| Builders of Our Country: Book II|
|by Gertrude van Duyn Southworth|
| A lively account of American history told through 31 biographies, beginning with Patrick Henry at the start of the Revolution and ending with Andrew Carnegie at the close of the 19th century. The biographies are so chosen as to acquaint the reader with the chief personages and events in our national life, by including many vivid pictures of each. Ages 10-12 |
THE BATTLE ON LAKE CHAMPLAIN
 A YEAR and a day after the battle of Lake Erie, the
battle of Lake Champlain was fought. This was on
September 11, 1814. The hero of the encounter was Thomas Macdonough.
In 1814, the English planned to attack 'New Fork by way of Lake
Champlain, as General Burgoyne had done
more than thirty-five years before.
While a British
fleet entered the
lake, a British
on Plattsburg. The army and the
fleet were to make a joint attack.
WHERE THE BATTLE OF PLATTSBURG WAS FOUGHT.
To oppose this, the Americans
had a small force at Plattsburg and
a few war vessels on the lake under
the command of Thomas Macdonough. Reaching Plattsburg, the
English troops waited for their
fleet to begin the battle. The first
broadside had just flashed forth
when, on the American flagship, a
 pet game cock flew upon one of the guns and gave a defiant
crow. Macdonough's men raised cheer after cheer and,
encouraged by the happy omen, plunged into the fight.
At length not one of the flagship's starboard guns was
fit to use. Then Macdonough, with the utmost coolness
and bravery, turned his boat around so that the guns on
the other side could be brought to bear. The fresh attack
was too much for the English. Soon their flagship
surrendered, and the other vessels were overcome.
On the defeat of his fleet the British General and his
army retreated to Canada. Macdonough by his victory
had put an end to the invasions of New York.
THE BARBARY PIRATES
ALTHOUGH Thomas Macdonough's fame as a warrior
rests on the battle of Plattsburg, that was not the only
service he rendered our country. Eleven years before
he had distinguished himself against the Barbary pirates.
Along the north of Africa lie Algiers, Tunis, and
Tripoli. From their ports for years the Barbary pirates
had sallied forth on the Mediterranean, capturing merchant
men, confiscating their cargoes, and holding their crews
for ransom, or selling them as slaves. England and the
countries of Europe had long paid an annual tribute to
free their shipping from these piratical pests.
When American ships began to frequent the
Mediterranean, the Barbary pirates welcomed them as a new
source of profit. And our ships too were plundered, and
our crews held for ransom. So for a time the United
States likewise paid an annual tribute to Algiers.
This roused the envy of Tunis and Tripoli, and they
began to make demands on our Government. It seems
now almost amusing to read how the ruler of Tunis ordered
 the American Consul to furnish him ten thousand stand of
arms, as peace depended on compliance. Tripoli went
even further and, in 1801, actually declared war on the
In the course of this war, the American frigate,
Philadelphia, wrecked near Tripoli, was captured, towed
into the harbor, and anchored under the guns of the port.
Here she was repaired and fitted up to fight against us.
This was adding insult to injury. But how to prevent it?
 Stephen Decatur, a gallant officer, asked permission to
try, and called for volunteers to go with him. There was
a hearty response. And one night Decatur with a few
men stole into the harbor of Tripoli, boarded the Philadelphia,
and burned her to the water's edge, under the very
guns of the enemy. It was a valiant deed, and one of
Decatur's little band was Thomas Macdonough.
DECATUR'S MEN FIGHTING PIRATES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN.
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