was taken were – want of bread, want of meat, want of Hampton’s division, and a belief that the enemy’s force was equal, if not greater than our own." – General J. G. Swift to General John Armstrong, June 17, 1836.

53 General Swift’s Letter to General Armstrong, June 17, 1836.

54 In a general order issued on the morning of the 13th, General Wilkinson said, "The commander-in-chief is compelled to retire [from the Canada shore] by the extraordinary, unexpected, and, it appears, unwarrantable conduct of Major General Hampton in refusing to join this army with a division of four thousand men under his command agreeable to positive orders from the commander-in-chief, and, as he has been assured by the Secretary of War, of explicit instructions from the War Department."

55 This is a view of the place where Wilkinson’s flotilla was moored. The boats were soon frozen in the ice, and in February, apprehensions being felt of their capture by the enemy, they were cut and burnt down even with the surface of the ice, and sunk when it melted in the spring.

56 Colonel Robert Carr’s MS. Diary.

57 See page 630.

58 On the 24th of November, General Brown, then in command of the army at French Mills, wrote, with considerable feeling to the Secretary of War, saying, "You have learned that the grand army of the United States, after marching and countermarching most ingloriously, arrived at this place on the 13th instant. I must not express to you my indignation and sorrow. I did not expect you would have left us." In the same letter he said, "Colonel Scott will hand you this, and can give you all the information you wish relative to our movements since he joined us [see page 632], and the present situation of our army. The public interest would be promoted by the advancement of such men as Scott." – MS. Letter-book.

59 Leonard Covington was a brave soldier. He was a native of Maryland, and born in October, 1768. In 1792 he was a cornet of cavalry, and was distinguished for bravery under Wayne in the defense of Fort Recovery (see page 52) in June, 1794. He was in the battle at the Maumee Rapids in August following, where Wayne achieved a victory over the Indians. At the time of the first engagement he held the commission of lieutenant; in the last he was captain. He resigned in 1795. From 1806 to 1807 he represented a district of his native state in the National Congress. In 1809 he was commissioned colonel of light dragoons, and in August, 1813, was breveted brigadier general. He accompanied Wilkinson in his unfortunate expedition that ended at the French Mills. At the time of his death, on the 13th of November, 1813, he was about forty-five years of age.

60 There was a block-house at French Mills situated on the property, owned, when I visited there in 1860, by Mr. M‘Crea. General Covington’s body was buried just outside of the block-house, in the present garden of Mr. M‘Crea. There also was buried the remains of Major John Johnson, of the Twenty-first Infantry, * who died at the station on the 11th of December, 1813. The block-house was named Fort Covington in honor of the slain general, and the village that grew up around the French Mills was also called Fort Covington. The place was first settled by a few French Canadians, who built mills there, and from this circumstance it was called French Mills until after the war.

* Major Johnson was from Pennsylvania. He entered the service as a marine in 1800, and was first lieutenant under Preble at Tripoli in 1804. In April, 1813, he was assistant adjutant general with the rank of major. In June he was commissioned major.

61 "I found Mr. Madison much grieved by the failure of the campaign," General Swift wrote to the author in February, 1860. "It was generally believed that, had younger officers been placed in command of the armies of Wilkinson and Hampton, Montreal would have been taken without the inconsequential conflict at Chrysler’s Field, though that affair gave distinction to several officers for meritorious services." Major Totten succeeded Colonel Swift as chief engineer after he left, of whom Brown spoke in the highest terms.

62 See note 3, page 259.

63 Hampton had immense sugar plantations in Louisiana, and was doubtless the most extensive planter and wealthiest man in the Southern States. He owned at one time five thousand negro slaves. He was a native of South Carolina, and was born in 1754. He was an active partisan soldier with Sumter and Marion. In 1808 he was commissioned a colonel of light dragoons, and a brigadier general in 1809. On the 2d of March, 1813, he was promoted to major general. His inefficient career is recorded in the text. In April, 1814, he resigned his commission, to the great joy of the Northern Army, with whom his deportment and habits had made him unpopular. He died at Columbia, South Carolina, on the 4th of February, 1835, at the age of eighty-one years.

