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On this webpage you can read a chapter of
Stories of Heroism

William Mace

published by
Rand McNally & Company
New York, 1909.

It's all right to copy it or use it any way you want.

I checked this page carefully for mistakes,
and didn't find any:
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 p282  Heroes of the War of 1812

William Henry Harrison, the Victor at Tippecanoe and the Thames

145. William Henry Harrison. The hero of Tippecanoe, William Henry Harrison, was born in Virginia in 1773. His father was Benjamin Harrison, a Revolutionary patriot who was three times governor of Virginia, and a good friend of Washington.

Young Harrison went to the best schools, and finally graduated at Hampden-Sidney College with honor. His father died while he was yet in college and Robert Morris became his guardian.

He was sent to study medicine in Philadelphia, but soon gave that up for a career in the army. The story of the defeat of General Harmar, north of the Ohio, by the Indians, stirred his blood. At the age of nineteen, with an ensign's commission which President Washington had given him, he walked all the way to Pittsburg. There he took boat on the Ohio for Fort Washington, where Cincinnati now stands.

Young Harrison was just in time to see the broken fragments of St. Clair's army straggling into the fort. The Indians had struck a second awful blow, and there was mourning in nearly every frontier home.

"Mad Anthony" Wayne, as the soldier boys loved to call him, now took command. Harrison was made a lieutenant and  p283 appointed an aid on his staff. Volunteers came pouring in, and Wayne marched forward ready to fight at a moment's notice.

In 1794, while marching down the Maumee, he found the Indians in ambush in some fallen timber. He did not fall into the trap, but sent men to the front and to the rear of the Indians. With a vigorous bayonet charge, he then drove them out of their hiding.

In this campaign the power of the Indians was broken completely. Lieutenant Harrison was praised in Wayne's dispatches to President Washington. He was made captain and given charge of Fort Washington.

Afterward he was elected from the territory of Ohio to Congress. In Congress he introduced a bill for dividing the public land into small portions for poor settlers. A few men who wanted to buy up this land opposed this bill with might and main, but Harrison was too much for them, and it became a law.

The land that forms Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan was united to make Indiana Territory. President John Adams made Harrison its governor. Jefferson and Madison were glad to reappoint him to the same position.

Harrison sought in every way possible to improve the condition  p284 of the Indians. He tried to stop the sale of whisky to them, and to have them vaccinate themselves in case of smallpox. He sat around their camp fires, sometimes in great danger of losing his life.

146. Harrison and Tecumseh. The hardest chief to get on with was Tecumseh. Made angry by a treaty which some of the chiefs had signed, Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet, began to talk war.

Governor Harrison invited them to Vincennes, his capital, but ordered them to bring only thirty warriors. They came with more than four hundred painted braves! Tecumseh spoke: "Once there was no white man in all this country; then it belonged to the red men, children of the same parents, placed on it by the Great Spirit to keep it, to travel over it, to eat its fruits, and fill it by the same race — once a happy race, but now made miserable by the white people. The only way to stop this evil is for all red men to unite."

Governor Harrison made answer to this speech. Tecumseh cried out: "It is false!" His warriors sprang to their feet, and seized their war clubs. The governor was cool, and did not grow excited. He told Tecumseh that he was a bad man — "that he must leave the settlement immediately."

After he had left, awful stories of murders and burnings soon came to Harrison at Vincennes.  p285 News reached him that the Indians were gathering at the Prophet's town, located where the Tippecanoe flows into the Wabash. The Prophet was telling the Indians that the Great Spirit would make the bullets of the white men harmless. The governor feared an outbreak of the Indians.

Harrison collected an army of more than nine hundred men, marched up the Wabash, and built Fort Harrison, near where Terre Haute now is. From Fort Harrison the army marched slowly along the Wabash to the mouth of the Tippecanoe. They encamped on an elevated spot surrounded by an open prairie. This visit was a surprise to Tecumseh and his braves.

