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our commerce, and the impressment of ou seamen.
Preparations for war were actively continued by congress until the 20th of May, 1812, when the arrival of the Hornet, from London, bringing information that no reasonable prospect existed of a change in the measures of the British government, served to bring matters to a crisis. On the 1st of June the president transmitted to congress a message enumerating the injuries received from Great Britain, and submitting the question, whether they should be longer endured, or inmediate recourse had to the ultimate resort of injured nations, a declaration of war.
After deliberating on this measure with closed doors, an act was passed by congress, ou the 18th, declaring war against Great Britain.
CAMPAIGN OF 1812.
When the war of independence was commenced, the United States contained less than four millions of inhabitants, and had neither an army, a treasury or a national existence. But it possessed a people united in purpose, and firmly resolved to vindicate their rights. At the opening of the war of 1812, the country had eight millions of inhabitants, great resources of wealth, and all the elements of an efficient army and navy. But the people were divided in sentiment, indisposed for war by a long continuance of peace, and unfitted for its successful prosecution by inexperience and irresolution. Their early movements in the new contest were marked by a character of indecision corresponding with this want of preparation. It was not till near the close of the conflict that the national spirit was fully roused; and the results at that period were such as to show that when fairly and heartily embarked in a contest, the people possess the same spirit and the same moral power which carried them so nobly through the struggle for independence.
What information was received in May ?-What was done by the president ?--When was war declared ?-What is said of the war of inde pendence?--Of the war of 1812?
MILITARY FORCE OF THE COUNTRY.
In organising the army, Henry Dearborn of Massachusetts was appointed major general and commander in chief. He had served in the revolutionary contest, anui had subsequently borne the office of secretary of war. Thomas Pinckney of South Carolina also received a commission as major general, and Wilkinson, Hampton, Bloomfield, and Hull were among the brigadier generals.
The army which until the year 1808 had numbered no more than 3000 men, had then been augmented to 6000 In January, 1812, congress had directed a force of up wards of 25,000 to be raised, so that the entire force authorised by law, now exceeded 35,000, including officers, consisted of 25 regiments of infantry, 3 of artillery, 2 of light artillery, 2 of dragoons, and 2 rifle regiments. In addition to this, the president was authorised to accept the services of any number of volunteers, not exceeding fifty thousand, who were to be armed and equipped by the United States; and a similar authority was given to him to call upon the governors of states for detachments of militia, the whole of which was not to exceed 100,000.
Though apparently formidable, this force wanted many of the requisites of an efficient army. The act authorising the raising of 25,000 men, had been passed so short a time before the declaration of war, that scarcely one fourth of that number was enlisted; and these were by no means in a high state of discipline. The volunteers and militia were yet to be called for, as occasion might require, and their services were considered of very doubtful 'utility. Even in the revolutionary war, they had been pronounced by high authority, a most inefficient species of force, and the long peace had certainly not increased their efficiency. The officers, however, who had the direction of the military force, had served with distinction, and high hopes were entertained of a successful campaign
The whole navy of the United States consisted of but 10 frigates, 5 of which were laid up in ordinary, 10 sloops and smaller vessels, and 165 gun boats, only 60 of which were in commission. With this trifling force, war was commenced with a power that numbered 9 thousand ships afloat, and boasted herself the mistress
Who was appointed commander in chief ?-Who were among the other generals ?- What was the military force of the country? What were its deficiencies ?-What is said of the navy ?
GENERAL HULL S EXPEDITION.
of the ocean. The commerce and fisheries of the United States, however, had given her the elements of a navy; and if the Americans had not many ships, subsequent events proved that they had men; and that the efficiency of a navy depends more upon discipline and courage than upon the size and number of its vessels.
The plan of operations at the commencement of the war, was to garrison and defend the sea-board principally by occasional calls on the militia, aided by a few of the regular troops, the whole to be under the direction of the generals of the regular army, stationed at the inost important points. The remaining regular troops, with such volunteers as could be procured and a portion of the militia, were to attack the British posts in Upper Canada and subdue them, with the ultimate design of invading and conquering Lower Canada.
