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THE WAR OF 1812   187

in Canada that General Wilkinson's army had begun to leave their cantonments at Salmon river and Malone, General Brown with one division going to Sackett's Harbour, Wilkinson with the other proceeding to Plattsburg. On the 17th, Colonel Pearson was directed to despatch a force of about 500 regulars from Prescott to Salmon river and Malone to harass the enemy in his movements. The column reached Salmon river on February 19th, but the enemy had gone, and, after burning the deserted American barrack and the flotilla of boats which had carried Wilkinson's army down the St. Lawrence, they proceeded inland to Malone, only to find that the last detachment of the enemy had just decamped, leaving a considerable quantity of ammunition and sup-plies behind.

The United States leaders, realizing that heavy reinforcements were likely to reach Canada in the Spring, decided upon an early opening of their campaign against Montreal from the Lake Champlain district, hoping to get well across the frontier before proper dispositions had been made for the defence; but in this they were to be disappointed.

On March 28th, Wilkinson advanced with an army of 4,000 men from Plattsburg against the frontier. Light troops of the enemy entered Odelltown, followed by a squadron of cavalry, three brigades of infantry, and eleven guns. Driving in the British pickets, they attacked the post at Burtonville, but were so well received by the troops there, that they desisted in their attack and proceeded to the Lacolle river, near its junction with the Richelieu. Here; in a stone mill and block-house, were a detachment of the 13th Light Infantry and a small body of militia under the command of Major Hancock.

The garrison of the post was fewer than 200 men, but on the approach of the enemy, Hancock summoned reinforcements from several similar posts near at hand, and, while the battle was on, two companies of the 13th arrived. Two gun-boats and two sloops also came from

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