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Chapter 20

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
The War of 1812

by
Francis F. Beirne

published by
E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc.
New York, 1949

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Chapter 22

Chapter Twenty‑One

p250 Glory, But Nothing More

When the Canadian campaign of 1813 closed with the failure of Wilkinson's expedition to Montreal the forces on the northern frontier remained inactive throughout the rest of the winter and early spring, save for Wilkinson's brief and desultory attack at La Colle. Upon Wilkinson's departure for home the Army of the North was again in search of a commander.

If Canada was to be conquered something had to be done and done quickly. In Europe, from the American standpoint, matters had gone from bad to worse. On March 31, 1814, the Allies entered Paris and the fall of the French Empire became a matter of days. This was of vital consequence to the American cause, for the government in Washington had been informed that, with the collapse of the Empire, fourteen more British regiments of Wellington's veterans would be released for service in America and that plans already had been made to have them in Halifax by August at the latest. If the Americans could not achieve a victory over the limited forces already in Canada there was little hope of achieving it after the arrival of these reinforcements.

It devolved upon Secretary Armstrong to select a new leader. William Henry Harrison, who showed considerable promise, was no longer in the running. Ignored by Armstrong after his victory at the Thames he had resigned his commission and quit the Army in disgust. Jackson was still occupied with his Creek campaign. But even if he had been free it is doubtful if Armstrong could have risked adding to Jackson's prestige by moving him to the Canadian theater of the war.

Armstrong's choice for the post was the Quaker, General Jacob Brown. Under the circumstances, assuming the disqualification of p251Harrison and Jackson, the Secretary of War could not have made a better selection. Prior to 1812 Brown's military experience had been limited to the militia. However, he had displayed rare courage and initiative in his defense of Sackett's Harbor and his conduct during Wilkinson's expedition had been uniformly good; in fact, one of the few bright spots in that disastrous campaign. What Brown lacked in the arts of strategy and tactics was fully made up for by his zeal, and he enjoyed the confidence of his fellow officers and his men, which is more than could be said of Wilkinson.

The selection of a commander accomplished, the next thing was to devise a plan of action. Armstrong first proposed the now‑familiar scheme of attacking Kingston in conjunction with Commodore Chauncey's squadron at Sackett's Harbor, preceding it with a feint on the line of the Niagara River. But Armstrong's wording of the order was so ambiguous that Brown assumed the main attack was to be made along the Niagara and lost considerable time marching his men back and forth before an understanding was reached. Eventually, however, Armstrong's first plan was scrapped; it was decided to ignore Kingston for the time being and concentrate on Niagara. (See Map II, p110)

Brown's available force consisted of some 3,500 men. Its nucleus was two brigades of regulars, one under Brigadier General Winfield Scott, the other under Brigadier General Eleazar Ripley. Scott's brigade was encamped at Buffalo and consisted of 65 officers and 1,312 men recruited from Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Ripley's brigade, 36 officers and 992 men from Massachusetts and New York, was stationed at Black Rock, a few miles from Buffalo. Also under Brown was Brigadier General Peter B. Porter with a force of 600 militia volunteers from Pennsylvania and a detachment of friendly Seneca Indians. Artillery to the number of 15 officers and 330 men completed the army.

The British at this time held Fort Niagara on the American shore at the mouth of the Niagara River, Fort George on the Canadian shore directly opposite, and Fort Erie on the Canadian shore overlooking Lake Erie, Black Rock and Buffalo. The British army confronting the Americans, and distributed among the three forts and in the towns of Queenston and Chippawa, was composed of 2,300 officers and men, including a detachment of Indians, all under the p252immediate command of Brigadier General Riall, an Irish officer of questionable ability who was said to have bought his way to his distinguished rank. However, at Burlington Heights and York were reinforcements capable of increasing Riall's force to 4,000.

According to the final plan Brown was first to cross the Niagara at its source, capture Fort Erie, sweep down the left bank of the river through Chippawa and Queenston and capture Fort George, recross the river and recapture Fort Niagara. At the mouth of the Niagara he was to be met by Chauncey's squadron from Sackett's Harbor and, protected by the fleet, march on Burlington Heights, thereby driving the British out of the whole of the peninsula between Lakes Erie and Ontario. But a British attack on Oswego, New York, destroyed American supplies and weakened Chauncey's position at the harbor where he was virtually bottled up.