64 The army was cantoned as follows on the 1st of January, 1814:

The artillery, under Colonel Alexander Macomb, of the Engineers, at the block-house on Mr. John M‘Crea’s property. The wounded from Chrysler’s were taken into the block-house. This was called the Centre Camp. The East Camp, under the charge of Colonel E. W. Ripley, was on Seth Blanchard’s property. The North Camp, under Colonel James Miller, was on the property of Allen Lincoln. The West Camp, under Colonel Campbell, was on W. L. Manning’s property. The South Camp was on Hamlet Mear’s property. The owners above mentioned were the proprietors of the land when I visited Fort Covington in the summer of 1860.

65 This was known as Gravelly Point at the time of the War of 1812. It was laid out as a village in 1817. It is the northernmost town of Jefferson County, and is the terminus of the Rome, Watertown, and Cape Vincent Railway. From this point is a ferry to Kingston, passing through Wolf or Grand Island by a canal dug for the purpose a few years ago. The railway wharf is 3000 feet in length, with large store-houses and a grain-elevator.

66 This view is from the N. N. E. point of the fort, and shows eight of the nine chimneys yet standing. On the extreme right, beyond the little vessel, is seen Cape Vincent.

67 The island contains 1274 acres. The portion here alluded to was a military class-right, located there in 1786. The island forms a part of Cape Vincent Township, Jefferson County, New York. The island received its name from Governor Sir Guy Carleton.

68 Long, in his Voyages, printed in London, 1791, after speaking of Oswegatchie (Ogdensburg), says, "Carleton is higher up the river, and has greater conveniences to it than Oswegatchie, having an excellent harbor, with strong fortifications, and well garrisoned, excellent accommodations for shipping, a naval store-house for Niagara and other ports."

69 This armlet is little more than ten inches in length and two and a half in width, and the ornamentation is embossed work. In addition to the royal arms is a trophy group, composed of helmet and cuirass, cannon, spears, and banners, the latter bearing the letters G. R., the monogram of the king; and a group inclosed within branches of the olive and palm, composed of a crown resting upon a sword and sceptre crossed. These armlets, gorgets, and other silver ornaments were distributed freely among the Indian chiefs by the British government, as one of the means of securing their loyalty. The gorget was always suspended from the neck, and rested upon the upper part of the breast.

70 This is an appropriate name. It is a group of bare rocks, with a few trees and shrubs growing in the interstices. Johnston had filled some of the hollows with earth, brought from the main shore in his boat, and we found them covered with vegetables and flowers. The barren island possessed a pleasant little garden.

71 This is in the midst of the Thousand Islands, five miles below Clayton, on the south side of the steam-boat channel. At the time of my visit there in 1858 I ascended to the lantern, and from that elevation counted no less than seventy islands, varying from rods to miles in circumference.

