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266

INCREASE OF THE NAVY.

nents of the war united in the honours and rewards which were conferred on the successful commander, and gave entertainments and drank toasts to the success of the

* infant navy."

This was followed by a series of naval victories not less brilliant. In the month of October, Captain Jones, in the Wasp, of 18 guns, met and captured the British sloop of war Frolic, of 22 guns, after a hard fough battle of 45 minutes, losing but eight of his men, while the loss of his enemy in a vessel one-third his superior was 80 men.. The Wasp was subsequently captured by a British ship of the line. During the same month, Captain Decatur, in the frigate United States, encountered the British frigate Macedonian. In this action the American ship had a trifling advantage in the weight of her metal, but this was by no means equal to the disparity of loss, which was 104 killed and wounded on the British side, and 11 on the American. The Macedonian was safely brought into New York, and the gallant Decatur, the same officer who had so signally distinguished himself at Tripoli, was welcomed with the applause and honours which he had so nobly won.

The Constitution, familiarly called by the sailors · Old Ironsides, had the good fortune to encounter another British frigate, the Java, of 38 guns, in December. In this action, which lasted three hours, she was commanded by Captain Bainbridge. The Java was dismasted and reduced to a wreck, losing 161 killed and wounded, while the American loss was but 34.

In addition to these victories of the public vessels, the American privateers had succeeded in severely distressing the enemy's commerce, capturing above 500 of their mer chantmen during the first seven months of the war.

The success of the Americans on the ocean served to relieve them from the chagrin and discouragement occasioned by their ill-fated attempts on the British province of Canada. They became sensible that their principal means of defence must consist in the navy; and the exertions of the government were immediately directed to the increase of this efficient branch of the national force. The large number of sailors, deprived of employment by the general suspension of commerce, furnished the first and

Describe the affair of the Wasp and the Frolic.-Of the United States and the Macedonian.-- Decatur's reception at New York--Of the Cou stitution and the Java.-What was the consequence of these victories ?-What ineasures were taken respecting the navy ?

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most important requisite, and more ships were ordered to be built and put in commission.

The presidential election took place in the autumn of this year. Mr. Madison was, without difficulty, re-elected to his second term of office; whilst Mr. Gerry became vice-president, succeeding Mr. Clinton.

In November congress met. The president, in his message, frankly stated the defeats experienced on the Canadian border, and complained much of the employment of the Indians by the British, thus bringing the horrors of savage warfare upon the people. He also complained of the conduct of Massachusetts and Connecticut, in refusing their contingent of militia. The victories of American ships were cited with just pride, and congress was re. quested to increase the allowance of the army, which was wholly incompetent.

The British government had offered an armistice, stating as a reason for a suspension of hostilities, the repeal of the orders in council. The president, in reply, had demanded by way of preliminary, towards a settlement of difficulties. some effectual provisions against the impressment of American seamen, and as this was refused, he had declined the offer. A majority of congress now passed resolutions approving of the president's course in this affair.

His request for a more efficient organisation of the army was granted. The pay was increased, and a loan for the purpose authorised ; and twenty additional regiments of regular infantry were ordered to be raised.

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

CAMPAIGN OF 1813.

The people of the western states were naturally anxious to recover the posts which had been lost by General Hull on the north-western frontier; and thus to relieve themselves from the danger of incursions from the British and Indians. During the autumn of 1812, General Harrison, who had command of the army in that quarter, was prin

What was the result of the presideatial election ?-What is said in the president's message ?- What measure of his was approved by conPress ?-What was done for the army ?--Who commanded on the northwestern frontier ?

268

BATTLE OF THE RIVER RAISIN.

cipally occupied in collecting and organising his forces preparatory to a winter campaign. Nothing of importance was effected, as we have already had occasion to remark, before the winter set in.

General Winchester, with a detachment of seven hundred and fifty men, was sent forward in advance of the main body, and while General Harrison was collecting his forces at Sandusky, with a view to join Winchester, and advance upon Malden and Detroit, the latter officer received a pressing call from the inhabitants of French town, on the river Raisin, for protection against the British and Indians assembled at Malden. Advancing within three miles of the town, on the 17th of January, he learnt that the enemy had already taken possession of it. He attacked them on the 18th, and drove them from their positior with considerable slaughter. On the 20th he advanced to within twenty miles of Malden, where å British force much stronger than his own was stationed.

General Winchester's desire to afford relief to the inha. bitants of Frenchtown, had thus prought his detachment into a situation of no little peril. The expedition in which he was engaged had been undertaken without the knowledge of General Harrison, who, on learning his advance, sent for reinforcements, and pushed forward with the main body in hopes of affording him relief.