It was an ambitious proposal. The United States had at last got together an army with more than a semblance of discipline and order. This time there was to be no hesitation about serving on foreign soil, no quitting the field because the term of enlistment had expired. Scott, in particular, had not wasted the winter months in idleness but instead had devoted them to the serious purpose of whipping his brigade into shape. Report had it that he drilled his men regularly from eight to ten hours a day, so they had become an efficient, hard-hitting force.

There was, however, one serious drawback. Defenders of Ripley say that he was a gallant soldier but admit that he was cautious, a characteristic that was praised by neither Brown nor Scott. This cautiousness kept him out of tune with his superior and his fellow brigadier. He was not long in displaying the fact that he was not in accord with the expedition and questioned the likelihood of its success. Certainly his reticence did not make success more likely.

Brown selected July 3 for the attack on Fort Erie and gave orders for the army to embark before dawn in boats provided for the crossing. Scott's brigade was to set out from Buffalo and attack the fort above, Ripley's brigade simultaneously was to cross from Black Rock and attack below. But the order did not suit Ripley. He doubted that the fort could be taken and said so. Furthermore he supported his objections by tendering his resignation. Brown, perhaps p253unwisely, refused to accept it and told Ripley to go ahead and execute the order.

Pursuant to his instructions Scott crossed the river in the early morning darkness and when dawn broke his brigade was on Canadian soil drawn up in line of battle ready for the assault. Ripley, on the other hand, had not left the American shore. Nevertheless Brown attacked without the aid of Ripley who a few hours later made the crossing. As matters turned out Ripley's dilatory behavior made no difference to the outcome, for Fort Erie proved to be poorly fortified and weakly garrisoned. After the exchange of a few shots the British officer in command raised a white flag and the defending force of less than 200 men walked out and were sent as prisoners back to Buffalo. The skirmish cost the Americans four killed and one wounded; the British lost one man killed.

Meanwhile Brigadier General Riall, receiving word of the attack, hurried forward reinforcements composed of 1,500 regulars and 600 Indians and militia. These had reached Chippawa, a few miles distant, when they learned that Fort Erie had already been captured and there Riall halted to await eventualities. On the following day, the anniversary of Independence, Brown ordered Scott's brigade and Captain Nathan Towson's battery to advance in the direction of Chippawa. Scott drove in the British pickets and marched to Street's Creek, about a mile from Chippawa, where he encamped for the night. He was joined at midnight by Ripley's brigade and Major Hindman with the rest of the artillery. Brown's army numbered in all 3,500 men exclusive of the Indians.

The American and British forces were now not much more than a mile apart. Between them lay a plain about a mile wide, flanked on the east by the Niagara River and on the west by a dense wood. South of this plain and emptying into the Niagara was Street's Creek which served as a protection to the American army, and north of it was the Chippawa River behind which was the British camp. A road skirted the bank of the Niagara and two narrow bridges carried the road over Street's Creek and the Chippawa River.

The rapidity with which the contending forces approached each other was due more to accident than design. Aware of their numerical p254superiority over the British the Americans did not dream that Riall would risk an engagement. Riall probably would not have done so if he had not been misled by one of his subordinates, the Marquis of Tweedale. It so happened that before the opening of the campaign Scott's men were in need of new uniforms. The conventional color for regulars was blue but when Scott put in his requisition he was informed by the Quartermaster Department that the only cloth available was gray. Scott was not the sort of man to haggle over the color of uniforms when his men needed them so he instructed the quartermaster to make them up out of the gray cloth, and it was these new gray uniforms the brigade was wearing as it approached Street's Creek. Thus it was that the Marquis of Tweedale, observing the advancing American column through his field glass, noted the unusual color of the uniforms and concluded that the troops must be militia. It did occur to him that they were displaying a boldness that was somewhat rare for militia but he attributed this to the probability that they had, as true patriots, been celebrating the national holiday and were fortified with Dutch courage. He therefore reported to Riall that there was nothing but militia on his front and Riall felt completely assured and did not order a retreat.

At noon on July 5 Scott was reinforced by General Porter with his Pennsylvanians and Indians. About 4 P.M. he observed British troops in the woods and, assuming that they were some insignificant detachment, he ordered Porter to advance and disperse them. Porter at once set his men to the task and accomplished it so successfully that he drove the enemy all the way back to Chippawa, never dreaming that he was running into Riall's main body. It did not take him long to discover his mistake and, in a few minutes Porter, his Pennsylvanians and his gallant Seneca warriors were racing back to the American camp in complete rout with hardly enough breath left to report that the whole British army was upon them.

