A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
When
the people of Lewiston refused to sell food to them, they bombarded
their homes. In Chesapeake Bay Admiral Cockburn plundered private
dwellings. Among the places sacked and burned were Lewes, Havre de
Grace, Fredericktown, and Georgetown. More leniency was shown the New
England coast because of her opposition to the war. Another inexcusable
proceeding on the part of the invaders was that of persuading many
slaves to leave their masters and join the enemy. This business
compelled England, after the close of the war, to pay the United States
one million and a quarter dollars, on the award of the Emperor of Russia
to whom the question was submitted.


CAPTURE AND BURNING OF WASHINGTON.

But this year saw the crowning disgrace to the American arms. The
mismanagement of affairs left our national capital defenseless. In
August, 1814, Sir Alexander Cochrane carried a British army up the
Chesapeake on board his squadron. Commodore Barney with his few ships
had taken shelter in the Patuxent. Paying no attention to him, Ross
landed his 5,000 veterans within 40 miles of Washington and advanced
against the city. The government had awakened to the threatened peril a
short time before, and placed 500 regulars and 2,000 undisciplined
militia under the command of General William H. Winder.

Winder took a strong position at Bladensburg and awaited Ross and
Cochrane. The British army met with no opposition, and, upon reaching
Marlborough, found that Commodore Barney, acting under the orders of the
secretary of war, had burned his fleet and hurried to Washington. The
English commander arrived in sight of Washington on the 24th of August.
His approach to Bladensburg was over a bridge defended by artillery from
Barney's flotilla, which were handled by Barney and his sailors. They
fought with the utmost heroism, repelling the British again and again;
but the militia fled, and, when Barney was wounded and his command
helpless, he surrendered. General Ross complimented him for his bravery
and immediately paroled him.

This was the only check encountered by the British in their advance upon
Washington. General Winder had learned enough of his militia to know
that no dependence could be placed upon them, and he fled to Georgetown.
The President, heads of departments, and most of the citizens joined in
the stampede, and the advance guard of General Ross entered the city
that evening.

[Illustration: BURNING OF WASHINGTON.]

The British commander offered to spare the city for a large sum of
money, but no one was within reach with authority to comply with his
demand. Ross claimed that his flag of truce had been fired on, and he
ordered the city to be burned. In the conflagration that followed, the
President's house, the department offices, numerous private dwellings,
the libraries and public archives, many works of art in the public
buildings, the navy yard and its contents, a frigate on the stocks, and
several small vessels were destroyed. The patent office and jail were
the only public property spared. The burning of Washington was an
outrage which was generally condemned in England.

After a rest and the reception of reinforcements, Ross marched against
Baltimore, which he declared should be his winter quarters. While on the
road he was mortally wounded by an American sharpshooter in a tree. Such
a brave defense was made by Forts McHenry and Covington, guarding the
narrow passage from the Patapsco into the harbor of Baltimore, that the
British fleet and the land forces were repelled. The success of this
defense inspired Francis S. Key to write our famous national song, _The
Star-Spangled Banner_.


THE HARTFORD CONVENTION.

The war became intensely unpopular in New England. Its shipping suffered
severely, and the demands for peace grew more clamorous. On the 15th of
December, 1814, a convention of delegates, appointed by the Legislatures
of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont,
met in Hartford and held secret sessions for three weeks. An address was
agreed upon charging the national government with carrying on a policy
injurious to New England. Amendments were proposed to the Constitution,
and a committee was selected to confer with the government at Washington
and to propose that the revenues of New England should be applied to her
own defense. An agreement was made that if their proposed action failed,
and peace was not soon made, the convention should meet again in the
following June. There was open talk of a withdrawal from the Union, and
doubtless grave results would have followed had the war gone on. The
Hartford Convention and the "Blue Lights" of Connecticut gave the final
death-blow to the Federal party.


A TREATY OF PEACE SIGNED.

