Page images

picked seamen, sent out by government expressly 1813, for service on the Canada lakes. Such was the zeal May. of the officers and men to get to the scene of action, that they departed, the same evening, in schooners for Montreas. In four or five days they reached Kingston; and, although the number of seamen was not half enough to man the vessels in the harbour, now augmented by the 24-gun ship Wolfe, launched on the 5th or 6th of May, sir James Yeo, with the aid of the provincial sailors already on the lake, and of a few companies of soldiers, was ready, by the end of the month, to put to sea with two ships, one brig, and three schooners, besides a few small gun-boats. Sir George Prevost now allowed himself to be He em. persuaded to embark 750 troops on board the to: squadron, for the purpose of making an attack upon to Sackett's-Harbour; but, to mar the successful issue o of the plan, he resolved to head the troops himself. : On the 27th of May, when an excellent opportunity i. was afforded by the absence of the american squa-". dron at the opposite end of the lake, the british squadron, in high glee, sailed from Kingston, and with a fair wind stood across to the enemy's dépôt. At noon the squadron arrived off Sackett's-Harbour, and lay to, with every thing in readiness for the troops to disembark. Sir George hesitated, looked at the place, mistook trees for troops, and blockhouses for batteries, and ordered the expedition to put back. Just as the ships had turned their heads towards .


Kingston, and, with the wind now changed, were failehavi

beginning to sail before it, about 50 Indians brought ...;

off a party of american soldiers from the shore near ë. Sackett's-Harbour. Encouraged by this, sir George H.

ermitted the squadron to begin working its way and ack to the american port. On the morning of the . \th some of the lighter vessels got close to the o: bre, and the troops were landed. They drove the : ericans like sheep, compelled them to set fire to prise.

[ocr errors]

1813, the General-Pike, a new frigate on the stocks, the ‘M. Gloucester, captured at York, and a barrack containing, among other valuable articles, all the naval stores taken on the same occasion. At this moment some resistance unexpectedly made at a log barrack caused the british commander in chief to sound a retreat. The indignant, the victorious, officers and men were obliged to obey the fatal bugle, and the British retired to their vessels; and the Americans, as soon as they could credit their senses, hastened to stop the conflagration. The General-Pike, being built of green wood, was saved; but the Gloucester, and the barrack containing the stores, were entirely

consumed. . That sir George Prevost was as fond of writing .* official letters, as he was of substituting the first

ood personal pronoun for the third, has already appeared to be - Wien in these pages;* but, in the present instance, con... trary to all precedent, he required his adjutant9] general, colonel Edward Baynes, to pen the de

spatch. That obedient gentleman did so ; and the

european public scarcely knows at this hour, through whose fault it was, that Sackett's-Harbour was not taken from the Americans in May, 1813. Th dian public, besides being in the secret, wi surprised at the result of the enterprise; they knew that sir George, a few months had rejected an excellent opportunity of r across the ice to Sackett's-Harbour, and de the whole american lake-navy at a blow. Sir On the 3d of June sir James Yeo sai !.” Kingston with his squadron, composed of attack, Wolfe, of 23 guns and 200 men, ship Roya .* of 21 guns and 175 men, brig Melville, C en- and 100 men, schooners, Moira, of 14 gu ... men, Sidney-Smith, of 12 guns and 80 opolo Beresford, of eight guns and 70 men, tog

“” a few gun-boats. "On the 8th, at da

* See vol. v. p. 302.

squadron arrived in sight of the american camp at 1813, Forty-mile creek; but, as it was calm, the only . vessels that could get close to the shore were the tales Beresford, captain Francis Brockell Spilsbury, and off the gun-boats, commanded by lieutenant Charles'.” Anthony, first of the Wolfe. A spirited attack by the schooner and gun-boats compelled the american troops to make a precipitate retreat, and all their camp equipage, provisions, and stores fell into the hands of the British. Sir James then landed the troops that were on board his squadron, and steered to the westward. On the 13th he captured two american schooners and some boats containing supplies. Receiving information from the prisoners, that there was a dépôt of provisions at Genessee river, sir James proceeded thither; and, landing some seamen and marines, brought off the whole. On the 19th he took another supply of provisions from Great Sodus, and on the 29th reanchored in Kingston, All this while commodore Chauncey was waiting at ComSackett's-Harbour for the General-Pike to be got .