Brown, who first received the news, notified Scott. It seems that the Marquis of Tweedale was about 24 hours off in his calculations on the celebration of Independence. For some reason that had been postponed until July 5 when the American troops partook of a hearty dinner. But, Independence or no Independence, Scott refused to let a holiday interrupt his disciplinary routine. He determined p255to make his men sweat out the food and drink they had just consumed and, at the very moment Brown's message reached him, he was leading his brigade across the bridge over the creek and on to the plain for a grand parade and review, as he expressed it, "to keep them in breath." In spite of the information brought back by Porter he remained incredulous and expressed doubt that he would find more than a few hundred British on his front. However, he would drive them off and then proceed with the review.

While these thoughts were passing through Scott's mind Riall's army was already advancing toward him in three columns across the plain. In a few seconds Riall's artillery, planted beside Chippawa bridge, began to play unmercifully upon the American ranks; and then at last Scott realized that he had not a review but a battle on his hands. Undaunted by the unexpected turn of events Scott calmly ordered Major Thomas Jesup and the 25th Regiment to move toward the woods to protect his left flank. On his right flank, near the Niagara River, he posted his artillery to deliver an oblique fire at Riall's advancing column. In the center he placed Major John McNeil and the 11th Regiment and Major Henry Leavenworth with the 9th.

His dispositions were made none too soon, for as the Americans hastened to their positions the British infantry approached within effective range and the battle became general all along the line. Then the full weight of Tweedale's mistake made itself felt. No militia could have executed a difficult maneuver as swiftly as did Scott's regulars after they had been taken by surprise. The long hours of drill throughout the winter upon which Scott had insisted proved their true worth in the test. The American line, instead of breaking as Riall expected it to do, held firm. As the battle raged, gaps began to show in the British ranks. Scott was quick to detect them and equally quick to take advantage of them. He picked out a point where he thought there was a good opportunity to drive a wedge. Then he indicated the spot to McNeil and Leavenworth and ordered them to charge. With a shout the men of the 11th and the 9th moved forward and attacked the enemy with bayonets. And there, within sound of the great falls of the Niagara, on that late summer afternoon, Americans and Britons met in hand-to‑hand combat and fought it out.

p256 The issue was not long in doubt. The bright scarlet line wavered under the pressure of cold steel, then broke. And in another instant the Britons, who only a short time before had marched proudly and confidently on the plain, turned about and fled while the men of the 11th and 9th Regiments followed in hot pursuit. The chase did not end until the British pulled up in comparative safety behind the protecting waters of the Chippawa River.

Jesup, on the left flank, was equally successful with his assignment. The British forces against him, seeing the disorder in the center, gave up the struggle and joined in the general rout. Ripley's brigade at last arrived on the field, but too late to take part in the battle. Consequently the American force actually engaged was slightly smaller than the British. For the first time in the war British and American regulars had met on even terms and the Americans held possession of the field. It was a tribute to the American regular but it was even more a tribute to General Winfield Scott.

As the battle drew to a close a thunderstorm broke over the field and both armies were thoroughly drenched by the downpour and their ardor considerably cooled. Reconnoitering parties from the American ranks reported the British position behind the Chippawa too strong to be taken by assault, so Scott called it a day. As the storm passed over and the setting sun broke through the clouds in the west Scott's triumphant army reached its camp by Street's Creek. The rest of the evening was devoted to counting the dead and collecting the wounded. In the engagement the Americans lost 61 killed, 255 wounded and 19 missing; the British, 236 killed, 320 wounded and 46 missing. The plain on which the battle had been fought lay deserted. And, in spite of the American victory, the armies remained in the same positions they had held before the battle commenced.

Next day Brown ordered a bridge constructed over the Chippawa to the left of the British position in order to assault it on the flank. The job was assigned to Ripley but, as usual, he offered objections. Meanwhile Riall got wind of Brown's plan and withdrew out of harm's way, past Queenston and westward up the peninsula in the direction of Burlington Heights. In his train followed Brown's army but it held to the shore road until it came within sight of Fort George. There Brown halted and looked for the sails of Chauncey's p257fleet which he expected would meet him at the mouth of the Niagara. But no fleet was in view. The General sat down and composed a letter to Chauncey in which he pointed out that with the assistance of the fleet he was prepared to drive the British out of Upper Canada. In language more forceful than was customary in Quaker usage, which prefers affirmation to oath, he concluded, "For God's sake, let me see you."

