The Raid

AuthorCraig Forcese
Chapter 6
The Raid
A party left the British shore,
Led on by gallant Drew, sir,
Who set the Yankee boat on f‌ire
And beat their pirate crew, sir.
The Yankees said they did invent
The eamboat f‌ir of all, sir,
But Britain taught the Yankee boat
To navigate the Fall, sir.
—      
   1
T   to the Caroline’s arrival was swift.2
Drew’s memoirs describe MacNab turning to his naval com-
mander upon observing the boat’s passage down the Niagara
River, and saying (using the naval term for a covert raid designed to
seize a vessel from its anchorage): “This won’t do. I say, Drew, do you
think you can cut that vessel out?”
Drew responded with a spontaneous conf‌irmation that he could
do so. He would later wonder at his ready belief that the task would
be straightforward. Writing decades after (and at a time when he
was anxious his role be more widely acknowledged), he observed,
“although I had said hastily there was nothing easier, . . . in reality it
was a service of such extreme danger, that it may well be questioned
whether anyone could be justif‌ied in undertaking it.3
But MacNab was clearly pleased with his officer’s reply: in
response to Drew’s conf‌irmation, MacNab reportedly asserted, “Well,
then, go and do it,”4 adding to do so wherever the boat might be
found.5 As MacNab later explained:

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