General William Hull was governor of Michigan territory: Soon after the declaration of war, having collected a body of upwards of 2000 regular troops
and militia, he pushed over the frontier (July 12th) as if he intended to attack Montreal, publishing at the same time an arrogant proclamation. His subsequent movements were as dilatory as his previous haste; and upon hearing that the Indians had invaded his territory upon another point, and that the English General Brock was at the head of a respectable force, Hull retreated. He was followed by Brock, who besieged him in Fort Detroit, and was about to try the fortune of an assault, (August 16,) when Hull, panic struck, hoisted the white fag, and surrendered with his fort and army to the great surprise and indignation of his own officers and of the whole American people. For this offence he was subsequently tried by court martial and condemned to death, but in consideration of his age, and his services in the revolutionary war, he was pardoned by the president, and suffered to retire to private life.
The surrender of Hull left the north-western frontier exposed to the incursions of the British and Indians, and occasioned considerable alarm in the neighbouring states. Nearly ten thousand volunteers immediately offered their services to the government; and being placed under
What was the plar of operations ?-Who commanded on the northwestern frontier - What was his force ?- Whither did he first march ? -When did he enter Canada ?-How did he afterwards proceed ?
When did he surrender?- What was now the state of the north-wegt arn frontier ?
GENERAL SMYTH'S OPERATIONS.
the command of General William H. Harrison, marched wwards the territory of Michigan. This force, however, was not sufficiently disciplined to act with the efficiency of regular troops, and before any thing could be done towards retrieving the important losses of the early part of the campaign, the winter set in. Their operations were chiefly confined to incursions into the country of the Indians, who had generally become hostile.
General Van Rensselaer, of the New York militia, had command of what was called the army of the centre, destined also for the invasion of Canada. His force consisted of regulars and militia, who were assembled at Lewistown, on the Niagara river. On the opposite side of the river was a fortified British post, called Queens town, which was the first object of attack. On the 13th of October a detachment of 1000 men, led by Colonel Van Rensselaer, crossed the river and effected a landing under a heavy fire from the British.
In the onset the colonel was wounded ; and the troops under Colonels Christie and Scott were led on to the assault of the fortress. They succeeded in capturing it ; and a reinforcement of 600 men, under General Brock, arriving and attacking the victors, were repulsed with the lass of their commander.
General Van Rensselaer had crossed the river, and now returned to bring over a reinforcement of the Americans. But his troops refused to obey the order; and the British, receiving another reinforcement, recaptured the fort afier a severe engagement, in which the greater part of Colonel Van Rensselaer's detachment was destroyed.
General Van Rensselaer now retired from the service, and was succeeded by General Smyth, of Virginia. He commenced operations by issuing a proclamation address ed to the men of New York,' and couched in terms similar to those employed by General Hull. He was soon at the head of an army of 4500 men; and the 28th of November was the day appointed for crossing the river for the third invasion of Canada. The troops were embarked, but the enemy appearing on the opposite shore with a determined front, a council of war was held, and the invasion postponed till the 1st of December, when,
Who commanded the army there?-What was done in that quarter 2 Who commanded the army of the centre ?-When did he attack Queenstown :- What success did he have in the first attack ?-What prevented his ultimate success ?-Who succeeded General Van Rens selaer ?-Describe his operations.
although 1500 of the men were ready and willing to CTOSS The river, a second council of war decided that it was inexpedient to proceed, and the troops were again debarked. The invasion of Canada at that point was thus finally abandoned for the season.
The arıny of the north was commanded by General Dearborn. A part of the forces were stationed at Green bush, near Albany, and the remainder at Plattsburg, or. Lake Champlain. This division of the army effected nothing but an incursion into Canada, in which a small body of British and Indians, and some military stores were taken. The failure of the other expeditions had the effect of discouraging the general from any serious attempt on the British territory.
Thus upon land the advantages of the first campaign rested altogether with the British. It was at sea, on the element where they felt more secure, that their superiority was more successfully disputed. On the 19th of August, Captain Hull, in the frigate Constitution, of 44 guns, encountered the British frigate Guerriere, of 38 guns, and after an action of 30 minutes_reduced her to a complete wreck. Every mast of the British vessel was carried away in the battle, and, as it was found impossible to bring her into port, she was burned. The loss on the side of the enemy was 50 killed, and 64 wounded. The Constitution lost 7 killed, and 7 wounded. This victory was hailed with enthusiasm by all parties. Even the oppo
What was done by General Dearborn ?-Describe the first naval victory.