But Brown was not to see Chauncey, who usually managed to have a good excuse for doing nothing. The Commodore at that moment was ill in bed with a fever; and, even if he had been in good health, he could have been of no help since his fleet was held in Sackett's Harbor by the ships of Sir James Yeo. Chauncey was not long in advising Brown of the situation. In addition, the General received the equally discouraging news that Riall had been reinforced by Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond. Not only was Brown unable to follow up his victory at Chippawa, but his own army was in a critical position where it had halted. There was nothing he could do but retrace his steps. The retreat soon got under way, but not before Colonel Stone of the New York militia had taken it upon himself to burn the village of St. David's, which had no strategic value. Stone was court-martialed and dismissed from the service, but that, as events later proved, was not sufficient to prevent the British from making reprisals.

On July 24 Brown and his army arrived at Chippawa and pitched camp above the Chippawa River. Close behind the retreating Americans followed the British who were soon reported at Queenston. There were rumors, too, that Yeo's fleet was in the Niagara and that a British force had crossed to the American side of the river at Lewiston. This was indeed alarming news, for Brown had a base of supplies at Schlosser, a few miles above Lewiston. Brown knew that a British advance in force on the American side of the river would force his withdrawal from the Canadian side, if he was to maintain his communications. There was one line of action he could take that would discourage the British movement. It required boldness. That was to send Scott forward to threaten Queenston and other points on the Canadian side.

As a matter of fact, the information Brown had received was incorrect. British troops had crossed the river but they were only a p258small force that was repulsed by a body of American militia before it reached the base at Schlosser. The British main body was still on Canadian soil and advancing rapidly from Queenston. The head of the column had already reached Lundy's Lane, a road which ran due west from the river a short distance below Chippawa.

Pursuant to Brown's order Scott, at 5 P.M. on July 25, with less than 1,200 men including Towson's artillery, crossed the bridge over the Chippawa and prepared to move forward. No sooner had he done so than he discovered the British drawn up in line of battle along Lundy's Lane. Scott did not dare to turn back for he realized what might happen if his brigade were seized by panic while attempting to escape by the narrow bridge in its rear. Besides, retreat was not welcome to Scott's nature. Instead he decided to put on a bold front and lead Riall to believe that he had the whole American army to fight, hoping that aid might come to him in time.

As a result of the battle of Chippawa Brown's army had been reduced to 2,644 effectives. Riall and Drummond, on the other hand, had 2,995 men. Of this force Riall, with 950 men, was already at Lundy's Lane, Drummond was three miles away with 815 men and six miles away was another British force of 1,230. Though Scott's force was slightly superior to Riall's, on the other hand Riall had materially strengthened his position by posting his artillery on a hill in the center of the line.

As Scott faced the enemy his keen eye, always on the lookout for any object of tactical value, fell upon a heavy growth of brush near the river's edge which afforded excellent cover. He directed Major Jesup to use the brush as a screen for his movements, to intercept the British reinforcements which were coming up and turn Riall's left flank while Scott himself attacked the center of the British line. Jesup, who had undertaken the flanking movement in the battle of Chippawa, now essayed the same task at Lundy's Lane. His men crept stealthily through the brush, completely hidden from view. All the while Scott monopolized the enemy's attention with a heavy fire directed at the center.

Before the British suspected what was happening Jesup's men had gained not only their flank but their rear. They even overran the British headquarters and among the prisoners captured was General Riall himself. However, by this time the British reinforcements p259were reaching the field in such numbers that Jesup could not hold his ground and, to escape capture, he had to retreat.

Brown, back at Chippawa, heard the sound of the guns and realized that Scott had run into the enemy. He ordered Ripley's brigade and Porter's militia to follow him at the double quick to the scene of action. When he arrived he found Scott still holding on but his brigade badly cut up. It was now 9 P.M. The sun had long since set and the field of battle was lit by a July moon, shining faintly through the smoke of the guns. In the semidarkness it was virtually impossible to distinguish friend from foe and confusion reigned in both armies. It was worse among the British where detachments became lost and fired into each other.

