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THE LOSS OF THE CHESAPEAKE.
should defend the fort till the last man was buried in its CHAP.
XLIII. ruins. The siege commenced, and when a breach was made, the British regulars, at the word of their Colonel, 1813. who cried out, “Come on, give the Yankees no quarter," rushed to the assault. As they crowded into the ditch, the only cannon in the fort opened from a masked port hole. The gun was loaded with a double charge of musket Aug. balls; the effect was terrific, the enemy fled in confusion, and abandoned the siege. The Indians at the first repulse deserted, as usual.
Meanwbile there had been other conflicts at sea. Captain James Lawrence, in command of the Hornet, had captured the Peacock off the coast of South America. Feb. The ships were equal in size and equipments. The action lasted but fifteen minutes. The Peacock raised signals of distress, for she was sinking rapidly, and in spite of the efforts of both crews she went down, carrying with her some of her own men and three of the Hornet's. On his return, Lawrence was appointed to the command of the frigate Chesapeake, then in Boston harbor, undergoing repairs and enlisting a crew.
The British frigate Shannon, Captain Broke, had appeared off the harbor as if offering a challenge. The im. petuous Lawrence put to sea, notwithstanding the deficiency of his crew, some of whom were much dissatisfied on account of back arrearages of prize money of a former cruise. The ship was also deficient in officers, the first lieutenant being unable from illness to go on board. The contest was witnessed by thousands from the hills and June, house tops. When the ships met, the Chesapeake became entangled with the Shannon in such a manner as to be exposed to a raking fire. Lawrence, mortally wounded at the commencement of the battle, was carried below. This created confusion for a few minutes, and Broke noticing that the fire had slackened, promptly gave orders to board, leading the men himself. The American
CHAP: boarders had just been called, and but few of them wero XLIII.
yet upon deck ; after a hand to hand fight, the Chesa1813. peake's colors were hauled down. The captor sailed im
mediately to Halifax. There Captain Lawrence died. He was buried with military honors and marks of respect. Afterward his remains were removed to New York, His last command, “ Don't give up the ship,” has become the watchword in the American navy.
The rejoicings in England over the capture of the Chesapeake were so great as to become highly complimentary to the Americans, to whom they were as gratifying as if the Shannon had been captured. It was an unequivocal evidence of the respect that the navy had inspired.
The same spirit which had done so much honor to the nation on the ocean, displayed itself on the lakes. The random incursions of undisciplined volunteers accomplished nothing until the control of the lakes was secured. A youthful lieutenant in the United States navy, Oliver Hazard Perry, a native of Newport, Rhode Island, volunteered for that service. Commodore Chauncey appointed him to the command of the fleet on Lake Erie. After much labor, Perry built and fitted out at the port of Erie, nine vessels of various sizes, from one carrying twentyfive guns down to those which carried only one. The American fleet had altogether fifty-five guns; the British had six vessels carrying sixty-three guns. The number of men was about five hundred in each fleet. Owing to the direction of the wind at the commencement of the battle, Perry's flag ship, the Lawrence, was exposed to the concentrated fire of the enemy's entire fleet, and in a short time she was made a complete wreck. As the wind increased, the remaining ships were enabled to come up. Leaping into a boat, and in the midst of flying balls, Perry now transferred his flag, which bore the motto “Don't give up the ship,” to the next largest vessel, the Niagara. When passing through the enemy's line he
BATTLE OF THE THAMES-DEATH OF TECUMSEH.