On the night of November the sixth the troops went to sleep with their clothes on, and with their guns by their sides. On the morning of the seventh, the governor arose at a quarter before  p286 four o'clock and sat by the fire talking with the men who waited the signal to turn out. Now and then it drizzled rain. The excitement among the Indians had constantly grown during the night. They had finally decided to crawl through the grass before daylight and suddenly burst upon Harrison and his men.

This they were doing when a guard, seeing an Indian creeping toward him in the grass, fired. Instantly the Indians rose up by hundreds and rushed upon the camp. The soldiers quickly put out the fires and seized their guns. The battle was a fierce one. When daylight came, Harrison rearranged his plan and all charged, driving the Indians into a swamp, and defeated them. This event was the battle of Tippecanoe (1811).

There were probably two thousand Indians in the battle. The Prophet sang a war song, growing louder as the battle went against him. Tecumseh was absent among the southern tribes working up a great union.

147. Harrison in the War of 1812. The battle of Tippecanoe was a forerunner of the War of 1812. When that war came, the Indians rushed upon the settlements with tomahawk and scalping knife.

After General Hull surrendered Detroit to the British, Harrison was ordered to gather an army and retake it. General Proctor, a British officer, captured a part of the American forces under  p287 General Winchester and permitted the Indians to massacre them. This event is known as the massacre of the River Raisin. It aroused a deep feeling of revenge in Harrison's army. "Remember the River Raisin!" became their war cry.

On September 10, 1813, Captain Perry won his great victory on Lake Erie. After the battle, Perry called Harrison and his army over to Canada. Proctor fled.

On the fifth of October, Harrison found Proctor's and Tecumseh's forces well posted near the Thames River. Harrison at once ordered General Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky to charge with his cavalry. Johnson's troops with the cry, "Remember the River Raisin," broke the line with ease. Proctor ran for his life, and his troops threw down their arms and surrendered. The Indians kept up the fight a while longer, till their great chief, Tecumseh, fell. He was killed, it is said, by Johnson.

 p288  General Harrison now sent his forces to Niagara and he himself returned to Vincennes. In 1816 he was elected to Congress from Ohio, and later was elected a United States Senator.

After several years a great business scare came upon the country. President Van Buren was held responsible because he would do nothing to help the country out of the panic.

Harrison was nominated for President, in 1840, by the Whig party and was elected. One month after his inauguration he died. He was greatly beloved by all the people. Harrison was the first of a line of presidents that Ohio gave to the nation.

Oliver Hazard Perry, Victor in the Battle of Lake Erie

148. A Young Man Who Captured a British Fleet. Perry was born in Rhode Island in 1785. He went to the best schools, and learned the science of navigation. At fourteen years of age, he was a midshipman on his father's vessel. Young Perry had made a number of voyages when President Jefferson cut down the navy, to reduce expenses, and threw him out of a position.

Perry was a lieutenant in the war against the pirates of the Barbary countries of the Mediterranean, and served, at various times, on four different ships. When the war was over, in 1806, he came home.

For a number of years British men-of‑war had been searching American vessels for British sailors. In 1807 occurred the outrage on the American ship "Chesapeake," by the "Leopard." The "Chesapeake" was fired upon and compelled to strike her colors, and permit herself to be searched by the British.

Perry's blood boiled, as did that of every lover of his country. He wrote to his father: "You must ere this have heard of the outrage committed by the British on our national honor. The British may laugh, but let them beware!"

 p289  After managing the building of gunboats at two different places for the Government, he received a year's leave of absence.

When the War of 1812 broke out, Perry was promised the first vacancy. Two vacancies occurred, but other lieutenants were called to fill them, yet Perry, who was a generous-hearted man, spoke manly words of praise for the two promoted over him.

In 1813, much to Perry's delight, he was ordered to Lake Erie as commander of some ships to be built there. So prompt was he that fifty men left for Lake Erie on the very day he received his orders. In four days one hundred fifty more had started. Perry was stirring things.

He went to Presque Isle (Erie), Pennsylvania, and there gave orders, thick and fast, for ship carpenters from Philadelphia, and for stores and guns for the ships being built. He made a flying visit to Pittsburg, and saw the men at work, making material for his fleet. After his return to Presque Isle, the building of the ships went on more rapidly than before. Soon the ships, only a few weeks before green trees standing in the woods, were afloat and his fleet was ready to fight.

