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No other instructions or orders were given by the major general, who passed on to put the reserve in motion. When Scott's brigade arrived at the bridge over the stream, 200 paces in front of the camp, the enemy was discovered already in order of battle on the plain, supported by a heavy battery, within point-blank shot of. the bridge. Under a heavy fire of artillery Gen. Scott passed the bridge, with some loss, and formed his line; the first and second battalions, under Majors Leavenworth and M`Neil, formed to the front, parallel to the enemy, and opposite to his left and centre: the third battalion, under Major Jessup, broke off to the left, and advanced to the front in column to attack the enemy's right wing, which rested on a wood. Towson's battery took a position on the right of our army, resting on the river. Gen. Scott soon perceived, that although there were no intervals in the British line, yet their right wing far outflanked his left. This caused the movement of Major Jessup; and to remedy the defect of inferior numbers, the interval was greatly enlarged between the other two battalions. All these movements were made with perfect accuracy, under the galling fire of the enemy's musketry and artillery. The action then became general: Major Jessup, now 200 yards in front, engaged and broke off the enemy's right wing in the wood from bis general line, which continued to advance in the plaid. 'Brigadier Gen. Scott, who had advanced in line from his original position to meet the enemy, now halted for a moment. The suc. cess in the wood gave the enemy's line on the plain, which continued to advance, a new flank, and the enlarged interval between the battalions of Leavenworth and M'Neil, enabled the general to throw the battalion of the latter forward on its right, so as to stand obliquely to the enemy's charge, and flanking him on the right. This well-conceived and well-executed movement, combined with the steady fire of Leavenworth's battalion and that of Towson's battery, decided the action on the plain in favour of inferior num. bers; whilst, at the same time, the enemy's right in the wood were completely routed by Major Jessup. At the distance of thirty paces, the whole line broke and retreated in great confusion to their works behind the Chippewa.
Such was the battle of Chippewa, as it appeared to the eye of a scientific soldier. But we have heard it described by others,
who viewed it with an unpractised and less military eye, as one of the most brilliant spectacles which could well be conceived. The day was clear and bright, the sun still high in the heavens; the plain such as might have been selected for a parade or a tour. nament; the troops on both sides, though not numerous, admirably disciplined; the generals leading on their columns in person ; the glitter of the arms in the sun, the precision and distinctness of every movement, were all calculated to carry the mind back to the scenes of ancient story or poetry-to the plains of Latium or of Troy, and all those recollections which fill the imagination with images of personal heroism and romantic valour.
Brig. Gen. Scott fought this action independent of the reserve, which made a detour to the left, with a view of gaining the rear of the enemy, under cover of the wood. But the fate of the day was decided some time before the reserve could gain its posi- . tion, or even see the enemy, as in fact the detour was too great. Maj. Gen. Brown, in his official report, has stated correctly, and in general terms, that the victory was obtained over superior numbers. As this fact has been since contradicted in the Canadian papers, and in the British official account of the action, we are happy that it is in our power to do justice to the military character of Gen. Scott and his officers, by stating more particularly the relative force of the two armies actually engaged. Major Geg. Riall had in his front line 1,700 men, all regular troops, supported by the 8th regiment, 450 strong. The 100th regiment, which was on the left of the British line, commanded by the Marquis of Tweedale, late aid-de-camp to Lord Wellington, brought into action 700 men, and paraded the next day but 264. The other regiments engaged suffered proportionably. Gen. Brown is in possession of the most unequivocal evidence of these facts.
Gen. Porter's command was never again engaged after their first retreat, consequently the whole action was sustained by Scott's brigade ; which, including Towson's artillery, consisted of but 1,300 men fit for duty ; 150 were on the different guards and piquets, and therefore not in the action; so that the American force, actually engaged, did not exceed 1,200 men.
This victory, slight as were its immediate results was yet attended by the most important consequences. It gave to the army
a confidence in their own skill and prowess, and dissipated at once the dread or doubts wbich had been inspired by the military reputation of their veteran antagonists. It was to the army what the victory of Capt. Hull had been to the navy; and the confidence which it thus inspired was surely most justly founded, for every man felt that the victory had been gained by superior skill and discipline : it was not the fruit of any accidental mistake or confusion in the enemy's army; or of one of those moments of temporary panic on one side, or excitement on the other, which sometimes give a victory to irregular courage over veteran and disciplined valour.
No higher praise could be given to Gen. Scott, than that which he has unintentionally bestowed upon himself when, in his report to Gen. Brown, he says, “I have the satisfaction of being assured by every commanding officer (which is confirmed by my own personal observation) that every man, and of every grade, evinced an ability to meet even a greater shock than that encountered with like success. This was most conspicuous in the very crisis of the action. Conduct universally good leaves but little room for discrimination. To mention them in the order of rank, (I know of no other in this case,) Majors Jessup, Leavenworth, and M'Neil, and Capt. Towson, deserve every thing which conspicuous skill and gallantry can hope from a grateful country,” &c.
