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THE WAR OF 1812   143

was to suffer through the burning of Washington and the destruction of the Government buildings, largely as a retaliation for the depredations at York and Newark—and the chastisement was not undeserved.

Dearborn had won a notable victory, but he was not to benefit greatly by it. York was on the direct land route to Niagara, and yet he made no attempt to hold it. His expedition degenerated into an isolated raid con-ducted for the purpose of destruction and plunder. The troops remained in the captured town for only a couple of days. On May 1st, all were put on board the ships. However, strong westerly winds were blowing, and it was not until May 8th that sail was made for the Niagara frontier, where the troops went into camp at Four Mile Creek preparatory to a greater offensive movement.

Troops had been rushed forward from Sackett's Harbour to increase the American force at Niagara, and, on May 27th, Chauncey and Dearborn made a descent upon Fort George on the west side of the Niagara river, near its mouth, with a fleet of eleven war vessels manned by 900 seamen, and carrying a land force of some 6,000 men. The British force in garrison at Fort George and billetted in the nearby town of Newark was under command of Brigadier-General Vincent and amounted to 1,340 men. Vincent had eight field-guns, while four 24-pounders, captured from Hull at Detroit, were mounted on the bastions of Fort George, and a fifth had been placed in a redoubt between Newark and the lake shore. Vincent vigorously opposed the landing, but under cover of the ships' guns the enemy got ashore. The first brigade to land was repeatedly driven back to the beach at the point of the bayonet, and it was unable to advance until reinforced by two fresh brigades.

After some 4,000 enemy troops had been landed, with several pieces of artillery, they advanced in three columns, the British light troops being forced back, but the main body made a stand, and a most sanguinary combat ensued. Vincent, opposed by a force tenfold his strength and with


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