Lossing's Field Book of the War of 1812, Chapter XXXVI - War on the Niagara Frontier in 1814.






Rumors of an Advance of the British. – They appear in Force at Lundy’s Lane. – Their Advance unsuspected. – Scott ordered to march on Fort George. – The Widow Wilson’s Story. – Scott suddenly confronted by the British. – Junction of British Forces. – Their Line of Battle. – Scott attacked. – The British flanked. – Capture of General Riall. – Brown advances from Chippewa. – He orders a formidable Battery to be taken. – Colonel Miller captures a British Battery. – The Way it was done. – Sketches of Miller and Nicholas. – Composition of the British Battery. – Appreciation of Miller’s Exploit. – The Eleventh Regiment and Major M‘Neil. – A desperate Struggle in Darkness. – Both Parties re-enforced. – Sketches of Colonels Brady and Jesup. – Generals Brown and Scott wounded. – The Troops fall back to Chippewa. – Injurious Tardiness of General Ripley. – Circumstances of the Battle of Niagara. – Number of Troops engaged in it. – The Victory claimed by both Parties. – Officers wounded in the Battle of Niagara. – Scott proceeds to Washington. – Honors conferred upon him. – Medal awarded to Scott. – Other Gifts. – Biographical Sketch. – Appointed Brevet Lieutenant General. – Visit to the Niagara Frontier. – Colonel Cummings. – Battle-ground of Niagara at Lundy’s Lane. – Observatory at Lundy’s Lane. – Objects seen from it. – Daring Feats at the Niagara Suspension Bridge. – Ripley attempts to abandon Canada. – Brown’s Indignation. – He orders the Army to Fort Erie. – Fort Erie and its Revetments. – The British attack Black Rock. – Incidents of the Movement. – Preparations for Battle. – General Gaines takes Command of the Army. – A Reconnoissance and its Effects. – Attack on Fort Erie. – Preparations to receive an Assault. – Situation of the American Troops. – Secret Order. – Fort Erie Garrison expecting an Attack. – The Fort assailed. – The British repulsed. – The British move upon the Fort. – The Battle of Fort Erie. – The British in a Bastion. – A Bastion, with the British, blown up. – The Actors in the Matter. – An American marauding Party. – Honors to General Gaines. – Cannonade of Fort Erie. – Brown resumes Command of the Army. – British works and Fort Erie. – Brown determines on a Sortie. – Preparations for it. – Brilliant Success of General Porter. – Death of valuable Officers. – Biographical Sketch of Porter. – Plan of Siege and Defense of Fort Erie. – Triumph of Miller and Upham. – Result of the Sortie at Fort Erie. – The Hopes of the British blasted. – The American People inspirited. – Honors awarded to General Brown. – The Freedom of the City of New York conferred on him. – The Certificate, etc. – Medal awarded to Generals Porter and Ripley by Congress. – Ripley honored by Gifts from several States. – But few of the Army of the Niagara now alive. – Two remarkable Survivors. – How they were wounded. – Robert White, an armless Soldier. – General Izard sends Troops to the Niagara Frontier. – Izard takes Command of the Army of the Niagara. – He assumes the offensive. – Bissell’s Victory at Lyon’s Creek. – Canada abandoned by the Americans. – Fort Erie blown up. – Disposition of the Troops. – Commodore Champlin. – Visit to Fort Erie and historic Places in and near Buffalo. – Veterans of the war in that City. – Forest Lawn Cemetery. – Soldiers’ Monument. – Other Monuments, and Inscriptions on them. – Expedition of Captain Holmes into Canada. – Battle at the Longwoods. – Lost Posts to be recaptured. – Expedition to the Upper Lakes. – Operations at the Saut St. Marie. – Battle on Mackinaw Island. – Blockade of Mackinaw. – Capture of the blockading Vessels. – Commander Champlin wounded. – M‘Arthur’s Raid in Canada. – Affright of the Canadians. – Skirmishes. – M‘Arthur’s Return. – M‘Arthur’s Bravery and Generosity.


"O’er Huron’s wave the sun was low,
The weary soldier watch’d the bow
Fast fading from the cloud below

The dashing of Niagara.
And while the phantom chain’d his sight,
Ah! little thought he of the fight –
The horrors of the dreamless night,
That posted on so rapidly." – OLD SONG.


Beautiful to the senses was the morning of the 25th of July, 1814, on the banks of the Niagara River – a day memorable in the annals of the Republic. It was serene and sultry. Not a cloud appeared in the heavens, nor a flake of mist on the waters. The fatigued American army lay reposing upon the field of its late victory, with the village of Chippewa in front, and had enjoyed half a day of needed rest, when a courier came in haste with intelligence from Colonel Philetus Swift at Lewiston that the enemy were in considerable force at Queenston and on the Heights; that five vessels of Yeo’s fleet had arrived during the night; and that a number of boats were in sight moving up the river. A few minutes afterward another courier arrived from Captain Denman, of the quartermaster’s department, with a report that the enemy, a thousand strong, were landing at Lewiston, and that the American baggage and stores at Schlosser were doubtless in imminent danger of capture.

These rumors were true only in part. Vessels had arrived in the river, boats had ascended it, and a considerable British force was occupying Queenston. Lieutenant General Sir George Gordon Drummond had arrived with re-enforcements from Kingston, composed in part of some of Wellington’s veterans, and landed at Fort Niagara, and in boats many of them had gone up and disembarked at Queenston. In the mean time the troops under Riall had been put in motion. Loyal Canadians had early informed him of the retreat of the Americans to Chippewa; and at near midnight of the 24th he sent forward a column under Lieutenant Colonel Pearson, composed of a regiment of the ever-active Glengary militia, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Battersby; the incorporated and sedentary militia, under Lieutenant Colonels Robinson (late chief justice of Canada) and Parry; detachments from the Royal Artillery, with two 24-pounders, three 6-pounders, and a howitzer; and the One Hundred and Fourth Infantry, under Lieutenant Colonel Drummond, and a troop of the Nineteenth Light Dragoons. Pearson moved forward with celerity, and at seven o’clock on the morning of the 25th took position on an eminence in and near Lundy’s Lane, a public highway leading directly westward into the heart of the peninsula and the head of the lake from the road along the river from Chippewa to Queenston. The position was a short distance from the great cataract of Niagara, and a commanding one.

Of Pearson’s movement Brown seems to have had no intelligence, and his efforts to counteract the supposed invasion at Lewiston were rather tardily begun. He heard of the invasion at noon, but it was quite late in the afternoon before he ordered a forward movement of any of his troops. At two o’clock Major Jesup, who had crossed Chippewa Bridge, brought him word from Lieutenant Colonel Leavenworth, 1 the officer of the day, that a considerable body of the enemy had been seen at Niagara Falls, not more than two miles distant; 2 but so impressed was the general with the idea that the enemy were after his supplies at Schlosser that he would not believe that more than a few light troops on a reconnoissance were in front. Conceiving the best plan for recalling the foe would be a menace of the forts at the mouth of the Niagara River, he ordered General Scott to march rapidly upon them with his brigade, Towson’s artillery, and all the cavalry and mounted men at command. This order was issued between four and five o’clock in the afternoon [July 25, 1814.], and within twenty minutes afterward the impatient Scott had all his troops in motion. He crossed Chippewa Bridge between five and six o’clock, and pushed on toward the great cataract, fully impressed with the belief that a large force of the enemy was on the other side of the river, and not directly before him. His battalion commanders were Lieutenant Colonel Leavenworth, Major M‘Neil, Colonel Brady, and Major Jesup. Towson was with his artillery, and Captains Harris and Pentland commanded the mounted men. The whole force numbered full twelve hundred persons.

A widow named Wilson lived in a pleasant white house at the great Falls, near Table Rock; and when the vanguard of Scott’s command came in sight of her dwelling they discovered a number of British officers there, who mounted their horses and rode hastily away after surveying the approaching column of Americans with their glasses. 3 The widow, with the skill of a diplomat, assured Major Wood, of the Engineers, who were in the van, that she extremely regretted their tardiness, as they might have captured General Riall and his staff, whom they had seen riding off. She also assured them, with more truthfulness, that eight hundred regulars, full three hundred militia, and two pieces of artillery were just below a small strip of woods near. Scott, who had come up with his staff and heard her story, did not believe it. Had not the British army been beaten on the 5th? And was there not in the possession of the commander-in-chief positive information that a large part of that army had been thrown across the Niagara at Lewiston? He believed that only a remnant of it was in his front, and he resolved to obey his instructions to "march rapidly on the forts." He sent a message to his general by Lieutenant Douglass, to inform him of the appearance of the enemy, and then dashed gallantly into the woods to disperse the foe. What was his astonishment on finding the story of the widow literally true! Riall had been re-enforced, and there he was, with a larger number of troops than Scott had encountered twenty days earlier, drawn up in battle order in Lundy’s Lane – a highway, as we have observed, running from the Niagara River to the head of Lake Ontario. His position was one of extreme peril. To stand still would be fatal; to retreat would be very hazardous. The latter movement might jeopardize the whole army by the creation of a panic, especially among the reserves under Ripley, who were not in the former battle. There was no time for reflection, for a heavy fire of musketry and cannon had been opened upon him. From that wonderful wealth of resource, at the moment of great need, which always distinguished him, Scott drew immediate inspiration, and resolved to fight the overwhelming number of the enemy, and impress Riall with the conviction that the whole American army was at hand.

Trusting to rumor instead of actual observation through scouts, Brown was wholly uninformed, or at least misinformed, concerning the movements of the British. Not a soldier of that army had been sent across the Niagara at Lewiston. Every man left fit for service since the late battle was with Riall preparing for this advance movement. On the night of the 24th Lieutenant General Sir George Gordon Drummond, as we have observed, had arrived at the mouth of the Niagara River in the British fleet from Kingston. He brought eight hundred men with him, and sent Lieutenant Tucker, with about five hundred of them and a body of Indians, to disperse or capture a small American force at Lewiston. This movement gave rise to the report of invasion. Drummond had apprised Riall of his intentions; and these officers, with their respective commands, had formed a junction on the Niagara without discovery by General Brown. These united forces, not less than four thousand five hundred strong, with the exception of a portion of the re-enforcements, were confronted by Scott and his "twice six hundred men," with two field-pieces. When, forty minutes before sunset, the battle began, the line that opened fire on Scott was full eighteen hundred in number, well-posted on the slope and brow of an eminence over which Lundy’s Lane passed.


The enemy’s line was a little inclined to a crescent form, the wings being thrown forward of the artillery in the centre. Its left rested on the Queenston Road, and extended over the hill, on the brow of which was planted a battery of seven guns, nearly in the rear of the Methodist church on Lundy’s Lane, and not far south of the house of Mr. Fraleigh when I visited the spot in 1860. Into the bowl of this crescent Scott suddenly found himself advancing with his little force, within canister-shot distance of a greatly superior army and powerful field-battery. His quick eye instantly discovered a blank space between the British extreme left and the river of two hundred yards, covered with brushwood. He saw the advantage it afforded, and directed Major Jesup to creep cautiously behind the bushes in the twilight, with his command, and attempt to turn the enemy’s left flank. Jesup obeyed with alacrity. In the mean time Scott was hotly engaged with the British veterans, some of them from Wellington’s army, while the battery on the hill poured destruction upon his men. Towson, with his little field-pieces right gallantly handled, could make but a feeble impression. Brady, and Leavenworth, and M‘Neil managed their battalions with skill, and fought bravely themselves; not, however, with the expectation of conquering the enemy, but only of keeping him in check until the reserves should come up. This was done, and more. There they stood, the brave Ninth, Eleventh, and Twentieth, mere skeletons of regiments, hurried into battle without warning or preparation, while Jesup’s Twenty-fifth, unaided, was battling manfully and successfully with more than a thousand of the enemy to gain possession of the Queenston Road.

The sun went down, the twilight closed, and the darkness of night, relieved by a waning moon, enveloped the combatants. Jesup had gallantly turned the British left, gained his rear, kept approaching re-enforcements of Drummond in check, and secured many prisoners. Among the latter was General Riall, several officers of his staff, and one of General Drummond’s aids, Captain Loring. Their capture was an accident. One of Riall’s aids saw one of Jesup’s flanking parties, commanded by Captain Ketchum, and, mistaking them for a company of their own troops, called out, "Make room there, men, for General Riall!" Captain Ketchum immediately replied, "Ay, ay, sir!" allowed the aid to pass by, and then directed a portion of his own men, with fixed bayonets, to surround the general and his officers, seize the bridles of their horses, and make them prisoners. Riall was astonished, but made no resistance. He was, indeed, quite badly wounded. Ketchum delivered him to General Scott in person, who ordered him to be taken to the rear, and every attention to be given to his comfort. Jesup, perceiving that his own position was not tenable, gallantly charged back through the British line, and took his place in that of the Americans.

It was now nine o’clock in the evening. The British right, which made a furious assault, had been driven back by General Scott with a heavy loss; their left had been turned and cut off by Jesup’s bold movement, and their centre, on the ridge, supported by the artillery, alone remained firm. The most of Drummond’s re-enforcements had come up, and the remainder were only a short distance off and pressing forward.

Let us leave the battle-field a moment and turn back to Chippewa. We have seen that a messenger had been sent to apprise General Brown of the presence of the enemy. This messenger was immediately followed by another (Major Jones), who bore the startling intelligence that the whole British army was within two miles, and that General Scott had attacked them to keep them in check. Already the cannonade and musket-firing had been heard in the camp, and General Brown had ordered General Ripley, with his brigade and all the artillery reserve, to press forward to the support of Scott. Mounting his horse, and leaving Adjutant General Gardner to see that his orders were promptly executed, he rode forward, and met Major Jones near the Falls with the exciting message from Scott. Brown ordered Jones to continue his journey to the camp with directions for Porter and his volunteers to follow Ripley as speedily as possible.

On his arrival upon the battle-field, accompanied by Major Wood, General Brown sought and obtained correct information of the situation of affairs from General Scott himself. By this time Jesup had accomplished his bold operations on the enemy’s left, and Ripley’s brigade was near. Convinced that the men in action were greatly exhausted, and knowing that they had suffered severely, the commanding general determined to form and interpose a new line with the fresh troops, disengage General Scott, and hold his brigade in reserve for rest. Orders to this effect were given to General Ripley, and the second brigade advanced in the pale moonlight on the Queenston Road toward the enemy’s left. It was now perceived that the key of the enemy’s position was their battery on the hill, and Colonel M‘Ree assured General Brown that he could not hope for success until that height was carried and the cannon taken.

