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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
it, and reached Detroit. He did not get the news that we had declared war, until after the Canadians had got it, and had cut off most of the supplies of provisions and powder that he was expecting to receive. The forests back of Detroit were full of hostile savages; in front was the English general Brock, with a force of Canadians and Indians. Brock summoned Hull to surrender.
Without waiting to be attacked, without firing a single gun at the enemy, Hull hoisted a white tablecloth as a signal to Brock, gave up the fort, and with it Detroit and Michigan. For this act he was tried by a court of American army officers, convicted of cowardice, and sentenced to be shot; but President Madison pardoned him because of his services in the Revolution.1
228. The Constitution and the Guerriére.2 Although we had been beaten on land, we were wonderfully victorious at sea. England had been in the habit of treating America as though she owned the ocean from shore to shore. She had a magnificent navy of a thousand war ships. We had about a dozen! One of our twelve (§ 214) was the Constitution (44 guns), commanded by Captain Isaac Hull, a nephew of General William Hull (§ 227). No braver officer ever trod a ship's deck. While cruising off the coast of Nova Scotia, Captain Hull fell in with the British man-of-war Guerriére (38 guns). The fight began (August 19, 1812). The Constitution carried more guns and more men than the British ship, and in twenty minutes the Guerriére surrendered, a shattered, helpless, sinking wreck. The London Times, forgetting what Paul Jones had done in the Revolution (§ 183), said, "Never before
1 General Hull's defense was that he surrendered in order to save the women and children of Detroit from the scalping knives of Brock's Indians.
2 Guerriére: the British had captured this vessel from the French; hence her French name, meaning the warrior."
MAP OF WAR OF 1812