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THE WAR OF 1812   145

was long and broken; that his artillery was feebly supported; and that several of his corps were placed too far to the rear to aid in repelling a blow which might be rapidly struck in front." On his return to camp at Burlington Heights he urged Vincent to attack Chandler. Vincent was in desperate straits. His force was inadequate, and ill-supplied with ammunition. There was no alternative but further humiliating retreat, with the probability of a harassing attack from the rear, and, with the hope that in the night a brilliant stroke might cover his little army with glory, he consented to Harvey's daring plan. Vincent was to accompany the attacking force, but Harvey was to have its entire management.

The enemy's position was an excellent one for defence. On the side towards Lake Ontario—their right flank—their outposts were strung across the main road. On their left was a lofty plateau where the main force was encamped. The ascent to this was by a steep slope, crowned by a number of the guns. Along the top of this slope was a strong fence of logs and rails; on either side a thick wood whose edge was skirted with a fringe of brambles and briars. On the right flank there was a swamp, soft and spongy from recent rains. A frontal attack was the only one that could succeed, and on this, from information gained from observation and from prisoners and deserters, Harvey decided.

The Americans, footsore and hungry, were slow in reaching their camp. They took a hurried meal and rolled themselves in their rough blankets, little suspecting that before daybreak they would experience an exciting battle. After midnight General Chandler ordered the fires on the height to be extinguished, but those at the foot of the slope, where there were no troops excepting sentinels, were kept burning. Half a mile in front, at a small church built the previous year by the United Empire Loyalists, he had posted the main guard. A ring of sentries circled the entire camp; but they lacked discipline and were neither courageous nor watchful. However,


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