Montreal, Oct. 29 The express from Upper Canada, which arrived yesterday morning, confirmed the highly satisfactory reports of the preceding day, that the enemy had precipitately retreated on the 19th instant, from before Chippawa, after destroying a quantity of provisions and heavy baggage ; and that, on the 21st, they had passed over to Buffaloe a great part of their force, and were blowing up the works at Fort Erie.
Further accounts from Kingston have been received this morning to the 26th instant, when the official report of the enemy’s retreat from Fort Erie, after the destruction of the works, had not reached that place, but there was no doubt of the fact.
Major-Genera de Watteville commanded the corps pressing on the enemy ; the master of a mail which arrived at Kingston on the 25th, in twenty-four hours from Fort George, further confirms the previous intelligence, and reports that several hundred prisoners were taken, before the Americans effected their escape across the river.
On the 18th the British came up with his rear guard, and in a sharp action thirty of the Americans were left on the field wihtout a casualty happening on our side. This was at Chippawa Creek.– The enemy then fled with the utmost precipitation to Fort Erie, and began the destruction of his fortifications.
A military courier from Kingston arrived this morning, brings no additional news of importance.– Sir James Yeo had returned to Kingston with the sick of the army of Niagara on board. We again sailed for the head of the Lake.
A private letter from Niagara of the 10th instant, says that a severe action took place the day before near Chippawa ; our loss is stated at 10 killed and wounded. That of the enemy is supposed to be very considerable ; a field piece made to bear upon one of his columns did great execution. Another letter denies any loss in killed but makes the wounded 25 or 30.
Montreal, Nov. 5. From Upper Canada we have received nothing of importance. The report of the whole American armies have crossed the Niagara was a mistake as the last accounts from that quarter mention that General Brown was still in possession of Fort Erie.
Quebec, Nov. 3. We are in expectation of some further details of the operations on the Niagara frontier by this day’s Montreal post ; but they had no arrived at one o’clock.
The evacuation by the enemy of our territory on that frontier is a striking illustration of the importance of the command of the lake. The enemy did cross over to our side till the moment his fleet was ready to assume the superiority. The re-appearance of our fleet effected what could not be done by the expence of so much blood and treasure.
(From the Quebec Gazette) The American Government has published the papers relating to the late negotations at Ghent. We confess that we have seen these papers with feelings of some satisfaction and much regret ; satisfaction that we can now say that the honour of the British Government is pledged to do something for British interests in North American, and regret that that something is so little.
The Indians are to be made independent of both nations. This is perfectly just, and would, under certain cirumstances greatly add to the security of these provinces. The Lakes are to be exclusively British. On these subjects we must be permitted to ask how long they would be permitted to remain so, how long the Indians would retain their independence in the event of another war, if the communication with them should be in the power of the enemy ? The sole communication for military purposes, with the Indians and the Lakes, is by the river St Lawrence, from Montreal to Kingston, and from Niagara to Fort Erie ; and the Americans are to be permitted to remain in possession of one of its banks ! The enemy has hitherto been prevented from interrupting this communication by the thinness of the settlements of their side, the consequent badness of the roads, and difficulty of supplying a large force. The possession of th southern bank of the St Lawrence between Montreal and Kingson, and the power of supplying themselves, and operating on that frontier, by the roads now existing, and from Lake Champlain, has been worth a large force to them, during the whole of the war ; it has caused us to parcel our force to support the line of communication between Lake St Francis and Kingston, and keep a great proportion of it to protect the base of that line in the vicinity of Montreal.
The position of Canada, relative to the United States, with its present boundaries, is an extraordinary one ; so much so, that intelligent military men have pronounced it incapable of defence much beyond Quebec. The miserable state of the enemy’s preparations, the superiority which we then had on the Lakes, the good disposition of the inhabitants, and the prudent conduct of the commander of the forces, alone saved it. The waste of means in protecting and conveying supplies by a communication of five
hundred miles, adjoining the whole way to the enemy’s frontie, is conceivable only to those whom experience has made acquainted with the fact, or who are habituated to reflection ; and whenever the communication of the Lakes becomes interrupted, the supply of any force further advanced on the line becomes utterly impracticable. The enemy derives his supplies either by the Lakes, upon which an army can effect nothing, or from a settled country, a long way in his rear, protected by his army, a country covered with woods, and a militia more effective than the best troops in such a country, always ready for the protection of their property and their houses– Under such circumstances, the weakness of an army beyond a certain point is to be counted by its numbers.