General Brown instantly turned to the gallant Colonel Miller (now of the Twenty-first, and former leader of the Fourth in the campaigns under Hull and Harrison) and said, "Colonel, take your regiment, storm that work, and take it." "I’ll try, sir," responded Miller, promptly, and immediately moved forward to the perilous task. 4 At that moment the First Regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas, 5 which had arrived that day, and was attached to neither of the brigades, and which had been ordered to draw the fire of the enemy and direct his attention from Miller’s movement, gave way. Miller paid no attention to that disaster, but moved steadily forward up the hill with less than three hundred men, mostly concealed by an old rail fence, along which was a growth of thick, low shrubbery. They approached undiscovered to a point within two rods of the battery, where the gunners were seen with their lighted matches waiting for the word to fire. In whispers Miller ordered his men to rest their pieces across the fence, take good aim, and shoot the gunners. This was promptly done, and not a man was left to apply the matches. Miller and his men followed the volley with a shout, and, rushing forward, were in the very centre of the park of artillery before the enemy had a chance to resist. A British line, formed for the protection of the cannon, were lying near in a strong position, and immediately opened a most destructive enfilading fire, which slew many of the gallant Miller’s men. They then attempted to charge with their bayonets, but the Americans returned their fire so warmly that they were kept in check. Hand-to-hand the combatants fought for some time, and so closely that the blaze of their guns crossed. The British were finally pushed back, and compelled to abandon their whole artillery, ammunition-wagons, and every thing else. Seven splendid brass cannon remained with Miller, one of which was a 24-pounder with eight horses, some of them killed. Twice the British attempted to expel Miller from the height, but were repulsed, when Ripley, with the First and Twenty-third Regiments, came gallantly to his aid. At that moment the last of Drummond’s re-enforcements, which had been rapidly advancing from Queenston under Colonel Scott, nearly fifteen hundred in all, came up, when the enemy rallied, and made a fourth unsuccessful attempt to drive the victors from the heights and regain their battery. 6

The exploit of Miller elicited universal admiration. The American officers declared that it was one of the most desperate and gallant acts ever known. "It was the most desperate thing we ever saw or heard of," said the British officers, who were made prisoners. The moment that General Brown met Miller afterward, he said, "You have immortalized yourself! My dear fellow, my heart ached for you when I gave you the order, but I knew that it was the only thing that would save us." 7


Meanwhile the first brigade, commanded by General Scott, had maintained its position with the greatest pertinacity under terrible assaults and destructive blows. The gallant Eleventh Regiment lost its commander, Major John M‘Neil, by severe wounds, 8 and all of its captains. Its ammunition became spent, and as a regiment it retired from the field, its more gallant spirits rallying around the flags of the Ninth and Twenty-second as volunteers. Very soon Colonel Brady, of the Twenty-second, was severely wounded, 9 with several of his subordinates. Its ammunition became exhausted, and it, too, dissolved, and its remnant clung to the banner of the ninth, commanded by the brave Lieutenant Colonel Leavenworth, as volunteers. This was now the only regiment remaining of the first brigade, and it fought with a courage that partook of the character of desperation. The three skeleton regiments were consolidated, and contended fearfully in the darkness. Finally Scott ordered them to charge, and they were moving gallantly forward for that purpose when the taking of the battery turned the current, and the order was countermanded. They took their old position at the foot of the slope, ready for any emergency.

It was now about half past ten o’clock at night. The troops were enveloped in thick darkness, for the smoke of battle, untouched by the slightest breeze, hung like a thick curtain between them and the pale light of the moon. Around the tattered colors of the Eleventh the shattered fragments of the first brigade were rallied, commanded by the officers of the Ninth who remained unhurt.


The Twenty-fifth, under Jesup, 11 with their regimental banner pierced with scores of bullet-holes received at Chippewa and in this engagement, reposed a moment after their victory on the river side of the Queenston Road, where the village of Drummondsville now stands, while the second brigade, skillfully handled by Ripley, bore the brunt of the battle in the fierce contention for the battery on the height. Yet the others were by no means idle. Every corps was engaged in the desperate struggle, which had continued for more than two hours, the way of the combatants lighted only by fitful gleams of the moon darting through the murky battle-clouds, and the lurid flashes of exploding powder.

Both parties were re-enforced during the struggle; the British by Colonel Scott’s command, as we have seen, and the Americans by a part of Porter’s brigade, which took post on Ripley’s left, and participated in the closing events of the battle. The enemy was beaten off by sheer hard blows given by the muscle of indomitable Perseverance, but at the expense of precious blood. Generals Brown and Scott were severely wounded and borne from the field, and the active command devolved on General Ripley, the senior officer on duty. 12

When the absolute repulse of the enemy was manifest, and General Brown observed great numbers of stragglers in all directions from the broken regiments, he ordered the new commander to fall back with the troops to Chippewa, there reorganize the shattered battalions, give them a little rest and refreshments, and return to the field of conflict by daydawn, so as to secure the fruits of victory by holding the ground and securing the captured cannon, which, on account of a lack of horses, harness, or drag-ropes, could not he removed at once. Ripley had not moved from Chippewa when the day dawned, and Brown, disappointed and angered by his tardiness, ordered his own staff to go to the commanders of corps and direct them to be promptly prepared to march. It was sunrise before the army crossed the Chippewa, and they were halted by Ripley at the Bridgewater Mills, a mile from the battle-ground, where he was informed that the enemy was again in possession of the heights of Lundy’s Lane and his cannon, had been re-enforced, and was too strong to be attacked by a less force than the entire army of the Niagara with any promise of success. With this information Ripley returned to head-quarters. The commanding general was irritated. He resolved not to trust the brigadier with the command of the army any longer than necessity required; and he dispatched a courier to Sackett’s Harbor with an order for General Gaines to come and take the temporary leadership of the Niagara forces. 13 Ripley’s delay had doubtless deprived the Americans of all the substantial advantages of victory, for the enemy was allowed to return, reoccupy the field of battle, and retake the captured cannon, excepting one beautiful brass 6-pounder, which was presented to Colonel Miller’s regiment on the spot. This they bore away with them as a precious trophy of their prowess. The remainder were retaken by the British a few hours afterward. 14

Thus ended the sanguinary BATTLE OF NIAGARA FALLS, sometimes called Lundy’s Lane, and sometimes Bridgewater. 15 It has few parallels in history in its wealth of gallant deeds. It was fought wholly in the shadows of a summer evening between sunset and midnight. To the eye and ear of a distant spectator it must have been a sublime experience. Above was a serene sky, a placid moon in its wane, and innumerable stars – a vision of Beauty and Peace; below was the sulphurous smoke of battle, like a dense thunder-cloud on the horizon, out of which came the quick flashes of lightning and the bellowing of the echoes of its voice – a vision of Horror and Strife. Musket, rocket, and cannon cracking, hissing, and booming; and the clash of sabre and bayonet, with the cries of human voices, made a horrid din that commingled with the awful, solemn roar of the great cataract hard by, whose muffled thunder-tones rolled on, on, forever, in infinite grandeur when the puny drum had ceased to beat, and silence had settled upon the field of carnage. There the dead were buried, and the mighty diapason of the flood was their requiem.

According to the most careful estimates, the number of troops engaged in the battle of Niagara Falls was a little over seven thousand, the British having about four thousand five hundred, and the Americans a little less than two thousand six hundred. Both parties lost heavily. The Americans had one hundred and seventy-one killed, five hundred and seventy-one wounded, and one hundred and ten missing – a total of eight hundred and fifty-two. The British lost eighty-four killed, five hundred and fifty-nine wounded, one hundred and ninety-three missing, and forty-two prisoners – a total of eight hundred and seventy-eight. A large proportion of those taken by Jesup on the British left, and by Miller on the height, escaped during the night.

Both parties claimed a victory, the Americans because they drove the enemy from the field and captured his cannon, and the British because their foe did not retain the field and the cannon he had won. While the American people rejoiced over the affair as a genuine triumph, as it undoubtedly was, as a victory in battle, the governor general of Canada was right in complimenting his troops for their steadiness and valor; and the Prince Regent did a proper thing when he gave permission to one of the regiments to wear the word NIAGARA upon their caps.

Major General Brown was twice severely wounded, yet he kept the saddle until the victory was won. First a musket-ball passed through his right thigh; and a few minutes afterward the gallant Captain Spencer, his aid-de-camp, received a mortal wound. 16 Then came a ball of some kind which struck Brown in the side, not lacerating, but severely contusing it. Both hurts were so severe that the general felt doubtful of his ability to keep his seat, and so informed Major Wood, his confidential friend. That brave officer, deeply engaged in the battle, exclaimed, "Never mind, my dear general, you are winning the greatest battle ever gained for your country!" The enemy were soon repulsed, and the general, supported by Captain Austin, his only remaining aid, moved from the field, leaving the command, as we have seen, with General Ripley. Brown rapidly recovered, and was able to resume the command of the army of the Niagara early in September.

General Scott was wounded by a bullet that entered his left shoulder while he was conversing with Major Jesup on the extreme right. He had been exposed to death on every part of the field, and had two horses shot under him. He was spared until the last struggle of the battle, when his aid, Lieutenant Worth, and Brigade Major Smith, were very severely wounded. His own hurt was so great that he could no longer remain on the field, and he was borne first to the Chippewa camp, then to Buffalo, and finally to Williamsville, a hamlet in the east part of the present town of Java, Wyoming County, New York [TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: The Village of Williamsville is located in the town of Amherst, Erie County, New York. There was a field hospital located there during the war of 1812 where American soldiers and British prisoners were treated. Java is located about twenty miles south-southeast of Williamsville and would have been an unlikely spot for a similar hospital – WDC, 10/28/2001.]. At the latter place he found the wounded General Riall well-cared for.

Scott suffered intensely, and for a month his recovery was considered doubtful. He was finally removed to the house of a friend (Mr. Brisbane) in Batavia, where kind nursing made his convalescence rapid. At length, when able to bear the motions of a litter, he was carried on the shoulders of gentlemen of the country from town to town, to the house of a friend (Mr. Nicholas) in Geneva, where he remained until he was able to resume his journey, when he went to Philadelphia, and placed himself in charge of the eminent Doctors Physic and Chapman, of that city. He was every where received with demonstrations of the warmest respect and admiration for his personal achievements, and as the representative of the now glorious army of the Niagara. 17 From Philadelphia he passed on to Baltimore early in September, then threatened by the British, who had just destroyed the public buildings of the national capital; and on the 16th of October he was so far recovered as to be able to take command of the Tenth Military District, whose head-quarters were at Washington City. Honors were conferred upon him by public bodies in many places. The Congress of the United States, by a resolution on the 8th of November, 1814, voted him the thanks of the nation, and requested the President to have a gold medal, with suitable devices, struck in his honor, and presented to him. 18


The Legislatures of Virginia [February 12, 1816.] and New York [February, 1816.] thanked him, and each voted him an elegant sword. 19 The Society of the Cincinnati, founded by Washington and his companions in arms, elected him an honorary member [1815.], and many towns and counties were named in his honor in the course of time. He was breveted a major general; and for almost fifty years longer he served his country actively in its military operations, ten of them as general-in-chief. When, in the autumn of 1861, the great Civil War assumed immense proportions, the Nestor of the republic, feeling the disabilities of increasing physical infirmities, retired from active service, bearing the commission given him a few years before of lieutenant general. 20

I visited the theatre of events described in this and a part of the preceding chapter in the summer of 1860. I was at Niagara Falls, as already observed (page 412), on the evening of the 16th of August. On the following morning, accompanied by Peter A. Porter, Esq., son of General Peter B. Porter (and conveyed in his carriage), I crossed the Niagara on the great Suspension Bridge, and rode up to the Chippewa battle-ground. We went over the great chasm at about ten o’clock, and halted at Chippewa Village, where we were joined by Colonel James Cummings, a venerable Canadian, seventy-two years of age, who was an aid to General Riall in the battle of the 5th of July, 1814. 21 He seemed as vigorous as most men at sixty, and we were fortunate in having the company of so good a cicerone, for he was familiar with every place and event of that battle. He owns a part of the land whereon it was fought; has resided near there for more than fifty years, and is full of reminiscences of the past. He cherishes, as a precious heir-loom for his family, the cocked hat and plume which he wore when he was fighting for his king and country.

After viewing the different portions of the battle-ground at Street’s Creek and Chippewa Plains, and making the sketches printed on pages 806, ’7 [TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: The sketch printed on page 807 is actually the drawing of the remains of the tête-de-pont battery described immediately below – WDC, 10/29/2001.], and ’8, 22 we returned to the village, where I made a drawing of the remains of the tête-de-pont battery, 23 not far from the mansion of Colonel Cummings. There we partook of some refreshments, and, accompanied by the colonel, rode up to the mouth of Lyon’s Creek, where the Americans prepared to cross the Chippewa and flank the British, causing Riall, as we have observed, 24 to hasten back to Queenston. On returning to Chippewa we spent an hour with Colonel Cummings and his family, and then left with enduring recollections of time spent pleasantly and profitably. We rode slowly by the great cataract, observing the site of the Widow Wilson’s house, near Table Rock, the stupendous falls, and the grand flood as it rushes in wild and resistless energy toward the great bend in the river at the seething whirlpool.

At Drummondville, a pleasant little town of about five hundred inhabitants, skirting the highway from Chippewa to Queenston, we turned into Lundy’s Lane, and rode to the top of the hill on which stood the British battery captured by Miller. It is a pleasant spot, and sufficiently elevated to command extensive views of the country in Canada and New York. On the crown of the hill was the dwelling of Mr. Fraleigh and a Methodist church; and on the slope toward Drummondville was a small cemetery, a view of which may be seen on page 818. A little to the left of the large tree in that picture was the site of the British battery taken by Miller. Near the middle of that cemetery was the grave and monument of Lieutenant Colonel Bisshopp, delineated on page 628; and on its western margin, close by the fence, was the grave of Captain Abraham F. Hull, who appears somewhat conspicuously in the narrative of the surrender of Detroit by his father, General William Hull, in the summer of 1812. On the spot where he fell, gallantly fighting in the battle of Niagara, the brother officers of Captain Hull erected a wooden slab, with a suitable inscription, to mark the spot; 25 and in after years his friends erected the one of marble, which, with an inscription, now (1867) stands at the head of his grave, seen near the fence in the picture on page 818. 26

Fronting on Lundy’s Lane, a little northwestward of the position of the British battery, was an observatory, made of timbers, and latticed. It was one hundred and thirty feet in height, and was ascended on the interior by one hundred and twenty-five steps. We climbed wearily to the top, and were richly rewarded for the toil by a magnificent panoramic view of the surrounding country, including in the vision, by the aid of a telescope, the statue of Brock on its lofty pedestal on the Heights of Queenston. Westward we looked far over the Canadian peninsula to the broken country around the Beaver Dam region, and eastward as far over the cultivated lands of the State of New York, while at our feet was the great cataract, which gave a tremor to the pile of timber work on which we stood, and formed a conception in the mind of the amazing power of that mighty pouring flood. An elderly man, who acted as guide to the surrounding scenery as seen from the observatory, ascended with us, and, in monotonous tone, began his well-learned task of repeating the record of historical events there. We only wanted to know the exact locality of certain incidents of the battle, and, after four times preventing him going farther in his tedious details than the words "In the year one thousand eight hundred and fourteen," we obtained what we wished, and descended. We climbed into the little cemetery, and I sketched the tomb of Bisshopp and the view on page 818, and at the same time Mr. Porter made a neat pencil drawing for me of a small house in Drummondville, which was used as a hospital after the battle, as seen from Bisshopp’s grave. It is copied in the annexed engraving.


On returning to the Suspension Bridge to recross the river, we observed large crowds of people on both banks, above and below the aerial highway, who had come to see the perilous feats of Blondin and a rival upon slack ropes stretched across the river from bank to bank. They were both performing at the same time, cheered on by their respective friends, one above and the other below the bridge. Beneath these daring acrobats was the foaming river, rushing down hill to the great whirlpool at the rate of thirty miles an hour. It was an unpleasant spectacle, for a sense of fearful danger oppressed the mind of the beholder. We rode slowly across the bridge, viewing the foolish and yet heroic performances of both young men, and arrived at Niagara Falls village in time for a late dinner. Toward evening I rode down to Queenston, behind a blind horse, to make the visits on the Canadian peninsula described in preceding chapters. 27

Let us now resume the narrative of events in which the Army of the Niagara was engaged in the summer and early autumn of 1814.

General Ripley’s tardiness, if not absolute disobedience, as we have observed, left the battle-field of Niagara, so gloriously won by the Americans, in the possession of the foe on the morning of the 26th of July. At that time Generals Brown and Scott, Major Jesup, and other wounded officers, were placed in boats for conveyance to Buffalo, and they departed with the expectation that Ripley would hold the strong position at Chippewa until the arrival of re-enforcements. The commanding general had scarcely disappeared behind Navy Island in his upward voyage when Ripley ordered the destruction of the military works and bridge, and some of his own stores at Chippewa, and made a precipitate flight with the whole army to the Black Rock Ferry, a short distance below Fort Erie. His intention was to lead the whole army across the river, and utterly abandon Canada. This design would have been accomplished had not the firmness of the principal officers, by a vehement opposition, prevented. Ripley crossed the river to Black Rock, where Brown lay, to get from him an order for the army to pass over; but that indignant commander not only refused, but treated the brigadier with scorn. 28 Ripley returned, and, by order of General Brown, he led the army to a good position, just above Fort Erie, along the lake shore, encamped it there, and proceeded to strengthen the old works, and to construct new and more extensive ones preparatory to an expected siege. 29 General Porter, at about the same time, issued a stirring appeal to his fellow-citizens, asking for four thousand volunteers.