ready for sea. At length, towards the latter end of ChaunJuly, that fine ship was armed, manned, and stored. . The Pike alone was nearly a match for the whole from of sir James Yeo's squadron; she measured about 850: tons, and mounted 26 long 24-pounders on a flush i. deck, another 24-pounder on a pivot-carriage upon" her forecastle, and a second, similarly mounted, upon her quarterdeck; and her crew, including some soldiers serving as marines, amounted to 400 men. With this ship, the Madison, Oneida, and 11 fine schooners, commodore Chauncey sailed from Sackett'sHarbour for the head of the lake. On the 8th of August, in the morning, while the american fleet lay at anchor off Fort Niagara, the british squadron hove in sight; and, that a better opinion may be formed of the situation of the parties, we will state the force of each. The British had six vessels, mounting 92 guns; of which, two were long 24-pounders, 13, long 18-pounders, five, long o o 9 pounders, and 72, A

1813. carronades of different calibers, including six 68jo pounders; and the vessels were manned with 717 E. officers and men. The Americans, by their own lative admission, had 14 vessels, armed, also by their ad... mission, with 114 guns; of which, seven were long fleet 32-pounders, 32, long 24-pounders, eight, long †. 18-pounders, 19, long 12 and 9 pounders, and 48, under carronades, 40 of which were 32 and 24 pounders. joine, Nearly one fourth of the long guns and carronades *** were on pivot-carriages, and were consequently as effective in broadside as twice the number. The 14 american vessels, thus armed, were manned with 1193 officers and men. Aslight Commodore Chauncey immediately got under way, i. and stood out, with his 14 vessels, formed in line of and the battle; but, as the six british vessels approached,

Captu - - - of the american vessels, after discharging their broad

** sides, wore and stood under their batteries. Light

oc. airs and calms prevented sir James Yeo from closing; ...'", and during the night, in a heavy squall, two of the James. american schooners, the Hamilton and Scourge, upset, and their crews unfortunately perished. On the 9th the two parties were again in sight of each other, and continued manoeuvring during that and ... the succeeding day. On the 10th, at night, a fine breeze sprang up, and sir James Yeo immediately took advantage of it, by bearing up to attack his powerful opponent; but, just as the Wolfe got within gun-shot of the Pike and Madison, these two powerful americanships bore up, fired their stern-chase guns, and made sail for Niagara; leaving two fine schooners, the Julia and Growler, each armed with one long 32 and one long 12 pounder on pivots, and manned with a crew of 40 men, to be captured without an effort to save them. With his two prizes, and without the loss of a man, and with no greater injury to his ships than a few cut ropes and torn sails, sir James Yeo returned to Kingston. The “United States' Gazette,” of September 6, gave a letter from one of the General-Pike's officers, The writer, having previously stated the american so, force at two ships, one brig, and 11 schooners, says: June. “On the 10th, at midnight, we came within gun-shot, An every one in high spirits. The schooners com-o. menced the action with their long guns, which did official great execution. At half past 12, the commodore fired his broadside, and gave three cheers, which of the was returned from the other ships, the enemy closing ...” fast. We lay by for our opponent, the orders .# been given, not to fire until she came within pistolshot, though the enemy kept up a constant fire. Every gun was pointed, every match ready in hand, and the red british ensign plainly to be descried by the light of the moon; when, to our utter astonishment, the commodore wore, and stood S.E., leaving sir James Lucas Yeo to exult in the capture of two schooners, and in our retreat; which was certainly a very fortunate one for him.” No wonder, an order soon afterwards issued from Washington, that no officer should write, with the intention of publication, accounts of the operations of the fleet and army. Sir James could not have had his assertions more ably supported, than they were by the Pike's officer. The latter was mistaken, however, as to any “execution” having been done by the american squadron. The captured schooners of course made no resistance; although the american editors trumped up a story about their desperate defence; how they tore and ripped up the enemy, &c. The Pike's officer has described two other “chases;”. differing chiefly from the last, in no loss having ones' been suffered, or even shot fired. He says: “We ..." proceeded directly for Sackett's-Harbour; where we are victualled; and put to sea, the next day after our * arrival, August 14. On the 16th, we discovered the enemy again, again hurried to quarters; again got clear of the enemy by dint of carrying sail, and returned to Sackett's-Harbour. On the 18th we again fell in with the enemy steering for Kingston, and we reached the harbour on the 19th. This is the result

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »