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finished works of the Americans, and consumed five days in erecting batteries, and throwing up breastworks, for the protection of his approaches. Of this interval the american general did not fail to avail himself; and kept his troops constantly employed in finishing his line of redoubts.” The reader need scarcely to be reminded, that this is the same Plattsburg, at which colonel Murray, with 1000 troops, landed; the river on which it stands, the same Saranac, up which the colonel ascended, three miles, to burn the enemy's barracks; and that those barracks were burnt, while an american regular army, more than twice as strong as general Macomb's, lay encamped in the neighbourhood.H. Sir George Prevost knew perfectly well, that the Confiance, although afloat and with captain Downie's pendant flying on board of her, had scarcely men enough to get the rigging over her mast-heads, and that the shipwrights were still at work upon her hull; but he, notwithstanding, urged captain Downie, both by letter and through the officers of his staff, to cooperate with the army. At length came an insinuation, that “the commander in chief hoped captain Downie allowed himself to be delayed by nothing but the state of the wind.” The effect of this upon a spirit like that of the gallant first lieutenant of the Seahorse in July, 1808, may be partly conceived. On the 8th the wind proved fair; and immediately the Confiance and her consorts moved from Isle-aux-Noirs into Lake Champlain, and anchored abreast of the main body of the british army, to wait until the whole of her crew had arrived from Quebec, and until the carpenters had fitted the ring-bolts for her guns, and the joiners comi pleted the magazine for the reception of the powder, without which those guns could be of no use. On the 9th captain Downie received a draught of marines, numbering, with a few artillerymen and soldiers, 86 men; and, in the course of that and the 1814. following day, the whole of the petty officers and so seamen intended for the ship came on board ; form-state ing a total of 270 officers, seamen, marines, and 3. boys. The seamen, among whom were 19 foreign-ano, ers, were men of inferior quality and bad character; *". who, as the term is, had “volunteered” from their respective ships, or, in plain words, had been dismissed from them in disgrace. Some, indeed, had been liberated from irons, for the very purpose of manning captain Downie's ship. Ten ships of war at Quebec had furnished 118 of these “volunteers;” and some transports had lent 25 of their men. The men of the Confiance, therefore, were all strangers to each other and to their officers; and captain Downie was acquainted with no officer on board his ship but his first lieutenant, and the latter with none of the other officers. On the 10th, just as the last draught of the motley crew we have described was ascending the side of the Confiance, while the loud clank of the builder’s hammer was still sounding in all parts of the ship, while the guns were being breeched and pointed through the ports, and while the powder, i. for the want of a place fitted for its reception, was it." lying in a boat alongside, an officer from sir George so Prevost came to solicit the instant cooperation of coope. the british squadron. Relying upon the assurance . now given by the commander in chief, that the army squashould attack the works of Plattsburg while the ..." squadron was attacking the american ships lying in promifront of them, captain Downie, in spite of the un-o, prepared state of the Confiance, consented to go o into action on the following morning. It was then . agreed, that the Confiance, when rounding Cumber-o land head, which forms the northernmost point of to Plattsburg bay, should scale her guns; and that, at" that instant, the column of attack should advance to storm the american works. As it could not well be said, that the Confiance mounted any guns at all,
British squadron moves from Isle auxNoirs.
* Sketches of the War, p. 319. f See p. 367. - # See vol. v. p. 88, - -
1814, until they were placed upon her broadside, and as so that had only just been done when the ship was thus
on the eve of going into action with a greatly
superior force, we have deferred until now giving ‘.... any account of the Confiance's armament. The ship ... mounted 26 long 24-pounders on the main deck, also §.e. two 32-pounder carronades through her bow, and and two of the same through her stern ports. Upon the poop were mounted, en barbette, four 24-pounder carronades, and upon the topgallant forecastle, in the same ineffective manner, two 24-pounder carronades, and one long 24 on a traversing carriage; making a total of 37 guns. 5. On the 11th, at daylight, with the carpenters still sails to working at his ship, captain Downie made the signal ... to weigh. This was promptly complied with ; and can the Confiance, Linnet, Chubb, Finch, and 10 gun... boats, made sail towards Plattsburg bay. At 7 A. M. the american squadron was seen at anchor, in line ahead, abreast of the encampment of general Macomb's army. The Eagle, flanked by five gunboats, was in the van; then the Saratoga; next to her the Ticonderoga; and lastly the Preble, also flanked by five gun-boats. It was captain Downie's intention to lay the Confiance athwart the hawse of the Saratoga; that the Linnet, supported by the Chubb, should engage the Eagle, and the Finch, with the gun-boats, the Ticonderoga and Preble. While the squadron was lying to, that the commanding officer of each vessel might be informed of the plan of attack, commodore Downie caused it to be made known to the different crews, that the army would cooperate with them. This was necessary, to inspire the men with confidence, in attacking a force so evidently superior. Lieutenant John Robertson, first of the Confiance, went to her crew while at their quarters, and explained particularly to the men the nature of the cooperation, as he had understood it from captain Downie.
