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by the advance and first brigade ; the enemy retreating from the shore as the others were successively hurrying towards it. Out of these a corps could have been formed, which might safely have placed itself at the intersection reserred to, with every chance of another favorable conflict with the enemy, who would there have found himself deprived of most of the facilities of a retreat.
We need scarcely add that no such pursuit as is here spoken of was undertaken in time. The next day was too late, and every subsequent movement was a new step of divergence from the plan of the campaign, taken with little promise of any compensatory benefit. The moment that it was ascertained that the enemy could not be intercepted in his retreat around the lake, then the plan of the campaign should have been returned to with promptitude and spirit. This plan called for an immediate demolition of Fort George, a corresponding strengthening of Fort Niagara, and a rapid movement down the lake with all the troops, save a strong garrison for that fort, and a corps of observation at Lewistown, to be augmented by militia, in case the enemy reoccupied Fort Erie and the strait below. The feet was there, boats were there, and the season most propitious. Kingston was the next object. Sir James Yeo was out, but had declined an encounter with Commodore Chauncey, who could have conducted our lotilla down the shore, still in readiness to renew the challenge he had so gallantly given to his antagonist. The flotilla, in case of its acceptance, could easily have found refuge along that shore. Whether Kingston could have been taken or not, is not the question. Many things might have frustrated the best concerted plan. But nothing called for further attention up the lake, — not regarding a wild goose-chase after General Vincent as a proper object. All worthy objects were below, and thither all concentration should have been made. Had the army, collected at Sackett's Harbour, made an attempt to cross over to Kingston, Sir James must have fought, or yielded the prize. In case of his discomfiture, all on Lake Ontario fell, as a matter of course. The reverse might only have changed the objects of the campaign. Independent of the fleet, the army could have operated on Montreal; the ultimate and main object of the campaign.
It is easy to detect faults after time and events have made them manifest. There was much to lead astray at the surren
der of Fort George. Each day offered something new to justify, it was thought, a departure from the plan that was followed at York. — We have made the foregoing remarks upon what we now believe to have been mistaken steps, with no wish to question the zeal, or even the generalship, of the veteran officer who then directed, mostly from a sick-bed, or an invalid's chair, the operations in that quarter. Withdrawing him from the command, just at the moment when reviving health was about to enable him to renew active operations, without substituting any chief in command who knew the general plan of operations, paralyzed the rest of the campaign, which lingered on in idleness, until autumnal storms defeated all attempts to recover lost ground.
The “ Notices ” give a fair summary of the events of this autumnal campaign, which the angry elements, but more the angry bickerings of generals, brought to a close, that disappointed, disheartened, not to say disgusted the public. The presence of the “War Department” itself, which, as we before remarked, was at this time hovering on the frontiers, like the hub of a wheel crowded towards the periphery, could not harmonize discordant minds, which seemed to regard public interests as subordinate to private animosities. Circumstances may not have presented much choice, though there was the veteran of whom we have just spoken, who might have been replaced, at any time during the season, with probable advantage, at his post, — and it may have been hoped that feuds, which had been so warm at the South, would cool under the lower temperature of the North. But it was found, unfortunately for the country, that the generals changed cælum, non animum, when they exchanged Louisiana for the Canada frontier.
We gladly turn back from these scenes, where gallantry in several conflicts, and patient endurance of much suffering, were unavailing both to the army and the country, to the events in the far west, where, earlier in the season, both the water and the land had been illumined with an unexpected brilliancy of success. Perry's victory had been complete, and annihilated his antagonist. Not a vestige of opposition floated on Lake Erie, and General Harrison crossed over his army to the vicinity of Malden, with no more fear of molestation than if it had been a season of profound peace.
The pursuit which trod on the heels of General Proctor
was a legitimate operation of war. No other object solicited or claimed attention in that quarter, excepting the retreating British. This pursuit might fail of overtaking the enemy, but every rood of ground passed over, whether an enemy were captured or not, was a positive loss on one side, and a beneficial gain to the other. In occupying Michigan, it was all important to find the Indians convinced that their ally was fast receding from them. Under these circumstances, the pursuit, divested of all incumbrances, was made hot with vigor and haste, being joined opposite Detroit by Colonel Johnson's mounted rangers, which enabled General Harrison to continue it with some hope of success. Before this junction, he was without any hope. *
The victory at the Moravian towns was a counterpart of Perry's victory. It swept the land of all opposition in that quarter. Mucha controversy has agitated portions of the public relative to this action. The names of illustrious individuals have been alternately thrown in, like the sword of Brennus, to incline the scale. Posterity will inquire little into these minor disputes, arising from feelings with which the public at large has no sympathy. The names of Perry and Harrison are indissolubly connected with kindred victories. All attempts at divorcing them are as ungrateful as they will be vain.
