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THE WAR OF 1812   181

the fleeing army, and this last attack lent wings to the soldiers' feet.

While Hampton was preparing for his advance over-land against Montreal, General Wilkinson was organizing his army for the movement against the same objective via the St. Lawrence river. Some 10,000 men were assembled and trained at and about Sackett's Harbour, and, under cover of Chauncey's fleet, were transported to Grenadier Island, at the foot of Lake Ontario, where they landed in expectation of a junction being formed there with the whole, or a portion, of Harrison's corps from the western sphere of operations. Wilkinson seemingly intended to attack Kingston as soon as circumstances warranted it, but these circumstances never developed.

The British were in doubt as to whether this American force was destined for Kingston or Montreal, but the leaders at Kingston concluded that it would be good tactics to take the offensive in any case. A portion of the American army under General Brown had moved down the St. Lawrence and were encamped at French Creek, near Clayton, on October 29th. An attack on this force was planned, but there was a difficulty in the way. The British fleet was bottled up in Kingston Harbour and Commodore Chauncey was maintaining a close blockade. But Chauncey learned that some of Sir James Yeo's vessels were coming down the lake from York with reinforcements for Kingston. He consequently raised the blockade for a couple of days in order to intercept these vessels, and Captain Mulcaster with two brigs, two schooners, and eight gun-boats stole out of the harbour and raced for French Creek. These vessels attacked Brown's contingent with a sharp fire and did not desist until Chauncey came to the rescue with an overwhelming force.

After this skirmish, Wilkinson's entire army assembled at French Creek and made final preparations for the descent of the St. Lawrence. They embarked in 300 boats and scows, and under the protection of twelve gun-


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