Newark—which then contained about 200 houses—and brutally exposing the inhabitants, among whom were some 400 women and children, to cruel hardship.
General Sir Gordon Drummond assumed command in this section about this time, and, on December 19th, a British force was despatched across the Niagara river, and carried Fort Niagara by storm. The attacking party was under command of Colonel Murray, whose activities in the district had been largely responsible for McClure's retirement from Fort George. His force consisted of the flank companies of the 41st Regiment, a detachment from the 100th, and a detail from the Royal Artillery, without guns, but carrying scaling ladders. With unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets, he made a surprise attack upon the fort in two columns, and after a struggle of fifteen minutes, during which sixty-five Americans were killed, the remainder of the garrison, 300 in all, surrendered. The booty included twenty-seven pieces of artillery, 7,000 muskets, and magazines full of camp equipage, clothing, and provisions for a large army. And Fort Niagara remained in the possession of the British till the close of the war.
A campaign of retaliation for the unwarranted destruction of Newark was now entered upon. The day after the capture of Fort Niagara, the village of Lewiston was attacked by General Riall, and after the United States regular troops and Indians stationed there had been driven out, the place was committed to the flames. On the 29th, Riall again crossed the Niagara river, this time above the Falls, with less than 1,000 men, put to flight a United States force of about 2,000 under Major-General Amos Hall and destroyed Black Rock and Buffalo by fire. Four armed vessels and immense stores of supplies were included in the work of destruction. In this raid Riall took 130 prisoners and the American killed and wounded is variously estimated at from 200 to 400, Riall's own loss being insignificant. From Buffalo, a troop of the 19th Light Dragoons and the 1st Royals marched to Fort