Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

dered that the troops should not enoculate, he would not have a recourse to that precaution for his own security. The Americans have lost in him one of their best generals. He was amiable in public and private life. Contented with domestic happiness, he was not ambitious of an exalted station ; but was ready to serve his country in the most hazardous' situation. General Thompson commanded after. Thomas sickened, and when the name latter died, the command devolved on general Sullivan, who had repaired to Canada early in May..

The Americans had for some time posted at the Cedars, a small fort forty-three miles above Montreal, a party of 390 men, under the command of col. Beadle. Capt. Foster, with a detachment of the 8th regiment, 'about 40, Canadians 100, and 500 Indians, but without cannon descended from the lakes, and approached toward the fort.* The colonel, in a cowardly manner abandoned his command to major Butterfield, and repaired to Montreal for a reinforcemant. The major having little or no more courage than the other, surrender the fort [May 15.1 without making any resistance worth noticing. Meanwhile, major Henry Sherberne was detached with 140 men from Montreal; but col. Beadle, valuing safety more than fidelity or hopor, refused to return with the reinforcement. It was the day after the surrender before major Sherburne could proceed from the lake (which he was obliged to cross) with 100 men including himself. The rest were left for guards and other services, [May 20. About five, they were attacked by a body of about 500 Indians and Canadians, who, under cover of a wood fired upon them. The Americans maintained an obstinate engagement for an hour and forty minutes; when the Indians having surrounded them, rushed upon and disarmed them. Many of them were sacrificed to Indian fury, butchered with tomahawks and other instruments of death. They lost in the action twenty-eight killed and wounded. About twenty were afterward killed in cold blood; and seven or eight were carried off by the Indians. The prisoners were immediately stripped almost naked, drove to the fort, and delia vered to capt: Foster, whose success in taking the fort was not known before the action. The enemy had twenty-two killed, among them a chief warrior of the Seneca tribe, on account of whose death the prisoners were probably treated with the grosser insult and abuse. Arnold, who had been made a brigadier general the beginning of January, had commanded in Montreal some time, having returned thither upon gen. Wooster's going down to Quebec. He was desirous of remedying the evil that had taka

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

en place at the Cedars, and went forward with a party of between 8 and 900 men to the lake. When it was discovered that the general was approaching (May 26.] and making dispositions to attack the enemy, capt. Foster took care to acquaint him, that if he would not agree to a proposed cartel, (which major Sherburne and the other officers had been required to sign and had signed) but proceeded to attack him, every man of the prisoners would be put to instant death by the Indians. Gen. Arnold was extremely averse to entering into any agreement, but was at length induced by the motive of saving the prisoners. A cartel was concluded upon and signed on the 27th, for the exchange of 2 majors, 9 captains, 20 subalterns; and 443 soldiers. It was agreed (May 27.] that four American captain should be sent to Quebec as hostages, and remain there until the prisoners are exchanged.

Let us now direct our attention to Sir Guy Carleton, who had a fresh opportunity of exercising his humanity toward the Ames ricans. That the sick, who were left behind and could not get off when the others fled from before Quedec, might not perish, he issued a proclamation, commanding the proper officers to find out and afford the unhappy persons all necessary relief at the pube lic expence ; and to render the benefit complete, and to prevent obstinacy or apprehension from marring its effect, he assured them, that upon recovering they should have free liberty of returning to their respective provinces.

Toward the end of May several regiments arrited'; and the British force in Canada, when completed, was estimated at about 13,000 men. The general rendezvous was appointed to be at Three Rivers, half way between Quebec and Montreal, about 90 miles from each. The place takes its name from the viscinity of one of the branches of a large river, whose waters are discharged, through three mouths, into that of St. Lawrence. The British and Brunswick troops were at this time much separated. A. considerable body was at Three Rivers under gen. Frazer. Ano. ther under gen. Nesbit lay near it on board the transports: A greater than either, with the generals Carleton, Burgoyne, Phillips and Reidesel, was in several divisions by land and water, on its way from Quebec. Gen. Sullivan, from the information le received, concluded upon an expedition against, as he apprehend ed, the British advance guard at Three Rivers, the execution of which was committed to gen. Thompson. The latter embarked. at Sorel, with 1800 men, under colonels Maxwell, St. Clair and Wayne, in fifty boats, and coasting the south side of Lake St. Peter, where the St. Lawrance spreads to a great extent, argived at Nicolet, from whence they fell down the river by night

. .. and

and passed to the other side, with an intention of surprising the forces under gen. Frazer. Three Rivers is to be considered rather as a long village than a regular town. The plan was to land nine miles above the town, so seasonably as to march down inder cover of the night, and to attack it a little before day-break. June 8.] By reason of unexpected delays, it was so long ere the troops landed, that in a few minutes the day-light appeared. They had then to make a forced march of nine miles. They hastened, ran down hill and up, and got tired. The general pushed on, having procured a Canadian guide, who was either ignorant or unfaithful; for a little before-sun-rise he found his forces were too much out of the way. They returned, but lost the road on the side of the river; were soon however, in view of some of the enemy's boats, between which and the flanking party several balls were exchanged. They then quickened their pace, and continued advancing in sight of the shipping, with drum beating and fife playing, as they knew they were discovered. They soon heard the speaking trumpets sound, "and the troops and the troops." The general judging there was no possibility of passing the ships without being exposed to all their fire; and yet determining to persist in the expedition, filed of at a right angle from the river. He meant to take a circuitous route, and enter the town on the back side. A bad morass interposed; the troops entered it; they were then about two miles from the town. A worse march, for about a mile and a half, did not offer in all Alnold's expedition, the men were almost mired. About nine o'clock they came to a cleared spot, formed and got into some order about ten. They advanced, but before the rear had got off the place of formation, the front received a heavy fire from the enemy, which struck them with terror. The fire was instantly repeated; and through the balls flew over the heads of the troops, without doing any material execution, they gave way and crowded back in the utmost confusion, which left them without a leader, so that every one did as he pleased. They turned their faces up the river, and has. tened through the swamp as fast as possible. About eleven they began to collect, and after a while learnt from the Canadians, - that the enemy had sent a detachment, with several field pieces by land, to cut off their retreat, and a party by water to seize their boats. About four they were told, that the enemy'had secured the bridge before them, which it was supposed they niust pass. . They were also soon convinced, that a large body was close in their rear. Col. Maxwell ordered all who had collected together to halt, called the officers to him, and said, “What shall we do? Shall we fight those in the front or in the rear? or shall ve tamely submit? or shall we turn off into the woods, and each

