[The following account of 13th Oct ., 1812, written by Lieut.-Colonel Evans, of the Eighth or King’s Regiment, Acting Brigade-Major to the Forces at that date, will be read with interest, and is doubly valuable as being a piece of well-attested history.]


GOVERNMENT HOUSE, Fort George, Oct. 15, 1812.    

     After dinner on the evening of the 11th inst., Major-General Brock handed me a note from Captain Dennis, commanding flank companies of the 49th Regiment at Queenstown. After perusing its contents, which were of an alarming nature, setting forth the highly mutinous state of his detachment, his men having deliberately threatened to shoot their officers, etc., the General said, “Evans, you will proceed early in the morning and investigate this business, and march, as prisoners, in here, half-a-dozen of those most culpable, and I will make an example of them. You can also cross the river and tell Van Rensellaer I expect he will immediately exchange the prisoners taken in the Detroit and Caledonia [two vessels coming from Amherstburgh cut out by Americans whilst at anchor at Fort Erie] for an equal number of Americans I released after the capture of Detroit.”
     I reached Queenstown early in the morning of the 12th, and finding many of the grenadier company confined, and the guard-house gutted, and Captain Dennis himself in apparent alarm at the state of things, I proposed proceeding at once to select those most prominent, for example. At this juncture, however, and when about leaving Hamilton’s house [Captain Dennis’ quarters] a scattered fire of musquetry from the American shore took place, and on a musket ball entering the room passing betwixt us, I inquired with surprise the meaning of such unusual insolence. Captain Dennis stating the practice to have existed more or less for some days, insomuch as to render ingress by the river door hazardous, I deemed it fitting first to cross the river, desiring Captain Dennis would prepare his men against my return. On passing along the river bank for Mr. T. Dickson, the enemy kept up an incessant fire of musquetry till I entered that gentleman’s house, but happily without mischief. I now begged Mrs. Dickson kindly to prepare a white handkerchief as a flag of truce, asking Mr. Dickson, who was a Captain of Militia, would he accompany me across the water; he had no objection, but both Mrs. Dickson and all present urged the danger of any attempt to cross, convinced as they were, in the enemy’s then temper, the flag would not be respected. Feeling [page 201] this to be no time for discussing about personal safety, I took Dickson by one hand and the flag in the other, then descending the precipitous steep to the water’s edge, we launched our frail canoe amidst an unsparing shower of shot which fell all around us; nor did the firing cease till the canoe, become quite unmanageable, tossed about in the waters of the strong eddies; when, as if struck by shame at his dastardly attempt to deter us from our purpose the enemy gave the signal to cease fire. I was thus relieved (and enabled) on approaching the shore to observe more calmly all that was passing. On touching the ground, with water in the leaky canoe ankle deep, I was about, as was my custom, leaping ashore, when a sentinel from a guard brought to the spot, came to the charge with fixed bayonet, authoritatively commanding me not to leave the boat. To my enquiry for Colonel Solomon Van Rensellaer, (the Adjutant-General) with whom I usually conferred, I was told he was sick. I then stated having an important message from General Brock for their Commander, which if inconvenient for their General to receive from me personally, I begged an official person might be immediately deputed to convey it to him. After some delay, Mr. Toock, the General’s Secretary, made his appearance, but his reply to General Brock’s request being abrupt, and as I thought somewhat significant, “that nothing could be done till the day after to-morrow,” I ventured to remind him of General Brock’s liberality towards their people which the fortune of war had thrown into his hands, entreating that he would again consult his General, and enable me to carry to mine something more satisfactory. In compliance, as he stated, with my wishes, but as it appeared to me, more with the intent to consume my time, rendered precious from its being after midday, he detained me in my miserable  position for more than two hours, and then returned expressing the General’s regret “that the prisoners having been marched for Albany they could not instanter be brought back, but that I might assure General Brock with his respects that all should be settled to their mutual satisfaction the day after to-morrow.” I was now too anxious to depart to wish the  parley prolonged, my mind being quite made up as to the enemy’s intentions, and to the course it was most fitting for me to pursue under the circumstances. It had not escaped me that their saucy numbers had been prodigiously swelled  by a horde of half-savage troops from Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, which evidently made it hazardous for their northern countrymen to show their accustomed respect for a flag of truce from a foe; but my most important discovery was their boats slung in the sides or fissures on