Scott's brigade had borne the brunt of the fighting for something like four hours. The men were exhausted and their ammunition was giving out. The General himself had been severely wounded in the shoulder but continued in command. Brown therefore ordered Ripley's brigade to relieve Scott. It soon became clear that the key to the British position was the battery of guns mounted on the hill. Turning to Colonel James Miller, a veteran of Harrison's campaign in the west who was standing beside him, Brown ordered him to take a detachment of his 21st Regiment, all Massachusetts men, and capture the guns.

"I'll try, Sir," was Miller's reply, which was to become a classic and to be drummed into the heads of American schoolboys for many years to come. Taking advantage of every bush and shadow and keeping low to the ground Miller and his men crept up the side of the hill. Without being detected they came so close to the British position that they could hear the talk of the gunners and see them distinctly silhouetted against the sky in the moonlight. There was a brief moment of suspense. Then, at a given signal, the attackers fired a volley at point-blank range which mowed down every man in the gun crews. With a shout the men of the 21st rushed forward and seized the guns, beating back the British infantry that had been stationed behind the crest of the hill to protect them.

Reinforcements now came up, for news of the capture of the guns spread swiftly through the British ranks, but though they suffered heavy casualties Miller and his men beat off every attack and remained in possession of the guns. By many people the capture of p260the British battery at Lundy's Lane was regarded as the most gallant action on the field throughout the whole war. The hour was now 10:30 P.M. Not only had Scott been forced to leave the field, but General Brown also had suffered a flesh wound from a bullet and a bruise from a fragment of shell. His pain was so intense that he could scarcely sit his horse and he, too, had to withdraw.

Brown's injuries seemed to affect his mental processes for he then issued an astonishing order. Though the enemy was still on the field he directed Ripley to march his brigade back to Chippawa, feed, rest, and reorganize his men and return to the battlefield at dawn to renew the engagement. There were no horses available to draw the captured guns which had to be left on hill. Ripley obeyed this fantastic order, but it was 1 A.M. before he reached Chippawa. And, very naturally, it was considerably after dawn before the brigade was again on its way to the battlefield. Before it arrived a courier galloped up bringing the distressing news that the British had risen earlier in the day and that they were already in possession of the guns, the hill and the field. All of the previous day's labors had been in vain. As for Major Miller who, with the men of the 21st performed such heroic action, he might just as well not have tried.

The American losses at Lundy's Lane were 171 killed, 572 wounded and 110 missing; the British, 84 killed, 559 wounded, 193 missing and 42 captured. The British claimed the battle as a victory. In view of the fact that they held the field and suffered the smaller losses in killed, the claim is justified in spite of the gallantry displayed in the combat by the Americans. Most serious, however, were the wounds of Generals Brown and Scott and Major Jesup. Worst of all, the fight at Lundy's Lane proved the last for General Scott for many years. His shoulder refused to heal and he left the front to go to the Philadelphia where he was treated by the capable Dr. Physic. Before he was again ready to take the field the war had come to an end.

By this time General Brown had lost all confidence in Ripley and sent for General Edmund Pendleton Gaines, who was at Sackett's Harbor, to take over the command. Pending Gaines' arrival Ripley was ordered to fall back to Fort Erie. Ripley was all for returning at once to American soil but was overruled by his fellow officers.

p261 While Drummond lingered at Lundy's Lane awaiting reinforcements the Americans set to work with a will to strengthen Fort Erie which was badly in need of it. From July 27 to August 2 they labored manfully digging entrenchments and constructing an abatis all the way from the star fort on the right to Snake Hill on the left, where Towson's battery was stationed. Another battery was moved into position to the right of the star fort. The stronghold now had an impressive line of fortifications in its front while its rear was protected by Lake Erie. Adding power to the defenses were two armed schooners on the lake whose guns could be trained on advancing enemy columns.

On July 29 Drummond received reinforcements of 1,100 men and immediately put his army in motion toward Fort Erie. He halted and pitched camp two miles away and raised fortifications of his own. A detachment was sent across the river to attack Black Rock but failed in two attempts and returned to the Canadian side. The British now commenced a methodical siege of Fort Erie. From August 7 to August 14 they maintained a heavy bombardment, but without doing serious damage to the fort or its garrison. General Gaines had by this time arrived and assumed command.

