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Perry rearranged his line with reference to
the British, upon seeing their array. Had the "Charlotte" been next the
"Detroit," as James puts her, it seems probable he would have placed the
"Niagara" next the "Lawrence."

[87] Cooper, Battle of Lake Erie, p. 63.

[88] See Mackenzie's Life of Perry, 5th edition, vol. ii. pp. 251-252.
Perry's charges against Elliott, dated Aug. 8, 1818, are there given in

[89] See Mackenzie's Life of Perry, 5th edition, vol. ii. pp. 251-252.

[90] Cooper's Battle of Lake Erie, p. 63.

[91] Barclay's Report, Naval Chronicle, vol. xxxi. p. 251.

[92] The range of a 32 pdr. carronade, with which the "Niagara" was
armed, throwing one solid shot, with degree elevation,--substantially
point-blank,--was 260 yards; at 5 degrees, 1260 yards. The difference,
1000 yards, is just half a sea mile. A British professional writer of
that day, criticising their commander's choice of position at Lake
Champlain, says: "At 1000 or 1100 yards the elevation necessary to be
given a carronade would have been so great that none but chance shots
[from the Americans] could have taken effect; whereas, in closing, he
gave up this advantage." Naval Chronicle, vol. xxxiii. p. 132.

[93] The "Caledonia" had two long 24-pounders, and one other lighter
gun, variously stated. The "Detroit's" heaviest were also two long 24's;
she had besides one long 18, six long 12's, etc.

[94] With reference to times, always very difficult to establish, and
often very important as bases of calculation, the following extract from
the Diary of Dr. Usher Parsons, surgeon of the "Lawrence," possesses
value; the more so as it is believed to have been copied from the log of
the vessel, which afterwards disappeared. The phraseology is that of a
log and a seaman, not of a physician. "At 10 called all hands to
quarters. A quarter before meridian the enemy began action at one mile
distance. In a half hour came within musket-shot of the enemy's new
ship.... At 1.30, so entirely disabled we could work the brig no longer.
At 2 P.M., most of the guns were dismounted, breechings gone, or
carriages knocked to pieces. At half-past two, when not another gun
could be worked or fired, Captain Perry hauled down the fighting flag
[not the national flag], which bore this motto 'Don't give up the ship,'
and repaired on board the 'Niagara,' where he raised it again. In ten
minutes after we struck." Publications of the Rhode Island Historical
Society, vol. vii. p. 244. This was called to the author's attention
after the account in the text was written.

[95] Mackenzie's Life of Perry, vol. ii. p. 283.

[96] Evidence of Midshipman Montgomery of the "Niagara," before the
Court of Inquiry.

[97] Naval Chronicle, vol. xxxi. p. 252.

[98] Richardson, War of 1812, p. 243.

[99] Barclay's Report.

[100] British Court Martial Record.

[101] Navy Department, MSS. Miscellaneous Letters. My italics.

[102] This scheme appears outlined in a letter of Oct. 5, 1812, to Lord
Bathurst from Sir George Prevost, who in support of it adduces Brock's
opinion (Canadian Archives MSS). Bathurst replied, Dec. 9, 1812, "I so
entirely concur in the expediency of the suggestions contained in your
despatch, as to the necessity of securing the territories of the Indians
from encroachment, that I have submitted it to His Majesty's Secretary
for Foreign Affairs, in order that whenever negotiations for peace may
be entered into, the security of their possessions may not be either
compromised or forgotten." (British Colonial Office Records). Prevost
transmitted a copy of the letter to Admiral Warren, in his early
diplomatic capacity as a peace envoy. Gordon Drummond, the successor of
Brock, and later of Prevost, expressed the same interest (Canadian
Archives MSS., April 2, 1814).

[103] American State Papers, Foreign Affairs, vol. iii. pp. 710-713.



