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THE WAR OF 1812   153

Heights and was unable to carry a warning to FitzGibbon, but his wife Laura bravely undertook the task.

All through the day of June 23rd, and far into the night, this fearless woman tramped through the deep wood and over roads thick with mud, in danger of capture from American sentries, and of death from beasts of the forest. At length, faint and exhausted, she neared De Ceu's and fell in with a band of friendly Indians who led her to FitzGibbon. The news she brought, coming on the back of reports already received from Indian scouts, put FitzGibbon on the alert.

Meanwhile, Boyd had selected Lieut.-Col. Boerstler of the 14th United States Infantry to march against FitzGibbon with a force of nearly 600 men. It might be necessary to batter down the strong walls of the house sheltering the British, so a 12-pounder and a 6-pounder were attached to the party. The force that was to attack De Haren's position was to set out later in the day. How-ever, it never started; no doubt Boyd changed his mind, due to the opposition Boerstler was meeting. Boerstler's march began on the night of the 23rd and at early dawn on the 24th he came in contact with some watchful Indians who opened fire on his troops, while Captain Kerr of the Mohawks sent messages to both Fitz Gibbon and De Haren. The message reached FitzGibbon about seven in the morning, confirming the reports that the Indians and Laura Secord had already brought in.

Captain Kerr, young John Brant, and Captain Ducharme, leaders of the Indian forces, were familiar with the ground along the Niagara frontier, and laid plans to ambush Boerstler's troops in one of the deep ravines that would have to be passed on the march to De Ceu's. Boerstler sent a few mounted riflemen in advance to prevent a surprise from the front. On each flank infantry soldiers guarded against ambush while the cavalry followed in the rear. The early morning skirmish, in which the Indians lost one killed and one wounded, had warned the Americans that FitzGibbon and his men


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