The labor at Fort Erie for that purpose was commenced with great zeal and energy by the engineers, and from the 27th of July until the 2d of August the troops were employed in the business day and night, casting up intrenchments, constructing redoubts, making traverses, and preparing abatis. Fortunately for the Americans, Drummond did not know their real weakness, and he remained quietly at Lundy’s Lane and vicinity, resting his men and receiving re-enforcements for two or three days. Finally, on the 29th, having been re-enforced by about eleven hundred men of General De Watteville’s brigade, he prepared to push forward and invest Fort Erie.

At this time Fort Erie was an indifferent affair, small and weak, standing on a plain about twelve or fifteen feet above Lake Erie, at its foot. Efforts to strengthen it having been made ever since it was captured at the beginning of July, it was beginning to assume a formidable appearance. On the extreme right of the American encampment, and near the lake shore, a strong stone work had been erected, and two guns mounted on it, en barbette, or on the top without embrasures.


It was called the Douglass Battery, in honor of Lieutenant David B. Douglass, of the Engineer corps, under whose superintendence it was built. From the left of this battery to the right of the old fort continuous earthworks were thrown up, seven feet in height, with a ditch in front and slight abatis; and from the left of the fort, and in a line nearly parallel with the lake shore, strong parapet breastworks were commenced, with two ditches and abatis in front. At the southwestern extremity of this line of works, on a natural sand-mound called Snake Hill, a sort of bastion, twenty feet in height, was cast up, five guns mounted on it, and named Towson’s Battery, in honor of the gallant artillery captain in whose charge it was placed. From this battery to the lake shore, near which lay at anchor the three armed schooners Porcupine, Somers, and Ohio, was a line of abatis, thus completing the inclosure of the American camp, with defenses on land and water, within an area of about fifteen acres. All of these works, excepting old Fort Erie, were incomplete when, on the 2d of August, it was discovered that the British army was approaching. They moved steadily onward in considerable force, drove in the American pickets, and in the woods, two miles from Fort Erie proper, formed a camp, and commenced casting up double and irregular lines of intrenchments, and constructing batteries in front at points from which an effectual fire might be poured upon the American works.

Drummond perceived the importance of capturing the American batteries at Black Rock, and seizing or destroying the armed schooners in the lake, before proceeding to the business of besieging Fort Erie; and before dawn on the morning of the 3d of August, he sent over Lieutenant Colonel Tucker with a detachment of the Forty-first Regiment, in nine boats, to attack the batteries. They landed about half a mile below Shogeoquady Creek, where they found themselves unexpectedly confronted by a band of riflemen, two hundred and forty in number, and a small number of militia and volunteers, under Major Morgan. That officer had been intrusted with the defense of Buffalo. He had perceived the advance of the British on the 2d, and believing their intention to be to feign an attack on Fort Erie, but really to attempt the capture of Buffalo and the public stores there, and the release of General Riall, he had hastened to Black Rock, destroyed the bridge over the creek, and during the night had thrown up a breastwork of logs.

Morgan’s movement was timely and fortunate. When the British commenced an attack at dawn, and a party moved forward to repair the bridge, the Americans offered very little resistance until the foe were within full and easy range of their rifles, when they poured upon them such destructive volleys that the invaders recoiled. In the mean time Drummond sent over re-enforcements, which swelled the number of Tucker’s troops to about twelve hundred. With these he attempted a flank movement, but was gallantly met at the fords of the creek by a small party under Lieutenants Ryan, Smith, and Armstrong, who disputed their passage with success. After a severe contest the British fell back, withdrew to Squaw Island, and with all possible dispatch recrossed the Niagara and joined in the investment of Fort Erie. The British lost a considerable number, of which no official record seems to have been given. The Americans lost two private soldiers killed, and Captain Hamilton, Lieutenants Wadsworth and M‘Intosh, and five private soldiers wounded.

While Tucker was busy in the invasion at Black Rock, Drummond opened fire with some 24-pounders in front of Fort Erie; but from that time until the 7th cannonading was seldom heard. Both parties were laboring intensely in preparing for the impending battle, Drummond in constructing works for a siege and assault, and Ripley in preparations for a defense. On that day most of the new works about Fort Erie were completed. Towson’s and Douglass’s batteries were in readiness for action. The parapeted breastworks from Fort Erie to Towson’s Battery were completed; two ditches were dug in front of them, and abatis were laid in continuous line from Douglass’s Battery around the front of the fort and breastworks to Towson’s, and from thence to the lake shore. Between Towson’s and the old fort two other batteries had been constructed. One, mounting two guns, was placed in command of Captain Biddle, and the other, also two guns, was put in charge of Lieutenant Fontaine. The dragoons, infantry, riflemen, and volunteers were encamped between the southwestern ramparts and the water; and the artillery, under Major Hindman, were stationed in the old fort. 31

General Gaines 32 arrived at the camp at Fort Erie on the 5th [August, 1814.], and was welcomed with delight by the little army. He immediately assumed the chief command, and his presence inspired them with confidence and courage. General Ripley, who had labored faithfully in preparations for defense, yet not without gloomy forebodings, resumed the command of his brigade, and perfect good feeling prevailed.

Gaines soon made himself acquainted with the condition and position of his force, and on the morning of the 6th [August.] he sent out Major Morgan and his riflemen (who had been called over from Buffalo) to reconnoitre the enemy, and, if possible, draw him out from his intrenchments. Morgan soon encountered some of the British light troops, and attacked and drove them back to their lines; and for two hours he manœuvred in a way calculated to draw the main body out, but without success. He returned to the camp with a loss of five men killed and four wounded.

This reconnoissance was followed by the British, early on the morning of the 7th [August.], hurling a tremendous storm of round shot upon the American works from five of their heavy cannon. This drew from the assailed a severe response from all their heavy guns that could be brought to bear on the enemy, and from that day until the 13th the siege went slowly and steadily on, the garrison, on all occasions, behaving most gallantly. Having on that morning completed the mounting of all his heavy ordnance, Drummond commenced a cannonade, bombardment, and rocketeering, which was continued throughout the day, and renewed on the morning of the 14th. It ceased at seven o’clock in the evening, when very little impression had been made on the American defenses.

Gaines was convinced that Drummond intended to resort to a direct assault should his cannonading prove ineffectual, and, with this impression, he kept the garrison continually on the alert. Men were detailed for night service in such manner that part were resting and part were under arms continually. The guns in the batteries had been charged afresh several evenings in succession with a variety of shot; dark lanterns were kept burning, and linstocks ready for firing were near every cannon. The engineers and the commanding officer watched every movement with the eyes of experts, and they agreed in the belief that an assault would be made on the night of the 14th. On that evening Gaines visited and inspected every part of the works, gave explicit directions to every officer, and words of encouragement to the men; and Engineers M‘Ree and Wood examined every part of the intrenchments most carefully. In the mean time, while the garrison were on evening parade, a shell came screaming across the space between the hostile camps, fell within the American lines, and lodged in an almost empty magazine, which was blown up with a tremendous report. The enemy huzzaed long and loud, supposing they had destroyed one of Gaines’s chief magazines. Hoping to profit by the confusion and loss, they prepared at once to assail the American works. Their gun-flints were removed from their muskets, scaling-ladders were collected, and the arrangements of the columns for attack were carefully made in accordance with a secret order 33 issued by Drummond, and special secret instructions given to Lieutenant Colonels Scott, Fischer, and Drummond.

At that time the Americans were situated as follows: Small, unfinished Fort Erie, with a 24, 18, and 12-pounder, forming the northeast angle of the intrenched camp, was under the command of Captain Williams, with Major Trimble’s Nineteenth Regiment of Infantry. The Douglass Battery, with an 18 and 6 pounder, and forming the southeast angle, was commanded by Lieutenant Douglass, whose own name it bore. On the left, forming the southwest angle, was Towson’s Redoubt Battery, on the little eminence called Snake Hill; and the two two-gun batteries in front, already mentioned, were in charge of Captains Biddle and Fanning, the latter outranking Fontaine. The whole of the artillery was in charge of Major Hindman. Parts of the Ninth, Eleventh, and Twenty-fifth Regiments (the remnants of Scott’s veteran brigade) were posted on the right, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Aspinwall. General Ripley’s brigade, consisting of the Twenty-first and Twenty-third, was posted on the left, and General Porter’s brigade of New York and Pennsylvania Volunteers, with the riflemen, occupied the centre.

An ominous silence prevailed in both camps at midnight of the 14th. It was the lull before the bursting forth of the tempest in its fury. It was not the silence of inactivity on the part of the British; on the contrary, there was uncommon but cautious stirring within their lines. In the American camp alone, where, as the night wore away, a doubt of immediate danger and the effects of great fatigue were wooing the garrison to slumber, did the quiet of rest prevail. It was soon broken. At two o’clock in the morning an alarm came from a picket-guard of one hundred men, commanded by Lieutenant Belknap, of the Twenty-third Infantry, who were posted in the direction of the enemy’s camp to watch their movements. The duties of this picket were important and perilous, but were intrusted to good hands. Belknap managed the affair with skill and bravery. 34 The sky was overhung with clouds. Sound, not sight, gave intelligence of the approach of the enemy. Belknap fired an alarm, and then fell steadily back to camp. The enemy came dashing on in the gloom, full fifteen hundred strong, under Lieutenant Colonel Fischer, and charged furiously upon Towson’s Battery and the abatis on the extreme left, between that work and the lake shore. They expected to find the Americans asleep, but were mistaken. Colonel Miller’s brave Twenty-first Regiment, then in charge of Major Wood, of the Engineers, was behind the abatis, and Towson’s artillerists, gallantly supported on the right by the Twenty-third Regiment, were on the alert. At a signal, Towson’s long 24-pounders sent forth such a continuous stream of flame from the summit of Snake Hill that the foe called it the "Yankee Light-house." At the same instant a bright flame beamed forth from the line of the Twenty-first, and sent a brilliant illumination high and far, and revealed the position of the enemy to the garrison. It was as evanescent as the light of the Roman candle of the pyrotechnic, and in a few moments heaviest gloom settled upon the scene, relieved only by the flashes of the cannon and musketry.

While one assailing column was endeavoring by the use of ladders to scale Towson’s embankment, the other, failing to penetrate the abatis, waded in the shallow water of the lake under cover of darkness, and attempted to charge the Twenty-first in the rear. But both columns failed. After a desperate struggle, they were repulsed and fell back. Five times they came gallantly to the attack, and were as often driven away. Finally, having suffered great loss, chiefly from the destructive effects of grape and canister shot, they abandoned the enterprise.

Almost simultaneously with this movement on the extreme left, an assault was made on the right by five hundred infantry and artillery, with a reserve of Indians, composing the centre and left columns of the enemy, under Lieutenant Colonels Drummond and Scott. They advanced rapidly, under a blaze of fire from cannon and musketry – Drummond toward old Fort Erie, which the mortified British had determined to recover at all hazards, and Scott toward the Douglass Battery and the connecting intrenchments. The latter were received by the veteran Ninth, under the command of Captain Foster, and Captains Broughton and Harding’s companies of New York and Pennsylvania Volunteers, aided by a 6-pounder between Douglass Battery and the lake shore, managed by Major M‘Ree, the chief engineer. The enemy was soon repulsed in this quarter; but the centre, led by Lieutenant Colonel Drummond, was not long kept in check. It approached every assailable point of the fort at once. They brought scaling-ladders, and, with the greatest coolness and bravery, attempted to force an entrance over the walls. Captain Williams, and Lieutenants Macdonough and Watmough, in the fort, met them gallantly, and twice repulsed them. Then Drummond, taking advantage of the covering of a thick pall of gunpowder smoke which hung low, went silently around the ditch, and with scaling-ladders ascended to the parapet with great celerity, and gained a secure footing there with one hundred of the Royal Artillery before any effectual opposition could be made. Already the exasperated Drummond, goaded almost to madness by the murderous repulses which he had endured, had given orders to show no mercy to the "damned Yankees," 35 and had actually stationed a body of painted savages near, with instructions to rush into the fort when the regulars should get possession of it, and assist in the general massacre. 36 Finding himself now in actual possession of a part of the fort, he instantly directed his men to charge upon the garrison with pike and bayonet, and to "show no mercy." Most of the American officers and many of the men received deadly wounds. Among the former was Lieutenant Macdonough. He was severely hurt, and demanded quarter. It was refused by Lieutenant Colonel Drummond. The lieutenant then seized a handspike, and boldly defended himself until he was shot down with a pistol by the monster who had refused him mercy, and who often reiterated the order, "Give the damned Yankees no quarter!" He soon met his deserved fate, for he was shot through the heart, was severely bayoneted, and fell dead by the side of his own victim. 37

The battle now raged with increased fury on the right, while on the left the enemy was repulsed at every point and put to flight. Thence, and from the centre, Gaines promptly ordered re-enforcements. They were quickly sent by Ripley and Porter, while Captain Fanning kept up a spirited cannonading on the enemy, now to be seen approaching the fort, for the day had dawned. The enemy still held the bastion, in spite of all efforts to dislodge them. Hindman and Trimble had failed in their attempts to drive them out, when Captain Birdsall, of the Fourth Rifle Regiment, rushed in through the gateway, and with some infantry charged the foe. They were repulsed, and the captain was severely wounded. Then a detachment from the Eleventh, Nineteenth, and Twenty-second Infantry, under Captain Foster, of the Eleventh, was introduced into the interior bastion for the purpose of charging the enemy. The movement was gallantly made – Foster was accompanied by Major Hall, the assistant inspector general – but, owing to the narrowness of the passage, it failed. It was often repeated, and as often checked; yet these attacks greatly diminished the number of combatants in the bastion. A more furious charge was about to be made, when, says an eye-witness, "Every sound was hushed by the sense of an unnatural tremor beneath our feet, like the first heave of an earthquake. Almost at the same instant the centre of the bastion burst up with a terrific explosion, and a jet of flame, mingled with fragments of timber, earth, stone, and bodies of men, rose to the height of one or two hundred feet in the air, and fell in a shower of ruins to a great distance all around." 38

This explosion, so destructive and appalling, was almost the final and decisive blow to the British in the contest. 39 It was followed immediately by a galling cannonade, opened by Biddle and Fanning, and in a few moments the British broke and fled to their intrenchments, leaving on the field two hundred and twenty-one killed, one hundred and seventy-four wounded, and one hundred and eighty-six prisoners. Some of their slightly wounded were borne away. The loss of the Americans was seventeen killed, fifty-six wounded, and eleven missing. Among the officers lost were Captain Williams and Lieutenant Macdonough, killed; Lieutenant Watmough, severely wounded, and Lieutenant Fontaine, who was blown into the ranks of the Indians when the bastion exploded, but was not severely hurt. These were of the artillery, and were all injured in defending the bastion. Captain Biddle, of the artillery, had been previously injured, and Watmough had also received a contusion. Of the infantry officers injured were Captain Birdsall, Lieutenants Bushnell and Brown, and Ensign Cisna, wounded in defending the fort, and Lieutenant Belknap, wounded in defending the picket-guard which he commanded.

General Gaines called the affair a "handsome victory," not merely a defense and a repulse, 40 and in this opinion the impartial historian must agree. He spoke in highest terms of all his officers and men, and particularly of the good conduct of Generals Ripley and Porter, Captain Towson, and Majors Hindman, M‘Ree, and Wood. The intelligence of the event was received with great joy throughout the country; and for his gallant conduct and valuable services at this time, and in the second siege of Fort Erie, which soon followed, General Gaines received substantial honors. On the 14th of September he was breveted a major general, and on the 3d of November the President approved of the action of the national Congress in voting him the thanks of the nation and ordering a gold medal, with suitable devices (see next page), to be struck and presented to him. The three great states of New York, Virginia, and Tennessee each rewarded him with resolutions and an elegant sword.


