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GENERAL HULL'S EXPEDITION.
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 a thousand ships afloat, and boasted herself the mistress 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 most 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.
With these views, William Hull, the governor of Michigan territory, having been appointed a brigadier general, on the 25th of May, took command of the army destined for the invasion of Canada. On the 1st of June, he rendezvoused at Urbanna, in Ohio. His force consisted of 500 regular troops, and 1,200 Ohio volunteers, under the command of Colonels M'Arthur and Cass. Proceeding in a north-westerly direction, the army marched through a wilderness to Detroit, the capital of Michigan territory, situated on the west bank of Detroit river.
On his arrival at this place, General Hull was joined by the Michigan militia; and expecting the co-operation of General Dearborn on the Niagara frontier, he made his descent on Canada on the 12th of July. He crossed the river and established his head quarters at Sandwich, a village on the opposite bank. Here he issued a proclamation, offering peace and protection to the Canadians who would remain at home, and threatening extermination to such as should be found in arms associated with the Indians. He further declared that he commanded a force sufficient to look down all opposition,' which was but the van of a much greater force.
What was the plan of operations?
Whither did he first march?
GOVERNOR BROCK'S PROCLAMATION.
In consequence of this proclamation, several hundred Canadian militia joined the Americans, or returned to their homes under General Hull's protection.
Meantime the British had collected a considerable force of Canadians and Indians, and strengthened their garrison at Malden.
Excepting some skirmishing parties under the command of Colonels M'Arthur and Cass, nothing was done to promote the objects of the invasion till August 8th; General· Hull remaining during the interval in his encampment at Sandwich. He then gave orders for the main body to re-cross the river and retire to Detroit, abandoning the Canadians who had accepted his protection, to the vengeance of their own government, and disgusting his own men with his inertness and pusillanimity.
Towards the last of July, a reinforcement of 150 volunteers from Ohio, under Captain Brush, who had been ordered to join General Hull, arrived at the river Raisin, 36 miles below Detroit. Here they were ordered to await an escort from the camp. Two hundred militia, under Major Vanhorn, being sent on this service, fell into an ambuscade of Indians, and were obliged to retreat, with the loss of 17 killed and 30 wounded.
On the 8th of August, a detachment of 600 men, under Colonel Miller, being despatched on the same service, were attacked by a large body of British and Indians within 14 miles of Detroit. The enemy was gallantly resisted, and compelled to retreat with a heavy loss; but the detachment returned to Detroit on the 10th, without effecting its object.
While these events were passing, General Brock, the governor of Canada, had been making active preparations for its defence. He issued a proclamation in answer to that of General Hull, reminding the Canadians of their previous prosperity and freedom under the British government, and calling upon them to join his standard. This address was not without effect. The Canadians joined the governor in great numbers, and on the 13th of August, General Brock arrived at Malden with a respectable force, just after the Ame
What was its effect?
Where were the British forces posted?
What did he then do ?
What had been done in July?
Who were sent to escort Captain
Who was next sent?
What was done by General Brock?
SURRENDER OF GENERAL HUll.
rican troops had retired from the Canadian shore, dispirited, and disgusted with their commander. On the 15th, General Brock erected batteries on the bank of the river opposite Detroit, and summoned the American general to surrender; stating that he should otherwise be unable to restrain the Indians from committing their usual atrocities. This summons was answered by a refusal, and a declaration that the fortress would be defended to the last extremity. The firing from the fortifications on both sides now commenced, and continued with little effect till the next day.
General Hull had by this time become so much alarmed, as to betray his cowardice to his own officers and men, by his appearance and his hasty and irregular measures. On the 12th the field officers had determined to arrest him, and were only prevented by the absence of Colonels Cass and M'Arthur, who had been detached with 400 men on a third expedition to the river Raisin. On the 15th they received
orders to return.
On the 16th the British troops began to cross the river to the American side three miles below the town, under cover of two ships of war. Having landed, they commenced their march towards the fort. Besides the fourth regiment of regular troops stationed in the fort, it was protected by the Ohio volunteers, and a part of the Michigan militia, placed behind the pickets where the whole flank of the British would have been exposed to their fire. The remainder of the militia were stationed in the town of Detroit, for the purpose of resisting the desultory attacks of the savages. Two four pounders, loaded with grape, were planted on an eminence ready to sweep the advancing columns. M'Arthur and Cass, on their return from the expedition on which they had been ordered, had arrived within view of Detroit, and were ready to attack the enemy on the rear. There was every reason to anticipate a victory, and the troops were eagerly expecting the commencement of the battle.
When the British columns were within 500 yards of the American line, General Hull ordered the troops to retire into the fort, and the artillery not to fire. A white flag was then hoisted, and a British officer rode up to inquire the cause. A communication was opened between the commanding gene
What was done by General Brock on the 15th?
By General Hull?
What prevented his arrest?
What was done on the 16th ?
What means of defence had the gar
What dispositions were made?
TRIAL OF GENERAL HULL.
rals, which speedily terminated in a capitulation. The fortress of Detroit, with the garrison, and munitions of war, were surrendered. The detachment under Cass and M'Arthur, and even the troops at the river Raisin, were included in the capitulation. Captain Brush, however, not considering himself bound by Hull's engagement, on being summoned to surrender, broke up his camp and retreated towards Ohio. The Canadians who had joined Hull, or accepted his protection, were abandoned to their fate, and many of them were subsequently executed as traitors.
Every circumstance which could heighten the disgrace of a surrender was found in the present instance. Hull did not even call a council of his officers. His only object seems to have been to escape from the Indian scalping knife. When he had first entered Canada the British had at Malden but 100 regular troops, 400 Canadian militia, and a few hundred Indians. After General Brock's arrival, their whole force was 330 regulars, 400 militia, and 600 Indians. The army surrendered by General Hull amounted to 2,500 men, of whom 1,200 were militia.
The indignation of the Americans at this disgraceful transaction knew no bounds. When the arrogant proclamation of Hull was contrasted with his subsequent indecisive and timid movements, and his ultimate abandonment of all manhood or decency, his whole conduct was regarded with a unanimous feeling of derision and contempt. The government of course brought him to trial by court martial as soon as he was exchanged. He was charged with treason, cowardice, and neglect of duty, found guilty of the two latter charges, and sentenced to be shot. In consideration of former services his life was spared. The trial did not take place till 1814, but it is mentioned in this connection, in order that the whole affair may be dismissed as speedily as possible from the reader's notice.
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 the command of General William H. Harrison, marched towards the territory
What was surrendered?
What is said of Captain Brush?
What was the British force?
How was his conduct regarded?
What was now the state of the north-
Who commanded the army there!
GENERAL SMYTH'S OPERATIONS.
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 Queenstown, which was the first object of attack. On the 13th of October a detachment of 1,000 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 loss 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 after 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 addressed 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 4,500 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 was postponed till the 1st of December, when, although 1,500 of the men were ready and willing to cross the river, a second council of war decided
What was done in that quarter? 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 Rensselaer ?
Describe his operations.
What was done by General Dearborn?