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Now, when Brown had been brought to a
stand, and was retiring, the movement would not aid him, but would
weaken the Champlain frontier; and that at the very moment when the
divisions from Wellington's army, which had embarked at Bordeaux, were
arriving at Quebec and Montreal.

On August 12, Armstrong wrote again, saying that his first order had
been based upon the supposition that Chauncey would meet and beat Yeo,
or at least confine him in port. This last had in fact been done; but,
if the enemy should have carried his force from Montreal to Kingston,
and be prepared there, "a safer movement was to march two thousand men
to Sackett's, embark there, and go to Brown's assistance."[334] Izard
obediently undertook this new disposition, which he received August
20; but upon consultation with his officers concluded that to march by
the northern route, near the Canada border, would expose his
necessarily long column to dangerous flank attack. He therefore
determined to go by way of Utica.[335] On August 29 the division,
about four thousand effectives, set out from the camp at Chazy, eight
miles north of Plattsburg, and on September 16 reached Sackett's. Bad
weather prevented immediate embarkation, but on the 21st about two
thousand five hundred infantry sailed, and having a fair wind reached
next day the Genesee, where they were instantly put ashore. A
regiment of light artillery and a number of dragoons, beyond the
capacity of the fleet to carry, went by land and arrived a week later.

In this manner the defence of Lake Champlain was deprived of four
thousand fairly trained troops at the moment that the British attack
in vast superiority of force was maturing. Their advance brigade, in
fact, crossed the frontier two days after Izard's departure. At the
critical moment, and during the last weeks of weather favorable for
operations, the men thus taken were employed in making an unprofitable
march of great length, to a quarter where there was now little
prospect of successful action, and where they could not arrive before
the season should be practically closed. Brown, of course, hailed an
accession of strength which he sorely needed, and did not narrowly
scrutinize a measure for which he was not responsible. On September
27, ten days after the successful sortie from Fort Erie, he was at
Batavia, in New York, where he had an interview with Izard, who was
the senior. In consequence of their consultation Izard determined that
his first movement should be the siege of Fort Niagara.[336] In
pursuance of this resolve his army marched to Lewiston, where it
arrived October 5. There he had a second meeting with Brown,
accompanied on this occasion by Porter, and under their
representations decided that it would be more proper to concentrate
all the forces at hand on the Canadian bank of the Niagara, south of
the Chippewa, and not to undertake a siege while Drummond kept the
field.[337]

Despite many embarrassments, and anxieties on the score of supplies
and provisions while deprived of the free use of the lake, the British
general was now master of the situation. His position rested upon the
Chippewa on one flank, and upon Fort Niagara on the other. From end
to end he had secure communication, for he possessed the river and the
boats, below the falls. By these interior lines, despite his momentary
inferiority in total numbers, he was able to concentrate his forces
upon a threatened extremity with a rapidity which the assailants could
not hope to rival. Fort Niagara was not in a satisfactory condition to
resist battery by heavy cannon; but Izard had none immediately at
hand. Drummond was therefore justified in his hope that "the enemy
will find the recapture of the place not to be easily effected."[338]
His line of the Chippewa rested on the left upon the Niagara. On its
right flank the ground was impassable to everything save infantry, and
any effort to turn his position there would have to be made in the
face of artillery, to oppose which no guns could be brought forward.
Accordingly when Izard, after crossing in accordance with his last
decision, advanced on October 15 against the British works upon the
Chippewa, he found they were too strong for a frontal attack, the
opinion which Drummond himself entertained,[339] while the
topographical difficulties of the country baffled every attempt to
turn them. Drummond's one serious fear was that the Americans, finding
him impregnable here, might carry a force by Lake Erie, and try to
gain his rear from Long Point, or by the Grand River.[340] Though they
would meet many obstacles in such a circuit, yet the extent to which
he would have to detach in order to meet them, and the smallness of
his numbers, might prove very embarrassing.

