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An American Family History

War of 1812 in Leeds County

In the War of 1812 (1812-1815) the United States declared war on England because of trade restrictions, impressment, and British support for Indian attacks. They signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814 after reaching a stalemate.

On February 7, 1813, the American army raided Elizabethtown (present day Brockville, Leeds County, Ontario). The Americans crossed the frozen St. Lawrence River and seized equipment, freed American prisoners, and captured Canadian men.

from History of Leeds and Grenville Ontario by Leavitt, Thad. W. H. and  Turner, E. A

...The invasion took place on the 12th of July [1812], [The American] General [William] Hull being the commander: the crossing [of the Detroit River from Michigan] was made at Sandwich. The American army consisted of about 2,500 men, wiith thirty-three cannon....he met with a severe check, and, after several skirmishes, in which he was badly beaten, he recrossed the river with his army...

[British Major-General Isaac] Brock arrived at Amherstburg on the 13th of August, and, on the 15th, with a total force of regulars, militia, and Indians, amounting to 1,300 men, crossed the river, and prepared to assault the town. The gallant action was prevented by the capitulation of the American army...

On the 13th of October, another army of invasion, under [American] General [Stephen] Van Ranselaer, crossed the Niagara frontier, and encountered the Canadian forces, under General Brock, at Queenston Heights. After a desperate engagement, in which the noble commander was killed, nearly one thousand of the invaders were compelled to surrender, while many were driven over the precipice into the seething waters of the Niagara.

When war was declared, eight schooners were in Ogdensburg harbor, which, on the 29th of June, attempted to escape to Lake Ontario. Mr. Dunham Jones, who resided near Maitland, seeing the movement, and fully appreciating the advantage which would result to the British interests, if this fleet could be prevented from reaching Lake Ontario, raised a company of volunteers, pursued them in boats, overtaking them at the foot of the islands, just above Brockville [then named Elizabethtown].

Two of the vessels, the Island Packet and the Sophia, surrendered without resistance; the crews were landed on an island, and the vessels burned. The remainder of the fleet steered back to Ogdensburg. The utmost consternation prevailed in that town, the confusion being indescribable. All the settlements on Black Lake and along the St. Lawrence were deserted; according to Mr. Joseph Rosseel, of Ogdensburg, "people were everywhere running through the woods, in great dismay."

In a few days, the Prince Regent, a new vessel of ten guns, came down from Kingston, and anchored at Prescott, being afterwards joined by the Earl of Moira and Duke of Gloucester, the former of eighteen, and the latter of ten, guns. An American schooner, the Julia, arrived in Ogdensburg from the lake. Her armament consisted of one eighteen and two iron six-pounders.

On the 29th of July, she started up the river, reaching Morristown, opposite Brockville, at 3 p. m., on the 31st, being closely pursued by the Earl of Moira and the Duke of Gloucester. The British vessels dropped anchor near their antagonist, all brailed up their canvass, and commenced a cannonade, which lasted three hours and a quarter, without intermission. Owing to the nervousness of the gunners and the inexperience of the commanders, not a single life was lost, and but little injury done to the vessels. The Earl of Moira was hulled a few times, the Julia escaping with the effects from a single shot. As darkness approached, the gallant contestants came to the conclusion that repairs were necessary. The Julia weighed anchor and succeeded in reaching Ogdensburg the next morning. The Earl of Moira removed to Brockville, the guns being taken out and placed in a battery on the shore.

In September, the Americans learned that a number of batteaux were coming up the river, laden with supplies, the party being under the command of Adjutant [James] Fitzgibbon. A gun-boat, and also a Durham boat [ large wooden, flat-bottomed, double-ended freight boat] were fitted out at Ogdensburg, and despatched to intercept and capture the British expedition and stores. Leaving Ogdensburg late at night, the enemy landed on Toussaint Island, near where the batteaux lay. The only family on the island was secured, with the exception of the man, who, being a staunch defender of the British flag, made his escape, and, by swimming, reached the Canadian shore.

