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154   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA'

were not to be captured without a fight, and Boerstler, fearing that the Indians and militia would soon be out in force, and that Bisshopp and De Haren might bring up their companies to attack him, sent back to Fort George for reinforcements, but continued his forward march. Meanwhile the Indians, 250 in all, had been skilfully led through the forest to a deep ravine with heavily timbered sides that lay in the path of the Americans. Captain Kerr posted his men in the forest and along a fence that skirted the brow of a part of the ridge, and waited. Boerstler's advance guard of mounted men had entered the ravine and were ascending the western slope before fire was opened upon them. It was a short-range, well-directed fusillade, and, but for Boerstler's excellent control of his troops, a panic would have ensued. He turned his guns on the ridge and with grape and musketry beat back for the moment the opposing force. The road was too narrow for manoeuvring, but forward the column pressed, ever and anon attacked by the Indians who were completely hidden from view in the thick forest.

FitzGibbon had heard the first volleys and set out from De Ceu's to reconnoitre. He quickly recognized the excellent work the Indians were doing, and sent back for his men. Meanwhile, the continued skirmishing on his front caused Boerstler to believe that a very large force had gathered to oppose him. He attempted to retire, but suddenly in his rear appeared some white troops, how many he could not tell, and their presence checked his retreat. They were fifteen men of the 2nd Lincoln Regiment under Lieut.-Col. Thomas Clark, who had been attracted by the musketry and cannon fire.

Boerstler had lost heavily. Over fifty of his men had been killed or wounded. He himself was severely wounded and so were three of his officers. For nearly three hours a running fight had continued. Further advance was too hazardous, and at the house of a Mr. Miller, surrounded by an orchard and a wheatfield, he drew up his army at a comparatively safe distance from his concealed foe.


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