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THE WAR OF 1812   195

was not to capture Plattsburg and hold it, but merely to destroy the barrack and military depot there. There is no doubt that had Sir George Prevost persisted in his attack and effected the capture of Plattsburg, he would have been placed in a very difficult position, with the command of Lake Champlain in the hands of the enemy flotilla. The highway forming the only line of communication by land with Canada ran close along the shore of the lake and was liable to be cut by landing parties from the United States fleet. Prevost was summoned to appear before a court-martial to answer charges based upon the failure of this expedition, but he died in England before trial, at the comparatively early age of forty-eight.

The unfortunate affair at Plattsburg practically terminated the operations of the war in defence of Canada, although the war against the United States was prosecuted elsewhere. British naval squadrons blockaded the United States coast; the city of Washington, the capital of the United States, was captured and destroyed in retaliation for the destruction of York; and a force of British troops even ascended the Mississippi with the object of inflicting similar punishment upon New Orleans, but was defeated with overwhelming loss.

The war formally ended by the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, December 24th, 1814, and, by this treaty, all captured places were restored to their former owners. In it there was no reference to the right of search or to any other of the questions which were raised by the war party in the United States in 1812 as an excuse for declaring war upon Britain. When the treaty was signed, not one United States soldier of the many thousands that had been sent into Canada during the war remained on Canadian soil, except as a prisoner of war, and at no spot in Canada did the Stars and Stripes fly in token of conquest. On the other hand, the British flag flew over Mackinaw, and British forces controlled a considerable part of the territory of Michigan. The British also held Fort Niagara and a considerable portion of the State of Maine.


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