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144   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

his positions exposed to a tremendous fire from ships and land batteries, at last decided on retiring. The guns of Fort George were spiked and the ammunition destroyed, and the British troops, weakened by the loss of 445 men killed or wounded, withdrew across the country on a line parallel to the Niagara river to a spot near Beaver Dams, a naturally strong defensive position beyond Queenston Heights, about sixteen miles from Fort George and covering the road to Burlington. Some reinforcements of regulars came up during the night, and the whole after-wards withdrew to Beaver Dams, where Vincent was joined by Colonel Bisshopp from Fort Erie and Major Ormsby from Chippawa, raising the strength of his force to 1,600 men. The enemy meantime took quiet possession of Fort George, making prisoners a small detachment of soldiers left behind to destroy the ammunition and stores.

General Vincent almost immediately retired to a position at Burlington Heights, with advanced pickets thrown out as far as Stoney Creek, five miles east of the site of Hamilton. On June 5th, an American force, under Generals Chandler and Winder, consisting of 3,500 men, including 250 cavalry and eight guns, arrived at Stoney Creek, and Vincent's outposts fell back. Chandler selected an admirable position for an encampment, and, as the baggage was being brought down the lake, between 800 and 1,000 men under Colonel Christie were sent to the mouth of the creek, two miles distant, to receive and secure it, leaving in camp a force of over 2,000 men.

As Chandler's advance guard were pressing forward, an effort was made by Captain Williams to check their progress with a British out-picket. This small force was driven back, and when Lieut.-Col. Harvey arrived on the scene with light companies of the 8th and 49th Regiments and a few dragoons, the skirmish had ended and the Americans were going into camp. Harvey made a careful reconnaissance. He found that "the enemy's camp guard were few and negligent; that his line of encampment


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