the river bank covered only by the brush, with indeed many decided indications that an attack on our shores could not be prudently delayed for a single day. Under such impression the first thing on reaching our own side was the removal by Mr. Dickson of his family from his own house on the beach, the very site of the prospective struggle, and giving note of preparation to the few militia which, with the 49th flank companies, were all the immediate disposable force for the defence of Queenstown. Aware of the imminence and magnitude of the danger, the lateness of the hour, after [page 202] three p.m., and distance from Fort George, Headquarters more than six miles, I hesitated not assuming the responsibility of liberating all the 49th prisoners, on the specious plea of their offence proceeding from a too free indulgence in drink, appealing to them for proof of their loyalty and courage, which they were assured would be severely tested ere another day dawned. Then, after a rapid but effective arrangement of the several points requiring attention, seeing to the re-supply of fresh ammunition, and infusing all the spirit and animation in my power to impart, I left Captain Dennis, exhorting his utmost diligence in keeping his charge on the alert for repelling the enemy’s attempt, which I foresaw would not be deferred. Having to put the many posts on the line of communication on the qui vive, although I rode at full speed, it was past six p.m. ere I reached Fort George, and then from having been exposed for thirteen hours, under much anxiety, to wet feet and extreme heat, without refreshment of any kind, I was so exhausted as to be unequal to further immediate effort. Refreshed, I narrated to General Brock all that had occurred, the precautionary steps I had taken, and the responsibility I had assumed as to the 49th prisoners, which, under the stated circumstances, I trusted he would approve, and at once authorize my making preparations for coming events, so indispensably required. The General evidently doubting at first, hesitated, but seeing my earnestness is rebuking his attendants of charging my being over-sanguine, and chagrin at their proffered bets against my predictions, he became unusually grave, desired I would follow him to the office, where at his request I succinctly recapitulated the day’s occurrences, adding my solemn conviction that a moment was not to be lost in effectually preparing for defence.
     The General now thanked me, approved of all that I had done, and, returning to the dining room, directed officials to be immediately written and despatched by Provincial Dragoons, calling in the militia of the vicinity that same evening, those more distant to follow with all alacrity. I was directed to make all requisite preparations at Headquarters. In this work I was busied till near eleven p.m., with but few converts, however, to my convictions, when, worn down by fatigue, I stretched myself on my mattrass. After a slumber of a few hours I was aroused by a distant cannonade soon after two a.m., 13th October, but without surprise, well knowing the quarters where the ominous sound came. The General who, himself, had all in readiness, at once mounted his horse and proceeded for the post attacked. His Aides-de-Camp were awoke, and soon followed. Major-General Sheaffe, second in command, assumed charge at Headquarters, but the impression on General Brock’s mind being that the attempt at Queenstown would prove only a feint to disguise his (the enemy’s) real object from the creek in rear of Fort Niagara, his apparent wish was that whilst all were held in readiness to act in any quarter, no decisive movement by the troops should take place till the enemy’s intentions were fully developed. The Indians and regular Artillery were, however, promptly despatched, and the elite of the 41st with an equal [page 203] number of well-drilled militia flank companies ready to follow on the first summons. As the day dawned, the scouts I had sent out reporting  no symptoms of hostile movement in the quarter indicated, these troops all proceeded at double quick for the succour of Queenstown, the debouching of the head of which column on the main road appeared to be the signal for opening a brisk cannonade from Fort Niagara on the troops, the town, and Fort.
     Soon after, the news of the gallant Brock’s unhappy fall reached us, which, by necessarily removing General Sheaffe to Queenstown, the command at Fort George devolved on me as next senior officer. At this moment the scene around was awfully discouraging, the gaol and court house were suddenly wrapped in flames, which as containing many political prisoners, I at first imagined the act of an incendiary, but other buildings soon appearing in a similar state of conflagration left me no longer in doubt as to the new enemy of hot shot with which we had to grapple, and its easy distance, on wooden edifices I foresaw, must be attended with very destructive effect. Luckily, a posse of militia-men had now come in, which I distributed in separate bodies, collecting all the water-buckets and requisite implements from the inhabitants of the town.