The alarm was promptly given, the militia rallied, and, when the Yankees made the attack, they met with such a hot reception, that they abandoned the Durham boat, which drifted down the river, and fell into the hands of the Canadians. About sunrise, the gun-boat came to anchor, and was immediately fired upon. At the second discharge, five, of the eighteen on board, were wounded; but, before a third volley could be delivered, the remainder brought a cannon to bear upon the Canadian boats, which were compelled to remove out of range, being provided only with small arms. The Americans then beat a hasty retreat for Ogdensburg.

Towards the close of the season, a considerable force assembled at Prescott, and, on the 2nd of October, about forty British boats came up the river, to that place, escorted by two gun boats. A lively cannonade was set up by the battery at Prescott upon Ogdensburg, the object being to cover the boats. On the following day the firing was renewed, but was not answered by the Americans, little or no damage being done, in consequence of the short, range of the guns.

On Sunday morning, the 4th [of October], twenty-five boats and two gun boats left Prescott at an early hour, proceeded up the river nearly a mile, and then turned their course towards Ogdensburg. The expedition was under the command of [British] Col. Lethbridge, the number of men being about 700. The advance was made without opposition to mid channel, when the enemy opened the enagement with a tremendous discharge of artillery, supplemented by small arms.

[American] General [Jacob Jennings] Brown, who was in command at Ogdensburg had rallied the force, numbering 1,200 men, and was fully prepared for the emergency. The boats were thrown into confusion, and were compelled to beat a precipitate retreat. It is said that the enterprise was undertaken without the sanction of the commander of the forces, and was generally condemned as rash and premature.

Col. John Kilborn, of Newboro, has furnished us with the following account of the affair

I, with other young men, volunteered to serve in the First Flank Company of the County of Leeds, under Captain John Stuart, late Sheriff of the Johnstown District, for six months service, and I happened to be the first man placed on duty by Lieutenant William Morris (late the Hon. William Morris), to guard the Kingston road, near the bridge at the West end of Brockville.

I continued on duty with the company, being drilled daily by Lieutenant Morris, until September, when an attempt was made to capture Ogdensburg, it being at that time defended by a strong fort and a considerable force of riflemen, by whom we were daily annoyed. The expedition was under Colonel Lethbridge, of the British army, at that time commanding our garrison at Prescott.

Assistance from Brockville men was asked for, and with about forty others, I volunteered, and marched to Prescott during the night, under the command of Captain Reuben Sherwood and Lieutenant William Morris. Boats were ready, and early in the morning, led by Colonel Lethbridge, with part of a company of regulars, the attack was made. The boat I was in was commanded by Lieutenant Morris.

After getting near the batteries (which they plied constantly), and in front of the town, we failed to effect a landing, and returned to Prescott. The loss in our boat was one killed, (Mott, a cousin of Henry Mott, Delta,) and eight wounded.

On the 6th February, 1813, Captain [Benjamin] Forsyth, the American commander at Ogdensburg, was induced by parties from this side of the line to make a descent upon Brockville, the report having been circulated that the American prisoners confined in the gaol were being treated with severity. The raiding party consisted of Captain Forsyth s company and citizen volunteers, numbering, all told, about 200.

They left Ogdensburg about nine o clock in the evening, proceeding by sleighs to the rear of Morristown. They crossed the ice in two divisions, flank guards being despatched to each side of the town, while the main body stationed themselves in Court House Square. Forsyth, with a few men, entered the gaol, demanded the keys, which were surrendered, and all the prisoners, except one charged with murder, liberated.