General Harrison was writing to Perry for help, and Perry was writing for more men. The men finally came, and Perry put them on board, and trained them in their duties. He saw that each man on each ship knew just what to do.

149. Perry's Successful Fight with the British. When all was ready, a minister came on board the "Lawrence," Perry's flag ship,  p290 and offered prayer for Perry's success in fighting Great Britain, who was using the tomahawk and the scalping knife of the savage Indian.

Perry sailed for Put-In‑Bay, which is not far from Sandusky, Ohio, to watch the movements of the British ships, which were commanded by Captain Barclay, a veteran who had fought many battles under the British flag.

Captain Perry was on the "Lawrence," named after Captain Lawrence, who had been killed earlier in the war while bravely fighting. The "Niagara" was another of Perry's large ships. Besides these, there were several smaller vessels.

Having completed his line of battle, Perry unfurled a beautiful flag: "My brave lads," said he, "this flag contains the last words of Captain Lawrence. Shall I hoist it?" "Ay! Ay! sir," responded every voice. Cheers came from all the remainder of the fleet as the flag greeted their sight. "Don't give up the ship!" were the words the flag showed as it was unfurled to the breeze.

 p291  Perry drove the "Lawrence" right into the midst of the enemy's fleet, but the "Niagara" did not follow, although Perry kept the signal for close action flying all the time.

The enemy turned the guns of their whole fleet upon the "Lawrence." In a short time Perry's ship was in an awful condition, with eighty-three men killed and wounded out of one hundred! Still the battle went on. Some men were killed while talking with the captain. Others had been shot through and through. Some had an arm or a leg shot away. The loss of life was dreadful, but Perry was cool.

At half-past two, when the last gun of the "Lawrence" could not be fired any more, Perry ordered a boat to be lowered, and with some brave men rowed to the "Niagara." The British tried to kill him or sink his boat but he reached the "Niagara" in safety. Once on board, he brought her unharmed into the midst of the fight, delivering her broadsides right and left. At every broadside the shrieks and cries of the British sailors could be heard. In fifteen minutes the two largest British ships struck their colors. The remainder of the fleet then surrendered.

On board the American vessels there was rejoicing mixed with mourning. Twenty-seven men had been killed and ninety-six wounded. On board the British ships all was mourning. Forty-one men had been killed and ninety-four wounded.

Captain Perry wrote on the back of an old letter, resting it on his cap, his famous dispatch to General Harrison: "We have met the enemy, and they are ours. Two ships, one brig, one schooner, and one sloop."

 p292  The battle of Lake Erie was a famous one. It wiped out an entire fleet. It frightened the Indians, and with the battle of the Thames, which followed the next month, broke the British power in the West. Moreover, it saved the people of Ohio and Indiana from the savage Indians.

150. After the Victory. Captain Perry was received with every mark of respect and honor on his way home. At Utica and Schenectady the people greeted him. At Albany a large number of citizens escorted him into town. He was given the freedom of the city, and was presented with a handsome sword. New England gave Perry a royal welcome at Portsmouth and at Newport, his home. Congress voted resolutions in praise of him, and ordered a gold medal struck in his honor. Wherever he went the people paid him great attention.

Perry served along the New England coast, and was present when the British invaded Maryland and burned Washington.

After the close of the war, he was sent to the Mediterranean with Commodore Decatur to fight pirates again.

On his return, he spent the winter with his family. In the spring of 1819 he was sent to Venezuela, South America. While sailing up the Orinoco, he was attacked by yellow fever, and died in the thirty-fourth year of his age. Rhode Island voted him a statue. There are statues of Perry at Newport and Cleveland.

 p293  151. Macdonough, Another Victor on the Lakes. Commodore Macdonough commanded the American fleet on Lake Champlain. The fleet consisted of four ships and ten gunboats, while the British fleet was made up of four ships and twelve gunboats. The largest British vessel was supposed to be a match for the four American ships. The battle occurred near Plattsburg. Macdonough won a brilliant victory. He captured all four of the British ships.