     This arrangement, though in part effective, from the energy and courage displayed in extinguishing the flames as they occurred, I felt to be insufficient in itself for our security; selecting therefore, all the old veteran militia artillerymen with two intelligent staff non-commissioned officers of the 41st, by bending our whole efforts to the attainment of one object, we at length succeeded in stopping the mischief by diminishing and crippling the enemy’s guns, but not before he had burnt to the ground many buildings, amongst the number, beside the gaol and court house, the Chief Engineer’s quarters; the more important ones, however, the “Royal Barracks,’ “Block House,” “King’s Stores” and other public buildings, though repeatedly fired were, by steady and untiring intrepidity, preserved. Thus temporarily relieved, I was enabled to attend to Capt. Derinzy’s (commanding 41st Batt.) note, from which it appeared, he found on arriving at Queenstown, the enemy in possession of the opposite heights, and our heavy one-gun battery there:—that the enfilading on our side, too distant from the landing to be quite effective—then protected by his division—had been powerfully aided by Capt. Holcroft, of the Royal Artillery, who, unmindful of consequences, boldly dashed his gun through the valley into Hamilton’s court-yard within point blank range, thus succeeding in sinking some of the enemy’s crowded boats, and damping the ardour of his troops for crossing. Seeing his critical position Capt. Derinzy had sustained him by a party of the 41st Regiment. He briefly mentioned that the spirited Brock finding on his arrival the 49th grenadiers and militia, though resolutely defending the landing-place, hard pressed, had called to their aid the 49th light company from the Height’s summit, the key of the position. The enemy, profiting by this step, moved unperceived about 150 men—and over a precipitous steep it was deemed impracticable for a human [page 204] being to ascend—who suddenly appeared to the astonished General just on the mountain summit, and the next instant in possession of the redoubt, putting its defenders to the sword. The gallant spirit of Brock, ill brooking to be thus foiled, with a courage deserving a better fate, hastily collected the weak 49th company and a few militia; debouching from a stone building at the mountain’s brow, with these little bands, he spiritedly strove to regain his lost position, but in which daring attempt he was killed by a rifle ball entering under the left breast, passing out by the right shoulder. Capt. Williams by taking a wider range, made a second effort, but as the result proved with too inadequate a force, the A.D.C. (McDonell), being mortally wounded and Capt. Williams’ head partially scalped by a rifle ball.
     These circumstances convinced me General Sheaffe would be more circumspect than attack without a concentration of every disposable man. Under such impressions, after first despatching Lieutenant McIntyre, 41st Regiment, with about 140 men of his regiment and militia, and afterwards Wm. Martin with every regular soldier and a few active militia from Fort George, I hastened to forward, at all hazards, the most active of the men from the many posts on the line of communication. On starting those from Young’s Battery, the enemy, as though by signal, re-opened his cannonade from Fort Niagara on Fort George and the town. However mortified by this unlooked-for occurrence, prudence required that whilst sending our whole effective force to Queenstown, Fort George and its dependencies should not be neglected, for what with the aliens and prisoners in the Block House, with those set at liberty by firing the gaol, their number was little short of 300, with but a few raw militia left for their security, or that of the fort or town. I was, therefore, left no alternative but to gallop back and ascertain the enemy’s power for further mischief. Well it was that I did so, for on reaching the gate of Fort George, I met a crowd of the militia with consternation in their countenances, exclaiming the magazine was on fire. Knowing it to contain 800 barrels of powder, with vent side-walls, not an instant was to be lost. Captain Vigoreux, of the Engineers, therefore, at my suggestion, was promptly on its roof, which movement was with alacrity followed by the requisite number of volunteers, when by the tin being stripped off the blazing wood extinguished. Thus was confidence reassured. The enemy, taking advantage of a bend in the river, had brought a battery with hot shot to enfilade the barracks, magazine and King’s stores, and despite all our efforts to dislodge him he had effectively consumed the store-houses with all the lower buildings, and repeatedly set on fire the barracks and magazine. Our success was perfect; the enemy’s fire being again silenced and the necessary precautions taken to avert future disaster, I made another effort to reach Queenstown, when I met Captain Chambers, 41st Regiment, with the glad tidings that General Sheaffe, by a spirited and judicious movement away to his right, and crossing the vale high up with his collected forces, had approached—as to ground—his enemy on more favourable terms, and that his operations had [page 205] resulted in the enemy’s complete destruction. But, for the details of this brilliant success I must refer to the despatches of the distinguished officer who, with his gallant troops, achieved it.