There were drawbacks upon the joy and the honors of the victory besides those of the loss of life in the conflict, for two of the three schooners that lay at anchor off the fort, as we have observed, were captured by the enemy, and on the day succeeding the victory a marauding party brought dishonor upon the American name at Port Talbot, on the Canada shore. The schooners Ohio and Somers were captured on the night of the 12th of August by Captain Dobbs, of the Royal Navy, and seventy-five men in nine boats. They were taken down the river halfway to Chippewa and secured, but the Porcupine beat off her assailants. 42 The marauders referred to were a party of one hundred Americans and Indians, who landed at Port Talbot on the night of the 16th, and robbed about fifty families of valuable property, such as horses, household furniture, and wearing apparel, and several respectable citizens were carried off as prisoners of war; one of them, Mr. Barnwell, was a member of the Canadian Assembly. As a dutiful historian I record the affair, but with shame. Happily, such conduct on the part of the Americans was so rare that these pages have not been often stained by the recital.

Both parties at Fort Erie immediately prepared for another struggle, and during the remainder of August and until the middle of September each received and created strength by the arrival of re-enforcements and completing of their respective defenses. The Americans had by that time mounted twenty-seven heavy guns, and had over three thousand men behind them. Drummond [TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: This refers to Lieutenant General Sir Gordon Drummond; the officer killed at Fort Erie was Lieutenant Colonel William Drummond. –WDC, 10/30/2001.] also received re-enforcements a few days after his defeat on the 15th, and from some new batteries he opened a cannonade and bombardment of Fort Erie with the design of compelling the Americans to evacuate it. Almost daily, until the close of August, he threw hot shot, shells, and rockets into the fort, and annoyed the garrison much; and finally, on the 28th, a shell fell through the roof of Gaines’s quarters, destroyed his writing-desk, and, exploding at his feet, injured him so severely that he was compelled to relinquish his command and retire to Buffalo.

When General Brown, then at Batavia, heard of this accident, he became exceedingly uneasy, and with shattered health and unhealed wounds he hastened to Buffalo, and on the 2d of September crossed over to Fort Erie. He found the garrison in charge of Colonel James Miller, whose rank was not sufficient for the position. Unable to remain himself with safety, he at once issued an order for General Ripley, the senior officer, to take command; and, returning to Buffalo, he established there the head-quarters of the Army of the Niagara, of which he now resumed control. Some of his officers followed him directly, and gave him such assurance of the unpopularity of Ripley with the army, and the dangers therefrom to be apprehended, that, though weak and suffering much, he returned to Fort Erie, and assumed the command in person.

The fort was still closely invested, and Brown perceived that peril was impending. The British camp was in a field encircled by woods, two miles from their works, beyond the range of shot and shell from the fort or Black Rock. The army was divided into three brigades of from twelve to fifteen hundred men each; and one of these, daily relieved by another, was constantly at the works, with artillery. These works had now been advanced to within four or five hundred yards of the old fort, and at that distance two batteries had already been completed, and a third, from which almost certain destruction might be hurled, was nearly finished. Brown saw this impending danger, and took measures to avert it. Circumstances were favorable. Heavy and continuous rains had flooded the country for several days. Drummond’s camp was on low, marshy ground; and stragglers from it, who had been picked up by the American pickets and deserters, informed Brown that the British force was so much weakened by typhoid fever that the lieutenant general was contemplating a removal of the camp to some healthier position. So broken was his power by camp sickness that for several days he had been unable to make an offensive movement.

Now was Brown’s golden opportunity, and he improved it. A sortie was planned, and the time appointed for its execution the morning of the 17th of September. He resolved, as he said, "to storm the batteries, destroy the cannon, and roughly handle the brigade upon duty before those in reserve [at the camp] could be brought into action." 43 His preparations were made with great secrecy. He knew the hazards of the enterprise, and desired the full co-operation of his officers. He sounded their opinions as well as he might without fully disclosing his designs. They were not in consonance with his own; and he made his preparations in a manner to conceal his intentions from the army until all should be in readiness, for he determined to attempt the bold design as soon as Porter should join him with his militia re-enforcements. 44 These came, two thousand strong, and on the morning of the 17th the commanding general explained his plans to General Ripley (his second in command), his adjutant general, and engineers. All evinced a desire for hearty co-operation excepting General Ripley, who considered the enterprise a hopeless one, and desired to have nothing to do with it. 45

Toward noon Brown’s sallying troops were in motion in the friendly and fortunate obscurity of a thick fog. They were separated into three corps. One, under General Porter, and composed of his Volunteers, under the immediate command of Major General Davis, of the New York militia; detachments from the First and Fourth Rifle Regiments, under Colonel Gibson; detachments from the Twenty-first and Twenty-third Infantry, and a few dismounted dragoons acting as infantry, under Major Wood, of the Engineers, was directed to move from the extreme left of the American camp, by a circuitous route, through the woods (which had been stealthily marked and prepared by Lieutenants Riddle and Frazer, of the Fifteenth Infantry), to within pistol-shot distance of the enemy’s right wing, and attack the British right flank. The second division, composed of fragments of the Ninth, Eleventh, and Nineteenth Regiments (the first commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Aspinwall, and the last by Major Trimble), under James Miller (who had been breveted a brigadier general three days before for his gallantry in the battle of Niagara Falls), was ordered to move from the right by way of a ravine between Fort Erie and the enemy’s batteries, and attack the British centre. The remainder of the Twenty-first Regiment, commanded by General Ripley, was posted as a reserve near the fort, and out of sight of the enemy’s works.

General Porter 46 and his command moved from the encampment at noon, and, following Lieutenants Riddle and Frazer through the woods, reached a position within a few rods of the British right wing at a quarter before three o’clock, before their movement was even suspected by the enemy. An assault was immediately commenced. It was a complete surprise, and the startled enemy on that flank fell back and left the Americans in possession of the ground. The batteries Nos. 3 and 4 were immediately stormed, and, after a close and fierce contest for about thirty minutes, both were carried. This triumph was followed by the capture of the block-house in the rear of No. 3. The garrison were made prisoners, the cannon and carriages were destroyed, and the magazine blown up. Porter’s victory was complete, but it was obtained at a fearful cost. His three principal leaders, namely, General Davis, Colonel Gibson, and Lieutenant Colonel Wood, all fell mortally wounded; and the commands of the two latter officers devolved respectively on Lieutenant Colonel M‘Donald and Major Brooks.

EXPLANATION OF THE ABOVE MAP. – A, old Fort Erie; a, a, demi-bastions; b, a ravelin, and c, c, block-houses. These were all built by the British previous to its capture at the beginning of July. d, d, bastions built by the Americans during the siege; e, e, a redoubt built for the security of the demi-bastions, a, a.

B, the American camp, secured on the right by the line g, the Douglass Battery, i, and Fort Erie; on the left, and in front, by the lines f, f ,f, and batteries on the extreme right and left of them. That on the right, immediately under the letter L in the words LEVEL PLAIN, is Towson’s; h, h, etc., camp traverses; n, main traverse; o, magazine traverse, covering also the head-quarters of General Gaines; p, hospital traverse; q, grand parade and provost-guard traverse; General Brown’s head-quarters; s, a drain; t, road from Chippewa up the lake.

C, the encampment of Volunteers outside of the intrenchments, who joined the army a few days before the sortie.

D, D, the British works. 1, 2, 3, their first, second, and third battery. v, the route of Porter, with the left column, to attack the British right flank on the 17th; x, the ravine, and route of Miller’s command.

I am indebted to the late Chief Engineer General Joseph G. Totten for the manuscript map of which this is a copy.

In the mean time, General Miller, aided by the gallant Lieutenant Colonel Upham, had executed his orders well. He penetrated between the British first and second batteries, and, by the aid of Porter’s successful operations, carried them both, and block-houses in the rear. One was abandoned before the assailants reached it. Within forty minutes after the attack commenced by Porter and Miller, four batteries, two block-houses, and the whole line of British intrenchments were in the possession of the Americans. Just after the explosion of the magazine, and at near the close of the action, General Ripley was ordered up with his little band of reserves, and while engaged in observations he received such a severe and dangerous wound in the neck that he fell to the ground. His aid, Lieutenant Kirby, caused him to be removed to the fort, and the command of the reserves was given to Lieutenant Colonel Upham.

Notwithstanding Drummond sent strong re-enforcements from his camp to the imperiled British line of action, the object of the sortie was fully accomplished. The British advanced works were captured and destroyed, and Fort Erie was saved, with Buffalo and the public stores on that frontier, and possibly all Western New York. 47

In this memorable sortie the Americans lost almost eighty killed, and more than four hundred wounded and missing. The loss of the British in killed, wounded, and missing was about five hundred, exclusive of three hundred and eighty-five who were made prisoners. "Thus," said General Brown, in his letter to the Secretary of War twelve days afterward, "one thousand regulars, and an equal portion of militia, in one hour of close action, blasted the hopes of the enemy, destroyed the fruits of fifty days’ labor, and diminished his effective force one thousand men at least."

The "hopes of the enemy" were indeed "blasted;" and, after hastily collecting his scattered forces, Drummond broke up his encampment on the night of the 21st, and retired to Riall’s old and partially demolished intrenchments behind Chippewa Creek. So sudden and precipitate was his flight that he abandoned some of his stores in front of Fort Erie, and destroyed others at Frenchman’s Creek, on the line of his retreat. It has been said, in praise of British courage and pugnacity, that they "never know when they are whipped," and such seems to have been the case in the present instance, for General L. De Watteville, writing in the camp two days after the action, spoke of the "repulse of the Americans at every point;" 48 and General Drummond, in a later dispatch, also spoke of a "repulse of an American army of five thousand men by an inconsiderable number of British troops." 49

This victory, following so soon those at Chippewa and Niagara Falls, and occurring so nearly simultaneously with the glorious one on land and water at Plattsburg, and the expulsion of the enemy from before Baltimore, diffused unusual joy throughout the country, and dispelled, in a measure, the gloom which had overspread the whole land because of the capture of the national capital by the British less than a month before. 50

General Brown, in his official report of the affair [September 29, 1814.], gave a generous list of heroes, with allusions to their gallant deeds, 51 and the loyal public hastened to honor them individually and collectively. The national Congress, by a resolution, approved by the President of the Republic on the 3d of November [1814.], awarded the thanks of the nation and a gold medal, with suitable devices, to each of the general officers. 52


To General Brown, of whom it has been truthfully said that "no enterprise undertaken by him ever failed,"
53 the Corporation of the City of New York gave him the honorary privilege of the freedom of the city in a gold box; 54 not long after the National Congress voted him a medal. An elegant sword was also presented to him by Daniel D. Tompkins, governor of the State of New York, in the name of that commonwealth. 55



To Generals Porter 56 and Ripley, 57 as well as to Scott, Gaines, and Miller, as we have already observed, the National Congress awarded the thanks of the nation, and a gift of a gold medal to each; and to Ripley the States of New York, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Georgia each gave expression of approbation, and visible honorary tokens of their appreciation of his services. The spirits of all the general officers in the Army of Niagara at that time, and of nearly all of the subordinate officers, have passed away from earth, but their memories are cherished with honor and affection. And of all the rank and file of that army, whose existence as an organization ended soon after the siege and defense of Fort Erie, very few remain among us, and these are men "with the snow that never melts" upon their heads. Fifty-three years or more have elapsed since they were there in arms for their country. 58

Major General George Izard, who was in command on Lake Champlain, having, as he believed, a competent force to protect that frontier, moved toward Sackett’s Harbor early in September, under the direction of the Secretary of War, with about four thousand troops, either to divert the British from their evident purpose of heavily re-enforcing Drummond, by menacing Kingston and the St. Lawrence communication with Montreal, or moving on to the aid of General Brown, At the Harbor he received a letter from the latter, dated the 10th of September [1814.], stating the effective force on the Niagara frontier to be not much more than two thousand men, and urging him to move on with his troops and form a junction with the Army of the Niagara at Buffalo. Porter, he said, would probably raise three thousand volunteer recruits; but, said he, "I will not conceal from you that I consider the fate of this army very doubtful unless speedy relief is afforded."

Izard’s division arrived at Sackett’s Harbor on the very day of the successful sortie at Fort Erie [September 17.], and at the same time he received a dispatch from General Macomb giving an inspiriting account of the repulse of the British from Plattsburg. He at once resolved to move westward, and on the 21st he embarked on Chauncey’s fleet twenty-five hundred infantry, at the same time directing his mounted and dismounted dragoons and light artillery to move by land by way of Onondaga.

Izard and his infantry reached the Genesee River on the 21st, where they disembarked the next day. They could not commence their march until the 24th, when they moved slowly, it being wilderness most of the way, and heavy rains were falling. They finally arrived at Lewiston on the 5th of October; and so unexpected was their appearance to the enemy that, if they could have procured boats, they might have surprised and captured a British battalion at Queenston. On that evening Izard was visited by Generals Brown and Porter. His design was to attack Fort Niagara, but it was agreed to form a junction of the two armies southward of Chippewa. Izard moved up to Black Rock, crossed there on the 10th and 11th, and encamped two miles north of Fort Erie. Ranking General Brown, he assumed chief command of the combined forces, and the latter retired to his old post at Sackett’s Harbor.

General Izard was soon in command of almost eight thousand troops, and prepared to march upon Drummond. Leaving Lieutenant Colonel Hindman and a sufficient garrison to hold Fort Erie, he moved with his army toward Chippewa, and vainly endeavored to draw the enemy out. He was informed that there was a considerable quantity of grain belonging to the British at Cook’s Mill, on Lyon’s Creek, and on the morning of the 18th of October he sent General Bissell, with about nine hundred of his own brigade, a company of riflemen under Captain Irvine, and a squadron of dragoons commanded by Captain Anspaugh, with instructions to capture or destroy it. They reached the vicinity of the mill that night, and encamped. Two companies, under Captain Dorman and Lieutenant Horrel, with Irvine’s riflemen, were sent across the creek as pickets for the security of the main body, and Lieutenant Gassaway, 59 at the head of a small party, was posted still more in advance, on the Chippewa Road. At midnight a detachment of Glengary infantry attacked these pickets, and were repulsed; and early in the morning Colonel Murray, with detachments from three regular regiments, the Glengary infantry, some dragoons and rocketeers, and a field-piece, renewed the attack. For fifteen minutes these gallant few of Bissell’s men maintained their ground, when his main body came up to their support. Colonel Pinckney, with his Fifth Regiment, was ordered to turn the right flank of the enemy, and cut off his field-piece, while Major Barnard advanced in front with instructions to make free use of the bayonet. These orders were quickly and effectively carried into execution, and, after some very sharp fighting by both parties, the British fell back in confusion and fled, leaving their killed and many of their wounded in the field, with a few prisoners. The fugitives were pursued some distance, when Bissell called back his men. The British fled to the main camp at Chippewa, and the Americans destroyed about two hundred bushels of wheat at the mill. The loss of the former was not exactly ascertained, but is supposed to have been about one hundred and fifty in killed, wounded, and prisoners. The Americans lost twelve killed, fifty-four wounded, including five officers, and one man made prisoner. Satisfied that he could not withstand the increased power of the Army of Niagara, physically and morally, Drummond now fell back to Fort George and Burlington Heights. 60

General Izard clearly perceived that farther offensive operations on the peninsula so late in the season would be imprudent, and perhaps extremely perilous to his army. He fell back from Street’s Creek to the Black Rock Ferry. Soon afterward the whole army crossed to the American side and abandoned Canada. General Winder, who had lately arrived from Baltimore, led General Brown’s infantry to Sackett’s Harbor. About a thousand men were sent to Greenbush, opposite Albany, on the Hudson; some of the troops commenced the erection of huts for winter quarters, and the remainder, excepting the Seventeenth and Nineteenth Regiments under General Miller, who went to Erie, were cantoned in that vicinity. 61 Knowing Fort Erie to be of little service, Izard, after consulting Major Totten, of the Engineers, and others, caused it to be mined, and on the 5th of November it was blown up and laid in ruins. So it has remained until now. 62


I was at Fort Erie and other distinguished places near, and in Buffalo, a day or two before I visited the battle-grounds of Chippewa and Niagara in August, 1860. It was my good fortune to have the company, on that occasion, of the venerable and war-scarred soldier of 1812, Captain (now Commodore) Stephen Champlin, of the United States Navy, whose gallant exploits on Lake Erie with the brave Perry have been already recorded in this work. 63 When he learned my errand he seemed to forget his painful wound, unhealed since he received it in the naval service in 1814, and, ordering his light carriage, he took me to every place of interest to the historian, the student, and the stranger.

