“Cut away the pickets, my brave boys, and show the d—d Yankees no quarter!”
A wild, angry shout answered this appeal, and the ranks recovering their order, the head of the column rushed forward, and leaped down into the ditch, which was soon densely crowded. This was the time for which Croghan had waited. Another minute and the fort would have been captured. The over-loaded six-pounder, so trained as to rake the assailants, now bore fully on the masses of soldiery in the ditch. The dark mask which had concealed it was suddenly jerked aside, and Croghan cried:
The match was applied. A clap of thunder, a sheet of flame, a hissing sound of grape, shrieks and groans, and Fernando saw whole ranks mowed down, as the white smoke arose for a moment hiding the prospect from view. When the veil of battle blew aside, he saw such a scene of horror as he had never before witnessed. At first a lane was perceptible extending through the densest portion of the assaulting mass, marking the path traversed by the shot; but as the distance from the gun increased, and the grape scattered, this clearly defined line gave place to a prospect of the wildest confusion. One third of those who had entered the ditch lay there a shapeless, quivering mass. In many instances, the dead had fallen on the wounded, and as the latter struggled to extricate themselves, the scene resembled that depicted in old paintings of the final judgment, where fiends and men wrestle in horrible contortions. Groans, shrieks and curses more terrible than all rose from that Golgotha. Lieutenant-Colonel Short was among the slain. The few who retained life and strength, after the first second of amazement, rushed from the post of peril, leaped wildly upon the bank, and, communicating their terror to the rest of the column, the whole took flight and buried itself in the neighboring woods; while such a shout went up to heaven from the conquerors as had never been heard on that wild shore before. Well might the Americans exult, for the successful resistance was against ten times their own number. The British loss was one hundred and fifty. That hot day, August 2, 1813, at five o’clock in the evening, George Croghan by one cannon-shot immortalized himself.
Fernando Stevens had been under a terrible strain all the day and the night before, and no sooner was the enemy gone, than he sank exhausted on the ground with scores of others.
Shortly after the gallant and successful defence of Fort Stephenson, Fernando, with a detached squad of twenty riflemen, joined General Harrison, and was subsequently assigned to the regiment of Colonel Richard M. Johnson, whose Kentuckians won the battle of the Thames.
After his signal defeat at Fort Stephenson, Proctor with his British troops returned to Malden by water, while Tecumseh with his followers passed over by land, round the head of Lake Erie, and joined him at that point. Discouraged by want of success, and having lost all confidence in General Proctor, Tecumseh seriously meditated a withdrawal from the contest, but was induced by Proctor to remain.