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the commandant general, where he was well received and entertained for some time, after which he was sent on his way home, under the escort of a strong party of horse. He arrived with his little band at Natchitoches on the 1st of July, 1807.
The most vexatious circumstance attending this unexpected sequel to his expedition was the seizure of all his papers, except his private journal, by the Spanish government. He had been fitted out with a complete set of mathematical and astronomical instruments, and had made frequent and accurate observations. He had thus ascertained the geograpbical situation of the most impor. tant points with much precision, and had collected materials for an accurate map of a great part of the country which he traversed. The seizure of these papers is a real loss to the cause of science. It is, however, in perfect conformity to that narrow and purblind policy which the old Spanish government uniformly manifested in the administration of its colonies.
Pike, upon his return, received the thanks of the government; a committee of the house of representatives expressed their high sense of his '“ zeal, perseverance, and intelligence," and the administration, much to its honour, bestowed upon him a more solid testimony of approbation, by a rapid promotion in the army. He was immediately appointed captain, shortly after a major, and, upon the further enlargement of the army in 1810, a colonel of infantry.
During the intervals of his military duties, he prepared for the press a narrative of his two expeditions, accompanied by several valuable original maps and charts. This was published in 8vo. in 1810. The work is rather overloaded with unnecessary detail, and the language is careless and often inaccurate; the last fault is, however, in a great measure to be attributed to several disadvantageous circumstances under which the work went to press, while the author was at a distance, engaged in public service. Still it is sufficiently evident that the volume is not the composition of a scholar. But it bears the strongest marks of an acute, active, busy mind, unaccustomed to scientific arrangement or speculation, but filled with a variety of knowledge, all of a useful, practical kind. Though entirely unacquainted with botany, zoology, and mineralogy, as sciences, Pike had a liberal curiosity, which taught
him to look upon every object with the eye of an observer, and to despise no sort of knowledge, though he might not himself perceive its immediate utility. Above all, the narrative has that unstudied air of truth which is so apt to evaporate away in the processes of the book-making traveller; it retains all the clearness and freshness of first impressions, and we are never for a moment left in doubt whether or no the writer and the traveller are the same person.
Immediately after the declaration of war, Pike was stationed with his regiment upon the northern frontier, and upon the commencement of the campaign of 1813, was appointed a brigadier general.
There was a tincture of enthusiasm in Pike's character which communicated itself to his whole conduct; in whatsoever pursuit he engaged, he entered upon it with his whole soul. But the profession of arms had been always his favourite study-his “life's employment, and his leisure's charm.” Having served through every gradation of rank, almost froin a private, up to a general, and very often employed in separate and independent commands, he was intimately acquainted with all the minutiæ of discipline, The veteran of a peace establishment is too apt, from the want of greater objects, to narrow his mind down to the little details of a military life, until, at length, every trifle swells up into ideal importance, and the cut of a coat or the tying of a neckcloth, seems big with the fate of nations. Pike was extremely attentive to all the particulars, even to the most minute points, of discipline and dress, yet he gave them their due importance, and no more. He did not wish to degrade the soldier into a mere living machine, and while he kept up the strictest discipline, he laboured to make his men feel that this severity arose not from caprice or ill temper, but from principle, and that it had for its sole object their own glory, their ease, their health, and safety. Careless of popularity, and regligent of the arts by which good will is often conciliated where there is no real esteem, by the unassuming simplicity and frankness of his manners, and the undeviating honour of his conduct, he bound to himself the hearts of all around with the strong ties of Fespect and affection.
Thus self-formed, and thus situated, the eyes of the army were anxiously cast towards him as the chosen champion who was to redeem their reputation from that disgrace with which it had been stained by a long series of disasters. The day for which his heart had long panted at length arrived--a bright day of glory for the hero, of gloom and sorrow to his country. He was selected for the command of the land forces in an expedition against York, the capital of Upper Canada, and on the 25th of April sailed from Sackett's Harbour in the squadron commanded by Commodore Chauncey. The day before the expedition sailed, he wrote a letter to his father, which contains these prophetic words:
“ I embark to-morrow in the fleet at Sackett's Harbour, at the head of a column of 1,500 choice troops, on a secret expedition. If success attends my steps, honour and glory await my name; if defeat, still shall it be said that we died like brave men, and conferred honour, even in death, on the American name.