Izard entertained no such project. After his demonstration of October
15, which amounted to little more than a reconnaisance in force, he
lapsed into hopelessness. The following day he learned by express that
the American squadron had retired to Sackett's Harbor and was
throwing up defensive works. With his own eyes he saw, too, that the
British water service was not impeded. "Notwithstanding our supremacy
on Lake Ontario, at the time I was in Lewiston [October 5-8] the
communication between York and the mouth of the Niagara was
uninterrupted. I saw a large square-rigged vessel arriving, and
another, a brig, lying close to the Canada shore. Not a vessel of ours
was in sight."[341] The British big ship, launched September 10, was
on October 14 reported by Yeo completely equipped. The next day he
would proceed up the lake to Drummond's relief. Chauncey had not
waited for the enemy to come out. Convinced that the first use of
naval superiority would be to reduce his naval base, he took his ships
into port October 8; writing to Washington that the "St. Lawrence" had
her sails bent, apparently all ready for sea, and that he expected an
attack in ten days.[342] "I confess I am greatly embarrassed," wrote
Izard to Monroe, who had now superseded Armstrong as Secretary of War.
"At the head of the most efficient army the United States have
possessed during this war, much must be expected from me; and yet I
can discern no object which can be achieved at this point worthy of
the risk which will attend its attempt." The enemy perfectly
understood his perplexity, and despite his provocations refused to
play into his hands by leaving the shelter of their works to fight. On
October 21, he broke up his camp, and began to prepare winter quarters
for his own command opposite Black Rock, sending Brown with his
division to Sackett's Harbor. Two weeks later, on November 5, having
already transported all but a small garrison to the American shore, he
blew up Fort Erie and abandoned his last foothold on the peninsula.

During the operations along the Niagara which ended thus fruitlessly,
the United States Navy upon Lake Erie met with some severe mishaps.
The Cabinet purpose, of carrying an expedition into the upper lakes
against Michilimackinac, was persisted in despite the reluctance of
Armstrong. Commander Arthur Sinclair, who after an interval had
succeeded Perry, was instructed to undertake this enterprise with such
force as might be necessary; but to leave within Lake Erie all that he
could spare, to co-operate with Brown. Accordingly he sailed from Erie
early in June, arriving on the 21st off Detroit, where he was to
embark the troops under Colonel Croghan for the land operations. After
various delays St. Joseph's was reached July 20, and found abandoned.
Its defences were destroyed. On the 26th the vessels were before
Mackinac, but after a reconnaisance Croghan decided that the position
was too strong for the force he had. Sinclair therefore started to
return, having so far accomplished little except the destruction of
two schooners, one on Lake Huron, and one on Lake Superior, both
essential to the garrison at Mackinac; there being at the time but one
other vessel on the lakes competent to the maintenance of their
communications.

This remaining schooner, called the "Nancy," was known to be in
Nottawasaga Bay, at the south end of Georgian Bay, near the position
selected by the British as a depot for stores coming from York by way
of Lake Simcoe. After much dangerous search in uncharted waters,
Sinclair found her lying two miles up a river of the same name as the
bay, where she was watching a chance to slip through to Mackinac. Her
lading had been completed July 31, and the next day she had already
started, when a messenger brought word that approach to the island was
blocked by the American expedition. The winding of the river placed
her present anchorage within gunshot of the lake; but as she could
not be seen through the brush, Sinclair borrowed from the army a
howitzer, with which, mounted in the open beyond, he succeeded in
firing both the "Nancy" and the blockhouse defending the position. The
British were thus deprived of their last resource for transportation
in bulk upon the lake. What this meant to Mackinac may be inferred
from the fact that flour there was sixty dollars the barrel, even
before Sinclair's coming.

Having inflicted this small, yet decisive, embarrassment on the enemy,
Sinclair on August 16 started back with the "Niagara" and "Hunter" for
Erie, whither he had already despatched the "Lawrence"--Perry's old
flagship--and the "Caledonia." He left in Nottawasaga Bay the
schooners "Scorpion" and "Tigress," "to maintain a rigid blockade
until driven from the lake by the inclemency of the weather," in order
"to cut the line of communications from Michilimackinac to York."
Lieutenant Daniel Turner of the "Scorpion," who had commanded the
"Caledonia" in Perry's action, was the senior officer of this
detachment.

After Sinclair's departure the gales became frequent and violent.
Finding no good anchorage in Nottawasaga Bay, Turner thought he could
better fulfil the purpose of his instructions by taking the schooners
to St. Joseph's, and cruising thence to French River, which enters
Georgian Bay at its northern end. On the night of September 3, the
"Scorpion" being then absent at the river, the late commander of the
"Nancy," Lieutenant Miller Worsley, got together a boat's crew of
eighteen seamen, and obtained the co-operation of a detachment of
seventy soldiers.



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