A number of prominent citizens were taken prisoners and conveyed to Ogdensburg, with the exception of Dr. Hubbell, who was paroled at Morristown. Among the prisoners were Major Carley, three captains and two lieutenants. The following is the list of those taken, except officers:

Stephen Shipman,
David Wheeler,
Charles French,
Benjamin Gould,
William Graves,
Winthrop Tufts,
Zea Castle [Zacheus Caswell],
Ichabod Wing,
George Allen,
Henry Slants,
Timothy Buell,
Abram McCue,
Thos. Daenham,
Alex. Campbell,
John Davis,
Daniel McMullen,
Richard McBane,
Joseph Trader,
Isaac C (name illegible),
Uri Stone,
Archibald Ladd,
David Wheeler,
John W. Easton,
Peter Whitman,
Joseph Howard,
Levi Stone,
Thos. Thornton,
Isaac Mather,
Samuel Elliott,
Joseph Wooley,
Jas. Smith,
Horatio Bradshaw,
Gamaliel Tuttle,
John Green,
Joseph Ryon,
Norris Loverin,
David Stephenson,
Jehiel Smith,
Thomas Rambley,
William Robinson,
Richardson Cameron,
Henry Smith,
Cleaveland Stafford,
John Joy,
John Whitlesy.

The enemy took away one hundred and twenty muskets, twenty rifles, two casks of ammunition, and some other public stores. Private property was not molested. The excuse given for the expedition by American writers, was that the Canadian force, stationed at Brockville (though the place was then known as Elizabethtown), had frequently crossed the river, in the vicinity of Morristown, and apprehended deserters.

A few hours after the arrival of the prisoners at Ogdensburg, two officers from Prescott visited the American headquarters, and secured their parole, with, we believe, the exception of Major Carley, who was subsequently exchanged.

The midnight raid upon Brockville led to the inauguration of measures of a retaliatory character. On the arrival of the Governor at Prescott, Lieutenant-Colonel [Thomas] Pearson suggested that an attack should be made upon Ogdensburg [New York]. It was finally arranged that the colonel should proceed to Kingston, with the Governor, while Colonel [George] McDonnell, of the Glengarry Fencibles, should make a demonstration on the ice, the object being to ascertain the strength of the enemy.

Early on the morning of the 22nd of February, Lieutenant-Colonel McDonnell marched the British force out upon the ice in two columns, but not with the intention of making an attack. One column directed its attention to a point where a breastwork had been thrown up below the Village of Ogdensburg; the other menaced the stone garrison at the upper portion of the village.

The first and largest column, meeting with scarcely any resistance, marched directly into the village. Only a few shots were fired by the Yankees from the two cannon in that quarter, the enemy falling back across the Oswegatchie, and joining the force under Forsyth, the Commander-in-Chief.

Duncan Fraser and Jonas Jones were at this juncture despatched by Colonel McDonnell, under a flag of truce, to the American headquarters, at the stone garrison, with a demand for an unconditional surrender.

Forsyth's answer was, "Tell Colonel McDonnell there will be more fighting." The bearers of the reply had no sooner entered the ranks, than the battle commenced. After a sharp encounter, Forsyth was driven from his position, and his order given to retreat to Thuber's Tavern, near Black Lake.

Fifty-two prisoners were taken by the British, and conveyed to Canada. The Americans lost five killed, and eighteen wounded. Most of the prisoners were paroled; several were sent to Montreal, where they were for a time confined, a few making their escape, and the balance being exchanged.

The British held possession of the village during the day, securing a large amount of public stores and munitions of war. Before departing, the barracks were burned, and an attempt made to destroy the bridge....

During the Summer of 1813, an American army under [General James] Wilkinson was assembled at Sackett's Harbour, while General Hampton, with a large force under his command, waited at Chateauguay, prepared to march upon Montreal, in conjunction with Wilkinson, who was to descend the St. Lawrence to that point.

Owing to delays, and the difficulty met with in securing transports, Wilkinson's army was not prepared for offensive action until November, 1813. The force was first landed on Grenadier Island, with the view of capturing Kingston, but finding that place guarded by a strong British fleet,

the American commander, on the 5th of September, suddenly embarked his troops, and sailed down the river. The transports consisted of three hundred small sailing vessels and boats, carrying about 8,000 men.

