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BATTLES.-BRIDGES.-PLACES OF RESORT.-MINERALS, &c.
IN the immediate vicinity of the Falls, many incidents have occurred to impart an additional interest. This was the scene of a number of battles fought during the last war with Great Britain; those at Fort Erie, Chippewa, and Lundy's Lane, were among the most bloody and hard fought that are recorded in history. In the battle near Fort Erie, there was what has generally been considered, a military chef-d'œuvre; the Americans, to the number of 1000 regulars and 1000 of the militia, made a sortie and took the British works about 500 yards from their line, and returned in triumph. The battles in this region occurred in the following order, viz: at Queenston, October 13, 1812; at York, April 27, 1813; at Fort George, May 27, do.; at Stoney Creek, June 5, do. ; at Beaver Dam, June 24, do.; Naval Battle on Lake Erie, September 10, do.; the village of Niagara Falls, Lewiston, and Youngstown burnt, December 19, do.; Buffalo and Black Rock burnt, December 31, do. ; Fort Erie taken July 3, 1814; battle of Chippewa, July 6, do.; at Bridgewater or Lundy's Lane, July 25, do.; at Fort Erie, August 15, and September 17, 1814. The burning of villages and plunder of property on the frontier, are still remembered, and the circumstances detailed with thrilling interest, by many of the inhabitants.
In the year 1817, a bridge was constructed from the shore across the rapids to the head of Goat Island, but was swept away by the ice the ensuing spring. The present bridge was constructed in 1818, and is forty-four rods in length, exclusive of Bath Island. This bridge, though crossing the foaming rapids only sixty-four rods above the Falls, over which visitors are at first disposed to walk lightly and with quickened pace, is perfectly safe for all kinds of teams and carriages, and seems destined to stand a great length of time. Multitudes inquire, with wonder and eager curiosity, how it
could have been constructed in this imminently dangerous place.
They shall be informed; and they will see that, like a thousand other difficult things, it was easily accomplished, when the mode was ascertained. Two very long timbers were thrust out from the shore on an abutment, having the forward ends elevated a little above the rapids and the others firmly secured upon the bank: these were then covered with plank for a temporary bridge. At the extremity of this bridge, very large stones were let down into the river, around which timbers were sunk, locked together so as to form a frame, which was afterwards filled with stone. To this, constituting the first pier, a firm bridge was then constructed, and the temporary bridge shoved forward so as to build a second pier like the first, and so on till the whole was completed. The honour of projecting and constructing this bridge belongs jointly and equally to the proprietors, the Hon. Augustus and General Peter B. Porter.
Till the year 1817, there was no way of descending or ascending the bank below the Falls, except by a ladder, about one hundred feet in length: since then a safe and convenient flight of stairs has been built, by which visitors can have an easy descent to the ferry, and an opportunity to pass a considerable distance behind the magnificent sheet of water. Perhaps there is no place where the height of the Fall is so impressively realized as here.
There are a number of pretty establishments at the Falls, where are kept on hand rich specimens of the mineral fossil, vegetable and animal productions of the vicinity. Among these establishments, as a place of resort, Mr. W. E. HULETT'S, deserves a conspicuous notice. His place is directly opposite the Cataract Hotel, and visitors will there find a library, reading-room, billiard-room, &c. &c., and a most splendid collection of minerals, both from the vicinity of the Falls, and from other parts of the United States.
Mr. A. B. Jacobs, on Bath Island, Mr. S. Hooker, and some others, on the American side; and Mr. Barnett, at his
Museum, Mr. Starkey and Mr. Shultersburgh, on the Canada side, keep on hand an assortment of mineralogical specimens, a variety of elegant articles of Indian manufacture, canes, &c. Among the minerals kept for sale, are transparent selenites; snow-white gypsum; calcareous, bitter, dog-tooth, and fluor spar; crystallized quartz; petrifactions; favasites and other fossils; shells, &c. There are also some noble specimens of bald and gray eagles, with which this region abounds.
THE HERMIT OF THE FALLS.-BY MRS. SIGOURNEY.
Ir was the leafy month of June,
His ruddy cheek was blanched with awe,
While bending o'er its brim,
He marked its strong, unfathomed tide,
His measured week too quickly fled,
For deeper round his soul was wove
To gain the bridge beside the deep,
And when the moon descending low,
He, kneeling, poured in utterance free
The eloquence of ecstasy;
Though to his words no answer came,
When wintry tempests shook the sky,
His palace mid those cliffs to rear,
And strike the massy buttress strong,
Nor lacked the hermit's humble shed
The cheering fire, the peaceful bed,
Or Maro's martial numbers scanned,
Flowed smoothly o'er his tongue.
As beams the solemn star
Where some lone rock-bound fountain lies.
As through the groves with quiet tread,
On Iris isle, a summer bower
He twined with branch, and vine, and flower,