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220   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

Late in February, Van Rensselaer, who had moved his headquarters to the village of French Creek, on the American side of the St. Lawrence, prepared to raid Kingston. The plan was to advance simultaneously from three different points. One division was to cross the St. Lawrence and attack Kingston on its weakest side, near where the penitentiary now stands; another was to approach from the east; and the third, consisting of rebels from the vicinity of Belleville and Napanee, was. to attack from the rear. Sympathizers had been sent into the town on one pretext or another, and these were to distract the attention of the defenders by setting fire to the houses and blowing up the Magazine at Fort Henry.

Something might perhaps have come of this, but for the fact that Bonnycastle had found means of keeping himself informed of every move of the "Patriots," and had ample time to deal with the situation. Several companies of militia were directed to watch the Napanee rebels; barricades were formed and holes cut in the ice on the roads the insurgents must follow in crossing over from the American shore; and the spies in Kingston and at Fort Henry were quietly arrested. The result was that the rebels, instead of surprising Kingston, were them-selves surprised; and the invaders never got nearer than Hickory Island, where they were attacked by the militia from Gananoque, and fled almost without firing a shot, leaving behind them a quantity of stores and ammunition. It was afterward learned that the same procedure had been followed by the insurgents here as at Buffalo and Detroit. The Arsenal at Watertown, N.Y., had been broken open on the night of February 19th, and from six to eight hundred stand of arms taken from it, while five pieces of field-artillery had also been obtained.

Towards the end of February, another attempt was made on Amherstburg by a "Patriot" force from Detroit and Sandusky Bay, with Sutherland again in command. Fighting Island, in the Detroit River, was occupied; also Point Pelee Island in Lake Erie. The frontier was now


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