The British force at Prescott was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Pearson, who had taken the precaution to despatch Lieutenant Duncan Clark to Cole's Ferry to observe the vessels navigating the river, and promptly report the first appearance of the enemy. At an early hour in the forenoon, an advance guard of vessels hove in sight. Lieutenant Clark promptly took possession of a farmer s horse, and in a few minutes rode into Brockville on his foam-covered steed, and announced "the enemy are at hand."

With only a moment s pause he dashed away for Prescott with the report for his commanding officer. Ere night the American army reached Morristown, where it disembarked and passed the night. Brockville and Prescott were thronged with sturdy yeomanry and loyal citizens, ready to resist and harrass the enemy. At the latter place a battery commanding the river was planted, and every precaution taken to prevent Wilkinson from descending the rapids.

To escape the fire from Prescott. [American General] Wilkinson landed his men at a point about three miles above Ogdensburg, marched them around that village, and reached the stream at a safe point below. During the night the boats were taken down by a few boatmen, who crept along the American shore. Next morning the troops were re-embarked, and the Galops Rapids passed, a halt being made at Point Iroquois.

There, the invaders met with a reception at the hands of a dozen Canadians, under the command of Jacob and Peter Brouse, and a hundred militiamen, who poured in a volley, by command of their Captain, Monroe.

Wilkinson commanded his force to land, and Monroe and his little band were compelled to retreat. Part of the American force proceeded about a mile below Iroquois, the flotilla anchoring in the bay opposite. Remaining at this point for several days, the dilatory commander gave the necessary orders, and the boats passed down the Rapid du Plat, halting there to obtain pilots, and making the necessary arrangements for descending the dangerous rapids. At this point he was reinforced by General Brown s brigade, which advanced by land to disperse the British troops and protect the brigade of boats.

The intention was to seize Cornwall, and thus secure the Government stores at that place. At Hoople's Creek, Brown encountered the Glengarry militia, under Major Dennis, but that officer did not dare risk an engagement. The Americans under Brown advanced to Cornwall, the boats also running the Sault. Croil, the historian of Dundas, gives the following account of the battle of Crysler's Farm [11 November 1813]:

When it was ascertained that Wilkinson had descended the St. Lawrence, [British] Lieutenant Colonel [Joseph Wanton] Morrison, of the 89th Regiment, lost no time in setting out in pursuit of the enemy...

The troops were immediately transferred to smaller crafts, and being reinforced by detachments of the Canadian Fencibles and Voltigeur Corps, under Lieutenant Colonel Pearson, and accompanied by the gun boats, under Captain Mulcaster, amounting in all to 850 men. left Prescott at sundown on the 9th instant, in pursuit of the enemy. They landed at Saver's, in Matilda, and halted there for the night, where intelligence reached them that the enemy had halted a short distaace down the river.

Early next morning Morrison marched to Point Iroquois, from whence the American army, nearly two miles distant, was distinctly visible. He continued to advance until he came within half a mile of his adversary, and, having ascertained his numbers and position, decided that he would not there hazard an engagement, and returned to Point Iroqnois.

No sooner had he done so, than the Americans took to their boats, and were off again. Morrison likewise embarked, and cautiously followed, well aware that Wilkinson must land again ere he ran the rapids of the Long Sault, and he hoped to meet him on more favorable ground than that which they had abandoned.

In the evening, having learned that the Americans were landing at Cook's, Morrison dropped down to Munroe's Bay, and there landed his troops, at a distance of about two miles from the enemy.

That very evening, the British piquet was approached, but the assailants were quickly driven back. Crysler's house was made the head quarters of the gallant little army, and a council of war decided to give the enemy battle.

All that Morrison asked for his troops was a fair field and no favor; he felt perfectly confident that their raw recruits must eventually yield to the steady and resolute charge of the British bayones. In the open fields of the old Crysler farm, he saw at a glance, just such a battle-ground as he desired. If he could only entice the Americans to meet him there, he had no fears for the result.

Early on the morning of the 11th of November, 1813, Wilkinson was preparing to take his departure for Monterel (sic) but Morrison was determined that he should not do so, until he had first paid for his night's lodging, and a vigorous and galling fire from the gun-boats was the significant intimation to that effect.