man

inan shift for himself?” The last proposal was preferred; but the enemy was so near that the rear of the Americans was exposed to another tremendous fire while going down the hill into the woods, but the balls flew over them without injuring any. The person who was trusted with the care of the boats, had removed them in time to a secure place, so that the loss of the Americans, which must otherwise have been much greater, amounted only to about 200 prisoners. The troops that escaped, began to collect about ten the next day, and by noon were cons siderably numerous. They got along by degrees, and by sun-set the day following arrived opposite Sorel. (June 10.] General Thompson and colonel Irwin, the second in command, with some other officers, were taken. The killed and wounded of the king's troops was trifling. This attempt to surprize the British troops at Three Rivers, which may appear to bave been a desa perate undertaking, would scarce have been made, had it been known in time, how much they had been reinforced by fresh arrivals; and probably ought to have been abandoned the mos ment that the surprise was no longer possible.

.. The king's forces having joined at Three Rivers, proceeded brya land and water to Sorel (June 14.] off which the fieet arrived in the evening, a few hours after the rear of the Americans had left it. A considerable body was landed, and the command of the column given to gen. Burgoyne, with instructions to pursue the continental army up the river, to St. John's, but without has zarding any thing till another column on his right, should be able to co-operate with him. Sir Guy's extraordinary precaution in putting nothing to the hazard, when not absolutely necessary; gave the Americans the opportunity of escaping. Had Bur: goyne been instructed to press on with the utmost expedition, great numbers of them must have been made prisoners, and but few would have crossed Lake Champlain. - Major Nathan Fuller, of col. Bond's Massachusetts regiments was entrusted with the care of the baggage when the Americang retreated up the Sorel. It was put on board several vessels. They had a fine passage for a white, but at length were becalmed so long as to give the advance of the British an opportunity of ap. proaching them apace. The major acquainted gen. Sullivan, who was considerably a-head, of the dangerous situation he should soon be in. The gen. sent a hundred batteaux to bring off the men and baggage, and gave orders for burning the vessels. The major had but just time to accomplish the work, and was in some danger before it was finished. (June 15.] General Arnold, with his troops, left Montreal and crossed from the island of Longueil to the continent, in his way to Chamblee. A great part of the

i British

British fleet and army sailed for the same place, and had not the wind failed, would probably have arrived at Longueil the same night and about the same time with gen, Arnold. The general carried away with him from Montreal a quantity of goods, which he ordered col. Hazen to take the charge of; but the colonel disa approving the measure, would have nothing to do with thema When the troops entered the road near Chamblee, they occasiOned such an alarm in the place, that the three companies of artillery formed immediately and marched up the hill to meet them, which brought on a discovery of their belonging to gen. Arnold, and being from Montreal. When the army lett Chamblee, the men were obliged to draw their loaded batteaux, to the number of 100 or more, some with cannon in them, up the rapids, by bodily strength and up to the middle in water. Here they destroyed the saw-inills, three vessels and three gondolas, together with all the batteaux which they could not bring off. Major Fuller com, manded the rear, consisting of five hundred men, and had under his care the batteaux.and baggage. The British entered Cham: blee at one end while he quitted it at the other. When he was about a mile beyond the town, all his party except seventy, pushed off to escape danger. Soon after you leave Chamblee, in the way to St. John's, the road enters a wood, which thickens as you advance in it. Though the road is open and good, yet the brush, wood and trees on each side, afford such a coyer to parties, that you capnot ascertain their number, nor be sure that there are not ambushes in various places. The major had an active, sensible, bold officer in the second lieutenant, Mr. George, * who remained with him. The lieutenant was ordered, with 27 men, to flank the advancing parties of the enemy. He, by dividing his men, concealing them on each side of the Foad, enplaying them in popping with their guns on the enemy, first in one place then in another, and so changing the scene of their attack, as though they were far more numerous, amused the advance of the enemy in such a manner as to save the rear. Major fuller imputes it very much to the conduct of lieutenant George, that the rear, and of course the boats and baggage were saved. The salvation of these was probably the salvation of the army. When the major found himself abandoned, he sent forward a messenger to col. Stark and other officers, who were not far before, acquainting them with his situation, and requesting their assistance. Cols. Stark, Poor, Porter and others, immedi ately put themselves under the cominand of the major, who had also sent on an express to St. John's, to inforın gen, Sullivan of

** Afterward caplais Ceorge, of Watertown, near Boflora

« ZurückWeiter »