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A new creation-make him feel the worth
Of all Industry on a land bestows.
The page of knowledge to his view unroll,
The Charms of virtue to his mind display; And open wide to his benighted soul,
The full effulgence of the Gospel Day,
SHORTLY after the defeat of the British army at Fort Erie, in the brilliant sortie planned and executed by General Brown, that officer received intelligence that General Izard was on his way to join him with a large force. A few weeks sooner, this intelligence would have been highly gratifying. The American army, hemmed in by a foe whose numbers more than quadrupled their own, had been placed in an embarrassing situation. The Fort was situated on low flat ground, and the season being very wet, the constant tramping of so many men had converted the whole place into one great mud puddle; the garrison, who were lodged in tents, were exposed to continual rains; there was no spot secure from the elements, and a dry vestment, bed, or blanket, was, at times, not to be found within our line of sentinels; while the frequent alarms, and the necessary “watch and ward” left only intervals for that broken slumber which refreshes not. But little pay, if any, had been received during the campaign-money there was absolutely none_and our diet was necessarily confined to the ration of meat and bread, which was not of the best kind. The perpe
shower of cannon balls and bursting of bomb-shells was not a matter of complaint, for this was soldier's luck; to be shot at was our vocation; and as we failed not to amuse ourselves at the batteries during a part of every
day, we had, at least, the satisfaction of believing that our fallen companions would not, like Scipio's ghost, “stalk unrevenged among us.” But nestling in the mire, and starving, and coughing our lungs away, were matters which had not entered into our contract with the government, and on which our commissions, as well as the 66 rules and articles” were silent. It was not so " nominated in the bond.” Why could not Uncle Sam send us food, and physic, and a few lusty fellows to help us fight? Where there are no superfluous men, every one who falls leaves a niche; and while we beheld our little force gradually wasting away, it was provoking enough to reflect that our country was full of men, some of whom abused us, some laughed at us, a few praised, and none assisted. I may add, that the foe had vowed our extermination, and on one occasion had marched up to our batteries, filling the air with the dreadful war cry—“no quarterno quarter to the d-d Yankees!!” and that noble spirit of emulation, that generous contention, and courteous interchange of kindly offices upon proper occasions, which should exist among civilized armies, were all swallowed up in the deep hate excited by the cold-blooded cruelty of the enemy. As war, disease, and the doctor, daily thinned our ranks, it seemed evident, that unless supplies should arrive, we must become the victims of that unrelenting barbarity, of which our fellow citizens, on various occasions, have had sufficient experience. Our country, however, still forgot us, and I know not what would have become of us, had it not been for one kind-hearted gentleman. He was a Quaker gentleman; and the Quakers, you know, are famed for benevolence. Slipping out of the Fort one day, about noon, when John Bull never dreamt of such a matter, he dexterously cut off about a third of their army, and by that “ free use of the
bayonet,” which the British commander had recommended upon a recent occasion; he saved his own credit, and the throats and scalps of his men, who filled the air with acclamations. The enemy, completely defeated, retired; and General Brown, not having force enough to pursue, could only make his bow, and wish them good bye.
At this juncture a despatch arrived, announcing that General Izard had left Plattsburgh; was to embark at Sackett's Harbour, and passing up the lake, touch at the mouth of the Eighteen Mile Creek, whence his course would be directed, in a great measure, by the intelligence he might receive from General Brown. It was desirable, therefore, that he should be met at that point by an officer from Fort Erie, who could advise him of the exact situation of the garrison, and the relative positions and strength of the two contending armies, and convey the communications of General Brown. A young artillery officer was accordingly summoned to the general's quarters, and after receiving the necessary instructions, he was ordered to get himself in readiness to set out immediately. “ General Izard must be met," said the commander, “ at the hour he has appointed: can you reach the place by that time?” “Oh, yes, certainly, sir," replied the young artillerist, though I must confess that I neither know the route nor the distance." The General smiled, named the distance, hastily indicated the route, and reminding his envoy that there was barely time left to accomplish the journey by the most rapid riding, wished him a pleasant jaunt.
The Bearer of Despatches crossing an arm of the lake, which separates Fort Erie from Buffaloe, repaired to the Quartermaster to procure a horse, and being well mounted, departed early in the afternoon of the same day. Two routes were presented to his choice; the one was the main
road which led by Batavia, and was too circuitous to be travelled within the allotted time; the other was an unfrequented, but more direct path, which, leading in the neighbourhood of Fort Niagara, then in possession of the enemy, was fraught with danger: but it was necessarily chosen. A large cloak disguised the person of our soldier, concealing his arms and military insignia; and he hoped, under the cover of night, to pass the vicinity of the Fort unobserved. By rapid riding he reached the neighbourhood of Schlosser a little before sunset, and being unwilling to approach Queenstown early in the evening, he checked his horse and rode leisurely along. Cooped up, as he had been, he now enjoyed, with an exquisite relish, the luxuries of pure air, exercise, and liberty. His route lay along the margin of the Niagara river, which now separated him from those glorious fields which had been so recently drenched in gore, and in which American valour had been so conspicuously displayed. A few weeks before, he had passed along the opposite shore in all the fervour of youthful hope and military pride, surrounded by the pomp and circumstance of glorious war, by the tumult and glitter of an army with flying colours, and drums and hearts beating. Now the solitary horseman rode alone; the breeze bore not the accents of men, nor did the distant echo whisper danger in his ear, but his eye dwelt upon scenes of interest; well known spots occasionally glanced upon his vision: here an army had been encamped, there a battle fought, and under those trees slept many a companion! The last rays of the sun fell upon his back, and the trees threw their gigantic shadows along the path before him. At such an hour the eye is most delighted with the beauties of a wild landscape, when the nooks, and glens, and secluded places begin to darken into the gloom of twilight, while