THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (Sept. 16-Sept. 22)

September 17, 2012 at 12:15 am Leave a comment

Raid on Canada

American Army Captain Benjamin Forsyth persuades his superior at the U.S. base at Sacket’s Harbor, New York on the southern shore of Lake Ontario to allow him to conduct a raid on the Canadian port of Ganonoque across the lake.

Ganonoque is considered a major transit point for troops and equipment moving up and down the St. Lawrence River between Upper and Lower Canada.

Sackett’s Harbor, N.Y., Kingston Ontario, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
(U.S. Army Office of Military History)

Early on the morning of Sept. 21, 1812, Forsyth sets out across the lake with a company of Army regulars from the 1st U.S. Regiment of Rifles and about 30 New York State militiamen. Using the many islands of the St. Lawrence to screen their approach, they beach their boats on the Canadian side without being seen — at first.

1st Rifle Regiment officers and men.
(U.S. Army Center of Military History)

Two Canadian militiamen on horseback spot the landing party and ride off to Ganonoque and spread the alarm. A hastily gathered group of about 40 men from the 2nd Leeds (County) Militia turn out to repulse the Americans. But they are the ones dispersed after the U.S. riflemen open fire and then charge the poorly trained militia.

The Americans burn a government supply warehouse destroying food and seizing ammunition. They then head back to their boats and escape before a larger militia force can arrive from Kingston, Ontario.

Although the first successful U.S. raid on Canada is small, the British-Canadians get the message and construct a blockhouse to protect the supply depot.

Blockhouse like this one in New Brunswick, dotted the Canadian-U.S. border during the War of 1812.
(Copyright Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, 1998)

Canadians today have a slightly different take on the raid. VIDEO

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Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, SHAKO, Special Operations, THIS WEEK in the War of 1812, Traditions. Tags: , , , , , .

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