Andrew Jackson, the Victor of New Orleans

152. How a Poor Boy Began to Rise. Andrew Jackson was born of Scotch-Irish parents who had emigrated from Ireland to South Carolina. His father died and his mother moved to North Carolina to be among her own people. Here, a few days after his father's death, in the same year in which England passed the Tea Act (1767), Andrew was born.

Schools were few and poor. In fact, Andrew was too poor himself to do anything but work. He learned far more from the pine woods in which he played than from books. At nine he was a tall, slender, freckle-faced lad, fond of sports, and full of fun and mischief. But woe to the boy that made "Andy" angry.

 p294  When thirteen, he learned what war meant, for it was in the days of the Revolution when Colonel Tarleton came along and killed more than one hundred fifty of Jackson's neighbors and friends. Among the killed was one of the boy's own brothers. Andrew never forgave the British.

At fourteen he was taken prisoner by the British. "Boy," said an officer, "clean these boots!" "I will not," replied Jackson. "I am a prisoner of war, and claim to be treated as such." The officer drew his sword and struck Jackson a blow upon the head, and another upon the hand. These blows left scars which Jackson carried to his grave. He was taken a prisoner to Camden, where smallpox killed his remaining brother and left Andrew poor and sickly looking. His mother had come to Camden to nurse her sons. A little later she lost her life in caring for American prisoners on British ships in Charleston Harbor. Jackson was now an orphan of the Revolution.

After the Revolutionary times had gone by, Jackson studied law and at the age of twenty was admitted to practice in the courts.

But stories of the beautiful country that were coming over the mountains from Tennessee, stirred his blood. He longed to go, and in company with nearly a hundred men, women, and children, Jackson set out for the goodly land.

They crossed the mountains into east Tennessee, where was the town of Jonesboro, not far from where Governor Sevier lived.

Jackson and the others rested awhile before taking up their  p295 march to Nashville. From Jonesboro to Nashville, they had to look out for Indians. Only once were they troubled. One night, when men, women, and children were resting in their rude tents, Jackson sat at the foot of a tree smoking his corncob pipe. He heard "owls" hooting. These were Indian signals. "A little too natural," thought Jackson. He aroused the people, and silently they marched away. Another party, coming an hour or two later, stopped in the same place, and were massacred by Indians.

Arriving in Nashville, Jackson began the practice of law. To reach the court, he sometimes had to ride miles and miles, day after day, through thick forests, where the Indians might lie in wait.

When Tennessee was made a territory, Jackson became district attorney. He had many "ups and downs" with the bad men of the frontier. Jackson himself had a bad temper, and woe to the man who made him angry. He either got a sound thrashing or had to fight a duel.

When Tennessee became a state, Jackson was elected to Congress. A year or so afterward (1797), he was appointed a United States Senator to fill a vacancy. But such a position did not give him excitement enough. He resigned the next year and returned to Nashville. He was a frontier judge for a time, then he became a man of business.

153. How Jackson Won a Great Victory. When the War of 1812 broke out there was a call to arms! The British will capture New Orleans! Twenty-five hundred frontiersmen rallied to Jackson's call. He was just the man to lead them. They decided to go to New Orleans by water.

Down the Cumberland to the Ohio in boats! Down the Ohio to the Mississippi, and down the Mississippi to Natchez! Here they stopped, only to learn that there were no British near.

 p296  The twenty-five hundred men marched the long, dreary way home. Jackson was the toughest one among them. He could march farther and last longer without food than any of them. The soldiers nicknamed him "Old Hickory."

Once more he was at home, where he now was a great man among his friends. About this time Jackson had a fierce fight with Thomas H. Benton and received a pistol shot in the shoulder. Before he got well the people who suffered from the Fort Mims massacre were calling loudly for help. Tecumseh had stirred up the Creeks to murder five hundred men, women, and children at this fort in Alabama.

