Seldom has there been witnessed a more romantic or picturesque sight than that presented by an expedition of batteaux moving across one of the Canadian lakes, during a season of profound calm. The uniform and steady pull of the crew, directed in their time by the wild chaunt of the steersman, with whom they ever and anon join in fall chorus—the measured plash of the oars into the calm surface of the water—the joyous laugh and rude, but witty, jest of the more youthful and buoyant of the soldiery, from whom, at such moments, although in presence of their officers, the trammels of restraint are partially removed—all these, added to the inspiriting sight of their gay scarlet uniforms, and the dancing of the sunbeams upon their polished arms, have a tendency to call up impressions of a wild interest, tempered only by the recollection that many of those who move gaily on, as if to a festival—bright in hope as though the season of existence were to last for ever, may never more set eye upon the scenes they are fast quitting, with the joyousness produced by the natural thirst of the human heart for adventure, and a love of change.
On the second day of its departure, from Amherstburg, the expedition, preceded by the gun boats, entered the narrow river of the Miami, and, the woods on either shore being scoured by the Indians, gained without opposition the point of debarkation. Batteries having, under great difficulties, been erected on the right bank, immediately opposite to, and about six hundred yards from the American fort, which had been recently and hurriedly constructed, a heavy and destructive fire was, on the morning of the third day, opened from them, supported by the gun boats, one of which, commanded by Gerald Grantham, had advanced so close to the enemy’s position as to have diverted upon herself the fire which would else have been directed to the demolition of a British battery, hastily thrown up on the left bank. The daring manifested by the gallant sailor was subject of surprise and admiration at once to friends and foes, and yet, although his boat lay moored within musket shot of the defences, he sustained but trifling loss. The very recklessness and boldness of his advance had been the means of his preservation, for, as almost all the shots from the battery flew over him, it was evident he owed his safety to the difficulty the Americans, found in depressing their guns sufficiently to bear advantageously upon the boat, which, if anchored fifty yards beyond, they might have blown out of the water.
The limits of our story will not admit of a further detail of the operations of this siege. Suffice it that, notwithstanding the entire defeat and capture of a strong corps of the enemy, who were advancing to relieve the place, in the course of which a handful of British troops rendered themselves as conspicuous for valour, as the noble Tecumseh did for valour and clemency united, the siege, (a second time attempted,) was, after a final but fruitless attempt to decoy the enemy from his defences, abandoned as hopeless, and the expedition re-embarked and directed against Fort Sandusky, a post of the Americans, situate on the river of that name, and running also into Lake Erie.