THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (May 4-10, 1814)
Raid on Oswego.
A British-Canadian raid in force sails across Lake Ontario from Kingston, Canada in the early hours of May 3, 1814 heading for the U.S. fort at Oswego, New York.
Fort is a relative term for the facility at Oswego, built by the British before the French and Indian War, the fortress has deteriorated over the years. Now less than 300 American troops – including 240 regular Army troops, 200 New York militiamen and 25 sailors of the U.S. Navy – guard a massive amount of supplies including arms and ammunition intended for the naval base at Sackets Harbor.
The Americans only have five cannon and most of them have no carriage or mounting. But in the time it takes the squadron of British ships to sail within cannon shot of Fort Oswego since their sails were first spotted at dawn on May 5, the cannons are mounted and positioned to defend against attack from the lake.
The British forces number about 1,000 troops from two British units — the 2nd Battalion, Royal Marines and the Regiment de Watteville — as well as the Canadian Glenngarry Light Infantry and about 200 Royal Navy sailors. They mount an amphibious attack while two frigates and six smaller ships shell the Americans’ positions.
Although most of the British troops’ ammunition is ruined while they wade ashore through deep water, they manage to overwhelm the Americans with sheer numbers and a bayonet charge despite withering fire.
Once its clear the fort will be taken, Major General George Mitchell of the 3rd U.S. Regiment of Artillery orders his men to retreat to Frdericksburgh. The British suffer about 80-to-90 casualties in the assault. The Americans lose between 70 and 119 killed, wounded and captured.
Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, Naval Warfare, SHAKO, THIS WEEK in the War of 1812, Traditions. Tags: amphibious warfare, Canada, Navy, Raid on Fort Oswego, Topics, War of 1812 Bicentennial, War of 1812-New York.