Twenty-five hundred men answered Jackson's call. They marched south through a barren country. Food was scarce. His army, almost starved, threatened to go home. A half-starved soldier saw Jackson sitting under a tree and asked him for something to eat. Looking up Jackson said: "It has always been a rule with me never to turn away a hungry man. I will cheerfully divide with you." Then he drew from his pocket a few acorns, saying: "This is the best and only fare I have."

But Jackson soon received reënforcements, and then, in spite of all these drawbacks, he broke the power of the Creeks in the great battle of Horseshoe Bend on Tallapoosa River in Alabama. After that they were only too glad to sue for peace.

 p297  Jackson was hardly home again before President Madison made him a major-general, and sent him with an army to guard New Orleans from the British.

After attacking and capturing Pensacola, a Spanish fort which the English occupied, he hurried his army on to New Orleans. Nothing had been done to defend the city. Jackson immediately declared martial law. He threw himself with all the energy he had into getting New Orleans ready, for the British troops were already landing.

The British general had twelve thousand veterans, fresh from their victory over the great Napoleon. Jackson had only half as many men. But nearly every man was a sharpshooter. They were rifle­men from the wilds of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, and every man was burning with a desire to fight.

Jackson had not long to wait. On came the British in solid column, with flags flying and drums beating. The fog was breaking away. Behind the breastworks stood the Americans with cannon loaded to the muzzle and with deadly rifles primed for the fight.

The cannon were the first to fire, but the redcoats closed up their shattered ranks, and moved on. Those lines of red! How splendid and terrible they looked! The Americans gave three cheers.  p298 "Fire!" rang out along the line. The breastworks were instantly a sheet of fire. Along the whole line it blazed and rolled. No human being could face that fire. The British soldiers broke and fled.

Once more they rallied, led by General Pakenham, a relative of the great Duke of Wellington. But who could withstand that fire? Pakenham was slain and again his troops fled. The battle was over. The British had lost two thousand six hundred men and the Americans only twenty-one! This victory was won after peace had been made between England and America. A ship was then hurrying to America with the glad news.

Everywhere the people rejoiced greatly over the victory of New Orleans. Jackson was a great hero, and wherever he went, crowds followed him, and cried out, "Long live the victor of New Orleans!"

 p299  For several years, Jackson remained at the head of the army in the South. The Seminole War was fought, and those Indians were compelled to make peace.

154. The People's President. The people of the United States elected Jackson President in 1828, and reëlected him in 1832 by a greater majority than before, showing that he was very popular.

President Jackson had a quarrel with the men who were managing the United States Bank. This bank kept the money for the government. He ordered that the money of the government be taken out of this bank and put in different State Banks which were called "pet" banks. In the Senate of the United States at this time were three men of giant-like ability — Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C. Calhoun. They joined together to oppose President Jackson in his fight against the United States Bank. These men made many lomg and very bitter speeches against the President.

The senate finally passed a resolution blaming President Jackson for taking the money away from the United States Bank. President Jackson was furious. He wrote a protest and sent it to the Senate. The people in the states took sides and the excitement spread to all parts of the country.

In the Senate was another great man, Thomas H. Benton of Missouri. Although Jackson and Benton had once fought a terrible duel in Nashville, they now were good friends. Benton attacked Clay, Webster, and Calhoun in  p300 powerful speeches and defended President Jackson in every way he could. At last, after several years, he succeeded in getting the Senate to expunge, or take away, from their records the resolution blaming President Jackson.

There was great rejoicing among Jackson's friends, and Senator Benton was the hero of the day. President Jackson gave a great dinner party in Washington in Benton's honor.

For a long time, South Carolina and other Southern states had been complaining about the high tariff which Congress had passed. In 1832 South Carolina declared in a state convention that her people should not pay the tariff any longer. She resolved to fight rather than obey the law and pay the tariff. This was called nullification.

President Jackson was very angry when he heard of this act of South Carolina. He told General Scott to take soldiers and war vessels to Charleston, and enforce the law at all hazards. The President published a letter to the people of South Carolina, warning them not to nullify a law of Congress.