Shortly after daybreak, the British troops were formed on the nine-mile road leading to the woods, their right resting on the King s road, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Pearson, consisting of a skeleton of the Forty-ninth Regiment, under Captain Nairn; a company of Canadian Fencibles, under Lieutenant De Lorimer, and a part of a troop of Provincial Dragoons, under Captain R. D. Fraser, with the Companies of the Voltigeurs, extended a little in advance, under Major Herriott.

The left wing was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Morrison, consisting of the Eighty-ninth Regiment of the line and a party of Militia under Lieutenant Samuel Adams, with about thirty Indian warriors, posted along the skirts of the woods, under Lieutenant Anderson.

The American army was quickly drawn up in line of battle on Cook's farm, distant one mile and a quarter, the command being given to General Boyd Wilkinson, through intemperance, being confined to his barge. With the view of bringing the Americans to the ground he had selected, Morrison, about noon, detatched a small force to proceed within range, and open fire upon the enemy.

They were met by a similar party of Americans, before whom they retired, their pursuers following them up to within a few yards of the nine-mile road, where the main body was concealed by the fence. The first intimation they had of their presence was a well-directed volley of musketry. They immediately took to their heels, leaving, however, three or four of their party dead on the field.

A strong body of the enemy's cavalry made a rapid advance, and gallantly dashed up the side of the ravine, but met with such a warm reception, that they were forced to retire. A strong reinforcement of infantry coming up to their support, they rallied, and made another desperate charge. This time they succeeded in gaining the level ground, where a sanguinary contest was maintained, till the British drove them, at the point of the bayonet, once more into the ravine, but not until Captain Nairn and Ensign Clause, of the Forty-ninth, and Lieutenant De Lorimer, of the Canadian Fencibles, were killed.

About the same time, the enemy's column s, under General Covington, were advancing on the right and centre of the British line, in double quick time, with a view of turning their flank. Colonel Morrison, observing this, formed the Eighty-ninth in echelon. The enemy then gave a cheer, and commenced a determined and very destructive fire, which the British returned with deadly effect.

This checked his advance, and, at the same time, a considerable number of the enemy were captured by the Militia, under Lieutenant Adams. They were also thrown into some confusion by the fall of General Covington, who was at this time mortally wounded, A shell fired immediatly after, from one of the gun-boats, added to the confusion, and caused a wavering in the ranks.

Morrison now closed his columns with the enemy, and, together with the troops under Colonel Pearson, kept up such a destructive fire, that the enemy was driven from his position, and compelled to retire from the field, with the loss of one gun, two hundred prisoners, most of his cavalry horses, and a stand of colors, which was found chained to a stump. "This," remarked a corporal of the Forty-ninth, "is liberty chained to a stump."

The battle raged until half-past four in the afternoon, and was contested with the greatest bravery by both parties. No pursuit was ordered, as the officer in command was aware that the American reserve would be encountered. After much delay, the Americans, with the entire flotilla, moved down theriver to Barnhart's Island.

At that point, Wilkinson received the news that Hampton would not be able to join him in the attack upon Montreal, having been compelled to retreat to Lake Champlain by General De Salaberry. A council of war decided that the expedition should consequently be abandoned, and the force retreated to Salmon River. Thus ended, in ignominious failure, another attempt to annex Canada to the great Republic.

.....Mr. Richard Holmes, of Kitley, relates the following:

When war was declared in 1812, among the volunteers who were ordered to report at Brockville, was one Andrew Fuller, who, finding that he was to be away from home for some time, resolved to repair thither. He called upon his sergeant, McSween, and asked permission, but was told that "it was against orders." Fuller, whose ideas of military discipline were somewhat crude, declared that "he would go." As he attempted to depart, McSween ordered him to halt. Fuller laughed, but did not obey the command. McSween seized his musket and fired, killing the unfortunate man almost instantly. At the time of Forsyth s capture of Brockville, McSween was confined in the gaol, and was the only prisoner not liberated by the Americans. McSween was subsequently tried for the murder of Fuller, convicted, and sentenced to be hanged, but was after a time released.