The “ Notices” do not pretend to enibrace a view of the achievements of our Navy, or its operations, except so far as they were connected with the operations on land. This is truly giving “only half the battle.” But, as a military man, the author intended to keep within the bounds of professional familiarity, knowing that he was at home on land, wbile he might not have proved so on the deep. There were operations upon the coast, however, which, having been the result of certain acts of the army on the northern frontier, most properly engaged his attention. One of the acts alluded to, is the burning of Newark, in 1813, by Brigadier-General McClure, of the New York Militia. This destruction of a small village, without justifiable cause, gave portions of the subsequent war a new and revolting character. Strictly military objects were no longer regarded as alone within its scope. Private property, and defenceless communities, suffered, as in the days of brigandism.
* We should regret to suppose that the author of the “ Notices " intend. ed that his account of this pursuit should leave an impression on the read. er's mind, that General Harrison's “ desponding view of its unpromising prospects well nigh prevented its being undertaken. We are sure that the extract from his letter to the Secretary of War, showing his determination to undertake it, even when hoping against hope, quoted by the “ Notices," should have shielded him froni even a shadow of suspicion of this kind.
Buffalo had been burnt by the British early in the contest. But General McClure did not shelter his act under the plea of retaliation. It was “merely to deprive the enemy of winter quarters" that he laid Newark in ashes, and gave the eneiny a pretext for resorting to that obdurate and extreme plea, and balancing the account with retribution seven-fold, if not seventy times seven. During the occupation of Fort George the preceding season, Newark had been nearly abandoned by its inhabitants. Such an occupation, while it left dwellings &c. untouched, unavoidably interrupted all business and ordinary avocations, and trenched much upon the comforts of families. The severe requisitions of war had called into the field most of the men of the place, who, when it was evacuated in May, were borne off by the retreating force. The families mostly, sooner or later, followed, and remained away during the campaign. These circumstances, while they did not furnish any justification for the act of General McClure, much diminished the amount of misery that such an act generally brings on a community. Indeed, it is probable that, when he applied the torch to Newark, few of the former occupants of the houses had returned, and that the flames preyed for the most part upon a deserted village. Far otherwise was it with the villages and towns on which the British Admiral avenged its wrongs. It found them all full of families, anticipating no invasion of their comforts, and left them plundered, often in ashes, and occasionally marked with the blood of unresisting, or only feebly resisting, victims. These events are justly held up for the reprobation of posterity, and names, however high, should not be suffered to shake off the infamy that belongs to them. General McClure undoubtedly acted under a mistaken sense of duty, or an ignorance of the customs of war. But mistakes, that involve such serious consequences to whole communities, are to be held up as the solemn warnings of history.
The British Admiral began his career of depredation and conflagration with the sword of justice in his hand. But it soon became merely the sword of vengeance. Justice was
amply satisfied before he sacked even one of the many towns that fell beneath bis fury. If he acted under instructions, which required him to exact this enormous retribution, he stands, like the executioner, apart from mankind, with the taint of blood upon him. The author of the “ Notices," with his strong and indignant language, stamps these deeds and these characters with ineffaceable reprobation. War has its horrors, which no lofty courtesy, no generous chivalry, can wholly, or even in any important degree, abate ; but he who, either through rash ignorance, or as the willing instrument of exasperated power, aggravates them, must expect the severest condemnation of history.
The campaign of 1814 on the Niagara frontier is described in much detail in the “ Notices.” The author's feelings are awakened to new enthusiasm while recording a series of actions which conferred such renown on the American arms. This campaign, as a plan, would seem to be very subordinate in character, in compass of objects, chances of success in attaining them, and beneficial results even when attained, compared with that of 1813. " To cross the river (Niagara at Black Rock), capture Fort Erie, iarch on Chippewa, risk a combat, menace Fort George, and, if assured of ascendency and coöperation of the fleet, to seize and fortify Burlington,” &c.,* appear to have been these objects. There is much off-hand sententiousness in the language here used, as if things were as easily done as said. The first and second parts of the plan were promptly and gallantly fulfilled. Whether the enemy anticipated such an irruption, or not, may not be known, but it would seem that he had very inadequate means of opposition, and that those means were not used with much vigilance or dexterity. The remaining parts depended more upon contingencies, and might, or might not,
fulfilled, as those contingencies were lucky or otherwise. The moment our army crossed the Niagara, a combat was undoubtedly risked. Any expectation of avoiding such a “ risk,” after having placed a wide and rapid river between it and its base of operations, must have been wholly unfounded. This portion of the direction, therefore, was inere surplusage, the redundancy of a currente calamo style. To
menace Fort George was probably more easy than use
* We had never before seen this plan of the campaign.