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About the same time the United States’ frigate Argus, Capt. Allen, sailed for France with the American minister, and from thence on a cruize in the British Channel, where her successes led the British government to dispatch several frigates to check her depredations. The Argus fell in with one of these frigates, (the Pelican,) and after a sharp and desperate action of 47 minutes, was taken and carried into port. Capt. Allen fell at the first broad-side ; his lieutenant soon after, and his wheel being shot away, the ship became a wreck, yet she maintained a brave and ob. stinate conflict until all resistance became ineffectual ; then surrendered. . The loss upon both sides was nearly equal. About this time Commodore Porter doubled Cape Horn, and commenced a most successful cruize upon the British commerce in the great Pacific, captured several armed vessels, and destroyed the British whale fishery in those seas. In the month of August, the skirmishing commenced upon Lake Ontario, with various success; the Creek and Choctaw Indians began their depredations with success; and the British fleet, under Sir J. B. Warren, blockaded the ports south of the Chesapeak Bay. On the 3d of September, the United States’ brig Enterprize of 16 guns, Capt. Burrows, fell in with and captured his Britanic Majesty's brig Boxer of 18 guns, Capt. Blythe, after an action of 45 minutes; the Enterprize lost 9; the Boxer 45; both captains fell in the action. On the 26th, Commodore Rodgers arrived in port after a long cruize, in which he explored the Atlantic, circumnavigated the British Isles, and had but one conflict, in which he captured the Highflyer, off the American coast, being one of the tenders of Sir J. B. Warren's fleet. The limits of this work will not permit me to pursue this brilliant scene of naval war, and shew in detail the capture of his Britanic Majesty’s frigates Cyane and Levant, by the United States' frigate Constitution, in a desperate action; of his Britanic Majesty's frigate Penguin, of 32 guns, by the Hornet; of his Britanic Majesty’s brig Epervier, of 18 guns, by the United States' sloop of war Peacock; of his Britanic Majesty's sloop of war Reindeer, by the United States' sloop of war Wasp ; or of his Britanic Majesty’s brigs Lettice and Bon Accord, and sloop of war Avon, by the Wasp; the last of which sunk in the action. These captures were the result of close actions, in sharp and desperate conflicts; many of these prizes were stripped of every spar, and several so cut to pieces as to become unmanageable, and were burnt at sea; others sunk in the action, or immediately after.
GENERAL Dearborne, who had succeeded Gen. Smyth in the command, commenced operations at the opening of the campaign of 1813, to carry the war into Canada. He accordingly detached Gen. Pike with 2000 men, to make a descent upon the town of York, and seize on the naval and military stores, as well as the vessels then on the stocks. Gen. Pike embarked his troops on the 25th of April, crossed over the lake, and executed his commission promptly. . When the enemy were driven from their several redoubts, and Gen. Pike had halted his troops to give them a moment's repose, he was astonished by the explosion of a terrible magazine, which overwhelmed his troops with a shower of stones, timber, &c. and killed and wounded more than 200 men. The fire of the soldiers soon recovered this surprise, and they rallied again to the charge under the tune of Yankee-Doodle, and their brave general animated their courage, as he lay expiring under a severe contusion from the awful explosion, with a charge to his brave troops “to revenge the death of their general.” Colonel Pease led on the troops to the conquest of York without further opposition, and the town surrendered by capitulation. It is recorded of York, “that a human scull was found in the hall of the assembly, placed over the mace of the speaker.” General Dearborne did not attempt to hold possession of York; but when he had secured the stores and prisoners, he abandoned the place, On the 22d of May, the general embarked his army on
board his transports, and proceeded against the British forts on the Niagara, under cover of Commodore Chauncey's fleet. General Lewis took the command during the illness of Gen. Dearborne, and led on the troops to victory and conquest; all the British posts were carried, and more than 500 Canada militia surrendered prisoners of war; with the loss of about 39 Americans killed, and 111 wounded. The next day the British blew up, and destroyed Fort Erie, and all remaining fortifications, and retired to the head of Burlington Bay, with 1300 men. On the first of June, Gens. Chandler and Winder were detached with a force of about 2600, men to destroy this British force, and they advanced to Stoney Creek to prepare for the attack. The enemy anticipated their views, and commenced a furious attack upon the Americans in dead of night; great confusion ensued, the combatants commixed and fought hand to hand : the two generals were taken in the midst of the conflict, and carried off by the enemy, who hastily retired, and secured his retreat. The loss of the generals disconcerted the Americans, and the main object of the enterprise failed. Pending these operations, Commodore Yeo appeared with his squadron before Sackets' Harbour, and landed about 1200 men, under the command of Sir George Prevost. The place was in a defenceless situation, and would have fallen an easy conquest ; but General Brown rallied the militia, and fell upon the enemy with such fury, as put him to flight, and obliged him to abandon the enterprise, and retire into Canada. Such was the panic excited upon this invasion, that the Americans destroyed by fire a great quantity of public stores, even when they were not exposed to the depredations of the enemy. These successes led the Six Nations to join the Americans in the war.
General Lewis who had succeeded to the command upon the resignation of Gen. Dearborne, detached Col. Borstler with five hundred men to dislodge a party of British, at la Louvre house (so called :) but unfortunately he fell into an Indian ambuscade, and was taken with his whole party. General Proctor at the same time attempted to surpirze the American Forts Meigs on the Miami, and Stephenson, on the Sandusky; both which failed, and at the latter the enemy met with signal defeat and disgrace. The general movements for the reduction of Canada were now defeated; the fleets on Lakes Erie and Ontario, were now about equal, and prepared for action. The American forces under Gen. Harrison moved towards Detroit, and an action commenced on Lake Erie, between the American fleet under the command of Commodore Perry, and the British fleet under the command of Commodore Barclay, September 10th, 1813. The fleets were equal; Commodore Barclay, an old and experienced officer, in the school of Nelson, had seen much service. Commodore Perry a young officer, and without experience. The conflict commenced; the action became general, and desperate ; Commodore Perry’s ship being disabled, he changed his flag on board another ship, in an open boat, in the heat of the action, and at once bore down upon the enemy with the remainder of his fleet, and both were closely engaged. The action was short and desperate, and the carnage terrible. The whole British squadron surrendered to Commodore Perry; two ships, two brigs, one sloop, and one schooner were the trophies of this victory. The British immediately evacuated Detroit and retired to Malden, and General Harrison advanced and took possession, September 28th, and pursued into Canada. The