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When the swamps and
lakes of the Northwest were sufficiently frozen to bear their weight,
Harrison repeated his attempts to expel the British from Detroit. His
advance, under General Winchester, was attacked on the River Raisin by
the British, led by General Proctor. Winchester was as prompt as General
Hull in surrendering. Proctor allowed his Indians to massacre the
wounded prisoners, most of whom were Kentuckians. Thereafter, when the
Kentucky troops rushed into battle they raised the war-cry, "Remember
the Raisin!"

The disaster to Winchester caused Harrison to fall back to Fort Meigs,
which stood near the site of the present town of Defiance. There, in the
spring of 1813, he was besieged by Proctor. A force of Kentuckians
relieved him, after severe loss, and Proctor retreated. Some months
later he again advanced against Fort Meigs, but was repulsed, and
marched to Fort Stephenson, where Fremont now stands.

The besiegers consisted of 3,000 British and Indians, while the garrison
numbered only 160, under the command of Major George Croghan, only
twenty years of age. When Proctor ordered the youth to surrender he
threatened that, in case of resistance, every prisoner would be
tomahawked. Major Croghan replied that when the surrender took place
there would not be a single man left to tomahawk. Although Croghan had
but a single cannon, he made so gallant a defense that his assailants
were repulsed, and Proctor, fearing the approach of Harrison, withdrew
from the neighborhood.


BATTLE OF THE THAMES.

Perry's great victory on Lake Erie in September, 1813, as related
further on, gave the Americans command of that body of water. Harrison's
troops were placed on board of Perry's vessels and carried across from
Ohio to Canada. They landed near Malden and Proctor fell back to
Sandwich, with the Americans following. He continued his retreat to the
Thames, where, with the help of Tecumseh, he selected a good
battle-ground and awaited the Americans, who attacked him on the 5th of
October. Proctor fled early in the battle, but his regulars fought
bravely. The 1,500 Indians, under the lead of Tecumseh, displayed
unusual heroism, but, when the great Tecumseh fell, they fled in a
panic. The American victory was overwhelming and complete.

Tecumseh's irresistible eloquence had roused the Creeks to take the
warpath in the South. The danger became so imminent that 500 of the
inhabitants took refuge in a stockade known as Fort Mimms, Alabama,
thirty-five miles above Mobile. The sentinels, believing there was no
danger, were careless, and on August 21, 1813, nearly a thousand Creeks
attacked the place, which was surprised and captured after feeble
resistance. More than 200 were tomahawked, the negroes being spared to
become slaves of the Indians.


CAPTURE OF TORONTO (YORK).

In April of this year, General Dearborn crossed Lake Ontario from
Sackett's Harbor to Toronto (then known as York), which was the capital
of Upper Canada and the chief depot for the supply of the western
garrisons. Under a sharp fire, General Zebulon Pike drove the enemy from
the works. The explosion of a magazine in the fort caused the death of
General Pike in the moment of victory.

The operations left Sackett's Harbor almost unprotected, and led to an
attack by the British admiral, Sir James Yeo, and General Prevost. The
commander of the garrison appealed to General Jacob Brown, a militia
officer of the neighborhood, who hurriedly gathered a small force and
added it to the defenders. In the attack which followed Brown showed
great skill, and General Prevost, believing his retreat was about to be
cut off, fled in a panic, leaving 300 dead and wounded. In the
engagements in that section during the remainder of the year, General
Brown was about the only officer who displayed any military ability, his
skill eventually placing him at the head of the United States army.

The fighting that followed was mainly in favor of the British, who
recaptured York. Eight hundred Americans were made prisoners at Beaver
Dams, and, as the autumn approached, the enemy found themselves in
command of a powerful squadron.


INCOMPETENT COMMANDERS.

There was much dissatisfaction with General Dearborn, the head of the
army. He was in ill-health, never led his troops in person, and missed a
good opportunity of capturing Montreal. He was relieved in June and
succeeded by General Wilkinson, who arrived at Sackett's Harbor in
August. He began preparations for invading Canada, but was so laggard in
his movements that the enemy had abundance of time in which to make
ready. The St. Lawrence seemed to be fortified at every point, but
General Brown, by brave fighting, opened the way for the flotilla.

General Wilkinson reached St. Regis, November 11th, at which point
General Wade Hampton was to co-operate with him. But that officer, owing
to a lack of provisions, had fallen back to Plattsburg, hoping to keep
open his communications with the St. Lawrence. This obliged General
Wilkinson to retreat, and Wilkinson, Hampton, and other officers
quarreled like so many children.

