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THE WAR OF 1812   141

siderably over 1,000 men, advanced eastward towards the town. They were to meet with sturdy opposition. The Newfoundland troops, the Glengarry Fencibles, 200 men of the 3rd Yorks, and the two companies of the 8th Regiment were posted in the forest to resist them. The British troops amounted to less than 500 men, but for a short time they checked the enemy's advance. Time and again they gallantly charged Pike's men, and on several occasions drove them back; but American reinforcements were brought up and surrender or retreat was necessary. They retired to the shelter of the western battery, having lost in killed and wounded a quarter of their force. The men of the 8th Regiment had borne the brunt of the battle, suffering a loss of ninety-seven in killed, wounded, and missing. Among the killed was their brave commander, Captain McNeal.

When the troops were landed, the American fleet shifted its position to a point nearer the town and opened fire on the western battery. The guns there returned the fire of the vessels, doing considerable damage, but at this stage there occurred an unhappy accident which ended all hope of resistance on the part of the British. A gunner accidentally dropped a lighted match in the travelling magazine of the fort. A terrific explosion followed; the guns were dismounted and forty men killed or wounded.

Sheaffe now became convinced that further resistance was impossible, and decided to escape to Kingston with the regulars capable of enduring the march. Before deserting York he ordered the destruction of much of the military stores there, and set fire to the ship that was being constructed. Assembling his regulars, about 180, including some wounded, in a ravine east of the town, he sent for Lieut.-Col. Chewett and Major William Allan of the 3rd York militia and instructed them to make terms with Dearborn. They were to be assisted in their negotiations by the Rev. Dr. Strachan, the Anglican clergyman at York, and John Beverley Robinson, the Attorney-General of Upper Canada.


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