(Signed)           THOMAS EVANS,                     
Brigade-Major to the Forces.

     [The statement made above by Lieut.-Col. Evans that in the 49th were still smouldering the fires of the insubordination that Brock himself had summarily dealt with several years before, is as remarkable as it is painful to those who would fain think a regiment famed for its brave achievements in so many engagements, and to which Brock had belonged for many years, could not be guilty of anything so disgraceful as is insubordination. It must, however, be remembered that of all duties, garrison duty is most trying to the soldier, and to these men, the greater part of whom were veterans who had fought at Bergen-op-Zoom and Copenhagen, where they had acted as marines, anything approaching to the spirit of the martinet in their superior officers must have been very galling.
     To this want of tact on the part of certain officers is attributed, by those who have enquired most carefully into the matter, the uncomfortable state of the gallant 49th at and before the epoch of the war.
     Even Brock himself was tired of garrison life at such a stirring time at home, and had applied for active service in Europe, and Major-General Sheaffe had actually been appointed to his offices, both civil and military, when the declaration of war by President Madison gave him the employment he was looking for.]




     [From the other end of the Niagara Frontier comes an equally interesting account of that notable day—the 13th Oct., 1812, that of Lieutenant Driscoll of the 100th Regiment. (See Ryerson’s “Loyalists of America and their Times.” Vol. 2, pages 36-81.)]

     “I was stationed at Fort Erie on the memorable 13th Oct., 1812. At daybreak, having returned with my escort as visiting rounds, after a march of about six miles in muddy roads through the forests, and about to refresh the inward man after my fatiguing trudge, I heard a booming of distant artillery very faintly articulated.
     “Having satisfied myself of the certainty of my belief, hunger, wet and fatigue were no longer remembered; excitement banishes these trifling matters from the mind; and I posted off to my commanding officer to report the firing, now more audible and rapid.
     “I found my chief, booted and spurred and snoring—lying, as was his wont, on a small hair mattrass on the floor in his barrack room, which boasted of furniture, one oak table covered with green baize, a writing desk, a tin basin containing water and a brass candlestick, which had planted in it a regulation mutton-dip, dimly flickering its last ray of light, paling before the dawn, now making its appearance through the curtainless window. [page 206]
     “The noise I made on entering the Major’s sleeping and other apartment awoke him. As he sat up on his low mattrass he said, ‘What is the matter?’ ‘Heavy firing down the river, sir.’ ‘Turn the men out.’ ‘All under arms, sir.’ ‘That’ll do.’
     “By this time he was on his legs—his hat and gloves on. His hutman was at the door with his charger, and his spurs in his horses’ flanks in an instant—leaving the orderly, hutman, and myself to double after him up to the fort, some hundred yards off.
     “As we reached it, the men were emerging through the gate in measured cadence, and we were on our way to the batteries opposite the enemy’s station at Black Rock.
     “Before we reached our post of alarm the sun was up and bright. We had not assumed our position long before an orderly officer of the Provincial Dragoons rode up, and gave us the information that the enemy were attempting to cross at Queenston, and that we must annoy them along the whole line, as was being done from Niagara to Queenston, by any and every means in our power short of crossing the river. Everything was ready on our part. The enemy all appeared asleep, judging from the apparent quiet that prevailed on their side of the river.
     “The command to annoy the enemy was no sooner given than bang! bang! went off every gun that we had in position.
     “Now there was a stir. The enemy’s guns were in a short time manned, and returned our fire; and the day’s work was begun, which was carried on briskly the greater part of the day on both sides of the Niagara.
     “About two o’clock, another Provincial Dragoon, bespattered, horse and man, with foam and mud, made his appearance, not wearing sword or helmet.
     “Said an old Green Tiger to me: ‘Horse and man jaded, sir; depend upon it he brings bad news.’ ‘Step down and ascertain what intelligence he brings.’ Away my veteran doubles, and soon returns at a funeral pace.
     “Light heart, light step,” were my inward thought. I knew by poor old Clibborn’s style of return something dreadful had occurred. ‘What news, Clibborn? What news, man? Speak out,’ said I, as he advanced towards the battery that was still keeping up a brisk fire. Clibborn walked on, perfectly unconscious of the balls that were ploughing up the ground, uttered not a word but shook his head.
     “When in the battery the old man sat down on the platform; still no word, but the pallor and expression of his countenance indicated the sorrow of his soul.
     “I could stand it no longer. I placed my hand on his shoulder. ‘For Heaven’s sake, tell us what you know.’ In choking accents he revealed his melancholy information: ‘The General is killed; the enemy has possession of Queenstown Heights.’
     “Every man in the battery was paralyzed; the battery ceased firing.
     “A cheer by the enemy from the opposite side of the river recalled us to our duty. They had heard of their success down the river. Our men, who [page 207] had in various ways evinced their feelings—some in weeping, some in swearing—some in mournful silence—now exhibit demoniac energy. The heavy guns are loaded, traversed and fired, as if they were field pieces.
     “Too much hurry for precision. ‘Take your time, men; don’t throw away your fire, my lads.’ ‘No, sir, but we’ll give it to them hot and heavy.’
     “All the guns were worked by the 49th men of my own company, and they wished to avenge their beloved chief, Brock, whom they knew and valued with that correct appreciation peculiar to the British soldier. They had all served under him in Holland and at Copenhagen.
     “I had a very excellent reconnoitering-glass; and as I kept a sharp lookout for the effect of our fire, and the movements of the enemy, I observed that powder was being removed from a large wooden barrack into ammunition waggons. The only man of the Royal Artillery I had with me was a bombardier, Walker. I called his attention to the fact I had observed, and directed him to lay a gun for that part of the building wherefrom the powder was being taken. At my request he took a look through my glass, and, having satisfied himself, he laid the gun as I ordered. I, with my glass, watched the spot aimed at. I saw one plank of the building fall out, and at the same instant the whole fabric went up in a pillar of black smoke, with but little noise, and it was no more—horses, waggons, men and buildings all disappeared; not a vestige of any was to be seen.
     “Now was our turn to cheer; and we plied the enemy in a style so quick and accurate that we silenced all their guns just as a third dragoon came galloping up to us, shouting ‘Victory! Victory!’ Then again we cheered lustily, but no response came from the other side. Night now hid the enemy from our sight.
     “The commissariat made its appearance with biscuit, pork, rum and potatoes, and we broke our fast for that day about nine p.m.
     “How strange and unaccountable are the feelings induced by war! Here were men of two nations, but of a common origin, speaking the same language, of the same creed, intent on mutual destruction, rejoicing with fiendish pleasure at their address in perpetrating murder by wholesale, shouting for joy as disasters propagated by the chance of war hurled death and agonizing wounds into the ranks of their opponents! And yet the very same men, when chance gave them the opportunity, would readily exchange, in their own peculiar way, all the amenities of social life, extending to one another a draw of the pipe, a quid or glass; obtaining and exchanging information from one and the other of their respective services, as to pay, rations, etc., the victors with delicacy abstaining from any mention of the victorious day. Though the vanquished would allude to their disaster, the victors never named their triumphs.
     “Such is the character of acts and words between British and American soldiers, which I have witnessed, as officer commanding a guard over American prisoners.

