Major General Jacob Brown surveyed the battle scene, secretly horrified. Red coated men were draped across battlements, and sprawled where they had fallen, run through by bayonets and shot with musket fire. His troops had engaged in a predawn raid across the mouth of Lake Erie, a long and dangerous crossing at the best of times, due to the swiftness of the current. There was also the presence of the enemy fort, perched at the narrowest best approach to the British Colony, called by the native indian people in their own tongue “kanata”, meaning “settlement” or “village”.
The battle had been brief, but bloody. The canons placed by the British had roared into his troops and many an american had died, but in the end, they had vanquished the British forces and taken control of this major obstacle to the advancement of his forces in enemy territory.
It was quite the feather in his cap, really. How many commanders could claim to capture an enemy fort and with such relative ease? He had studied the news on the Napoleonic Wars, currently raging in Europe and he knew these borderland skirmishes were nothing compared to the glorious battles being waged overseas, yet he imagined that history would record his triumph and immortalize his contribution when this land was annexed into the American fold.
If it wasn’t for the damned natives. They really were a fly in the ointment. The promises of the British had brought the natives to their side to defend the land they held, rallying them as nothing else could. Native Indians, a free state? Their own land? Self governing? What foolishness this was, to hand savages control of prime land was absurd, yet the excellent reconnaissance of the natives and surprise attacks on supply lines, brought about by the inhabitants of this land, kept them constantly guessing as to where the next engagement would come.
The enemy forces were not well-organized, and nowhere near as schooled in battle techniques as his soldiers were, yet they fought with a fierce determination that only the underdog can achieve, a “devil-may-care” attitude that could turn the tide when the outcome hung on a balance.
Yes, this victory would be a feather in his cap, could he hold the frontier, but not only this lonely outpost, but the other forts scattered along this river.
It was time to turn his troops north, his eyes set on a small indian settlement called Chippawa. Fort George lay just beyond it, down stream from Chippawa, and he would join with the forces there before turning aside. Two feathers, two forts in his grasp, and his name would live forever. There was only one problem, a British General named General Isaac Brock. His stunning victory over the fort at Detroit was the stuff of legend, and he stands directly in my way.
English Idiom: “Feather In One’s Cap” – An act or deed to one’s credit; a distinctive achievement…This expression alludes to the practice of putting a feather on a soldiers cap for every enemy he kills, an early practice of some Native American tribes and many other peoples (early 1600’s).
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