72 From the lips of Mr. Johnston I received a very minute and particular account of this transaction. He was living at Clayton when the "Patriot" war broke out. Being a bold, adventurous man, and cordially hating the British {original text has "Britsh".} government and its employés, he was easily persuaded by the American sympathizers with the "Patriots" to engage in the strife. His thorough knowledge of the St. Lawrence from Kingston to the Longue Sault pointed the "Patriots" to him as a valuable man for the service on that frontier. He says that the leaders promised him ample assistance in men and means, but disappointed him. They employed him to capture the Peel and seize the Great Britain. The former was a new and stanch vessel, built at Brockville in 1837. She was 30 feet wide and 160 in length, and was commanded by Captain John B. Armstrong. On the evening of the 29th of May, 1838, she was on her way up from Prescott to Toronto, with nineteen passengers, and stopped at M‘Donnell’s Wharf, on Wells’s Island, for wood. Johnston and thirteen men in disguise were lying in wait at Ripley’s wood wharf near by. They were armed with muskets and bayonets, and painted like Indians. They rushed on board, crying out, "Remember the Caroline!" (an American vessel that the British had destroyed at an American wharf a few months before), and compelled the passengers, in terrible alarm, and in their night-clothes, to go on shore. Their baggage was taken on shore likewise, and in this plight they remained, in a woodman’s shanty, until morning, when they were conveyed to Kingston by the Oneida. When the insurgents had taken possession of the Peel, they hauled her out into the stream, expecting, as we have observed in the text, to be joined by a large number of others from the main. They did not appear. Johnston and his men, who, he says, "looked like devils," could not manage her, and she was set on fire. Governor Marcy declared Johnston an outlaw, and offered a reward of $500 for his person, and smaller sums for each of his confederates who might be convicted of the offense. The Earl of Durham, governor of Canada, offered $5000 for the conviction of any person concerned in the "infamous outrage." Johnston boldly avowed himself the leader of that party, in a proclamation which he issued from "Fort Wallace" on the 10th of June, 1838. He declared that the men under his command were nearly all Englishmen, and that his headquarters were on an island in the St. Lawrence, not within the jurisdiction of the United States. "I act under orders," he said. "The object of my movements is the independence of the Canadas. I am not at war with the commerce or property of the United States." "Fort Wallace" was a myth. It was wherever Johnston happened to be.

Johnston was now placed in peril between the officers of the two governments, and for several months he was a refugee, hiding among the Thousand Islands, and receiving food at night from his daughter, a beautiful girl eighteen years of age, small in stature and delicate in appearance, who handled oars with skill, and who, in a light boat, sought his hiding-places under cover of darkness. She was often watched and followed by persons in the interest of the United States government, but her thorough knowledge of the islands and skill in rowing allowed her to elude them. Finally Johnston joined in the expedition to Prescott, to "keep out of the way of both parties," he said. After the defeat of the insurgents at Windmill Point [see page 583], he was seen publicly in the streets of Ogdensburg, where he had many sympathizers, and was not arrested. He saw that all was lost, and, weary of hiding, he resolved to give himself up to the authorities of the United States, and cast himself upon the clemency of his country. He made an arrangement with his son John to arrest him and receive the $500 reward. On the 17th of November (1838) he left Ogdensburg in a boat, with his son, when Deputy Marshal M‘Culloch pursued him in a boat over which floated the revenue flag. Johnston was overtaken about two miles above Ogdensburg. He was armed with a Cochran rifle, two large rifle-pistols, and a bowie-knife. He agreed to surrender on condition that he should give up his arms to his son. He was then conducted back to the village, and delivered into the custody of Colonel (late Major General) Worth. He was taken to Syracuse, tried before Judge Conklin on a charge of violating the neutrality laws of the United States, and acquitted. He was again arrested, and escaped, when a reward of $200 was offered for his arrest. He gave himself up at Albany, and, after lying three months in jail, was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, and a fine of $250. His faithful daughter, who had acquired the just title of the "Heroine of the Thousand Islands," hastened to Albany, and shared prison life with her father. After being there six months, with his faithful child at his side, he found means, by making a key of some zinc furnished him by a friend, to escape. The plan was made known to his daughter, who left the prison, and waited for him at Rome. One evening, at eight o’clock, he left the jail, and before daylight had walked forty miles toward Rome. When he arrived there, finally, at the house of a friend, he was dreadfully exhausted. He went home, and was unmolested; but the "Patriots" were determined to drive him into active service, and he received a commission creating him commander-in-chief of all the naval forces in "Patriot service" on the lakes. * This position had been accorded to him by common consent the year before. But he had seen enough of that kind of service, and he declined the office. A year or more afterward, when the agitation on the frontier had pretty much ceased, a petition for his pardon was numerously signed. He took it to Washington himself, and, just at the close of Mr. Van Buren’s administration in March, 1841, presented it to the President. "Mr. Van Buren," he said, "scolded me for presuming to come there with such a petition; but I waited ten days, presented it to President Harrison, and he pardoned me."