“JAMES DRISCOLL,                                 
“Of the 100th Regiment.” [page 208]





     [Lieutenant-Colonel Bishopp was a son of Sir Cecil Bishopp, Bart., afterwards Lord de la Zouche. He was an accomplished gentleman. He had served in the Guards. Had represented Newport, in the Isle of Wight, in Parliament. Had been attached to a Russian embassy. Had served with distinction in Flanders, in Spain, in Portugal, and died full of hope and promise in Canada, gallantly “doing his duty,” and not without avail, for his example still lives.]

     “At two a.m. on the morning of the 11th July, 1813, accompanied by Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Clark, and Lieutenant James Cummings (both of the Lincoln Militia), backed by about 240 men—200 being regulars, and forty of the 2nd and 3rd Lincoln Militia, Bishopp swooped down upon Black Rock, the American naval depot on the River Niagara.
     “The assault was a success; the work of destruction of the naval stores, chiefly by sinking them in the river, was complete. But Porter’s force was aroused, and a speedy retreat on the part of Bishopp necessary. The men re-embarked unmolested, and Bishopp was the last to retire. Scarcely had they left the bank when the Indians who had crawled to the top commenced to fire. Part of Bishopp’s men were landed and drove the enemy back into the woods….Bishopp was everywhere commanding, directing, getting his men off. In the confusion of the moment some of the oars of his own boat were lost, and she drifted helplessly down stream exposed to an ever-increasing fire. Here Bishopp received his death-wound. He was borne back to his quarters, where, in a few days he expired at the early age of twenty-seven. ‘Never was any officer, save always the lamented Brock, regretted more than he was.’ His remains lie beneath a modest monument erected to his memory by the pious care of his sisters, the Baroness de la Zouche and Mrs. Pechall, in the churchyard at Lundy’s Lane.”—Coffin’s Chronicles.
     A tablet to his memory is also to be seen at the family burial-place, Parham, Sussex, England, with the following epitaph:—

“His pillow—not of sturdy oak;
  His shroud—a simple soldier’s cloak;
  His dirge will sound till Time’s no more—
  Niagara’s loud and solemn roar.
  There Cecil lies—say where the grave
  More worthy of a Briton brave?”