We first rode to Fort Erie, crossing the head of the swift-flowing Niagara River from the Frontier Mills at the old Black Rock Ferry to the village of Fort Erie, which was once called Waterloo. The ruins of the fort are some distance up the Canada shore from the village.


On our way we passed old Fort Erie Mill, on the margin of the foot of the lake, which stood there during the war, as many scars and ball-holes still in its clapboards fully attest. On the left of the mill, delineated in the engraving, across the river, upon a high bank, is seen Fort Porter, and in the extreme distance on the right is seen the wharf of the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway Company. On our right, as we passed on to the fort, an elevated ridge was pointed out, on which the British batteries were erected for the siege of Fort Erie. No. 1 (see map on page 839), nearest the fort, was on property belonging to Captain Murray, of the Royal Navy, and No. 2 on the premises of Mr. Thompson. I did not ascertain on whose land were the mounds of No. 3. The ruins of all were quite prominent.

We spent about two hours in the hot sun on the site of Fort Erie and the battles, examining the theatre of scenes described in this chapter, and sketching some of the ruins; and, returning to Black Rock, we visited the site of the old navy yard, 64 a little way up Shogeoquady Creek, and called on the venerable James Sloan, the last survivor of the captors of the Caledonia and Adams in the autumn of 1812. 65

He was then past seventy-one years of age. From his lips we heard an interesting narrative of some of the events of that daring enterprise, illustrative of the courage, fortitude, and skill of the actors.

Leaving Mr. Sloan, we rode to the office of Dr. Trowbridge, of whom I have already spoken as a physician in Buffalo when the British destroyed it. He was seventy-five years of age, yet vigorous in mind and body. He gave us some interesting particulars of his own experience, and the bravery of the widow St. John. His son accompanied us to the room of the City Councils, where we saw the portrait of Mrs. Merrill (Miss Ransom), who was the first white child born in Western New York, on the domain of the Holland Land Purchase. At a late hour we returned, heated and weary, to the delightful residence of Captain Champlin, in the midst of gardens, and dined. There I saw the elegant straight sword presented to the hero, 66 and the richly-carved easy-chair made of the wood of the Lawrence, Perry’s flag-ship, delineated on page 542.

On the following morning [August 16, 1860.] I rode out with Captain Champlin to a beautiful depository of the dead in the suburbs of Buffalo, called Forest Lawn Cemetery. The ground is pleasantly undulating, is much covered with trees of the primeval forest, and is really a delightful resort during the heats of summer for those who are not saddened by the sight of graves.


There, in an elevated open space, within ground one hundred feet square, slightly inclosed, stands a fine monument of marble, twenty-two feet in height, which was erected by the corporate authorities of Buffalo in the autumn of 1852 in commemoration of several officers of the United States Army who were engaged in the War of 1812; also of a celebrated Indian chief, and to mark the spot where the remains of over one thousand persons, which were removed from the city, lie buried. 67 Near the monument (and seen in the foreground on the right) is a tomb of brick, bearing a recumbent slab of marble, over the grave of Captain Williams, who lost his life at Fort Erie. The inscription on it is historical and briefly biographical. 68 Southward of this is a handsomely-carved slab, lying on the ground, placed there in commemoration of a Connecticut soldier killed in the battle of Niagara. 69 Northeasterly of the monument is another slab, over the grave of Captain Wattles; 70 and south of it is another over the grave of Captain Dox. 71


Not far from this public monument, on a gentle, shaded slope, is the grave of General Bennet Riley, who was a soldier in the War of 1812, and was distinguished in the Seminole War and the contest with Mexico. Over it is a handsome marble monument, bearing a brief inscription. 72 Near this, in the cool shadows of the trees, we lingered some time, when a thunder-peal from the direction of Lake Erie warned us of the approach of a summer shower. We rode back to the city delighted with the morning’s experience, and between two and three o’clock I left for Niagara Falls in a railway coach, where I arrived, as before observed, in the midst of a heavy thunder-storm.

While the events we have been relating were occurring on the Niagara frontier, others of great importance were occurring in other portions of the wide field of action, especially on Lake Champlain, and on and near the sea-coasts. Before we proceed to a consideration of these, let us take a hasty glance at movements in the Northwest, which closed active military operations in the region of the upper lakes.

For many weeks after Harrison’s victory on the Thames nothing of great importance occurred in that region. The most stirring event was an expedition under Captain Holmes, a gallant and greatly beloved young officer, sent out by Lieutenant Colonel Butler in February [1814.], where he was in temporary command at Detroit. It consisted of one hundred and sixty men, including artillerists, with two 6-pounders, and its object was the capture of Port {original text has "Fort".} Talbot, a British outpost a hundred miles down Lake Erie from Detroit. Difficulties caused Holmes to change his destination, and he proceeded to attack another outpost at Delaware, on the River Thames. In that movement, too, he was foiled by the watchfulness and strategy of the foe, who lured him from his expected prey. Finally they came to blows toward the evening of the 3d of March [1814.], at a place called the Longwoods, in Canada, where they fought more than an hour, and then each gladly withdrew under cover of the night-shadows. In this affair the Americans lost seven men in killed and wounded, while the enemy’s loss, including the Indians, was much greater. 73 The expedition was fruitless of good to any body. 74

In former chapters we have a record of the capture of Fort St. Joseph and the post and island of Michillimackinack, or Mackinaw, by the British, immediately preceding (and partly inducing) the fall of Detroit in the summer of 1812. 75 The latter post, with all Michigan, as we have observed, 76 was recovered from the British in 1813. For the better security of these acquisitions against British and Indian incursions, General M‘Arthur, the commandant of the Eighth Military District, caused works to be erected at the foot of Lake Huron, or head of the Straits or River St. Clair. It was called Fort Gratiot, in honor of the engineer of that name who superintended its construction.

The Americans were not contented with the recovery of Michigan only, but determined to recapture Mackinaw and St. Joseph. The latter was the key to the vast traffic in furs with the Indians of the Northwest, and the British, knowing its importance in its commercial and political relations to their American possessions, as resolutely resolved to hold it. Accordingly Lieutenant Colonel M‘Douall was sent thither with a considerable body of troops (regulars and Canadian militia) and seamen, accompanied by twenty-four bateaux laden with ordnance. There he found a large body of Indians waiting to join him as allies.

The Americans planned a land and naval expedition to the upper lakes; and so early as April, when M’Douall went to Mackinaw, Commander Arthur St. Clair was placed in charge of a little squadron for the purpose, consisting of the Niagara, Caledonia, St. Lawrence, Scorpion, and Tigress, all familiar names in connection with Commodore Perry on Lake Erie. A land force, under Lieutenant Colonel Croghan, the gallant defender of Fort Stephenson, was prepared to accompany the squadron.

Owing to differences of opinion in Madison’s Cabinet, the expedition was not in readiness until the close of June. It left Detroit at the beginning of July. Croghan had five hundred regular troops and two hundred and fifty militia; and on the arrival of the expedition at Fort Gratiot on the 12th he was joined by the garrison of that post, composed of a regiment of Ohio Volunteers, under Colonel William Cotgreave. Captain Gratiot also joined the expedition. They sailed for Matchadach Bay to attack a newly-established British post there. A lack of good pilots for the dangerous channels among islands, rocks, and shoals leading to it, and the perpetual fogs that lay upon the water, caused them to abandon the undertaking after a week’s trial, and the squadron sailed for St. Joseph, in the direction of Lake Superior. It anchored before it on the 20th. The post was abandoned, and the fort was committed to the flames. This accomplished, Major Holmes, of the Thirty-second Infantry, and Lieutenant Turner, of the Navy, were sent with some troops and cannon to destroy the establishment of the British Northwest Company at the Saut St. Marie, or Falls of St. Mary. That company had been from the beginning, because of its vital interest in maintaining the British ascendency among the Indian tribes, with whom its profitable traffic was carried on, the most inveterate and active enemy of the Americans. Its agents had been the most effective emissaries of the British authorities in inciting the Indians to make war on the Americans; and, in every way, it merited severe chastisement at the hands of those whose friends had suffered from the knife and hatchet of the cruel savages.

Holmes arrived at St. Mary’s on the 21st [July, 1814.]. John Johnson, a renegade magistrate from Michigan, and an Indian trader, who was the agent of the Northwest Company at that place, apprised of his approach, fled with a considerable amount of property, after setting on fire the company’s vessel above the Rapids. She was saved by the Americans, 77 but every thing valuable on shore that could not be carried away was destroyed. Holmes then returned to St. Joseph, when the whole expedition started for Mackinaw, where it arrived on the 26th [July.]. It was soon ascertained that the enemy there were very strong in position and numbers, and the propriety of an immediate attack was a question between Croghan and St. Chair. The post could not be carried by storm, nor could the guns of the vessels easily do much damage to the works, they were so elevated. It was finally decided that Croghan should land with his troops on the back or western part of the island, under cover of the guns of the ships, and attempt to attack the works in the rear. This was done at Dowsman’s farm on the 4th of August, without much molestation, but Croghan had not advanced far before he was confronted by the garrison under M‘Douall, who were strongly supported by Indians in the thick woods. M‘Douall poured a storm of shot and shell from a battery of guns upon the invaders, when the savages fell upon them. A sharp conflict ensued, carried on chiefly on the part of the enemy by the Indians under Thomas, a brave chief of the Fallsovine tribe, when Croghan was compelled to fall back and flee to the shipping, with the loss of the much-beloved Major Holmes, who was killed, and Captains Van Horn and Desha, and Lieutenant Jackson, who were severely wounded. He also lost twelve private soldiers killed, fifty-two wounded, and two missing. The loss of the enemy is unknown.

Croghan and St. Clair abandoned the attempt to take Mackinaw; and as they were about to depart, they heard of the successful expedition of Lieutenant Colonel M‘Kay, who, with nearly seven hundred men, mostly Indians, had gone down the Wisconsin River and taken from the Americans the post at Prairie du Chien, at the mouth of that stream [July 17, 1814.]. Yet they were not disheartened, and resolved not to return to Detroit empty-handed of all success. They proceeded to the mouth of the Nautawassaga River, assailed and destroyed a block-house three miles up from its mouth, and hoped to capture the schooner Nancy, belonging to the Northwest Company, and a quantity of valuable furs. They failed. The furs had been taken to a place of safety, and the schooner was burnt by order of Lieutenant Worseley, who was in command of the block-house.

Very soon after this the squadron sailed for Detroit, with the exception of the Tigress, Captain Champlin, and Scorpion, Captain Turner, which were left to blockade the Nautawassaga, it being the only route by which provisions and other supplies might be sent to Mackinaw. They cruised about for some time, effectually cutting off supplies from Mackinaw, and threatening the garrison with starvation. Their useful career in that business was suddenly closed early in September, when they were both captured by a party of British and Indians, sent out in five boats (one mounting a long 6, and another a 3 pounder) from Mackinaw to raise the blockade, under the general command of Lieutenant Bulger, his second being Lieutenant Worseley. They fell first upon the Tigress, off St. Joseph’s, when her consort was understood to be fifteen miles away. She was at anchor near the shore. The attack was made at nine o’clock in the evening of the 3d of September. It was intensely dark, and they were within fifty yards of the Tigress when discovered. The assailants were warmly received, but in five minutes the vessel was boarded and carried by overwhelming numbers, her force being only thirty men, exclusive of officers, and that of the assailants about one hundred. "The defense of this vessel," said Bulger, in his report of the affair, "did credit to her officers, 78 who were all severely wounded." Her officers and crew were sent prisoners of war to Mackinaw the next morning. 79

Bulger and his men remained on board the Tigress. Her position was unchanged, and her pennant was kept flying. On the 5th the Scorpion was seen approaching. Bulger ordered his men to hide. The unsuspecting vessel came within two miles, and anchored for the night. At dawn the next morning [September 6.] the Tigress ran down alongside of her, and then the enemy, starting from his concealment, rushed on board, and in a few minutes the British flag was floating over her. The loss on each side in these captures was slight. Vessels and prisoners were taken to Mackinaw, and their arrival produced great joy there. So exhausted were the supplies of the garrison that starvation would have compelled a surrender in less than a fortnight. These captures were announced with a great flourish by the British authorities; and Adjutant General Baynes actually stated, in a general order, that the vessels "had crews of three hundred men each!" He only exaggerated five hundred and seventy in stating the aggregate of the crews of the two schooners.

Croghan and St. Clair reached Detroit, on their return, late in August, and for a while no military movement was undertaken in that region. At length General M‘Arthur made a terrifying raid into Canada. He had been ordered to raise mounted men for the purpose of chastising the Indians around Lake Michigan, and on the 9th of October he had arrived at Detroit with about seven hundred mounted men from Kentucky and Ohio, accompanied by Major Charles S. Todd as adjutant general. The critical situation of the American army under General Brown, at Fort Erie, at that time induced M‘Arthur first to make a diversion in favor of that general. Accordingly, late in the month, he left Detroit with seven hundred and fifty men and five field-pieces, and, to mislead the enemy, passed up Lake and River St. Clair toward Lake Huron. On the morning of the 26th he suddenly crossed the St. Clair River into Canada, pushed on to the thriving Baldoon settlement of Scotch families, and then made his way as rapidly as possible to the Moravian Towns, on the scene of Harrison’s exploits a year before, spreading great alarm in his path. On the 4th of November he entered the village of Oxford. He came unheralded, and the inhabitants were greatly terrified. He disarmed and paroled the militia, and threatened instant destruction to the property of any one who should give notice to any British post of his coming. Two men did so, and their houses were laid in ashes. On the following day he pushed on to Burford, where the militia were casting up intrenchments. They fled at his approach, and the whole country was filled with alarm. Fear magnified the estimate of his number, and the story went before him that he had two thousand men in his train.


Burlington, at the head of Lake Ontario, was M‘Arthur’s destination. On he pressed from Burford, but when he arrived on the bank of the Grand River, at Brantford, he found his passage of that considerable stream disputed by a large force of the Six Nations who resided near, with militia and dragoons. He was informed that Major Muir was not far distant, in a dangerous defile on the road to Burlington, with a considerable force of regulars and Indians, and some cannon. M‘Arthur concluded it would not be prudent to attempt to go farther eastward, so he turned down the Long Point Road, and proceeded to attack some militia, who had a fortified camp at Malcolm’s Mill, on the Grand River. They fled at his approach, and in his pursuit of them M‘Arthur killed and wounded seven, and took one hundred and thirty-one prisoners. His own loss was only one killed and six wounded. The mill was burned, with all the property in it. This accomplished, the invaders pushed on to Dover, destroying several mills on the way, which were making flour for Drummond’s army. There he was informed of the evacuation of Canada by Izard, and of a web of perils that were gathering around; so he turned his face westward, and hastened toward Detroit, by way of St. Thomas and the Thames, pursued some distance by eleven hundred British regulars. He arrived at Sandwich on the 17th of November, and there discharged his brave band.

M‘Arthur’s raid was one of the boldest operations of the war. For almost four weeks he had skurried hundreds of miles through the enemy’s country, spreading alarm every where, and keeping the militia from Drummond’s ranks; destroying property here and there that might be useful to the enemy, and then returning to the place of departure with the loss of only one life! 80 He was generous as well as bold; and he publicly acknowledged that much of his success was due "to the military talents, activity, and intelligence of Major Todd," his adjutant general, who yet [1867] lives in his native Kentucky, in the vigor of a green old age.




1 Henry Leavenworth was born in Connecticut, December 10, 1783, and was made captain in the Twenty-fifth Regiment United States Infantry in April, 1812. He was promoted to major in the Ninth Infantry in August, 1813. For his bravery at Chippewa he was breveted lieutenant colonel, and for his distinguished services at the battle of Niagara Falls he was breveted colonel. He was retained in the army, and made lieutenant colonel of the Fifth Infantry in February, 1818. He performed able service in the wilderness westward of the Mississippi, far up the Missouri, and a fort in that region bears his name. In July, 1824, he was breveted brigadier general for ten years’ service, and the following year he was made full colonel. He died near the Cross Timbers, on the False Washita River, July 21, 1834.

