« PředchozíPokračovat »
wages, he positively refused to obey. Indignant at the
wrong done the men, he unceremoniously drove out of the 1813. camp the United States recruiting officers, who had come,
hoping to induce those volunteers to enlist in the regular army, who had not the funds to return home. On his own responsibility, Jackson provided conveyances for the sick,
and marched the whole force back to Nashville, and there April disbanded them. The War Department overlooked the in17.
subordination, and quietly paid the bill.
The military operations on the northern frontier conLinued as unimportant, as they were inefficient in bringing Great Britain to terms. To secure the control of Lake Ontario it was necessary to destroy or capture the ships
and military stores at York, now Toronto, then the capiApril. tal of Upper Canada, and the head-quarters of General
Sheafe. When the spring opened, Commodore Chauncey sailed with sixteen hundred men on board his fleet. They landed a short distance from the town, Lieutenant Scott, who had recently been exchanged, leading the van. General Pike led the troops to the assault. The retreating British fired a magazine, which exploded with tremendous power, overwhelmed the advancing Americans, and killed and wounded more than two hundred of their number, among whom was the gallant Pike, who died the next day. The town surrendered, and the contents of another magazine were transferred to Sackett's Harbor.
Just before the Americans embarked, a little one story building, known as the Parliament House, was burned. The British attributed the act to them, but General Dearborn and his officers believed it was set on fire by the disaffected Canadians, as they had threatened to burn it.
Major Grafton certified that no American could have committed the deed without his knowledge, as he had the command of the patrol in the vicinity of the House. The
PRIVATE RESENTMENTS_ANOTHER FAILURE.
Canadian Chief Justice of the district, in a communication, CHAP: spoke of the humane conduct of the Americans," which entitled them to the gratitude of the people of York.” 1813. Yet retaliation, for the burning of this building, was the excuse offered afterward for the wanton destruction and pillaging of the public buildings at Washington.
During the summer occurred a number of failures, all traceable to the inefficiency of the commanders. Finally certain members of Congress informally requested the President, through secretary Monroe, to recall Dearborn from the command. Accordingly Wilkinson was transferred from New Orleans to the northern frontier. General Wade Hampton, recently in command at Norfolk, was also appointed to the command of a division ; but as he and Wilkinson were not on friendly terms, he accepted the office only on condition that he should not be placed ninder the command of the latter. That patriotism which would overlook private resentment for the good of the country must be sacrificed to the personal enmities of these gentlemen. Hoping to remove the difficulty, Armstrong, the Secretary of War, suddenly appeared on the ground, and assumed the chief command himself; but he and Wilkinson could not agree on a plan of operations. After May refusing to accept the proffered resignation of Wilkinson, who did not relish the uncalled-for interference, the Secretary returned to his more appropriate duties at Washington,
Another futile attempt was made to conquer Canada. General Wilkinson moved his army from Sackett's Harbor, toward Montreal ; in the mean time General Hampton was advancing up from Lake Champlain. The two American armies if united would number twelve thousand men, while the whole British force was about two thousand, and these mostly militia. Wilkinson wrote to Hampton, in Armstrong's name, to join him at St. Regis, but instead of co-operating, Hampton replied that he had given up the expedition and was already on his return to
CHAP. winter-quarters. Under these circumstances, Wilkinson
found it necessary to retreat, as the season would be too 1813. far advanced before he could obtain the provisions and Nov.
aid which Hampton had failed to supply. During the previous summer there had been on the lake, as well as on its shores, several expeditions as unimportant in themselves as they were trifling in their results.
When General Harrison, who soon after resigned his commission, retired, he left a General McClure in command at the head of Lake Ontario. Presently McClure found himself with only a few regular troops, as the militia under his command were returning home; their term of enlistments had expired. Not prepared to resist the advancing British, he was forced to retire across the river to the American side. Before leaving he destroyed Fort George, and set on fire the village of Newark, lest the enemy, as he said, should find comfortable winter-quarters. McClure gave as his excuse for thus burning the homes, and turning four hundred inoffensive people, men, women, and children, out into the winter's storms, that he thought he was justified by the orders of the War Department.