     [Lieutenant-Colonel (afterwards General) Evans, Brigade Major, was one of the most valuable officers of the War of 1812. His cool head, sound judgment, energy, and capability in administration made him a tower of strength to his superiors, all of whom at various times, took an opportunity of testifying to his merits.]

     On the 17th August, 1812, the day after the surrender of Detroit, General Brock wrote to him:—
     “DEAR EVANS,—Detroit is ours, and with it the whole Michigan Territory, the American Army Prisoners of War. The force you so skilfully prepared [page 209] and forwarded at so much risk, met me at “Point au Pins” in high spirits and most effective state. Your thought of clothing the militia in the 41st cast-off clothing proved a most happy one, it having more than doubled our own regular force in the enemy’s eye. I am not without anxiety about the Niagara with your scanty means for its defence, notwithstanding my confidence in your vigilance and admirable address in keeping the enemy so long in ignorance of my absence and movements, etc.   (Signed)   I. BROCK.”
      There is no need here to allude to the events of the 13th October, 1812, at Fort George, since they are given in Lieut.-Col. Evans’ own account of that day, to be found at Appendix No. 1, and show that his Generals had good reason for the esteem in which they held him. Suffice it to say that in the despatches of General Sheaffe from Queenstown; of General Vincent from Burlington Heights; of Deputy Adjutant-General Harvey, Burlington Heights, with reference to the successful attack on Forty-mile Creek by a wing of the 8th or King’s Regiment under Lieut.-Col. Evans; of General Riall, after Chippawa, Fort Erie, and Lundy’s Lane; and of General Drummond, after Lundy’s Lane,  Lieut.-Col. Evans is always mentioned with special approbation. And the same feeling is evident in the public prints of the day, notably the London Gazette, the official organ, as well as in histories of the war.
     Previous to his removal to Canada with his regiment, Lieut.-Col. Evans had been officially connected with the Government of Gibraltar in 1802, at the time that the Duke of Kent, as Governor, was trying to introduce some much-needed reforms, by doing which he brought a hornet’s nest about his ears. In this affair the Royal Duke was ably backed by his subordinate, and in 1826, when Lieut.-Col. Evans was applying for a staff situation in Canada, his Royal Highness gratefully supported his request.
     Brigade-Major Evans’ local rank throughout the War of 1812 was that of Lieutenant-Colonel.
     General Evans was an Englishman of Welsh ancestry. He married a daughter of Mr. Chief Justice Ogden, of Three Rivers, and after occupying several important appointments, returned to Canada, dying in Quebec in February, 1863, and was buried with military honours. His body was afterwards removed to Three Rivers, and lies by the side of his wife.
     Major R. J. Evans, now resident in Toronto, to whom I am indebted for the above particulars, as also for the valuable paper to be found elsewhere, is a son of General Evans.




     “Guests from the ‘Royal’ stroll frequently to the grassy rampart of old Fort George, whose irregular outlines are still to be traced in the open plains which now surround it. Here landed in 1783-84, ten thousand United [page 210] Empire Loyalists who, to keep inviolate their oaths of allegiance to the King, quitted their freeholds and positions of trust and honour in the States to begin life anew in the unbroken wilds of Upper Canada.
     “History has made us somewhat familiar with the settlement of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by the expatriated Loyalists. Little has been written of the sufferings and privations endured by ‘the makers’ of Upper Canada.
     “With the present revival of interest in American history, it is singular that writers do not awaken a curiosity about the Loyalists of the Revolution. Students and specialists who have investigated the story of a flight, equalled only by that of the Huguenots after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, have been led to admire the spirit of unselfish patriotism which led over one hundred thousand fugitives to self-exile. While the Pilgrim Fathers came to America leisurely, bringing their household goods and their charters with them, the United Empire Loyalists, it has been well said, ‘bleeding with the wounds of seven years of war, left ungathered the crops of their rich farms on the Mohawk and in New Jersey, and, stripped of every earthly possession, braved the terrors of the unbroken wilderness from the Mohawk to Lake Ontario.’”—Jane Meade Welsh, in Harper’s New Monthly for August, 1887.
     “1812—like the characters on the labarum of Constantine—is a sing of solemn import to the people of Canada. It carries with it the virtue of an incantation. Like the magic numerals of the Arabian sage, these words, in their utterance, quicken the pulse, and vibrate through the frame, summoning from the pregnant past memories of suffering and endurance and of honourable exertion. They are inscribed on the banner and stamped on the hearts of the Canadian people—a watchword rather than a war cry. With these words upon his lips, the loyal Canadian, as a vigilant sentinel, looks forth into the gloom, ready with his challenge, hopeful for a friendly response but prepared for any other. The people of Canada are proud of the men, and of the deeds, and of the recollections of those days. They feel that the War of 1812 is an episode in the story of a young people, glorious in itself and full of promise. They believe that the infant which, in its very cradle, could strangle invasion, struggle and endure bravely and without repining, is capable of a nobler development, if God wills further trial.”—Coffin’s Chronicles of the War, Chapter I., preamble.




