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THE WAR OF 1812   167

result stores began to run short. So scanty indeed were they that Barclay, in his report after the battle, declared that "thee was not a day's flour in store," and that the squadron under his command was "on half allowance of many things." Control of the lake was necessary to save the situation, and, on the night of September 9th, he got his six wretchedly-equipped vessels ready to face the enemy. He had but few men experienced in naval warfare or even acquainted with the management of big guns. The men on the Detroit were largely soldiers from the 41st Regiment, raw militia, and a few Indians.

The Americans had their fleet in a sheltered position at Put-in-Bay, in the Bass islands, thirty miles distant from Amherstburg, and, as Barclay was anxious to meet the enemy, early on the following morning he took ad-vantage of a favourable southwest wind, and sailed at night with the hope of reaching his destination at daybreak. The enemy, confident in their superior fleet, rejoiced when, on the following morning, they learned that the British squadron was advancing towards them under a favouring breeze. Anchors were weighed, decks cleared for action, all sail clapped on, and every effort made to reach the open lake before the British could prevent them from getting clear of the islands about Put-in-Bay.

The wind was in Barclay's favour, and he tried to reach the Americans before they could free themselves from their cramped position among the islands and form into line of battle. But the wind failed, and continued so light that but little progress was made, so Barclay, to his chagrin, saw the United States fleet sweep clear of the islands and form into line. He still had the windward position and hoped that this would make up for his lack of strength. But in this, too, he was to be disappointed, for the wind changed to the northeast and the enemy were then able to select their point of attack. Nothing daunted, Barclay skilfully drew up his ships and awaited the foe, now slowly advancing, and confidently expecting to make short work of the British force. And well they


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