Perry's victory was promptly followed up by himself and Harrison.
Besides its ultimate influence on the general course of events,
already mentioned, it produced immediate military consequences, the
effect of which was felt throughout the lake frontier, from Detroit to
Champlain. That success elsewhere did not follow was due to other
causes than remissness on their part to improve the occasion. Although
the "Lawrence" had to be sent back to Erie for extensive repairs, and
the "Detroit" and "Queen Charlotte" rolled their masts overboard at
anchor in Put-in Bay on the third day after the battle, Perry within a
week had his squadron and four of the prizes sufficiently in repair to
undertake the transport of the army. This timely facility, which
betrayed the enemy's expectations, was due largely to the "Lawrence"
having borne the brunt of the action. Had the injuries been more
distributed, the delay of repairs must have been greater. The British
Adjutant General at Niagara, Harvey, the hero of Stoney Creek, wrote
on hearing of the battle, "After an action of three hours and a half,
the enemy's vessels must have received so much damage as not to be in
a situation to undertake anything for some time."[104] By September 26
Harrison had assembled his forces at an island in the lake, called
Middle Sister, twelve miles from Malden. On the 27th they were
conveyed to Malden, partly in vessels and partly in boats, the weather
being fine. By September 30 Sandwich and Detroit were occupied;
Procter retreating eastward up the valley of the Thames. Harrison
pursued, and on October 5 overtook the British and Indians at a
settlement called Moravian Town. Here they made a stand and were
defeated, with the destruction or dispersal of the entire body, in an
action known to Americans as the battle of the Thames. Procter
himself, with some two hundred men, fled eastward and reached the
lines at Burlington Heights, at the head of Ontario, whither Vincent
had again retreated on October 9, immediately upon receiving news of
the disaster at Moravian Town.

After this the Western Indians fell wholly away from the British
alliance, and Harrison returned to Detroit, satisfied that it was
useless to pursue the enemy by land. The season was thought now too
far advanced for operations against Michilimackinac, which was
believed also to be so effectually isolated, by the tenure of Lake
Erie, as to prevent its receiving supplies. This was a mistake, there
being a route, practicable though difficult, from Toronto to Georgian
Bay, on Lake Huron, by which necessary stores were hurried through
before the winter closed in. Mackinac remained in British hands to the
end of the war.

At Detroit Harrison and Perry received orders to transport a body of
troops down Lake Erie, to re-enforce the army on the general scene of
operations centring round Lake Ontario. By the control of the Niagara
peninsula, consequent upon Vincent's necessary retreat after the
battle of the Thames, the American communications were complete and
secure throughout from Detroit to Sackett's Harbor, permitting free
movement from end to end. The two officers embarked together, taking
with them thirteen hundred men in seven vessels. October 24 they
reached Buffalo. Harrison went on to Niagara, but Perry was here
detached from the lake service, and returned to the seaboard, leaving
Elliott to command on Erie. In acknowledging the order for Perry's
removal, Chauncey regretted the granting of his application as a bad
precedent; and further took occasion to remark that when he himself
was sent to the lakes the only vessel on them owned by the United
States was the brig "Oneida." "Since then two fleets have been
created, one of which has covered itself with glory: the other, though
less fortunate, has not been less industrious." It may be questioned
whether the evident difference of achievement was to be charged to
fortune, or to relative quickness to seize opportunity, when offered.

The successes on Lake Erie had come very appositely for a change
recently introduced into the plans of the Government, and then in
process of accomplishment. Since the middle of the summer the
Secretary of War, Armstrong, who at this time guided the military
counsels, had become disgusted by the fruitlessness of the movements
at the west end of Ontario, and had reverted to his earlier and
sounder prepossession in favor of an attack upon either Kingston or
Montreal. It had now been for some time in contemplation to transfer
to Sackett's Harbor all the troops that could be spared from Niagara,
leaving there only sufficient to hold Fort George, with Fort Niagara
on the American side, as supports to a defensive attitude upon that
frontier. Assured command of the lake was essential to the safety and
rapidity of the concentration at Sackett's, and this led to the next
meeting of the squadrons.

General James Wilkinson, an officer advanced in years, of extremely
poor reputation, personal as well as professional, and of broken
constitution, had been either selected by, or forced upon,[105] the
Secretary of War to replace Dearborn in command of the New York
frontier and conduct of the proposed operations. To his suggested
doubts as to the direction of effort, whether westward or eastward,
Armstrong had replied definitely and finally on August 8: "Operations
westward of Kingston, if successful, leave the strength of the enemy
unbroken. It is the great depot of his resources. So long as he
retains this, and keeps open his communication with the sea, he will
not want the means of multiplying his naval and other defences, and of
re-enforcing or renewing the war in the West." He then explained that
there were two ways of reducing the place; by direct attack, or,
indirectly, by cutting its communications with the lower river. To
accomplish the latter, a demonstration of direct attack should be made
by part of the troops, while the main body should move rapidly down
the St. Lawrence to Madrid (or Hamilton),[106] in New York, and cross
there to the Canadian side, seizing and fortifying a bluff on the
north bank to control the road and river.

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