We scruple not to say, that, whenever that part of the State of New York extending to the St Lawrence, between Lake Ontario and Lake Champlain, shall be fully settled, the whole of Upper Canada must fall to the United States, the Lower Canada will not be defensible but at an expence of means far beyond its value. We had much rather see the Americans confirmed in the possession of Sackett’s Harbour, Presqu-ile, Detroit and Michilimackinac, than in the possession of the tract of country just mentioned. Great Britain will always have the means of establishing a superiority on the Lakes, whenever she chuses to exert them, but she never will be able to drive the Americans out of that frontier, when once fully settled, supported as they will be by the immense population of the back parts of the State of New York and adjoining States.
From the United States Papers Urbanna, Sept. 25. An express has arrived from Detroit, to General M’Arthur, in six days, in which Governor Cass says–” A state of things has arrived, in which your presence, with the force at your disposal, is essential to the security and preservation of the country. The Indians have recommenced hostilities on every side of us ; they are murdering the people, and breaking up the settlements. There is now a large force of them in the immediate vicinity of this place, most probably within a mile of it, with the avowed purpose of attacking the town. We have no force adequate to the defence of the country, and none of description proper for the pursuit of the Indians– My opinion is, that you should hasten on with the mounted men with all possible expedition.”
The express came by water, the land communiation being entirely cut off.
Albany, Oct. 25. The Legislature of this State adjourned yesterday, after a session of four weeks. The principal laws passed are:
An act to authorise the raising of troops for the defence of this State. An act to encourage privateering. An act to authorise the raising of a corps of sea fencibles. An act to provide for the repayment of certain sums of money advanced by the Corporation of the city of New York, for the defence of the State, and for other purposes. An act to prevent the apprehension of British deserters. An act to authorise the raising of two regiments of men of colour. An act authorising additional pay to be made to the volunteers, and for paying the militia called into service by the State authority. An act to aid in the apprehension of deserters from the army and navy of the United States.
The first act authorises the Governor to call into actual service 12,000 men, for the term of two years, provided the Government of the United States shall have declared their intention to pay, clothe and subsist them at their expence.
The privateer bill authorises associations to incorporate themselves for the purpose of fitting out privateers.
The following resolution, introduced by Mr Monell, passed both Houses of our Legislature unanimously on Saturday:–
Resolved unanimously–That the House of Assembly of the State of New York view, with mingled emotions of surprise and indignation, the extravagant and disgraceful terms proposed by the British Commissioners at Ghent–that, however ardently they may desire the restoration of peace to their country, they can never consent to receive it at the sacrifice of national honour and dignity–that they therefore strongly recommend to the National Legislature the adoption of the vigorous and efficacious measures in the prosecution of the war, as the best means of the bringing the contest to an honourable termination, and of transmitting unimpaired to their posterity their rights, liberty, and independence.
The following is a private letter which was brought by the Liffey :
Montreal, Nov. 5. 1814. “Sir George Prevost reached Kingston on the 10th October, where his presence has been of the utmost importance. Chauncey resigned his blockade of that place on the 8th, and retired with his squadron to Sackett’s Harbour. Our fleet which was ready for the Lake in a few days after Sir George’s arrival, sailed for Niagara on the 16th, with 500 of the 90th, and a supply of provisions and stores for the right division, and arrived off Fort George on the evening of the 18th. Having landed this reinforcement, Sir James returned to Kingston on the 24th.