During the war, Captain Forsyth made a descent upon Gananoque, which, at that time, consisted of a few houses, besides the residences of Col. Stone Captain Braddish, and Seth Downs; also one small log-house, on the east side of the river. Colonel Stone was particularly obnoxious to the Americans being a prominent United Empire Loyalist, and a staunch defender of British interests. The Americans landed at Sheriff's (now Lindsay's) Point, marched down to the village, and took peaceable possession.

They surrounded the residence of Colonel Stone, but failed to find him. Hearing some person moving upstairs, one of the soldiers fired in that direction. The ball took effect in the hip of Mrs. Stone, making a severe, but not dangerous, wound. Imagining that they had killed the Colonel, they immediately departed. Forsyth, in his report to the American authoities, gives a glowing account of the capture of Gananoque, and the destruction of the Government stores at that place.

Mr. Hiel Sliter, of the Rear of Leeds, informs us that the stores consisted of half an ox and some old blankets and bed ticks,all of which were burned by the valiant Yankees. At the time of the raid, Mrs. Stone had in her possession a considerable sum in gold. This was thrown into a barrel of soap, and thus saved from the enemy.

 

During the war the transport service gave rise to several skirmishes, in which the militia of Leeds and Grenville took important parts. On the morning of the 16th September, 1812, an attack was made by 500 American militia upon a brigade of batteaux, a short distance from Point Iroquois. The militia promptly rallied to the support of Major Heathecote, who had charge of the escort, the escort from Dundas being under the command of Colonel Allen McDonnell, Captain Ault and Captain Shaver. Two companies of the Grenville militia, under Captains Monroe and Dulmage, arrived the same day, bringing with them a nine-pounder, taken from the French at Chimney Island in 1760. This one-gun battery, under the direction of Lieutenant R. D. Fraser, compelled the Americans to evacuate the island on which they were posted, and hastily depart for the south side of the river. The Canadian loss was one killed and several wounded.

In October, 1813, a brigade of boats reached the head of the Rapid du Plat, and halted for the night. The Americans crossed the river, captured the flotilla, and conveyed it to their own side. The surprise was so complete that no resistance was offered. In November of the same year, a brigade consisting of 36 boats, having on board valuable supplies for the troops in Upper Canada, arrived at the foot of the Rapid du Plat, and laid up for the night. The next morning the enemy was discovered in force upon Ogden's Island. Captain Alexander Mc-Millen, of Edwardsburg, being in command, ordered the boats to be towed up the rapids, while Lieutenant-Colonel Pearson, the commander at Prescott, despatched Captain Skinner, with orders that part of the cargo should be landed and conveyed by wagons to Prescott; the remainder of the baggage to return to Cornwall.

When the loaded wagons had been removed to a place of safety, the report was received that the Americans, 500 strong, had landed, and were about to make an attack. The night came on dark, while the roads were in a frightful condition; but the order was given to advance, and the troops proceeded in the direction of Mariatown. When in the vicinity of Doran's, the enemy was discovered. An ambush was formed, and a deadly fire poured in upon the foe, who retreated, leaving eleven killed and several wounded upon the field. Discovering that Canadian patriotism was more than a match for Yankee bravado, they took to their boats and beat a hasty retreat for home.

On the 18th February, 1814, Lieutenant Colonel Pearson despatched from Prescott a force of almost 500 regulars, with orders to proceed to Salmon River and Malone, the object being to harass the remnant of Wilkinson s army, which had been ordered to retire to Sackett's Harbor and Plattsburg. The sleighs for conveying the troops were assembled at Edwardsburg, the cavalcade setting off on the morning of the 19th, and reaching Salmon River the same evening.