     [Mr. Le Moine, in “Quebec  Past and Present,” states that slavery was finally abolished in Canada in 1803.] “Near Fort George, less than a century ago, stood the first Parliament House of Upper Canada—a building rude in comparison with the massive pile, the Bishop’s Palace, used for a similar purpose at Quebec—but memorable for one at least of the many liberal laws [page 211] its homespun representatives enacted. Here, seventy years before President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the first United Empire Loyalist Parliament, like the embattled farmers at Concord, ‘fired a shot heard round the world.’ For one of the first measures of the exiled patricians was to pass an act forbidding slavery. Few readers know that at Newark—now Niagara, Ontario—was enacted that law by which Canada became, not only the first country in the world to abolish slavery, but as such, a safe refuge for the fugitive slaves from the Southern States.”—Jane Meade Welsh, in Harper’s New Monthly, August, 1887.




     [The Twenty-fourth or Second Warwickshire Regiment, now the South Wales Borderers, is of ancient and gallant fame. On its colours are inscribed “Egypt,” “Cape of Good Hope,” “Talavera,” “Fuentes d’Onor,” “Salamanca,” “Vittoria,” “Pyreness,” “Nivelle,” “Orthes,” “Peninsula”—a goodly show.]
     To us, perhaps, the claims of the Regiment upon our admiration are eclipsed by those upon our pity when we remember the terrible disaster of Isandula in 1879, when six companies of the Regiment were cut to pieces, and as it was at first feared, the colours lost. But it was not so; several companies of the 1st Battalion had fought in the victorious affair of Rorke’s Drift the day before, and “Lieutenant Bromhead” says the Daily News of Feb. 21, 1879: “1st Battalion, 24th Regiment, and Lieutenant Chard, R.E., left in charge of the Drift with a company of the 24th Regiment, first received intimation of the disaster [at Isandula] from fugitives making for the Drift. Lieutenant Coghill with others rode away to communicate with Helpmakaar, and were killed by Zulus in crossing the river.”
     With Lieutenant Coghill was Lieutenant Melville carrying the colours. The company holding the Drift was annihilated by the on-rushing savages, and no tidings of the colours could be gained until some days after when, behind a mound, were found the bodies of the two brave Lieutenants, one of whom grasped the pole with hands stiffened in death and around the other the precious flag was wound, “safe on the heart of a soldier.”
     The following touching lines will be welcome to the lover of noble deeds; it is to be regretted that the name of the poet cannot also be given:—


Who said we had lost the Colours?
     Who carried the tale away,
And whispered it low in England,
     With the deeds of that awful day?
The story was washed, they tell us,
     Freed from a touch of shame—
Washed in the blood of those who died,
     Told in their sacred name. [page 212]

But they said we had lost the Colours,
     And the Colours were safe, you see;
While the story was told in England,
     Over the restless sea.
They had not the heart to blame us,
     When thy knew what the day had cost;
But we felt the shame of the silence laid
     On the Colours they thought were lost.

And now to its farthest limit
     They will listen and hear our cry;
How could the Colours be lost, I say,
     While one was left to die?
Safe on the heart of a soldier,
     Where else could the Colours be!
I do not say they were found again,
     For they never were lost, you see.

Safe on the heart of a soldier,
     Knotted close to his side,
Proudly lie on the quiet breast,
     Washed in the crimson tide!
For the heart is silent forever,
     Stirred by no flitting breath,
And the Colours he saved are a fitting shroud,
     And meet for a soldier’s death.

What more would they know in England?
     The Colours were lost, they said;
And all the time they were safe, of course,
     Though the soldier himself was dead.
The hand was stiff, and the heart was cold
     And feeble the stalwart limb;
But he was one of the Twenty-fourth,
     So the Colours were safe with him.