The British were not slow to perceive their advantage. On the evening of the 21st of January, Colonel Proctor left Malden with six hundred British and Canadian troops, and one thousand Indians, under the command of their chiefs, Splitlog and Roundhead, and at daybreak of the 22ch, commenced a furious attack upon the Americans. Gene. ral Winchester's left wing, amounting to six hundred men, was protected by pickets; the right wing, one hundred and fifty in number, being exposed, was speedily defeated, and nearly the whole massacred by the Indians who cut off their retreat. A detachment of one hundred sent out to their reliet shared the same fate. General Winchester and Colonel Lewis in attempting to rally them were made prisoners. The left wing sustained the inequal contest with undaunted valour until eleven o'clock, when General Winchester capitulated for them, stipulating for their protection from the fury of the Indians. This

Who advanced Into Canada ?_Where did he attack and defeat the British I-When was he attacked in turn ?-By whim, and with what force ? Describe the battle.- What was the result?

SIEGE OF FORT MEIGS.

269

engagement was violated on the next day, when a large body of Indians fell upon the wounded, tomahawked and scalped them, and setting fire to the houses, consumed the dead and the dying in one undistinguished conflagra. tion. In permitting this massacre, Proctor seems to have counted on daunting the courage of the Americans. But the effect was directly the reverse of what was intended. New volunteers, fired by these barbarities, flocked to the standard of their country, and were eventually successful in avenging their murdered fellow citizens.

General Harrison, having received considerable reinforcements from Kentucky and Ohio, advanced to the rapids of the Miami, and there erected a fort which he called Fort Meigs, in honour of the governor of Ohio. This position had been selected as a suitable post for receiving reinforcements and supplies from Ohio and Kentucky, protecting the borders of Lake Erie, and concentrating the forces intended for the recapture of Detroit, and the invasion of Canada.

On the 26th of April, General Proctor with two thousand regulars, militia and Indians, from Malden, appeared on the bank of the river opposite the fort, and erecting batteries on an eminence, commenced a regular siege. The Indians crossed the river on the 27th and established themselves in the rear of the American lines. A heavy fire of shot and shells was poured in upon the fort for several days, and on the 3d of May, a battery was erected on the left bank of the river, within two hundred and fifty yards of the American lines.

General Harrison now received a summons to surrender, which was gallantly refused. On the 5th of May, General Clay, with twelve hundred Kentuckians, advanced to the relief of Fort Meigs, and, by a spirited attack, succeeded in driving the besiegers from their works. Eight hundred of his troops having subsequently dispersed in the woods, in pursuit of the Indians, were drawn into an ambuscade, and compelled to surrender. They were saved from massacre only by the decisive interference of the Indian chief Tecumseh, who humanely restrained his followers from their usual atrocities. Of the eight huncred men only one hundred and fifty escaped, the remainder being slain or captured. General Proctor, seeing no

How were the prisoners treated ?-What was the effect of this conduct of the British ?-What fort did General Harrison erect ?--Where?-When and by whom was it besieged !--Who advanced to its relief! What success had General Clay -What disaster followed ?

270

SIEGE OF FORT MEIGS RAISED.

prospect of taking the fort, and being deserted by hus Indian allies, who were heartily weary of the siege, zbandoned his position on the 9th of May, and returned to Halden. General Harrison having repaired the fort, left it under command of General Clay, and returned to Ohio for reinforcements. Nothing further was attempted in this quarter until a naval force was ready for action on Lake Erie.

The principal object of the campaign of 1813, on the Canadian border, was the capture of Montreal. To effect this, it was essential to gain the command on Lake Ontario. Sackett's Harbour, on the east end of the lake, near its outlet, was selected as a naval depôt; and Commodore Chauncey had been occupied since the month of October, 1812, in building and equipping a squadron sufficiently powerful to cope with that of the enemy, which consisted of six vessels, mounting in all eighty guns. In this he was successful; and having made several captures in the autumn of 1812, he was enabled, in the spring of the next year, to acquire the complete ascendancy on the lake, confining every British ship to the harbour of Kingston.

General Dearborn had now under his command a respectable force of six thousand men, composing the army of the north ; and as Montreal was in a comparatively defenceless state, and could receive no reinforcements until June, it was his proper policy to have made an immediate descent upon that city. Unfortunately his exertions were directed to a much less important object. On the 23d of April he embarked at Sackett's Harbour with sixteen hundred men, on an expedition against York, the capital of Upper Canada, situated at the head of Lake Ontario. On the 27th he arrived at his destination, and immediately commenced a disembarkation. Remaining on board the fleet, he entrusted the command to Genera, Pike, who succeeded in landing, though opposed by a superior force of the enemy, who, after a severe action, were driven to their fortifications. The remainder of the forces having effected a landing, the whole army advanced to the assault, carried the first battery, and was approach. ing the main works, when a magazine of the British, prepared for the purpose, blew up with a tremendous explosion, destroying one hundred of the assailants. General

When was the siege raised ?- What was the chief object of the cam. paign of 1813!-What preparation was made by Commodore Chauncey

-What was General Dearborn's force ?-What place should he have attacked ? -- What place did he attack ?- Describe the action.

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