2 Jesup’s Manuscript Memoir, etc.

3 Within three or four days the British had erected beacons in this vicinity in order to give alarms. These were constructed under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Myers, an officer who was made prisoner at Fort George the year before, and afterward exchanged. Writing to Captain James Cummings (now of Chippewa) on the 21st of July, he said, "The best place at Wilson’s is on the cleared point, near the paling of Wilson’s garden, and not far from the head of the path that goes down to the Table Rock." – Autograph Letter.

4 "Who gave this order to Miller?" has been an unsettled question. A late writer on this battle says, "I am constrained to believe, on the testimony of Colonel Miller himself, as well as that of Captain M‘Donald, that the idea on which was based the assault was General Ripley’s; that he ordered its execution; and that the troops had moved to execute it before General Brown knew any thing about the matter." I have before me an autograph letter of General Miller, written to his wife three days after the battle from Fort Erie, in which he says, "Major M‘Ree, the chief engineer, told General Brown he could do no good until that height was carried, and those cannon taken or driven from their position. It was then night, but moonlight. General Brown turned to me and said, ‘Colonel Miller, take your regiment and storm that work, and take it." General Brown, in his Manuscript Memorandum, etc., says, "The commanding general rode to Colonel Miller, and ordered him to charge and carry the enemy’s artillery with the bayonet. He replied, in a tone of good-humor, that he would try to execute the order." See, also, Silliman’s Gallop among American Scenery. This positive testimony of the chief actors settles the question. It was General Brown, and not General Ripley, who gave the order. Miller’s modest response, "I’ll try, sir," is one of the sayings which Americans delight to remember, and History loves to repeat.

James Miller was born in Peterborough, New Hampshire, on the 25th of April, 1776, and was thirty-eight years of age at this time. He was educated for the bar, but in 1808 he entered the United States Army as major of the Fourth Regiment of Infantry. In 1810 he was made lieutenant colonel, and, as we have already observed in this work, performed gallant services under Harrison in the campaign that ended at the battle of Tippecanoe. In August, 1812, he was breveted as colonel for his distinguished services near Detroit, which we have already recorded [TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: – Chapter XIII. and Chapter XIV.]; and in May the following year he commenced an equally distinguished series of services on the Niagara frontier in the Sixth Regiment. In March, 1814, he was promoted to full colonel of the Twenty-first Regiment, and accompanied General Brown, in the brigade of General Ripley, in the invasion of Canada in July. He fought gallantly at the battles of Chippewa and Niagara Falls, and also at Fort Erie; and for his services in capturing the battery in Lundy’s Lane, and general good conduct on the Niagara frontier, he was breveted a brigadier general, and received from Congress a gold medal, with suitable emblems and devices, delineated in the engraving on the opposite page. General Miller resigned his commission in the army in 1819, when he was appointed governor of Arkansas Territory. He held that office until March, 1825, when he was appointed collector of the port of Salem, Massachusetts, which position he held twenty-four years, or until 1849, when he was prostrated by paralysis. He had a second stroke of paralysis on the morning of the 4th of July, 1851, and died on the 7th at the age of seventy-five years. He was then living at Temple, New Hampshire, where part of his family still reside.

The gold medal presented by Congress is the size delineated on the following page. On one side is a bust of General Miller, with his name and title, and the words "I’LL TRY." On the other, a battle scene on a slope and eminence as at Lundy’s Lane. Troops are seen advancing in the distance. Over the scene are the words "RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS, NOVEMBER 8, 1814." Below, the words "BATTLES OF CHIPPEWA, JULY 5, 1814; NIAGARA, JULY 25, 1814; ERIE, SEPTEMBER 17, 1814."

5 Robert Carter Nicholas, of Kentucky, entered the army as captain of the Seventh Infantry in 1808. He became a major in 1810, and lieutenant colonel of the First Infantry in August, 1812. After the battle of Niagara he was promoted to colonel of the Nineteenth (September, 1814), and was retained at the peace. He resigned in 1819, and in 1821 became United States Indian Agent for the Chickasaws.

6 Autograph Letter of General Miller to his Wife from Fort Erie, July 28, 1814.

7 Miller’s Autograph Letter.

8 John M‘Neil was born in New Hampshire in 1784. He very early evinced a taste for military life. At the age of seventeen years he was an ensign, and soon afterward a captain of a grenadier company in his native state, which was remarkable for its physical vigor. His youth and early manhood were spent in rural labors and sports. In March, 1812, he entered the army as captain of the Eleventh Infantry, and in August the next year he was promoted to major. For his gallant conduct at Chippewa, where he commanded his regiment, he was breveted lieutenant colonel, and for similar conduct in the battle of Niagara he was breveted colonel. In that battle he behaved with the greatest gallantry. When the Twenty-second Regiment broke and was about to flee in disorder, M‘Neil spurred his horse in front of them, and, with his tremendous voice uttering persuasions and threats, he succeeded in rallying them and leading them into action. His horse was killed under him, and he was wounded in both legs by canister-shot. A six-ounce ball passed through and shattered his right knee, and nearly carried away the limb. But he continued to fight until, becoming faint from loss of blood, he was carried off the field, a cripple for life, and his iron constitution shattered. He was retained in the army at its reduction as major of the Fifth Infantry, and served upon the Western frontier. He was breveted brigadier general in 1824, and in 1826 promoted to the rank of full colonel. He was appointed an Indian commissioner in 1829. In 1830 he resigned his commission, and was appointed by President Jackson surveyor of the port of Boston, which office he held until his death at Washington City, on the 23d of February, 1850. He married a half-sister of Franklin Pierce, the fourteenth President of the United States. He was a powerful man, standing six feet six inches in his stockings.

9 Hugh Brady was a Pennsylvanian by birth, and was born in Northumberland County in 1768. He entered the army as ensign in 1792, and served in the Northwest under General Wayne. He was captain of the Fourth Infantry in 1799, and was out of service from June, 1800, until July, 1812, when he was commissioned colonel of the Twenty-second Infantry. He was distinguished at both Chippewa and Niagara Falls. He was retained in 1815, and in 1822 was breveted a brigadier general. He was in the war with Mexico, and for meritorious conduct there, at the age of eighty years, he was breveted major general. He died at Detroit on the 15th of April, 1851, aged eighty-three years.

10 This picture of the tattered banner and its broken staff of the Twenty-fifth Regiment, as it appeared on the day after the battle of Niagara Falls, is from a drawing made then, belonging to the Rochester Light Guard, and hanging in their armory in the spring of 1852, when a careful copy was kindly sent to me by Mr. Jeremiah Watts, one of the members of the Guard. The flag was white silk, with a yellow fringe, and the words "THE TWENTY-FIFTH REGIMENT OF U. S. INFANTRY" were inscribed upon a blue ribbon, with gilt scrolls at each end.

11 Thomas Sidney Jesup was a native of Virginia, and was born in 1788. He entered the army as second lieutenant of Infantry in May, 1808. He was General Hull’s brigade major in the campaign of 1812, in which he was also acting adjutant general. He was promoted to captain in January, 1813, and major of the Nineteenth Infantry in April following. Early in 1814 he was transferred to the Twenty-fifth – a regiment which he had raised mostly by his own exertions in Hartford, Connecticut, and its vicinity. For his gallant conduct at Chippewa he was breveted lieutenant colonel, and for like distinguished conduct in the battle of Niagara, where he was wounded, he was breveted colonel. He was retained in the army in 1815, and was made lieutenant colonel of the Third Infantry in 1817. The following year he was made adjutant general, with the rank of colonel, and shortly afterward quartermaster general, with the rank of brigadier general. In May, 1828, he was breveted major general for ten years’ faithful service. In 1836 he was appointed to the command of the army in the Creek Nation, and the same year succeeded General Call in command of the army in Florida. He was active during the war with the Seminole Indians, and was wounded in one of the battles. He was succeeded by Colonel Zachary Taylor, and retired to the duties of the quartermaster general’s department, in the performance of which he continued until his death at Washington City, at the age of seventy-two years, on the 10th of June, 1860.

12 The gallant Major M‘Farland was mortally wounded while fighting at the head of his battalion of the Twenty-third Regiment. Daniel M‘Farland was a Pennsylvanian, and entered the army as captain in the Twenty-second Infantry in March, 1812. In August, 1813, he was promoted to major in the Twenty-third, and was killed in the battle of Niagara Falls.

Captains Biddle and Ritchie, of the artillery, were both wounded in that battle early in the action, and the brunt of the artillery service fell on Towson. Thomas Biddle, Junior, was a gallant officer from Pennsylvania. He entered the army as captain of infantry in the spring of 1812, but joined the Second Artillery soon afterward. He was distinguished in the capture of Fort George, and also at Stony Creek in May and June, 1813. In September be was brigade major under General Williams. He was slightly wounded at Niagara, and for gallant service at Fort Erie afterward he was breveted a major. There he was again wounded. In December following he was aid-de-camp to General Izard. He remained in the army some years, and was finally killed in a duel at St. Louis, Missouri, August 29, 1831.

John Ritchie, who was also in this battle, was a Virginian. He entered the army in the spring of 1812 as captain in the Second Artillery. Although severely wounded in the battle of Niagara Falls, he stuck to his gun, and was killed. He had declared that he would never leave his piece, and, true to that declaration, he fell by it, covered with wounds.

13 General Brown’s Manuscript Memoir, etc. He says, "General Brown entertained no doubt of the intelligence or bravery of General Ripley," but his conduct on the morning of the 26th was such that "his confidence in him as a commander was sensibly diminished. The general believed that he dreaded responsibility more than danger. In short, that he had a greater share of physical than moral courage."

14 Miller’s Autograph Letter to his Wife, July 28. Brown’s Memorandum, etc., and his Official Report to the Secretary of War, dated "Buffalo, August, 1814." In that report the commanding general spoke in the highest terms of all his officers and troops. He particularly mentioned the gallant services of Scott, Porter, Jesup, Towson, Hindman, Biddle, Ritchie, Gardner, his adjutant general, M‘Ree and Wood, his engineers, his aids-de-camp Austin and Spencer, and Lieutenant Randolph, of the Twentieth Regiment, "whose courage was conspicuous." "The staff of Generals Ripley and Porter," he said, "discovered great zeal and attention to duty."

15 The battle was fought within sight and hearing of the great Falls of Niagara, and should bear that dignified name. It was so called in one of the first published accounts of it. "The battle of NIAGARA," said the Albany Argus at the beginning of August, "commands, like the achievements of our naval heroes, the admiration of all classes of the American people, a few excepted." The hottest of the contest having occurred in the struggle for the battery in Lundy’s Lane caused the battle to be called after the name of that road. About a mile above the field of battle, on the banks of the Niagara, were mills called The Bridgewater Mills. A person attached to the American army, but not in the battle, wrote while it was in progress to some friend in the interior of New York, saying that a great battle was then raging near the Bridgewater Mills. This letter was published extensively, and the conflict was called the Battle of Bridgewater. It was so announced in Niles’s Register, August 13, 1814.

16 Ambrose Spencer, of New York, was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Twenty-ninth Infantry in April, 1813, and promoted to captain in February, 1814. He had been made aid to General Brown in August, 1814, and remained in his family until his death. He was greatly distinguished in the battle of Niagara Falls. General Brown relates, in his Manuscript Memoir, etc., already cited, that when the last heavy re-enforcements of the British were coming up in the dim moonlight, and he was watching them with intense interest, Captain Spencer suddenly put spurs to his horse, and rode directly to the front of the advancing foe. Then, turning to the enemy’s right, he inquired, in a firm, strong voice, "What regiment is that?" He was promptly answered, "The Royal Scots, sir." "Halt! Royal Scots," he replied, and they obeyed. With this information he returned to his general, and soon afterward received a wound which caused his death, at Fort Erie, on the 5th of August. General Drummond had sent a message to Brown asking an exchange of their aids. Spencer was mortally wounded, but Loring was well. Affection for his aid caused Brown to depart from the usages of war, and he complied. On the very day that Spencer was brought to Fort Erie he died, and Captain Loring was sent back to his general.

17 It was the annual Commencement at the College of New Jersey, at Princeton, when General Scott arrived there on his way to Philadelphia. The faculty of the college invited him to attend the ceremonies at the church. He was carried thither on a litter, pale and emaciated from suffering, and was placed upon the stage among the professors and invited guests. He was greeted by both sexes with the greatest enthusiasm. The orator of the day was the now deceased brother of Bishop M‘Ilvaine, of Ohio, and his subject happened to be "The public duties of a good citizen in peace and war" – an appropriate one for the occasion; and toward its close he turned to Scott and pronounced a most touching eulogy of his conduct. This compliment was followed by the conferring upon the wounded hero the honorary degree of Master of Arts. With grateful heart Scott passed on, and was met, when approaching Philadelphia, by Governor Snyder and a division of militia – See Mansfield’s Life of Scott, Chapter XI.

18 Our engraving on the following page is a representation of the medal, a trifle smaller than the original. On one side is a bust of General Scott, with his name. On the other side, surrounded by a wreath, composed of palm and olive leaves entwining a snake, emblem of youth and immortality, are the words "RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS, NOVEMBER 8, 1814. BATTLES OF CHIPPEWA, JULY 5, 1814; NIAGARA, JULY 25, 1814." This medal was not presented until about the close of Mr. Monroe’s administration (February 26, 1825), when the President, in the presence of his cabinet, handed it to him with a brief address. Many years afterward, while it was in the City Bank for safe keeping, the safe of that corporation was entered one night by robbers. They carried off $50,000, but left the medal. Several years afterward, one of the rogues, when on trial for another offense, said that "when he took the money from the City Bank he saw and well knew the value of the medal, but scorned to take from the soldier what had been given by the gratitude of his country." The profile of General Scott on the medal is said to be the best likeness extant of the hero at the time he won the honor.

19 The New York sword was presented to General Scott by Governor Tompkins in the City Hall, New York, on "Evacuation Day" (November 25), 1816. The Virginia sword was not presented until 1825, when it was bestowed by Governor Pleasants. It was an elegant weapon, with suitable devices on the scabbard, hilt, and blade. On one side of the blade is seen Scott, just as Miller had carried the Lundy’s Lane battery, mounting a charger, another having been torn in pieces under him. Below this is an eagle between two scrolls, bearing the names and dates of his two battles. On the opposite side of the blade are the words "Presented by the Commonwealth of Virginia to General Winfield Scott, 12th February, 1816;" and below this the arms of Virginia.

20 Winfield Scott was born in Petersburg, Virginia, on the 13th of June, 1786. He was left an orphan in his boyhood, and was educated, under the care of friends, at William and Mary College. He chose the law for a profession, but soon changed it for that of arms. He entered the United States Army as a captain of light artillery in 1808, and was stationed at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, under General Wilkinson. He had some difficulty with that officer, and during a temporary suspension from duty returned to his profession in his native state. He rejoined the army, and, as lieutenant colonel, went to the Canada frontier in 1812. His career there until the close of the battle of Niagara Falls has been delineated in the text of this work. As we have observed, he took command of the Tenth Military District, with his head-quarters at Washington City, late in the autumn of 1814, when he held the commission of major general by brevet. His wound was very severe. It was in the left shoulder, and his arm was left partially disabled. He was offered and declined a place in the cabinet as Secretary of War. After assisting in the reduction of the army to a peace establishment, he was sent to Europe in a military and diplomatic capacity, where he met some of the most distinguished of Napoleon’s generals. He compiled some useful military text-books, and was in active service wherever there was a speck of war until that with Mexico broke out, in which he was chief actor on the part of the United States. He was then general-in-chief of the armies of the United States, with the rank of major general. For his distinguished services in that war he received many civic honors. In 1852 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Presidency of the United States. In 1855 the brevet rank of lieutenant general was revived and conferred upon him. When the great Civil War broke out he was found, unlike a great proportion of the officers of the regular army who were born in the Slave-labor states, a powerful supporter of his government, and by his skill and courage secured the peaceful inauguration of Mr. Lincoln as President of the United States at a time when the national capital and the life of the chief magistrate elect were menaced by banded rebels. He retired from active service in the autumn of 1861, and died at West Point, on the Hudson, May 29, 1866.

