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Chippewa, battle of

General Brown took prompt measures to secure the advantages derived from the capture of Fort Erie (see Canada), for it was known that General Riall, who was then in chief command on the Niagara frontier, was moving towards Fort Erie. Early in the morning of July 3, 1814, he had sent forward some of the Royal Scots to reinforce the garrison. At Chippewa, at the mouth of Chippewa Creek, they heard of the surrender of the fort, when Riall determined to make an immediate attack upon the Americans on Canadian soil. Hearing that reinforcements were coming from York, he deferred the attack until the next morning. To meet this force, General Brown sent forward General Scott with his brigade, accompanied by Towson's artillery, on the morning of the 4th. Ripley was ordered in the same direction with his brigade, but was not ready to move until the afternoon. Scott went down the Canada side of the Niagara River, skirmishing nearly all the way to Street's Creek, driving back a British advanced detachment.

The main portions of Brown's army reached Scott's encampment on the south side of Street's Creek that night, and on the morning of the 5th the opposing armies were only two miles apart. At about noon Scott was joined by General Porter, with his volunteers and Indians. The British had also been reinforced.

The two armies were feeling each other for some time, when preliminary skirmishing was begun by Porter with marked success. The Indians behaved gallantly under the leadership of Captain Pollard and the famous Red Jacket. The British advanced corps, severely smitten, fled back in affright towards Chippewa. Porter pursued, and found himself within a few yards of the entire British force, advancing in battle order. A desperate struggle ensued. Finally the British made a furious charge with bayonets. Hearing nothing from Scott, Porter ordered a retreat. It became a tumultuous rout.

It was now towards evening. Brown had been watching Porter's movements with great anxiety, and had ordered Scott to cross Street's Creek, when Porter's [146] flying troops were observed. Riall had sent forward some Royal Scots, part of another regiment of regulars, a regiment of Lincoln militia, and about 300 Indians.

Street's Creek Bridge in 1861, looking North.

These composed the force that fought Porter. Scott crossed Street's Creek in the face of a heavy cannonade, and very soon the battle raged with fury along the entire line of both armies. Several times the British line was broken and closed up again.

Finally a flank movement and a furious charge were made by Major McNeill with Colonel Campbell's 11th regiment, and a terrific fire from a corps under Major Jesup in the centre made the British line give way. It broke and fled in haste to the intrenchments below Chippewa Creek. The fugitives tore up the bridge over the creek behind them, leaving an impassable chasm between themselves and the Americans. The battle-field (opposite Navy Island) was strewn with the dead and dying. The Americans lost, in killed, wounded, and missing, 355 men; the British lost, by the same casualties, 604 men, of whom 236 were killed.

On that hot July evening a gentle shower of rain descended, which mitigated the horrors of the battle-field. Scott was eager to pursue, but was compelled to wait for the tardy Ripley, who did not arrive in time to participate in the battle or to join in an instant pursuit. The immediate results of the battle were important. The Indian allies of the British were disheartened, and nearly all of them left the army and returned to their homes. The Americans were greatly inspirited.

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