“The enemy at Fort Erie having been joined by General Izard’s army, making a force of 7 or 8000 men, advanced upon General Drummond, and attacked our positions upon the Chippawa on the 15th instant ; but having met with an opposition unexpected by them, and making no impression, retired on the 16th and 17th to Black Creek, from whence they advanced one of Izard’s brigades, 1500 men, on the 19th, with a view of our turning our right, and attempted to cross the Chippawa, about six miles from its mouth, where they were met with by a corps of about 1000 troops, under Colonel Meyers, who faced them most manfully ; they skirmished the whole day, in which the Glengarries supported their high character, and, in the evening, Jonathan finding himself foiled, and unable to bring up his artillery from the horrid state of the roads, retired again to the main body at Black Creek.
“Our casualties on this occasion were triflin– those of the enemy were said to have been considerable, though he refrained from exposing himself to our fire in the open ground. We had two field-pieces there, and whenever the enemy showed a column out of the wood, a well-directed discharge soon obliged them to return to their shelter. By this time our fleet being announced, gave alarm to the enemy, and they commenced a precipitate retreat to Fort Erie.
“They were purused on the 20th and 21st by our advance, under Major-General Watteville, close to Fort Erie, where he found them occupying the high ground, which General Drummond had not left many weeks before, and could push no further. At the date of the last accounts from General Drummond, Jonathan still maintained his post, from which it will require a few columns of fresh troops to dislodge him, but as they are now on their way to join the right dividion, I trust I shall in a short time have the pleasure to acquaint you of the complete expulsion of the enemy from the Niagara frontier. It is said, that for want of sufficient shelter, a part of General Izard’s force had crossed to Buffalo, and that they had passed over some heavy artillery and stores, leaving at the fort such a force as they conceived capable of defending it.
“Sir James brough down with him the skeleton of the 1st battalion of the King’s regiment, and the
remains of the two flank companies of the 10th. He sailed again on the 1st inst. taking with him about 1200 men, comprising the 37th, a brigade of artillery, a 9pounder, and detachments from the 6th and 82d regiments, and a large supply of provisions and stores. The five hundred of the 9th regiment who marched to York would be crossed to Niagara in the brigs ; the 9th, 850 strong, were to have been embarked in the fleet, but Sir James could not take them. The Royals, 41st, 89th, and 100th, exhausted corps, return to Kingston by this trip of the fleet, which I fear was scarcely able to make another this season. The St Lawrence has proved a noble ship, and one and all seem delighted with her. The frigate in frame arrived at Kingston, where she has been laid down and lengthened to make her the size of the Prince Regent. The keel of a 74 is also laid down there. The Americans are said to have commenced upon two more ships of the class of the Superior. Letters from Michilimacinack to the 19th October state, that the capture of the two schooners will be attended with the most important benefits in the security of that post, and the territory dependent upon it. Captain Rocheblave, with the detachment of the 81st under Capt. Wardrop, and artillery, arrived there on the 14th October, without any casualty among the troops ; and Mr M’Kenzie, with his brigade, would arrive about the 21st. The two schooners had made a trip to Nottawasage for provisions and supplies, and would attempt another before the navigation closed. A reinforcement had been sent under Capt Bulgar to Praire du Chain.
“The arrangements necessary for reinforcing and supplying General Drummond’s army being completed, and the attack upon Sackett’s Harbour being deemed impracticable this season, Sir George returned last evening to this place ; his journey to Kingston has certainly had the effect of inducing General Brown, with a considerable part of his force, to move to Sackett’s Harbour, and has thus left General Izard so much weakened at Fort Erie, that I have little doubt of the result of an attack upon him.
“I am sorry to see that the malice of a certain party here has been at work at your side of the water ; it has increased tenfold since the expression of the public sentiment in favour of his Excellency, by the addresses which are now preparing, and which I can assure you is the real and unsolicited voice of the people. I am happy to find that General Kempt is going to England, as he will afford true information upon the state of the country, and be able to exposethe falsehoods which have been circulated respecting recent events.”
Citation: Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, United Kingdom), 08 December 1814, available at the Scissors and Paste Database, http://www.scissorsandpaste.net/116.