     The following which appeared in the Toronto World, Saturday, July 16, 1887, will also be found of interest to those whose sympathies have been awakened by the poem:


How the Heroes of Isandhlwana came to be called South Wales Borderers.

     “In the London Graphic there have appeared lately several good articles headed ‘Types of the British Army,” with excellent full-sheet coloured cuts, by eminent artists, of men in marching order or otherwise belonging to the corps on which the article is written. The last one is in the Graphic of April 30, being the fourth to appear, and the picture represents a soldier of the gallant 24th Regiment. Much has been said by old officers and soldiers in the press relative to the abolition of the time-honoured numbers of the old corps, and now this splendid old regiment is no longer the 24th, but since 1881 is called the “South Wales Borderers.’ And not only did the historical old [page 213] number disappear from the Army List, according to the new system, but they lost their green facings, and now wear the white, which all regiments, English and Welsh, according to the territorial system, have to wear. The Irish wear green, the Scotch yellow, and all Royal regiments wear blue. The Artillery and 60th Rifles have red facings, and the Rifle Brigade black. Corps on the line now go by territorial titles. First and second battalions and many old regiments are joined to other old corps which formerly had nothing whatever to do with the country or province from which they now derive their title.” In connection with this a former captain in the 46th writes to the Montreal Witness as follows:
     “It may be interesting to many to know the reason why regiments now bear their new titles; and, as the writer was intimately acquainted with the 24th before the fearful calamity at Isandhlwana—where they were annihilated in 1879 by the Zulus—and was stationed with them in Brecon, South Wales, he can give the rather curious origin of their present title.
     “Some time before the Zulu campaign, there were many sweeping changes made in the army, amongst them being the abolition of numbers, and an order was issued that all members of militia, yeomanry and volunteers at home should have their adjutants appointed from officers serving on full pay with the regiments of cavalry or infantry, and that the artillery, militia and volunteers, should have their adjutants from the Royal Artillery or Marine Artillery; the appointment to last for five years, and at the expiration of that time the officer to return to his corps, and another one to succeed him. The writer was at that time adjutant of the 46th Regiment, and the first to be thus appointed to the Royal Brecon Rifles, South Wales—a small corpse of only four companies. There was another smaller corpse of only two companies in the adjoining country, Radnorshire, and, perhaps for economy’s sake, it was ordered that both of these corps should be made one regiment. Each wanted to retain its old militia designation, but it was decided by the officers to give them a totally new one, and they were christened the ‘South Wales Borderers.’
     “Brecon was made a depot centre, and the 24th Regiment were to recruit and have their depots there. Being then without a title they took that of the local militia, and are, therefore, now the ‘1st and 2nd Battalions South Wales Borderers.’ But they will always be known as the time-honoured 24th, who lost one colonel, one major, four captains, fourteen lieutenants and seven entire companies, including band, buglers and drummer boys, at Isandhlwana. Lieutenants Melville and Coghill, on that occasion, seeing that all was lost, attempted to save the colours. Melville was first hit, and Coghill turned back to share his fate. The colours were afterwards found in the bed of the Buffalo River, and when brought home Her Majesty tied a small wreath of immortelles on the staffhead at Osborne. They are still in the possession of the regiment, and the wreath presented by Her Majesty is preserved in a handsome hermetically-sealed oak box, mounted in silver.” [page 214]




     [In his “La Littérature au Canada Français” M. Bender says of M. L. Pamphile Le May :]

     “Le May sings in a clear and tender voice, reminding one of Alfred de Vigny, and approaching the elegance and polish of that poet….In words of melody he celebrates the beauties of rural life and scenery. He is touching, pleasing and sympathetic. He knows his subject well; he has seen it, he has felt it, he has loved it; indeed he yields too much to inspiration, and does not sufficiently finish his verse, nor does he fully develop his idea so as to reap all its wealth….His creations evince originality and beauty of form.” In his preface to “Essais Poétiques,” published 1865, M. Leon P. Le May tells his readers that his friends discouraged him in his worship of the Muse; they said verse-making did not pay, that it cost a man too much to devote himself to an art so little esteemed. But he sang nevertheless, and Canadian literature in the French language is the richer by much that is sweet, tender, beautiful and inspiring. We ought to thank M. Le May for being wiser than his advisers; and such of us as have not yet considered Canadian Literature worthy of especial regard would do well to hunt up the numerous volumes that lie all but unknown upon booksellers’ shelves, and convince themselves that there is a field of intellectual enjoyment open to them of which they may be justly proud to be the heirs. [page 215]

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