Excerpt from Reminiscences of the Campaign of 1814, on the Niagara Frontier: From the Papers of the Late David B. Douglass, LL. D., Formerly Captain of Engineers, U. S. A.; Communicated by His Children, for Publication in the Historical Magazine
There was surely no lack of in... terest in the subject; and yet, after an interval of thirty years, no historian had been found to record these events, either for the honor of the country or its guidance in a future War. Even the Regiments which fought on our side had been dismembered, broken up, and scattered, and the record of their respective achievements ut terly lost; while those that fought against us had been enriched with every species of armo rial honor; and, even to this hour, in every part of the world where they appear, to be quartered, they are paraded under the historic memorials of our niagara, our fort erie, our plattsburg, and our baltimore, in common with those of vittoria, salamanca, and the Pumas.
There are some, perhaps, who find an excuse for the indifference, to which I have alluded, in the errors and disasters of the War, as if the national pride might be wounded by an impartial narrative. Such a sentiment has, not unfrequently, been expressed in my hearing; but can it be needful to repel it, on this occa sion and before this audience? If it were well founded, how weak would it be to shut our eyes to the lessons of experience from any consider ation of this kind. In the discipline of com mon life, our most useful lessons are often drawn from our most painful experiences; and, in the complicated operations of War, neither the esprit dc corps nor the higher tactics are to be acquired without severe con¿icts and some hu miliating trials of disaster and defeat. If the fact were, indeed, as the objectors represent, it would be the more necessary for us to make it matter of history, that we might be guarded against the like disasters, in future - for history is the m anory of the State.
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