At that place they destroyed the enemy's stores, the barracks, and a large number of boats. Proceeding to Malone, they seized an immense quantity of provisions and whiskey, with which all the sleighs were loaded, when the order was given to start for Canada. The cavalcade swept through the territory of the enemy unmolested, and all arrived safely at Cornwall, where the proceeds of the raid were deposited in the Government store house. One of the teamsters had for load a hogshead of whiskey. The soldiers ran up behind the sleigh, bored a hole with a bayonet, and secured in jugs the coveted fluid. When the old man in charge reached his journey's end, he had simply an empty cask.

During the winter, teamsters were hired by the Americans to convey flour for the troops from Sackett's Harbour to French Mills. In the latter part of January they left 300 barrels at Hopkinton, and proceeded to French Mills, to aid in removing supplies to Plattsburg. About 30 teams stopped at Chateaugay for the night, and while the teamsters were amusing themselves in singing and drinking, to pass the night, Major Sherwood and twenty-eight British soldiers arrived, and took the entire party prisoners.

The victors secured a large quantity of military stores, which were placed in sleighs and carried to Canada. In the summer of 1814, Captain Thomas Fraser crossed the St. Lawrence, in the neighborhood of Morristown, proceeded to Rossie, obtained a pledge from the proprietors of the iron furnace, then building at that place, that no munitions of war should be cast there, and returned with his command to the Canadian side. A plan was formed to attack the party, when passing down the river to Black Lake, but, from fear of exciting retaliation, it was not carried out.

Major Lemon, of Maitland, relates the following

In 1811, a young man named Underbill came from the United States, and secured a situation as school teacher, at Halleck's school house, above Brockville. It was soon ascertained that Underbill was a deserter from the United States army. A Canadian named Montgomery, who owned a small schooner, lent it to a kidnapping party of Americans, who were anxious to arrest the deserter.

One day the vessel dropped down the river, until opposite Fulford s, the party proceeding through the woods to the school house, where they seized Underbill. The prisoner was gagged, and dragged away in the direction of the river. Underbill, seizing a good opportunity, broke away from his captors, and ran for the settlement. He was immediately shot dead, and left in the woods. By this time, the children had given the alarm, and the Canadians started in pursuit of the murderers, but were, unfortunately, too late, the Americans making their escape in the schooner. The event created great excitement at the time, and contributed in no small degree to the bitter feeling which subsequently existed along the frontier.

Among the most active of the Loyalists during the war, were the Grant brothers. One of them, Lieutenant Grant, and Captain Reuben Sherwood, were employed along the frontier in the Secret Service. On one occasion, Grant and Sherwood were up among the Thousand Islands prospecting, having with them a force of nine men, when they ascertained that the Americans were building a block house at Gravelly Point. Leaving their men on an island, they proceeded in a small boat, and landed a short distance below the point, in the woods.

Sherwood proposed to Grant, that they should take the entire party prisoners. Proceeding through the woods, they came suddenly upon the militiamen who, with muskets lying on the ground, were preparing the timber for the block house. The Americans were astonished at the appearance of two British officers in full uniform. Sherwood, in a loud voice, called out, "what are you doing here," and in the same breath demanded to be shown to headquarters. Turning at the same time to Grant, he said, "consider these men prisoners, and if one of them attempts to pick up a musket, give the signal to the Indians, but don't do so unless abso lutely necessary."

Sherwood then proceeded to the Major's headquarters, near at hand, and demanded his sword, which was promptly surrendered, that officer laboring under the belief that he was surrounded by a band of Indians, who only waited for a signal to rush upon and scalp every Yankee. Sherwood then proceeded to parole the men one by one, for the remainder of the war, despatching them by a circuitous route for their homes. The Major was marched down to the boat, where great was his surprise to find that he had been outwitted by shrewd Canadians, and that only two officers were necessary to capture a score of armed Americans. He was taken to Prescott, where he was afterwards exchanged for Colonel Carley, who had been taken prisoner in their midnight raid upon Brockville.

A militia is a military unit composed of citizens who are called up in time of need.

The Battle of Crysler's Farm was on November 11, 1813 in Eastern Onatrio. The British and Canadians defeated the Americans who greatly outnumbered them.

 

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