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170 MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

 

sudden turn, and the final success of the Americans was inevitable.

While the Detroit was doing such effective work, the Queen Charlotte was not so successful. She had been attacked by the Niagara supported by two schooners. Captain Jesse Elliott, the American commander, had the advantage in long guns, so having the weather gage he took up his position at long range and rained heavy shot into his enemy without giving Captain Finnis an opportunity to return his fire. Finnis was daring and made every effort to bring his vessel to close quarters with the Niagara, but in the heat of the fight he was struck down by a round shot, and in his fall Barclay lost his main support. His first lieutenant, Stokoe, was mortally wounded, and Lieutenant Irvine, a courageous but in-experienced officer, had to take charge. Such was the condition of this vessel when Perry succeeded in boarding the Niagara. He instantly realized the weak state of his foes, and determined to close down upon them and if possible end the fight.

Scarcely had Perry reached the deck of the Niagara when Lieutenant Yarnall was compelled to strike his flag. But the wind was too light for the Detroit to bear down and board the Lawrence, and, as every small boat had been smashed during the protracted struggle, Barclay could not take possession of his prize. The Lady Prevost, too, was in a sad plight. She had been badly cut up by the American schooners, which hammered her from long range with their heavy guns. Her commander, Lieutenant Buchan, was dangerously, and her acting first lieutenant severely, wounded, and she was drifting helplessly to leeward.

When Perry got ready to lead the Niagara into action, he sent Elliott back to bring up the schooners for the purpose of making a concentrated attack in line abreast on the British. "At forty-five minutes past two," ac-cording to his report of the fight, "the signal was made for `close action'; the Niagara being very little injured I


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