“ Should I be the happy mortal destined to turn the scale of war, will you not rejoice, O my father? May heaven be propitious, and smile on the cause of my country! But if we are destined to fall, may my fall be like Wolfe's--to sleep in the arms of victory."
On the 27th of April General Pike arrived at York, with about seventeen hundred chosen men, and immediately prepared to land. The spot which was selected for landing, was the site of an old French fort called Torento, of which scarcely any vestiges now remain. The plan of attack was formed by General Pike himself, and clearly and minutely detailed in his general orders, which were directed to be read at the head of every corps; every field officer was also directed to carry a copy of them in order that he might at any moment refer to them, and give explanations to his subordinates. Every thing was arranged, and every probable exigency provided for, with admirable method and precision.
There is one paragraph of these orders which breathes so much of his own spirit, that I cannot forbear from extracting it. It is deeply stamped with that unity of character which was visible
throughout all his actions, and which is, in truth, one of the
, strongest marks of a powerful and original mind.
“ No man will load until ordered, except the light troops in front, until within a short distance of the enemy, and then charge bayonets; thus letting the enemy see that we can meet them with their own weapons. Any mao firing or quitting his post without orders must be put to instant death, as an example may be necessary. Platoon officers will pay the greatest attention to the coolness and aim of their meo in the fire; their regularity and dressing in the charge. The field officers will watch over the conduct of the whole. Courage and bravery in the field do not more distinguish the soldier than humanity alter victory; and whatever examples the savage allies of our enemies may bave given us, the general confideu+ly hopes, that the blood of an unresisting or yielding enemy will never stain the weapons of the soldiers of his colunu. Property must be held sacred; and any soldier who shall so far neglect the honour of his profession as to be guilty of plundering the inhabitants shall, if convicted, be punished with death. But the commanding general assures the troops, that should they capture a large quantity of public stores, he will use his best endeavours to procure them a reward from his government.”
As soon as the debarkation commenced, a body of British grenadiers was paraded on the shore, and the Glengary Fencibles, a local force which had been disciplined with great care, and has repeatedly proved itself fully equal to any regular force, appeared at another point. Large bodies of Indians were also seen in different directions, while others filled the woods which skirted the shore. General Sheaffe commanded in person.
Forsythe's riflemen were the first to land, which they effected under a heavy fire of musketry and rifles from the Indians and British. As soon as the fire from the shore commenced, Major Forsythe had ordered his men to rest for a few moments upon their oars, and return the fire. At this moment Pike was standing upon the deck of his ship. He saw the pause of his first division, and, impatient at the delay, exclaimed, “I can stay here no longer, come, jump into the boat;” and, springing into it, followed by his staff, was immediately rowed into the thickest of the fire.
Vol. IV. New Series. 50
The infantry had followed the riflemen, and formed in platoons as soon as they reached the shore. General Pike took the command of the first platoon which he reached, and ordered the whole to prepare for a charge. They mounted the bank, and the enemy, after a short conflict, broke at once, and fled in disorder towards the works. At that moment the sound of Forsythe's bugles was heard, announcing his success at another point. Its etlect upon the Indians was almost electrical; they gave a horrible yell, and fled in every direction.
The whole force, being now landed and collected, was again formed and led on by General Pike in person to attack the enemy's. works. They advanced through the woods, and after carrying one battery by assault, in the most gallant manner, moved on in columus towards the main work. The fire of the enemy was soon silenced by our artillery, and a flag of surrender was expected, when a terrible explosion suddenly took place from the British magazine, which had been previously prepared for this purpose. Pike, after aiding in removing a wounded man with his own hands, had sat down on the stump of a tree with a British serjeant, who had been taken, and was employed with Captain Nicholson and one of his aids in examining the prisoner. The explosion was tremendous; an immense quantity of large stones were thrown in every direction with terrible force, and scattered destruction and confusion around among our troops. The general, his aid, Captain Nicholson, and the prisoner, fell together, all, except the aid, mortally wounded. General Pike had been struck on the breast by a heavy stone. Shortly after he received the blow, he said to his wounded aid, “I am mortally wounded write to my friend D-, and tell him what you know of the battle, and to comfort my -" In the same broken manner, he afterwards added several other requests relating to his private affairs.
The troops were instantly formed again; as a body of then passed by their wounded general, he said, “Push on, brave fellows, and avenge your general.” While the surgeons were carrying him out of the field, a tumultuous huzza was heard from our troops; Pike turned his head with an anxious look of inquiry; he was told by a serjeant, “The British union jack is coming down,