Gen. Brown uses the same language : “Every officer and every man,” says he, "of the 9th and 22d, 11th and 25th regiments, did his duty with a zealous energy worthy of the American character,''*
To have formed his troops at once to such uniformity of excellence-to have, as it were, struck out, at a heat, such perfection of discipline, is a degree of military merit which can gain no lustre from the eulogaim of “the book-learned theorist."-When this talent is united with personal courage, and with that presence of mind and quickness of perception and decision which enable their possessor to wield at will the weapons he has thus formed, there is nothing wanting to complete the character of an accomplished general.
* The first battalion, under Maj. Leavenworth, consisted of detachments of the 9th and 22d regiments, the 2d battalion of a part of the 11th regiment under M'Neil, and the 3d of a detachment of the 45th under Maj. Jessup.
Two days after the action the army passed the Chippewa; it lay at Queenstown for two weeks, part of the time within gun shot of the forts at the mouth of the Niagara, then recrossed the Chippewa, and encamped at its mouth on the 24th July.
On the 25th of July, Major Gen. Brown, who was not yet ap. prized of the arrival of Lieut. Gen. Drummond's army, from Kingston and Prescott, and his junction with Riall, received information, (which afterwards proved to be false, but to which at the time he gave full credit,) that Gen. Riall had detached a large body of troops across the Niagara to Lewistown, for some object not exactly ascertained, but, as was supposed, in order to seize or intercept the baggage and stores which were at Schlossher, and on the road thither. It appeared to Gen. Brown, that the most effectual mode of diverting the enemy from this object was to recall his attention to his own posts at the mouth of the Niagara. Brig. Gen. Scott was ordered to march rapidly upon Queenstown. His brigade be. ing then just formed for the usual drill, the order was promptly executed. The whole force under his immediate command consisted of four small battalions under Col. Brady, and Majors Jessup, Leavenworth, and M`Neil, together with Towson's company of artillery, making in all 920 men; the piquets and guards belonging to the brigade, the whole of which were left behind, not being in. cluded. To these were added Harris's troop of light dragoons and some mounted volunteers, making an aggregate of 1050 men. With this force Brigadier Gen. Scott marched from the camp ; the enemy were soon discovered, and reported to Major Gen. Brown. At nearly three miles from the camp, and just in the vicinity of the cataract of Niagara, Scott learned that the enemy was in some force directly in front, a narrow piece of woodland alone intercepting them from his view. This proved to be the advance corps of Drummond's army, then in march to attack the American army in its position at Chippewa. On a closer reconnoitre, this force was found to be drawn up on a ridge, running out at right angles from the Niagara. Notwithstanding their superiority of number, Gen. Scott resolved on an attack. Waiting only to communicate this infortnation to the commanding general, he advanced upon them, and by the time the message was delivered, the action had been
VOL. IV. New Series. 61
commenced, and had already become close and general some time before the remainder of the division crossed the Chippewa.
The enemy had already 1500 men in line; the reminder of Drummond's army were on their march from Fort George, and afrived successively at intervals of fifteen and twenty minutes. Of the line in view, the left rested on the road, between which and the river was a space of 200 paces in breadth, cover-d by woods. Major Jessup, sustained by Col. Brady, was ordered to penetrate this wood, and to turn the enemy's left wing. The action now opened in front, on the part of Scoti's artillery and his two remaining battalions. The dragoons were not engaged on either side. The enemy, finding that he far outflanked on his right, threw forward two battalions to take our army on the left. These were promptly beaten out of the field; at the same moment the action was despefately contested in front by Towson and Col. Brady, whilst Jessup completely succeeded in turning the enemy's lefl, taking prisoner Major Gen. Riall* and several other officers on the rear, and then charged back through the enemy's line, cutting off a portion of that wing, and showing himself again to his own army in a blaze of fire. The action, which had commenced half an hour before sunset, had now lasted until about half after eight. The enemy's right wing had been beaten out of the field, his left turned and cut off; bis centre alone remained firm, resting on a height considerably above the general elevation of the ridge, and supported by nine pieces of artillery. But fresh battalions were joining the enemy every instant from below. Such was the state of the action when Major Gen. Brown arrived with the reserve, after the battle had thus raged for an hour and forty minutes. The remainder of the action, after Gen. Brown had assumed the command, cannot be better related than in his own words. " Apprehending, says he, that these corps (those of Scott's brigade) were much exhausted, and knowing that they had suffered severely, I determined to interpose a new line with the advancing troops, and thus disengage Gen. Scott, and hold his brigade in reserve. Orders were accordingly given to Gen. Ripley. The enemy's artillery occupied a hill, whicli gave him great advantages, and was the key of the whole position. It was supported by a line of infantry.
Capt. Ketchum of the 25th, was the officer who took Gen. Riall personally,