These acts made President Jackson very popular at the North, where the people all believed the President had saved the Union from breaking up.

 p301  In 1837 his second term as president expired and he retired from public life after having seen his good friend, Martin Van Buren of New York, made President.

Jackson returned to Tennessee, greatly beloved by the people. There, in his home, called the Hermitage, he spent the rest of his life. He died in 1845, at the age of seventy-eight.

Suggestions Intended to Help the Pupil

The Leading Facts. 1. Harrison was born in Virginia, graduated from college with honor, began the study of medicine, but gave it up for an ensign's commission in the army. 2. Joined Wayne, fought the Indians, was elected to Congress. 3. Harrison made governor of Indiana territory, met Tecumseh, and fought his brother, the Prophet, at Tippecanoe. 4. Coöperated with Perry, won the battle of the Thames, and was afterwards made President. 5. Perry went to school, studied navigation, and was a midshipman at fourteen. 6. Served against the pirates, got angry at the Chesapeake affair, and was appointed commandant at Lake Erie. 7. Perry built a fleet, coöperated with Harrison and won a famous victory over the British. 8. Macdonough won a brilliant victory on Lake Champlain. 9. Andrew Jackson was born of poor parents, learned from the woods more than from books. 10. Jackson captured by the British. His mother died nursing American soldiers. 11. He studied law, went over the mountains to Nashville, and was elected to Congress, and served as United States Senator. 12. Jackson defeated the Indians, captured Pensacola, and won a brilliant victory at New Orleans. 13. Jackson made President, opposed in his policy by Clay, Webster, and Calhoun. 14. Threatens South Carolina over nullification. Died at the Hermitage in 1845.

Study Questions. 1. Why did not young Harrison become a doctor? 2. What Indian War did he hear about? 3. Tell the story of "Mad Anthony" Wayne. 4. What service did Harrison render the poor settlers in Congress? 5. What did Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison do for Harrison? 6. Who was Tecumseh and what did he say? 7. Tell the story of Harrison's march from Vincennes to the battle ground. 8. Picture the battle. 9. When connection between Perry's victory on Lake Erie and Harrison's victory at the Thames? 10. Picture the battle of the Thames. 11. What positions did Harrison hold after the return of peace?

 p302 12. What positions in the navy did Perry hold before the War of 1812? 13. What did he think of the Chesapeake outrage? 14. What important command was finally given to Perry? 15. Tell what he did to get ready for the "Battle of Lake Erie." 16. Picture the battle. 17. What did the battle do for the country? 18. What honors were given to Perry?

19. Where was Andrew Jackson born? 20. Name some other boys who learned more from the woods than from books. 21. Mention some early experiences Jackson had with the British soldiers. 22. What other experiences did he have in the war? 23. What led him to go to Nashville? 24. Explain how Jackson outwitted the Indians. 25. What did he do as a young lawyer? 26. Tell the story of Jackson's first call to arms. 27. Give a full account of Jackson's second call to arms. 28. Imagine yourself one of Jackson's soldiers and tell what you saw and heard at the battle of New Orleans. 29. Give an account of Jackson's fight against the United States Bank. 30. Who was Thomas H. Benton and why did he defend President Jackson? 31. What action did South Carolina take in 1832, and what did the President do? 32. Where did Jackson live after his last term as President?

Suggested Readings. Harrison: Stoddard, William Henry Harrison, 1‑120; Eggleston, Tecumseh and the Shawnee Prophet, 59‑70, 83‑90, 96‑118, 130‑134, 151‑170, 174‑206, 216‑231, 306‑318; Hart, How Our Grandfathers Lived, 193‑195, 291‑296.

Perry: Beebe, Four American Naval Heroes, 71‑130; Wright, Children's Stories of American Progress, 130‑144; Hart, How Our Grandfathers Lived, 241‑242, 248‑249; Glascock, Stories of Columbia, 172‑174.

Jackson: Brooks, Century Book of Famous Americans, 162‑172; Blaisdell and Ball, Hero Stories from American History, 185‑198; Hart, Hour Our Grandfathers Lived, 284‑291; Barton, Four American Patriots, 133‑192; Frost, Old Hickory.

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