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May 9, 2013

Canadian capital captured

From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, May 8, 1813

Compiled, with comments

by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL

Victory at York [Toronto]

From Gen. Peter B. Porter to J. C. Spencer, Esq. in Canandaigua:

“Manchester (Niagara County.) April 28,1813,6 o’clock, P. M.

“Dear Sir, I have just returned from Fort Niagara, where I saw a Captain of the United States’ navy. He is just from little York, the capital of Upper Canada, and gives the following account, which is confirmed in official dispatches from Gen. Dearborn to Gen. Lewis ...

“On ... the 27th April ... Commodore Chauncy, with a squadron of 10 or 12 vessels, arrived before York, with Gen. Dearborn & near 3000 men. The infantry under Brig. Gen. Pike landed, attacked the town & batteries in the rear, while the squadron attacked them by water. At 2 p.m. they carried the place, taking a number of Indians and militia prisoners, one thousand Indians being engaged.

“Gen. Sheaffe with a few regular troops made their escape. Gen. Pike with about 200 men were killed by the blowing up of a magazine in one of their batteries, & in which they had a train of powder for the purpose. About fifty of the British Artillerists were killed in the same explosion. The loss on both sides is considerable.

“Our army is now in possession of the town and is expected here shortly. Our troops behaved with the greatest gallantry. Immense quantities of military stores and Indian goods were taken at York, which seems to have been the depot for those articles. The vessels of the squadron are not sufficient to bring them away.”

Further Particulars: Although General Porter does not mention the taking of British vessels, yet we are well informed that a considerable portion of the enemy’s lake navy, was lying at York, and the other part at Kingston. It is, therefore, highly probable that our gallant tars have either destroyed or obtained possession of a sufficient number of the enemy’s ships to enable us very soon to chase the residue from the lake.

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