THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (November 2-November 8, 1814)
Fires in the North.
At the Eastern end of Lake Erie, U.S. troops end their occupation of Canada’s Fort Erie. After setting off a series of explosive charges within the post, they cross the Niagara River and take up winter quarters in Buffalo, New York.
The blasts destroy the fort’s walls and set the buildings ablaze.
At the other end of Lake Erie, Brigadier General Duncan McArthur’s raiding party of 700 mounted infantry from Kentucky and Ohio, encounters about 100 Canadian militia and their Mohawk allies at Brant’s Ford on the Grand River. The Canadians hold the high ground and after a brief exchange of fire, McArthur decides to find an easier place to cross and return to U.S. territory.
The next day McArthur’s troops drive off about 550 British and Canadian troops at the Battle of Malcom’s Mills in what is now Ontario Province. On November 7th, he burns the fmills, depriving British and Canadian troops of a key source of flour.
Learning that more than 1,000 reinforcements of Canadian militia are heading his way, McArthur orders his horsemen back to Detroit, Michigan Territory. He burns every significant settlement on Canada’s Lake Erie shore along the way. His troops suffer only one killed and six wounded. The British and Canadians lose 18 dead, nine killed and about 100 captured.
Storm Clouds over the Gulf
Almost 1,000 due South of McArthur’s raiders, Major General Andrew Jackson is preparing to drive the British out of Florida. Without authorization from Washington, leads about 4,000 U.S. troops and militiamen from what is now Alabama into the Florida panhandle (known as Spanish East Florida in 1814).
At this time, Spain is a neutral country in the war between the United States and Britain. What is now the State of Alabama is part of the U.S. Territory of Mississippi, extending from Georgia and the Spanish colony of Florida west to the Mississippi River and the State of Louisiana.
After a year of bloody warfare, Jackson has crushed the anti-American “Red Stick” faction of the Creek Indian nation at Horseshoe Bend and pressed tribal leaders to accept the Treaty of Fort Jackson forcing the devastated Creeks to surrender 23 million acres of land in Georgia and Alabama.
Concerned that the British have designs on Mobile (Alabama) as a base of operations and may be enlisting recalcitrant Creek warriors and fugitive black slaves from America to join their ranks for an attack on New Orleans, Jackson decides to strike first.
Spooked by Jackson’s bellicose warning letters, to allow U.S. troops into Florida — or else — the Spanish governor actually invites the British into Florida to bolster his tiny force of 500 soldiers. The Spanish man Fort San Miguel at Pensacola and a small British garrison holds Fort San Carlos 14 miles to the West. The Spanish fort and Pensacola fall quickly to Jackson’s larger force but the British blow up Fort San Carlos and withdraw before Jackson can attack. Shortly thereafter, Jackson learns the British are about to land near New Orleans and he begins marching West to defend the city.
Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, THIS WEEK in the War of 1812, Traditions. Tags: Andrew Jackson, Battle of Malcolm's Mills, Battle of Pensacola 1814, Canada, Cavalry in the War of 1812, Creek War, Siege of Fort Erie 1814, Topics, Treaty of Fort Jackson 1814, War of 1812 Bicentennial, War of1812 in the South.