Despite the progress of the war, peace negotiations had been going on
for a long time. Russia, whose system of government has always been the
exact opposite of ours, has shown us marked friendship in many
instances. As early as 1813 she offered to mediate between Great Britain
and the United States. The President appointed five commissioners, John
Quincy Adams, James A. Bayard, Henry Clay, Jonathan Russell, and Albert
Gallatin, who were sent to Ghent, Belgium, where they were met by Lord
Gambier, Henry Goulburn, and William Adams, the commissioners for Great
Britain. After long negotiations, the commissioners reached an agreement
on the 24th of December, 1814. The treaty did not contain a word about
the search of American vessels for alleged deserters, which was the real
cause of the war, nor was any reference made to the wrongs done our
commerce, and the rights of neutral nations were not defined. The Orders
of Council, however, died of themselves, Great Britain never again
attempting to enforce them. It was agreed that all places captured by
either side during the progress of the war or afterward should be
surrendered, and provisions were made for fixing the boundary between
the United States and Canada.

In those days, when the ocean telegraph was not thought of and there
were no swift-going steamers, news traveled slowly, and it did not reach
Washington until February 4, 1815. Meanwhile, the most important battle
of the war had taken place and several captures were made on the ocean.

The Creek Indians had been so crushed by General Jackson that they ceded
a large part of their lands to the Americans. They were sullen, and when
a British squadron entered the Gulf of Mexico they eagerly did all they
could to help the enemy. The squadron, by permission of the Spanish
authorities took possession of the forts of Pensacola, and fitted out an
expedition against Fort Bower at the entrance to Mobile Bay. They
attacked the fort, September 15th, by sea and land, but were repulsed.
Among the land assailants were several hundred Creek warriors, who thus
received another lesson of the bravery of American soldiers.

General Jackson, in command of the southern military district, was
enraged by the course of the Spanish authorities. He marched from Mobile
at the head of 2,000 Tennessee militia and a number of Choctaws, stormed
Pensacola, November 7th, drove the British from the harbor, and
compelled the Spanish governor to surrender the town.


GENERAL JACKSON'S GREAT VICTORY AT NEW ORLEANS.

Having completed his work in this summary fashion, he returned to
Mobile, where he found an urgent call for him to go to the defense of
New Orleans, which was threatened by a powerful force of the enemy. The
invasion, to which we have referred in another place, was a formidable
one and had been arranged a long time before. General Jackson reached
New Orleans, December 2d, and began vigorous preparations. He enlisted
almost everybody capable of bearing arms, including negroes and
convicts. One of the most famous freebooters that ever ravaged the Gulf
of Mexico was Lafitte, to whom the British made an extravagant offer for
his help, but he refused, and gave his services to Jackson.

Jackson's vigor filled the city with confidence, but he was so strict
that dissatisfaction was expressed, whereupon he declared martial law;
in other words, he took the city government into his own hands and ruled
as he thought best. He neglected no precaution. Fort St. Philip,
guarding the passage of the Mississippi at Detour la Plaquemine, was
made stronger by new works, and a line of fortifications was built four
miles below the city, on the left of the river, and extended eastward to
an impassable cypress swamp. It was a disputed question for a time
whether Jackson used cotton bales in the defenses of New Orleans, but it
is established that he placed them on the tops of the intrenchments.
Cannon were also mounted at different points. The militia under General
Morgan, and the crews and guns of a part of the squadron of Commodore
Patterson, held the west bank of the river. These precautions enabled
the defenders to enfilade the approaching enemy. A detachment guarded
the pass of Bayou St. John, above the city, and a number of gunboats
awaited to dispute the passage of the river between Lake Pontchartrain
and Lake Borgne.

The British fleet appeared at the entrance to this channel, December
14th, and was immediately assailed by the American flotilla, which was
destroyed before it could inflict serious damage. Left free to select
the point of attack, the British sent a force in flat-bottomed boats to
the extremity of the lake, where they landed in a swamp. They repelled
an attack by Jackson, who fell back toward the city. On the 28th of
December the British were within half a mile of the American lines. They
began a fire of shells, but were repulsed by Jackson's artillery.

The defenders numbered some 3,000 militia, who were stationed in a line
of intrenchments a mile long and four miles from the town. This line was
protected by a ditch in front, flanked by batteries on the other side of
the river, and, in addition, eight other batteries were in position.

The British worked slowly forward until on the first day of the year
they were within less than a quarter of a mile of New Orleans.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.