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142 'MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

 

Meanwhile Pike had taken possession of the now unresisting fort. The greater part of his men remained with-out its walls near the powder magazine, which contained, it is said, 500 barrels of powder and a large store of balls and shell. Pike had sent forward Lieutenant Riddle to reconnoitre and report as to what further obstructions had to be overcome. The general was questioning a prisoner, a British sergeant, when suddenly, with a mighty roar, the magazine blew up. For acres about the fort the air was filled with flying beams, stones, shot, and shell. Pike was struck by a large mass of stone and mortally wounded. There was naturally a panic, the troops fleeing in all directions, and when the men were reassembled it was found that 260 of their comrades were killed or wounded. The cause of the explosion was, and still remains, a mystery.

All British resistance ended; a flag of truce was raised, the ships ceased bombarding the shore batteries, and negotiations for capitulation began. It was agreed that the regulars and militia, naval officers and 'seamen should be surrendered as prisoners of war; all public stores were to be given up, but all private property was to be respect-ed. Under the terms of capitulation 265 officers and men of the militia, 21 officers and men of the Provincial Marine, and 6 British regulars were made captive. These with the men already captured during the morning battle amounted to 346. No detailed statement of the losses sustained by the militia in the defence of York is extant. The losses to the regulars were 154 in killed, wounded, and prisoners, fully half of their strength. The Americans lost 17 killed in the fleet and 300 in the land force.

While Dearborn was considering the terms of surrender, the American troops burned the Legislative Buildings, destroying the papers and records of the province, plundered the church of its plate, and the Legislative Library of its books. Private houses were entered and every-thing of value carried off. These cowardly acts of vandal-ism were not to go unpunished. The American nation


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