poured in broadsides, right and left, within pistol-shot. The CHAP
XLIII. other American vessels closed, and in less than an hour every British ship had surrendered. The hero announced 1813. the result to General Harrison, in the memorable despatch, We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
Sept. Harrison hastened to profit by the victory, and to lead
10. his men against Detroit and Malden. The fleet carried a portion of the troops across the lake, but they found Malden deserted. Proctor and Tecumseh had destroyed their military stores, and taken with them the horses and cattle in the neighborhood, and were now in full retreat toward the Moravian town, on the Thames. At Detroit Harrison was unexpectedly reinforced by about thirty-five hundred mounted Kentuckians, under the venerable Governor Shelby, one of the heroes of King's Mountain, and Colonel Richard M. Johnson. The pursuit now commenced in earnest. After a forced march of sixty miles, they overtook the enemy. A desperate encounter took place ; nearly all Proctor's men were either taken or slain, Oct he himself barely escaping with about two hundred dragoons. The Indians fought furiously when cheered on by Tecumseh, but when he fell, it is said by a pistol ball fired by Colonel Johnson himself, they broke and fled. With the life of the great savage planner ended Indian hostilities in that part of the frontier. The Kentuckians returned home in triumph. Leaving Colonel Lewis Cass, who was soon after appointed Governor of Michigan, to garrison Detroit with his brigade, Harrison embarked with thirteen hundred regulars for Buffalo, to assist in the cherished project of conquering Canada.
Military enthusiasm was not confined to Kentucky and the region north of the Ohio. In answer to a call to defend New Orleans, volunteers in great numbers assembled at Nashville, Tennessee. General Andrew Jack son was their chosen commander.
Jackson was a native of North Carolina, of ScotchIrish descent ; left fatherless at an early age :-his mother the descendant of a Scotch Covenanter, a woman of great energy, and of a daring spirit, but softened and subdued by religious principle and humane sympathy. From her he inherited a hatred of oppression, and an indomitable will that never failed to triumph. At the age of thirteen-in Revolutionary times—he began his career un
der General Sumter at the skirmish of Hanging Rock. 1780. His eldest brother had already fallen in battle, and here, in
company with the brother next in age, he fought valiantly. Their home broken up and pillaged, the mother and her two sons became exiles from their own fireside. Soon after the sons, through the plottings of Tories, were made prisoners. The next day a British officer ordered Andrew to clean his boots, but the young hero indignantly refused to perform the menial service, and steadily persisted, though his life was threatened and the officer struck him with the flat of his sword.
The heroic mother at length obtained the exchange of her sons, but only in a short time to follow to the grave the elder, who died of small-pox, which both the brothers had contracted during their captivity.
The next year the mother, with some other ladies, travelled more than one hundred miles to minister to the wants of the unfortunate patriots, her neighbors, who were confined as prisoners on board of loathsome prison ships in the harbor of Charleston. Enfeebled by her labors of love, she contracted the fever then raging among the prisoners and speedily passed away. Thus at the age of fifteen Jackson was left without a relative in his native land. Scarcely has it ever fallen to the lot of a youth to experience a series of such harrowing misfortunes. Though young in years these trials had their effect; they gave him the maturity of manhood ; they strengthened the decision of character, which so marked his life. To his friends
JACKSON'S EXPEDITION TO NATCHEZ,
generous to a fault, yet he never suffered his will to be CHAP. successfully resisted ; not from stubbornness—that stronghold of little minds—but from his impression of right. 1796.
He early emigrated to Tennessee, then a territory, and was the first representative from that State in the House. He was then described by a contemporary, “as having been a tall, lank, uncouth-looking personage, with long locks of hair hanging over his face, and a cue down his back tied in an eel-skin ; his dress singular, his manners and deportment that of a rough backwoodsman. among his associates was prophetic enough, under that rude aspect, to recognize or imagine the future General and President.'
New Orleans was almost defenceless ; the same mis- 1813, taken economy we have seen elsewhere, had been exercised here. There were only sixteen hundred men in the garrison, scarcely any ammunition, and no means of conveyance. Though without authority from the War Department, General Wilkinson—the same who in the days of the Revolution was one of the aids of General Gates,had taken measures to survey all the water passages to the Gulf, and partially repair their fortifications.
This expedition from Tennessee had a singular termination. The infantry, in number sixteen hundred, floated in flat-boats down the Cumberland, the Ohio and the Mississippi to Natchez, where they were joined by four hundred horsemen, who had marched across the country. Armstrong, the Secretary of War, sent orders to Jackson, Feb who had been refused a commission in the regular army, to disband his men at Natchez, and deliver his military stores to General Wilkinson. To implicitly obey orders which he did not approve was not one of the virtues of Andrew Jackson. Suspecting that this order was a pretext to get rid of the volunteers without paying their
Hildreth, vol. iv., p. 692.