21 Colonel Cummings is yet (1867) living at Chippewa, at the age of eighty years. He entered the military service as lieutenant of a volunteer flank company in 1812, and was stationed on the spot where the battle of Chippewa was fought two years later. He was promoted to the cavalry, but was soon called to Fort George by General Brock, and appointed deputy quartermaster general of militia, with the rank of captain. He was in the battle at Stony Creek, the taking of Bœrstler at the Beaver Dams, and was the one who received Colonel Chapin’s sword when he surrendered there. He was with Lieutenant Colonel Bisshopp at the taking of Black Rock, and was near him when he fell. He was in several skirmishes, and participated in the battles of Chippewa and Niagara as aid to General Riall. He was an active officer, and between these battles had charge of the establishing of beacons between Chippewa and Queenston, under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Myers. These beacons were made by setting up a pole, from which was suspended an iron basket filled with resinous bark.

22 Nothing of Samuel Street’s house was left but the chimney, as delineated on page 806. His orchard, on the south side of the stream, which was young at the time of the battle, now appeared venerable, but vigorous.

23 See page 807.

24 See page 813.


25 The cut on the following page represents the board slab which I found near the grave of Captain Hull, on which was the following inscription: "This was erected by his brother officers to mark the spot where Captain Hull, U. S. Army, fell in the memorable action at Lundy’s Lane, 25th July, 1814, gallantly leading his men to the charge."

26 This is a plain stone, two and a half feet in height, which bears the following Inscription: "Here lies the body of Abraham Hull, captain in the Ninth Regiment U. S. Infantry, who fell near this spot in the battle of Bridgewater [see note 3, page 824], July 25, 1814, aged twenty-eight years."

Captain Abraham Fuller Hull entered the army as captain in the Ninth Infantry on the 14th of April, 1812, and was with his father during the march of the army from Dayton to Detroit. He was made aid-de-camp to his father in May, 1812, and served as such until the surrender in August. When he again assumed his place in the line, he took command of his old company in the Ninth, under Major Leavenworth. He was an excellent officer, and his loss was much lamented.

27 See page 412.

28 "While the wounded," says Major Jesup, "were moving by water to Buffalo, the army abandoned its strong position behind the Chippewa, and, after destroying a part of its stores, fell back, or, rather, fled to the ferry opposite Black Rock, but a short distance below Fort Erie; and General Ripley, but for the opposition made by M‘Ree, Wood, Towson, Porter, and other officers, would have crossed to the American shore. Had the enemy availed himself of this blunder, not a man of our army could have escaped. . . . . The American general could have maintained his position [at Chippewa], and have held General Drummond in check during the remainder of the campaign." – Jesup’s Manuscript Memoir of the Niagara Campaign.

Early on the morning of the 27th the commanding general at Black Rock "was advised that the army had fallen back in haste, and was then near him on the opposite side of the strait. This movement was unexpected, and greatly affected the general. General Ripley intended to have proceeded with the army immediately to the American side of the strait, but the honorable stand taken by the officers whom he consulted induced him to shrink from this intention. Majors M‘Ree, Wood, and Towson, as well as General Porter, deserve particular honor for their high-minded conduct on this occasion. General Ripley left the army, and came to General Brown with a hope of obtaining an order for him to cross with the forces. No proposition could have been more surprising to the major general; and perhaps, at this interview, he treated General Ripley with unjustifiable indignation and scorn." – General Brown’s Manuscript Memorandum of Occurrences connected with the Campaigns of Niagara.

29 When General Ripley left General Brown’s chamber and went below, he remarked to persons there that he would not be responsible for the army if it remained in Canada, and insisted that a written order should be given him. When informed of this, Brown sent to Ripley the following note:

"Head-quarters, Buffalo, 27th July, 1814.

"SIR, – All the sick and wounded, and the surplus baggage, will be immediately removed to this place. Those men who are sound and able to fight will encamp at Fort Erie, so as to defend that post, and, at the same time, hold the ferry below until the wounded, sick, and surplus baggage have crossed. You will send Major Wood or Major M‘Ree to me immediately." – General Brown’s Manuscript Letter-book.

30 This little sketch shows the general appearance of the remains when I visited the spot in the summer of 1860. In the front, on the extreme right, are the crumbled walls of Douglass’s Battery, and in the extreme distance those of Fort Erie. Intermediately are seen the mounds of the intrenchments which connected the old fort with Towson’s Battery.

31 See map on page 839.

32 Edmund Pendleton Gaines was born in Culpepper County, Virginia, on the 20th of March, 1777. At the close of the Revolution his father returned to North Carolina, where he had resided, and there the son toiled on a small farm. When he was about thirteen years of age the family emigrated to Tennessee, and at the age of eighteen young Gaines was elected a lieutenant of a rifle company. He entered the United States Army as an ensign in January, 1809. He remained in the army six years, and then became collector of the port of Mobile. He was promoted to Captain in the army, and in that capacity was placed in command of Fort Stoddart, and was active in the arrest of Burr (see page 137). He was commissioned a major in 1812, and rose through the various grades to brigadier general in March, 1814. He was breveted a major general for his gallant conduct at Fort Erie, where he was wounded. Congress rewarded him with thanks and a gold medal. He was retained in 1815. He was active in the Southern Indian Country, particularly in the Seminole War. He died at New Orleans on the 6th of June, 1849, at the age of seventy-two years. The signature here given is from a letter to Judge Hugh L. White, dated "Fort Erie, Upper Canada, August 24, 1814.

33 Three copies were made of this secret order by Lieutenant Colonel Harvey, Drummond’s assistant adjutant general, for the use respectively of Lieutenant Colonel Drummond, Lieutenant Colonel Fischer, and Colonel Scott. A copy of the one given to Drummond is before me. It is in the handwriting of Harvey, and was found on the body of Drummond after his death, with another paper mentioned in the subjoined paragraph in a letter of General Gaines to Judge Hugh L. White, of Tennessee, the original of which is also before me. It is dated at Fort Erie, August 24, 1814. General Gaines says: "The inclosed papers, numbers one and two, were in the pockets of Colonel Drummond. The ball that killed him passed through the latter, and a bayonet through the former. I send them to you as trophies, and curiosities which I wish preserved." The paper number one, through which the bayonet was thrust, was the secret order above mentioned. Number two is a rough topographical pencil-sketch of Fort Erie, the position of the British works, that of the three vessels on the lake, and the relative position of Buffalo and Black Rock. Through this the fatal bullet went, and left a fracture in each of its four folds, around which the blood-stain may be still seen, having the appearance of sepia in color. These interesting mementoes of the sanguinary field of Erie are in the possession of Samuel Jaudon, Esq., of New York, a relative of Judge White by marriage, to whose courtesy I am indebted for their use.

In the secret order is the following paragraph, of which I have made a fac-simile: "The lieutenant general most strongly recommends a free use of the bayonet."

The bayonet that wounded Drummond passed through the paragraph immediately above this, and left a fracture in the paper about an inch in length and half an inch in width. In the secret order the parole was "Steel," and the countersign "Twenty."

34 William Goldsmith Belknap was born in Newburg, Orange County, New York, on the 14th of September, 1794. He entered the army as third lieutenant in the Twenty-third Regiment of United States Infantry in the spring of 1814, and in the following autumn was in Wilkinson’s expedition down the St. Lawrence. He followed the fortunes of General Brown, and was with him on the Niagara frontier in 1814. His services at Fort Erie, where he was severely wounded, received the warm commendations of his superior officers. * He was retained in the army at the peace as first lieutenant in the Second Regiment, Colonel Brady. At the reduction of the army in 1821 he was transferred to the Third, and the following year was promoted to captain. He was promoted to major in 1842, and, having been active and useful in the Seminole War in Florida, he was breveted lieutenant colonel. He was with General Taylor in Texas and Mexico, and in the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma he gallantly commanded a brigade. During the remainder of the service he was Taylor’s inspector general. For his gallant conduct at the battle of Buena Vista he was breveted brigadier general. He was with General Taylor in all his battles. From December, 1848, to May, 1851, General Belknap was in command of Fort Gibson, in the Cherokee nation, and his memory is cherished with gratitude by that people He died near Preston, Texas, on the 10th of November, 1851.

* In a letter to Major Belknap in 1841 (kindly placed in my hands by a daughter of that gallant officer), Brigadier General Towson gave most interesting details of the operations of the picket and the attack of the enemy.

35 "I several times heard," says General Gaines in his report to the Secretary of War, "and many of our officers heard, orders given ‘to give the damned Yankee rascals no quarter !’ "

36 Statement of "A Veteran of 1812, in Porter’s Corps," who was a participant in the fight, writing from Troy, New York. See Old Soldier’s Advocate, Cleveland, Ohio, October, 1859. Alluding to the capture of Lieutenant Fontaine, of the artillery, who fell among the Indians, and was kindly treated by them, General Gaines in his report said, "It would seem, then, that these savages had not joined in the resolution to give no quarter."

37 General Gaines’s official Dispatch to the Secretary of War.

38 Manuscript Reminiscences of Major (then Lieutenant) Douglass, quoted by Dawson in his Battles of the United States by Sea and Land, ii., 368.

39 "The cause of this explosion," says an eye-witness (one of Porter’s men), "has never been officially explained. History ascribes it to accident; and perhaps it would not be proper for me to state what I learned at the time. Even if it was design, I think the end justified the means. It was that mysterious explosion which, through Providence, saved our gallant little army from the horrors of a general massacre."

The venerable Jabez Fisk, now (1867) living near Adrian, Michigan, who was in the fight, is not so reticent concerning the explosion. In a letter to me, dated May 20, 1863, he writes: "Three or four hundred of the enemy had got into the bastion. At this time an American officer came running up, and said, ‘General Gaines, the bastion is full. I can blow them all to hell in a minute!’ They both passed back through a stone building, and in a short time the bastion and the British were high in the air. General Gaines soon returned, swinging his hat, and shouting ‘Hurrah for Little York!’ " This was in allusion to the blowing up of the British magazine at Little York, where General Pike was killed. See page 589.

40 Letter of General Gaines to the secretary of War, August 26, 1814. "It is due," he said, "to the brave men I have the honor to command that I should say that the affair was to the enemy a sore beating and a defeat; and it was to us a handsome victory."

41 On one aide of the medal is the bust, name, and title of General Gaines, and on the other a figure of Victory standing on a shield, under which is a flag and a halbert. She holds a palm branch in one hand, and with the other is placing a laurel wreath on the end of a cannon which is standing upright, its muzzle downward. Around it is a scroll. inscribed "ERIE." On one trunnion rests British colors, and from the other is suspended a broadsword. By the side of the cannon lies a howitzer, helmet, and balls. Behind the cannon is seen a halbert. Around the whole are the words "RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS, NOVEMBER 8, 1814; and below, "BATTLE OF ERIE, AUGUST 15, 1814."

42 In this affair the Americans lost one seaman killed, and three officers and four seamen wounded. The enemy lost two seamen killed and four wounded. The Porcupine sailed for Erie.

43 General Brown’s Letter to the Secretary of War, September 29, 1814.

44 The council of officers was held on the 9th. Major Jesup, then recovering from his wounds, was at Buffalo, and was invited to participate in the conference. The lake was so rough that he did not get over until after the meeting had broken up. "General Brown," says Jesup in his manuscript Memoir, etc., "was evidently much disappointed at the result of the council. In the course of the evening he expressed himself with great warmth in regard to his disappointment, and in relation to some of the officers who had been present at the council. But he added, in a manner peculiarly emphatic, ‘We must keep our own counsels; the impression must be made that we are done with the affair; but, as sure as there is a God in heaven, the enemy shall be attacked in his works, and beaten too, as soon as all the volunteers shall have passed over!’ " "From this time," says the manuscript Memorandum already quoted, "the major general acted and spoke as though he relied for safety on the defense of his camp; and, to confirm this opinion in the army, he took measures to floor the tents, and in every way to improve the condition of his forces in quarters, as if they were to remain stationary for a long time." He sent spies, as deserters, to the British camp to give information of these movements in the American camp; and so adroitly was the whole affair managed, that a spy was sent on the day of the sortie, at the very hour when the American forces moved, and was received by the British without suspicion.

45 "General Ripley contented himself with saying that the enterprise was a hopeless one, and he should be well satisfied to escape from the disgrace which, in his judgment, would fall upon all engaged in it." – Brown’s Manuscript Memorandum, etc.

46 Peter Buel Porter was born in Salisbury, Connecticut, on the 14th of August, 1773. He was graduated at Yale College with high honors, studied law, and entered upon its practice in his native town. He removed to Western New York in 1795, was elected to Congress in 1808, and in that body, as we have observed (page 212), he became prominent as a supporter of the administration, and conspicuous as a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations when the country was approaching a war with England. His residence was at Black Rock, near Buffalo, on the Niagara River, when the war broke out, and he at once engaged in the military service of his country. He was appointed by Governor Tompkins Major General of New York Volunteers in July, 1813, and in that capacity he performed signal service for his country during that and the succeeding year, as our record in the text attests. In 1815 he was again elected to Congress, and was appointed a commissioner to run the boundary-line between the United States and Canada. He remained in public life much of the time until 1829, when, having served a year in J. Q. Adams’s Cabinet as Secretary of war, he left government employment for the quiet of private life. He possessed large estates on the Niagara frontier, and the wealth accumulated thereby is now enjoyed by his descendants. His name and services are identified with the growth and prosperity of Western New York. He died at his residence at Niagara Falls on the 20th of March, 1844, in the seventy-first year of his age.


His remains rest in a quiet cemetery there, under a beautiful monument, on which is the following inscription: "PETER BUEL PORTER, a pioneer in Western New York; a statesman eminent in the annals of the nation and the state; a general in the armies of America, defending in the field what he had maintained in the council. Born in Salisbury, Connecticut, August 14, 1773. Died at Niagara Falls, March 20, 1844, known and mourned throughout that extensive region which he had been among the foremost to explore and to defend." I am indebted to the pencil of his son, the late Colonel Peter Augustus Porter, for the accompanying sketch of the monument.

47 Major Jesup, in his MS. Memoir, etc., says: "The sortie from Fort Erie was by far the most splendid achievement of the campaign, whether we consider the boldness of the conception, the excellence of the plan, or the ability of the execution. No event in military history, on the same scale, has ever surpassed it. The whole credit is due to General Brown. The writer was in a situation to know that the conception, plan, and execution were all his own."

48 L. De Watteville to General Drummond, September 19, 1814.

49 Thomson’s Historical Sketches of the late War, page 327.

50 See Chapter XXXIX.

51 General Brown spoke in terms of warm eulogy of his engineers M‘Ree and Wood. "No two officers of the grade," he said, "could have contributed more to the safety and honor of this army. Wood, brave, generous, and enterprising, died as he had lived, without a feeling but for the honor of his country and glory of her arms. His name and example will live to guide the soldier in the path of duty so long as true heroism is held in estimation." The general not only admired Wood as a soldier, but loved him as a friend; and he caused a handsome marble monument to be erected at West Point (see opposite page) in his memory, with the following inscription upon it:


North Side: "To the memory of Lieutenant Colonel E. D. Wood, of the corps of Engineers, who fell while leading a charge at the sortie of Fort Erie, Upper Canada, 17th September, 1814, in the thirty-first year of his age." West Side: "He was exemplary as a Christian, and distinguished as a soldier." South Side: "A pupil of this institution, he died an honor to his country." East Side: "This memorial was erected by his friend and commander, Major General Jacob Brown."

On the uneven north slope of West Point, near the Laboratory Buildings, this monument is seen, upon a grassy knoll, shooting up from a cluster of dark evergreen trees.

52 On one side of the commanding general’s medal is the bust and name of Major General Brown. On the other the Roman fasces, indicative of the Union, the top encircled with a laurel wreath, from which are suspended three tablets bearing the Inscriptions CHIPPEWA, NIAGARA, and ERIE, surrounded by three stands of British colors. Below is seen a mortar, cannon-balls, and bomb-shells, and in front of all is the American eagle with wings outspread as if about to soar. Below these are the names and dates of the above battles.

