On the 26th, we crossed Michipicoton bay, which, at its entrance, may be nine miles wide, and twenty fathoms deep. As we were nearing the eastern point, we met a small canoe, having on board Captain M’Cargo, and the crew of one of the schooners owned by the company. Mr. M’Cargo informed us that he had just escaped from Saut Ste. Marie, whither the Americans had sent a detachment of one hundred and fifty men; and that having been obliged to abandon his schooner, he had set fire to her. In consequence of this news it was resolved that the canoe on which we were proceeding, should return to Fort William. I embarked, with Mr. Stuart and two men, in Captain M’Cargo’s canoe, while he and his crew took our places. In the haste and confusion of this exchange, which was made on the lake, they gave us a ham, a little tea and sugar, and a bag containing about twenty-five pounds of flour, but forgot entirely a kettle, knives, forks, and so on, all articles which Mr. M’Cargo had not time to take when he left Saut Ste. Marie. We subsisted miserably in consequence for two days and a half that we continued to coast the lake before reaching any post. We moistened in the bag a little flour, and having kneaded it, made cakes, which we baked on flat stones by our camp fire.
On the 29th, we reached Batchawainon, where we found some women, who prepared us food and received us well. It is a poor little post, situated at the bottom of a sandy cove, which offers nothing agreeable to the eye. Mr. Frederic Goedike, who resided here, was gone to see what had taken place at Saut Ste. Marie. He returned the next day, and told us that the Americans had come, with a force of one hundred and fifty men, under the command of Major Holmes; and that after having pillaged that they all considered worth taking, of the property of the N.W. Company and that of a Mr. Johnston, they had set fire to the houses, warehouses, &c., belonging to the company and to that gentleman, and retired, without molesting any other person.[AK] Our canoe arrived from Fort William in the evening, with that of Mr. M’Gillivray; and on the morrow we all repaired to Saut Ste. Marie, where we saw the ruins which the enemy had left. The houses, stores, and saw-mills of the company were still smoking.