In truth there was no excuse for the cruel and wanton Dec. act. Evil begets evil. Ten days after, the enemy passed
over to the American side, surprised Fort Niagara, and put the garrison to the sword. Then commenced the retaliation for the burning of Newark. They burned Lewistown, Youngstown, Manchester, Black Rock, and Buffalo, and indeed every house that could be reached from Lake Ontario to Erie. Prevost issued immediately after a proclamation, in which he stated that these ravages were provoked by the burning of Newark, and if the Americans would hereafter refrain from such outrages, he should conduct the war on humane and civilized principles.
During the summer the whole American coast was June. blockaded by the overwhelming force of the British fleet.
The Hornet, the frigates United States and Macedonian,
BRITISH ARMED VESSELS IN THE CHESAPEAKE.
XLIII. of New York, the Delaware and Chesapeake bays, the harbors of Charleston and Savannah, the mouth of the 1813. Mississippi, were all blockaded. In the Chesapeake alone there were more than twenty British armed vessels, on board of which were three or four thousand land troops. These frequently landed and pillaged the towns, and in some instances committed outrages upon the inhabitants, especially at Hampton, a small village on James river. The infamy of conducting these marauding expeditions belongs to Vice-Admiral Cockburn, whose conduct was more in accordance with the brutality of a savage, than with the humanity of an officer of a Christian nation. These marauders were well characterized by the term, “ Water Winnebagoes.”
The war was not confined to the northern frontier. The untiring Tecumseh had visited the Creeks the previous year, and inspired them, especially their young warriors, with his views. The Creeks occupied the greater portion of what is now the State of Alabama, and a portion of south-western Georgia. Numbers of the tribe had become partially civilized, living upon the products of their fields and their herds. The nation was divided in opinion. The intelligent and wealthy portion were in favor of peace, while the ignorant and poor were in favor
The one party saw in a war with the United States, the utter ruin of their nation; the other a return to their ancient customs, and a perfect independence of the white man. The settlers blindly neglected the repeated warnings given of these hostile intentions. When suddenly Wetherford, a celebrated half-breed chief, surrounded Fort Mimms, on the lower Alabama, and put to death nearly three hundred persons, men, women, and children. The South was speedily roused, and soon about seven thousand volunteers were on their march in four
CHAP. divisions, to penetrate the enemy's country, from as many
points, and to meet in the centre. 1813. General Jackson, with his recent Natchez volunteers, Dec.
moved from Nashville ; from East Tennessee, another
division, under General Cocke ; one from Georgia, and 1814. one from the Mississippi Territory. In addition the
lower Creeks took up arms against their brethren ; and also Cherokees and Choctaws joined in the expedition. A series of attacks commenced upon the savage enemy. The Creeks were defeated in every conflict; cut down without mercy, their warriors disdaining to ask for their lives. The divisions penetrated the country from different points, and drove them from place to place. In this last struggle for their homes they were overwhelmed, but not conquered. Thus the war continued for some months, when the greater portion of the volunteers returned home. Jackson was compelled to suspend offensive operations till reinforcements should arrive. At length they came, and he went in pursuit of the enemy. On a peninsula formed by a peculiar bend in the Tallapoosa river, known as Emuchfau, or the Horse-shoe, the Indians made their last stand. They fortified the neck of the peninsula, as much as their rude materials would permit. Thither they transferred their wives and children, in whose defence they resolved to die, and there in gloomy silence they awaited
the attack. Mar.
The assault was made on the breastwork, which, after five hours' fighting, was carried. Nearly six hundred of the warriors perished, and the women and children were taken prisoners. Thus, after a campaign of six months, the power of the Creeks was broken, and with it their spirit was crushed. The warriors who were yet living, began to give themselves up to the conquerors. A noble-looking chief suddenly, at the hour of midnight, presented himself to Jackson. “I fought at Fort Mimms; I fought the army of Georgia,” said he ; "I did you all