53 See Memoirs of the Generals and Commodores, and other Commanders, etc., of the American Army and Navy, by Thomas Wyatt, A. M., page 133.


54 The certificate of that freedom and the gold box with which it was presented are in the possession of his widow, yet (1867) living. The box, delineated in the engraving, is of fine gold, elliptical in form, three inches in length, two and a half in width, and three fourths of an inch in depth. On the under side of the lid is the following inscription: "The Corporation of the City of New York to Major General Jacob Brown, in testimony of the high sense they entertain of his valor and skill in defeating the British forces, superior in number, at the battles of Chippewa and Bridgewater, on the 5th and 25th of July, 1814."

The following is a copy of the certificate, or diploma (entirely executed with a pen), giving General Brown the freedom of the city of New York. At the head is a fancy design of the battle of Chippewa, and then the words:


"To all to whom these presents shall come, De Witt Clinton, Esq., Mayor, and the Aldermen of the City of New York, send greeting: At a meeting of the Common Council, held at the Common Council Chamber in the City Hall of the City of New York, the following resolutions were unanimously agreed to:

" ‘Whereas the Corporation * of the city entertains the most lively sense of the late brilliant achievements of General Jacob Brown on the Niagara frontier, considering them as proud evidences of the skill and intrepidity of the hero of Chippewa and his brave companions in arms, and affording ample proof of the superior valor of our hardy farmers over the veteran legions of the enemy,

" ‘Resolved, That, as a tribute of respect to a gallant officer and his intrepid associates, who have added such lustre to our arms, the freedom of the city of New York be presented to General Jacob Brown, that his portrait be obtained and placed in the gallery of portraits belonging to this city, and that the thanks of this Corporation be tendered to the officers and men under his command.’

"Know ye that Jacob Brown, Esquire, is admitted and allowed a freeman and a citizen of the said city, to have, to hold, to use, and enjoy the freedom of the city, together with all the benefits, privileges, franchises, and immunities whatsoever granted or belonging to the said city.

"By order of the Mayor and Aldermen.

"In testimony whereof the said Mayor and Aldermen have caused the seal of the said city to be hereunto affixed.

"(Witness), DE WITT CLINTON, Esquire, Mayor, the fourth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen, and of the Independence and Sovereignty of the United States the 39th.

"J. MORTON, Clerk."


* Here is inserted a device of a spread eagle in the middle; an ancient war-chariot on the right; cannon, flag, and drum on the left.

Here is a monument with memorial urn. On one side a woman with a wreath, about to crown it; on the other a woman on one knee inscribing on the monument, and back of her a tent.

This portrait, a copy of which may be seen on page 608, is in the Governor’s Room in the City Hall, New York.

55 The following inscription is upon the scabbard:

"Presented by his Excellency Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of the State of New York, pursuant to resolutions of the Senate and Assembly of the said state, as a testimony of gratitude, to Major General Jacob Brown, for his eminent services, and as a memorial of the repeated victories obtained by him over the enemies of his country." On the other side, "Major General Jacob Brown, U. S. Army."

56 On one side of Porter’s medal is his bust in profile, name, and title, and on the other the figure of Victory, standing, holding in one hand a palm branch and wreath, and in the other three little flags, on which are the names respectively of CHIPPEWA, NIAGARA, and ERIE. Sitting near, the Muse of History is recording the events. Around are the words "RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS, NOVEMBER 8, 1814," and below the names and dates of the three battles.

57 On one side of Ripley’s medal is his bust, name, and title in profile, and on the other a figure of Victory holding up a tablet among the branches of a palm-tree, inscribed with the words CHIPPEWA, NIAGARA, and ERIE. In her right hand, which is hanging by her side, are seen a trumpet and a laurel wreath, and around the whole and below, the same inscriptions as upon Porter’s medal.

Eleazer Wheelock Ripley was born in Hanover, New Hampshire, In 1782, and was a grandson of the Rev. Dr. Wheelock (whose name he bore), the founder of Dartmouth College. He was a lineal descendant of Miles Standish. He was educated at Dartmouth, and was graduated in the year 1800. He adopted law as a profession, and in 1807 was elected a member of the Massachusetts Legislature, he being a resident of Winslow, in that state. He succeeded the late Judge Story as its speaker. He entered the army as lieutenant colonel of infantry in March, 1812. He rose to brigadier general in the spring of 1814, and was breveted major general for his gallant conduct in the battle of Niagara. He was severely wounded at Fort Erie, when he was removed to Buffalo. For three months his life was despaired of. He was a brave, skillful, and patriotic soldier. He did not do himself or his country justice on the Niagara frontier owing to a very serious misunderstanding between himself and General Brown, which became an open quarrel after the war. General Ripley was retained in the army at its reduction, but resigned in 1820. He became a resident of Louisiana, and represented that state in Congress. He died at West Feliciana on the 2d of March, 1839, at the age of fifty-seven years.

58 There are two survivors of that army yet (1867) living with whom I have had correspondence, who are worthy of notice here because of their remarkable escapes from death, having been wounded so desperately that no hope could have been entertained of their recovery. Yet for over fifty years since they have lived as useful members of society. I refer to Robert White, of Morrisson, Whiteside County, Illinois, and Jabez Fisk, mentioned in note 2, page 835, living near Adrian, Michigan. The former had both arms shot off above the elbows, and the latter was shot through the neck and cast upon a brush-heap as a dead man. White was wounded on the evening of the 15th of August, Fisk during the sortie on the 17th of September. "Just at twilight," says White, in a letter to a friend (Lorenzo D. Johnson), "as my arms were extended in the act of lifting a vessel on the fire, a 24-pounder came booming over the ramparts and struck off both my arms above my elbows! The blow struck me so numb that at first I did not know what had happened, and the dust and ashes raised by the force of the ball so filled my face that I could not see. My left arm, as I was subsequently informed, was carried from my body some two rods, and struck a man in his back with such force as nearly brought him to the ground. This same shot took off the right arm of another soldier standing not far from me, and, passing on to the other side of the encampment, killed three men! It was the most destructive shot of any that the enemy sent into our works."

Fisk, who was with General Porter, says in a letter to me in May, 1863, "Immediately after attacking the block-house General Porter was taken prisoner. The companies of Captains Harding [in which Fisk was] and Hall rushed forward and retook him. In this manœuvre I was shot through the neck. The ball passed between the windpipe and the gullet, cutting both. Passing obliquely, it came out near the backbone. I fell as if dead. All appeared dark as midnight. I was conscious, but thought I was dead and in the other world. I was thrown on a brush-heap, and should have found a final resting-place in a mud-hole near by had not Solomon Westbrook, a member of our company, discovered and taken me to the fort." *


White was then about twenty years of age. His wounds were dressed by the late Dr. Simon Hunt, of Rochester, New York, and a week afterward he was taken to Buffalo and placed in the care of Jeremiah Johnson, who was then in charge of the hospital at that place. That kind-hearted gentleman nursed him tenderly and became his benefactor, and he was chiefly instrumental in procuring for the maimed young soldier a generous life-pension of four hundred and eighty dollars a year. After the war he settled in Vermont and married the widowed daughter of Mr. Johnson (whose young husband was killed at Fort Erie), who is still (1867) his excellent companion. They are the parents of a large family, all of whom are useful members of society in the West. Three of their sons are eminent ministers of the Gospel.


Mr. White contrived an apparatus, composed of a pen fixed in a triangular piece of wood, by which, holding it between his teeth, he was soon enabled to write not only with facility, but with remarkable clearness. His penmanship failed in excellence only when be lost his teeth. I give below a fac-simile of a part of a note written to me in March, 1860, and a part of a letter written twenty years before, to which be alludes. He has always worn tin arms and hands, so that, with long-sleeved coats, a stranger would not detect his mutilation. The engraving was made from a daguerreotype kindly procured for me by L. D. Johnson, Esq., of Washington City, son of the benefactor of Mr. White already mentioned.

* When the surgeons dressed Mr. Fisk’s wounds they had no idea that he would survive until morning; but he rapidly recovered. He was taken to the general hospital at Williamsville, and then to Batavia, where he was discharged, and, weak and penniless, started for his home in Tioga County, New York. He worked and begged his way. He was afterward pensioned, and received bounty-land. On the latter he settled, and now owns it. He was born in Franklin County, Massachusetts, and is the son of a Revolutionary soldier. His family moved to Albany in 1802, and soon afterward settled in Tioga County. There he enlisted in Captain Harding’s company, under General Porter. He was with the Army of the Niagara during the entire campaign of 1814 until he was wounded. He was present when General Swift was shot at Fort George, and assisted in carrying him back to Queenston. "Every member of Captain Harding’s company is in heaven," Mr. Fisk writes in a letter to me in May, 1863, "excepting Solomon Westbrook and myself" He visited Mr. Westbrook, in the State of New York, in 1862. They had not met since the latter bore young Fisk from the battle-field. Mr. Fisk is now nearly eighty years of age, and is full of vigor of body and mind.

Doctor Hunt was a pioneer settler at Rochester, where he lived fifty-three years as a practicing physician. He died on the 12th of April, 1864, in the seventy-ninth year of his age.

59 John Gassaway was a native of Maryland, and served with honor during the whole war.

60 General Izard’s Official Correspondence, page 104; General Bissell’s Report to General Izard, October 22, 1814; Izard’s General Order, October 23, 1814.

61 To cover and protect the stores at Batavia, Major Helms was stationed there with a battalion of dismounted dragoons. Lieutenant Colonel Eustis, with a battalion of light artillery, was stationed at Williamsville to guard the extensive hospital there. Colonel Ball’s squadron of dragoons were stationed on the Genesee River, near the village of Avon, for the convenience of forage; and the whole of the remaining infantry were cantoned on the margin of the water between Buffalo and Black Rock. – Izard’s Letter to the Secretary of War, November 26, 1814.

62 Our engraving shows the appearance of the ruins of Fort Erie from Towson’s Battery on the southwestern angle, looking toward Buffalo, which is seen in the extreme distance toward the right. The water in the foreground is in the ditch. This was its appearance when I visited the spot in 1860. The main portion of the ruins, seen toward the right, with windows, is that of the mess-house built by the British. This was not fortified by them, but was intrenched by the Americans. On the left is seen the ruins of the magazine, between which and the mess-house a portion of Buffalo appears. Just back of Towson’s Battery, a part of which is seen in the foreground on the left, Lieutenant Colonel Drummond and others were buried.

63 See Chapter XXIV., and his portrait and biography on page 523.

64 See page 385.

65 See page 386.

66 The following is the inscription on one side of the blade of the sword: "STEPHEN CHAMPLIN, ACTING SAILING MASTER, LAKE ERIE, 10TH SEPTEMBER, 1813." On the other side, "ALTIUS IBUNT QUE AD SUMNA NITUNTER"

67 The following are the Inscriptions on the monument: West Side. – "In memory of Major Lodowick Morgan, * Captain Alexander Williams, Captain Joseph Kenney, Captain Simeon D. Wattles, Captain Myndert M. Dox, and Sergeant Taylor, officers of the United States Army, who were engaged in the War of 1812." North Side. – "Farmer’s Brother, Chief of the Seneca Nation of Indians." South Side. – "The remains of 1158 persons are buried in this lot, all of which were removed from the old burial-ground on the west side of Delaware Street, between Church and Eagle Streets, in the city of Buffalo." East Side. – "Erected October, 1852, by the Common Council of the City of Buffalo – Hiram Barton, Mayor."

* Lodowick Morgan was a native of Maryland, and entered the army as second lieutenant in a rifle corps in May, 1808. He was promoted to captain in July, 1811, and to major in January, 1814. He was a very efficient officer, and received the highest praise for his conduct in repelling the British invasion near Black Rock on the 3d of August, 1814, already mentioned in the text. He was killed, as we have seen, in a skirmish before Fort Erie on the 12th of the same month.

The graves of all of these, excepting Morgan and the sergeant, as observed in the text, are marked by inscribed slabs.

Ho-na-ye-wuo, or Farmer’s Brother, was a conspicuous contemporary of Cornplanter and Red Jacket. He was esteemed as one of the noblest of his race. He was a warrior on principle and practice, spurning every art of civilized life. He was probably born about the year 1730. He was in the battle with Braddock in 1755, and during his whole life he was a foremost chief among the Senecas. He was eloquent in speech, and brave on the war-path. He died in the autumn of 1814.

These references are missing from the text.

68 The following is a copy of the inscription: "Sacred to the memory of Captain Alexander John Williams, of the Twenty-first Regiment United States Artillery, son of General Jonathan * and Marianne Williams, of the city of Philadelphia, who was killed in the night attack by the British on Fort Erie, August 14-15, 1814. In the midst of the conflict, a lighted port-fire in front of the enemy enabled them to direct their fire with great precision upon his company.

He sprang forward, cut it off with his sword, and fell mortally wounded by a musket-ball. He sacrificed himself to save his men. Born October 10, 1790. Died August 15, 1814. Fratri Dilecto."

* He was long at the head of the Engineer Department of the United States Army, and was one of the founders of the Military Academy at West Point. See page 235. He superintended the construction of many fortifications.

69 His name is on the monument. The following inscription is on the slab: "Memorial tribute to Joseph Kinney, of Norwich, Connecticut, senior captain in the Twenty-fifth Regiment United States Army, shot through the breast at the battle of Bridgewater, July 25, 1814. To the friendship of George Coit, Esq., his relatives are indebted for his burial at this place. Erected by a brother, July, 1829.

70 His name is on the monument. The following is the inscription on the slab: "In memory of Captain Simeon D. Wattles, of the United States Army, who was killed in the memorable sortie of Fort Erie on the 17th of September, 1814, Æ. 33 years. As a Christian, he was pious and exemplary; as a Soldier, brave and magnanimous; as a Citizen, benevolent and sincere." Below this was a verse of poetry, but it was too much effaced to be deciphered.

71 His name is on the monument. The following is the inscription on the slab: "The grave of Myndert M. Dox, late captain in the Thirteenth Regiment United States Army, son of Peter and Cathalina Dox, of Albany. Born January 6, 1790. Died September 8, 1830, in the forty-first year of his age."

72 The following is the inscription: "Major General Bennet Riley, United States Army. Died June 9, 1853, in the sixty-sixth year of his age."

General Riley was a native of Maryland, and entered the army as ensign in a rifle corps in January, 1813. He remained in the army, and in 1828 was breveted a major for ten years’ faithful service. He was breveted a colonel for good conduct in Florida, brigadier general for his bravery at Cerro Gordo, and major general for his gallant conduct at Contreras. He was made military commander of the Department of Upper California, and was ex officio governor in 1849 and 1850.

73 Captain Holmes’s Dispatch to Lieutenant Colonel Butler, March 10, 1814.

74 A similar expedition had been sent out by Butler a short time before. Butler was informed that a considerable number of regulars, Canadians, and Indians were collected on the River Thames, not far from Chatham. He sent Captain Lee with a party of mounted men to reconnoitre, and, if feasible, to attack and disperse them. Lee gained the rear of the enemy unobserved, fell upon them, and scattered them in all directions. He took several of them prisoners. Among them was Colonel Babie (pronounced Bawbee), whose house, we have observed, was the head-quarters of General Hull, and yet standing in the village of Windsor, opposite Detroit. See page 262. Colonel Babie had been a leader of Indians in the invasion of the Niagara frontier at the close of 1813.

75 See Chapter XIV.

76 See page 557.

77 They endeavored to bring this vessel away with them, but she bilged while passing down the Rapids, and was then destroyed.

78 Lieutenant Bulger to Lieutenant Colonel M‘Douall, September 7, 1814. Captain Champlin had his thigh-bone shattered by a ball in that fight, and he has not only been a cripple ever since, but a painful sufferer from a seldom-healed wound. In the year 1863 several pieces of bone were taken from his thigh.

79 Champlin’s Report to Lieutenant Turner, commanding.

80 M‘Afee’s History of the late War in the Western Country, page 446.



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