At 7 h. 40 m. A. M. the british squadron filled and
made sail in order of battle; and the moment the 1814. Confiance, the leading ship, arrived abreast of Cum-so 'berland head, she scaled her guns as had been agreed conflupon; but the signal was not answered from the . army. Sir George Prevost did, however, direct a her signal to be made : it was for the army “to cook,” o, instead of to fight; to give the men their break-precon. fasts, instead of to deprive the enemy of the oppor- #. tunity of taking his. To the honour of the soldiers, but the and the officers in general, they all panted to rush ..., forward; but, in truth, a third part of the troops no would have done all that was required, and, in two . hours from the time the Confiance scaled her guns, would have given a victory to both army and navy, instead of a flight to one, and a defeat to the other. Captain Downie now discovered, too late, the mistake into which his confidence had led him. The Confiance was already in the enemy's bay, and almost within gun-shot of his squadron. At 8 A. M., Amerifavoured by a very light air, amounting almost to . a calm, the american row-gallies and gun-boats boats commenced upon the Confiance a heavy and galling ...: fire. . Having by this means had two, anchors ol shot from her bows, the Confiance, at 8 h. 10 m., jon was obliged to anchor within 400 yards upon the . beam, instead of, as had been intended, close" athwart the bows, of the Saratoga. The Linnet and Chubb soon afterwards took their allotted stations, something short of that distance; but the cutter presently had her main boom shot away, and, drifting within the enemy's line, was compelled to surrender. The Finch had the misfortune, while pro-. ceeding to her station, to strike on a reef of rocks found off Crabb island; where there was an american ..., battery of two guns, which fired at the Finch, and gun: wounded two of her men, the only loss she sus-. tained. All the gun-boats, except the Murray, Beresford, and another, abandoned the object as: signed them; that is, ran away, almost as soon as
the action commenced. Within 15 minutes after
1814; the commencement of the action, fell the british ‘so commanding officer, the brave, the lamented captain Death Downie. The way in which he met his death, is of o; too extraordinary a nature to be passed over. A """ shot from the Saratoga struck one of the Confiance's 24-pounders, and threw it completely off the car. riage against captain Downie, who was standing close in the rear of it. He received the blow upon his right groin, and, although signs of life remained for a few minutes, never spoke afterwards. No ... part of his skin was broken: a black mark, about the * circumference of a small plate, was the only visible injury. His watch was found flattened, with the hands pointing to the hour, minute, and second, at which the fatal blow had been given. $. At length, the greater part of the Confiance's guns railing on the larboard side having been disabled, lieuto tenant Robertson, now the commanding officer, a from made an effort to wind the ship round, to bring her ... starboard broadside to bear; but, owing to the loss o of her two anchors and the shameful flight of the !..." gun-boats, this object could not be effected. Having render, nearly the whole of her guns on the engaged side in a similar state to those of the Confiance, the Saratoga let go a stern anchor, cut her bower cable, and, with great ease, winded herself round, so as to bring her larboard broadside to bear upon her antagonist, now lying in a defenceless state; and who, at 10 h. 30 m., after receiving several raking broadsides, hauled down her colours: thus affording the extraordinary instance, of a ship being launched, fitted, - fought, and captured,within the shortspace of 16 days. Sur- A few minutes before the Confiance surrendered, * unable to withstand the heavy and well-directed * fire of the Linnet, the Eagle cut her cable and took * up a fresh position between the Ticonderoga and Preble. The attention of the american commodore was now directed to the Linnet; who, although greatly disabled, continued the action with spirit. At 10 h. 45 m. A. M., after having, for upwards of 10 minutes,