In some manner Gaines obtained the vital information that Drummond had selected the night of August 14 for his assault. While he could not be sure of the truth of the report, nevertheless he took the precaution of keeping his men on guard. It was fortunate for him that he did so. At midnight a strange silence fell over the British line. Two hours later it was broken when the American pickets, who had been thrown out in the front of the fortification, fired their muskets to give the alarm and fell back hurriedly upon the works. The British attackers, bringing scaling ladders with them, followed close behind. They were divided into three columns; one to assault the left of the American position, one the right and one the center. On the left Towson's battery opened up; and, though it had to fire blind, it succeeded in driving back the enemy in that quarter. Five times the British charged against the center where Ripley's men were stationed along the breastworks, and each time the attackers were repulsed.

The defense on the right was less successful. There the British managed to gain a foothold and gradually made their way into the p262bastion. The Americans met them in a hand-to‑hand encounter and, though they held the enemy at bay, they were unable to drive them out. Dawn broke and disclosed the British still in possession. Having gained this advantage the British had more than an even chance of strengthening their hold and enfilading the whole of the American line of fortifications. Indeed at that moment the defense of the fort seemed exceedingly doubtful.

At this tense moment a terrifying explosion occurred. The bodies of British and Americans were hurled into the air along with dirt, stones and timbers. By some accident the magazine under the bastion had been touched off. Those of the attackers who survived the explosion imagined that they had walked into a trap deliberately set for them. Fearful that this was only a prelude to something even worse they retired to their entrenched camp, leaving the fort safe in American hands. So, thanks to an accident, the Americans won the day though in the course of the action the two schooners on the lake were captured by the British. Drummond's losses were severe. No less than 221 of his men were killed outright, 174 were wounded and 186 captured. The Americans got off with only 17 men killed, 56 wounded and 11 missing.

Gaines became the hero of the hour. He was promoted to major general, a gold medal was struck in his honor, resolutions were drawn up by numerous patriotic bodies and he received swords from the grateful states of New York, Virginia and Tennessee.

Soon after the attack of the 14th Gaines was wounded and forced to give up his command. Brown again called on Ripley to take over the defense of the fort, an appointment that proved highly unpopular with the garrison. When he learned the state of affairs Brown, in spite of his wounds, assumed command himself. Meanwhile typhoid fever broke out in the British camp and Brown decided to profit by the enemy's misfortune, make a sortie from the fort and attack the fortified camp. He was encouraged in this resolve by the arrival of General Porter with 2,000 fresh troops. Ripley lived up to his reputation by offering objections to the proposal. In the attack on Fort Erie he had shown that he was not lacking in courage when he was on the defensive, but the mere suggestion of an advance threw him into a fit of alarm and foreboding. Ripley's attitude, however, had no effect upon Brown. He proceeded with his plan. p263September 17 was the day selected for the operations. Under cover of a thick fog the Americans moved out of their lines in three columns and approached within a short distance of the British position before their presence was discovered. They proceeded to storm the works and in less than forty minutes captured four batteries, two blockhouses and the whole line of entrenchments. But the success was not without cost. Eighty of Brown's men lost their lives and 480 were wounded. Though the British lost 500 men in killed and wounded, and 385 of their number were captured, the Americans could not break their resistance. Having considered the situation carefully Brown decided to call off the attack and return to Fort Erie. The assault, however, had its effect upon Drummond for soon after he retired voluntarily to a less exposed position behind Chippawa.

Preceding the battle of Plattsburg, General George Izard led an army of 4,000 men from the Champlain front to Lewiston and replaced Brown in command on the Niagara. Izard conducted several raids on the peninsula which were fruitless. His only tangible gain was the destruction of 200 bushels of wheat. In fact the American invasion had so far degenerated that Izard was ordered to abandon Canada altogether. On November 5, Fort Erie was blown up, and the same day the last of the American troops embarked and put off for the American shore.

In the course of the summer of 1814 an American army of 3,500 men had taken Fort Erie, swept clean the line of the Niagara and fought two pitched battles. It had boldly withstood an attack on Fort Erie and gallantly assaulted the camp of the attackers. Then, after some three months of marching and countermarching, it had withdrawn to the place from which it had started. It had made history, but it had not gained an inch of new territory. The operations had made the reputations of Jacob Brown and Winfield Scott; they had damaged the reputation of Eleazar Ripley. And this was strange, for Ripley's continued reluctance was due primarily to his belief that the campaign would accomplish nothing. The results stand as irrefutable evidence of the correctness of his belief.


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