Disaster and disgrace seemed to follow the American land forces during
the first two years of the war, but the fault lay wholly with the
officers, who were incompetent, and many times lacking in patriotism.
The soldiers were brave, but were comparatively powerless with such poor
commanders.

Once again the American navy performed brilliant work, though,
unfortunately, the record was marred by a sad disaster. On February
24th, Captain James Lawrence, who had made several minor captures from
the enemy, riddled the English brig-of-war _Peacock_, while in command
of the _Hornet_, and, in a fierce engagement of fifteen minutes,
compelled her to surrender and hoist a signal of distress. She went down
so quickly that several of the _Hornet's_ crew, who were giving aid,
sank with her, besides thirteen of the enemy. Captain Lawrence treated
his prisoners so kindly that, upon reaching New York, they gave him a
letter of thanks.


CAPTURE OF THE CHESAPEAKE BY THE SHANNON.

Captain Lawrence's fine work caused him to be promoted to the command of
the _Chesapeake_, then refitting at Boston. Captain Broke (afterward Sir
Philip, B.V.), commander of the _Shannon_, cruising off Boston,
challenged Lawrence to come out and fight him. The American promptly
accepted the challenge. It was a piece of unwarrantable recklessness,
for the _Chesapeake_ was not yet ready for the sea, and his crew was
undisciplined and in a surly mood, because some promised prize money
had not been paid them. Moreover, it is said that most of the sailors
were under the influence of liquor.

The _Chesapeake_ sailed gaily out of the harbor on the 1st of June,
followed by a number of pleasure boats and barges crowded with
spectators, while the hills swarmed with people, many with glasses, all
anxious to witness the triumph of the gallant young captain. A woeful
disappointment awaited them.

The battle was a terrific one. In a short time the rigging of the
_Chesapeake_ was so mangled that she became unmanageable, and could not
escape a raking fire which did frightful execution. Captain Lawrence was
twice wounded, the last time mortally, and was carried below at the time
the enemy were preparing to board. He ordered that the colors should not
be struck. "Tell the men to fire faster," he cried; "_don't give up the
ship!_"

Boarders swarmed over the _Chesapeake_ and a few minutes later she was
captured, the loss of the Americans being 48 killed and 98 wounded, that
of the enemy being about half as great. Lawrence lived four days, most
of the time delirious, during which he continually repeated the appeal,
"_Don't give up the ship!_" The impressiveness of the circumstances and
the words themselves made them the motto of the American navy in many a
subsequent engagement.

[Illustration: MRS. JAMES MADISON

(DOLLY PAYNE).

During the burning of Washington in 1812 by the British, Dolly Madison's
heroism saved the Declaration of Independence from destruction. She
broke the glass case containing it and fled.]

Lawrence was one of the bravest of men, and entered the navy when only
seventeen years old. He helped Captain Decatur in burning the
_Philadelphia_, in the harbor of Tripoli, during the war with that
country. His body was taken to Halifax and buried with the honors of
war, several of the oldest captains in the British navy acting as
pall-bearers.


CAPTAIN DECATUR CHECKED.

An exasperating experience befell Captain Decatur. On the day of the
capture of the _Chesapeake_, he was compelled to take refuge in the
harbor of New London, to escape a powerful squadron. He was in command
of the _United States_, the _Macedonian_, and the _Hornet_. Chafing with
impatience, he made repeated attempts to get to sea, but he declared
that in every instance the blockading squadron were notified by means of
blue lights displayed by Tories on shore. He was thus held helpless
until the close of hostilities. This betrayal by his own countrymen
caused much resentment throughout the country, and the enemies of the
Federal party gave it the name of "Blue Lights," and Connecticut was
often taunted for her disloyal course in the war, though the offenders
were probably few in number.

By this time, England had acquired so wholesome a respect for the
American navy that orders were issued that two or three vessels should
always cruise in company, and under no circumstances should a single
vessel engage an American, where there was the least preponderance
against the British. The Americans were the only nation against whom
such an order was ever issued.

Captain William Henry Allen, in command of the brig _Argus_, boldly
entered the English Channel and destroyed much shipping of the enemy.
Many vessels were sent in search of him, and on the 14th of August he
was captured by the _Pelican_. Soon afterward the brig _Enterprise_
captured the British _Boxer_ off the coast of Maine. The fight was a
desperate one, both commanders being killed. They were buried side by
side in Portland.


THE CRUISE OF THE ESSEX.

In the spring of 1813, Captain David Porter (father of Admiral David
Dixon Porter), in command of the _Essex_, doubled Cape Horn and entered
the Pacific, where until then no American frigate had ever been seen.



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