Mr. Johnston has lived at Clayton ever since. His offense was finally overlooked, and for several years the government that offered a reward of $500 for him as an outlaw has been paying him $350 a year for taking charge of one of its light-houses, in sight of the spot (Peel Island) where the offense was committed! Time makes great changes. When the late Rebellion broke out in 1861, Johnston, then about eighty years of age, went to Washington City, called on General Scott, and offered his services to his government.



* Johnston’s commission as commodore is before me, printed and written on thin paper. On the margin of it, occupying nearly one half of the space, is a rough engraving, a copy of which is given on the opposite page, reduced to half the size. Above this design (in which the American eagle is seen bearing off the British lion, whose crown has fallen, a maple leaf, symbolic of Canada, and two stars representing the two provinces) were little pictures of the arms of the State of New York, and below two others representing an eagle on its nest arranging ears of wheat. The commission runs thus:


"Head-quarters, Windsor, U. C., September 5, 1839.


"SIR, – By authority of the Grand Council, the Western Canadian Association, the great Grand Eagle Chapter, and the Grand Eagle Chapter of Upper Canada, on Patriot Executive duty – You are hereby Commissioned to the Rank in Line of a Commodore of the Navy, Commander-in-Chief of all the Naval forces of the Canadian Provinces, on Patriot service in Upper Canada.

"Yours with respect,


"Commander-in-chief of the Northwestern Army on
Patriot service in Upper Canada.

"E. J. ROBERTS, Adjutant General, N. W. A. P. S."

This commission is indorsed by "John Montgomery, of the Grand Eagle Chapter of Upper Canada, on Patriot Executive duty.


"Sworn to before me, at Windsor, U. C., this 25th day of September, 1839.

"H. S. HAND."


The seal attached to the commission appears to have been impressed by a common glass signet, on which are the words, "Remember me to all friends."

These "Chapters" refer to the secret leagues of sympathizers with the insurgents that were formed along the entire frontier, under the name of "Hunters’ Lodges." These were suppressed by President Tyler, who issued a proclamation for the purpose on the 5th of September, 1841.

73 He was born at Three Rivers on the 1st of February, 1782. His father was an Irishman, and his mother was a Dutch girl from New Jersey. After the war he lived at Sackett’s Harbor and Watertown, and kept a tavern for a while in the latter village. He finally settled at French Creek (now Clayton), where he and most of his family have since resided.

74 See page 651. Johnston was well acquainted with Chrysler, and tried to get the army below his residence, that it might not suffer during the engagement that seemed inevitable. During the battle of Chrysler’s Field or Farm, Johnston carried powder from the boats to the dragoons, who delivered it to those in the fight. It is well known that General Wilkinson indulged too freely in spirituous liquors. Johnston assured me that, at the time of the battle of Chrysler’s Field, the commander-in-chief was so intoxicated ("indisposed," as charity phrases it) that he could not leave his boat.

75 See page 656.

76 See page 648.

77 Malone is the capital of Franklin County, and is pleasantly situated on the Salmon River. It was the only incorporated village in the county, and had a population of about 2000. The banks of the river there, below the railway bridge, are rugged and picturesque. Settlements were made there at the beginning of this century.

78 The building on the right, with its gable next to the dam, is the original mill erected there by the French Canadians.

79 See page 375.

80 See picture on page 664.

81 See pictures on page 656.

82 See page 655.

83 See note 2, page 656.

84 Fort Covington is a port of entry; but the steam-boats seldom go above Dundee, a small village a mile below, and about half way between the Mills and the boundary-line between the United States and Canada.



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