Posts tagged ‘Canada in War of 1812’

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (March 15-21, 1815) PART II

The Final Act, Part II

Winners and Losers

U.S. forces, including Choctaw Indians and Free Men of Color battle British troops in a surprise night attack in the fog south of New Orleans. (U.S. Army Center of Military History)

U.S. forces, including Choctaw Indians and Free Men of Color battle British troops in a surprise night attack in the fog south of New Orleans.
(U.S. Army Center of Military History)

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland hasn’t lost anything in the War of 1812 except a little prestige and maybe a little arrogance (especially after the humiliating defeat at New Orleans) but the Royal Navy still rules the seas and the British Army will soon vanquish Napoleon at Waterloo. Within 100 years, Hong Kong, New Zealand, large parts of south, east and west Africa, all of India and Burma are added to an empire that stretches around the globe.

The United States of America, while fighting the most powerful nation on Earth to a draw, can hardly call the ill-conceived war (the Americans declared war first) a victory. The White House, U.S. Capitol, Washington Navy Yard and several other government buildings are in ruins — as is York (now Toronto).  Canada remains part of the British Empire. All but one of the many attempted American invasions of Canada failed — and most ended in utter disaster even though U.S. troops often outnumbered Canadian militia and the few British regulars the mother country could spare during its war with Napoleon

Canada Finds a Cause.

Many Americans at the time saw the war as a second War of Independence from an overbearing Britain. And with the defeats of British forces on Lake Erie and Lake Champlain, the defense of Baltimore and the overwhelming victory at New Orleans, they also saw themselves as a kind of David battling a British Goliath. Those victories, due as much to luck and enemy hubris, as bravery and superior firepower, spark a surge of pride and the notion of American exceptionalism that we’re still dealing with today.

But folks up North see it very differently. To the Canadians, they were the Davids fending off the more populous nation to the South that wanted to conquer Canada and make it part of the United States. Pro-War politicians in Washington, mainly from the South and West, thought conquering Canada would be easy. Even former President Thomas Jefferson opined that it would be just “a matter of marching” into Canada. Many in the states thought the people of Canada would embrace the American cause, forgetting that many of them were Tory refugees who fled to Canada after the American Revolution, preferring to be ruled by a king rather than “rabble.”

So in Canada, the war is seen as a heroic defense against an invasion by a larger opponent.

The Indian Question.

If the Canadians were the real winners, Native Americans (called First Nations in Canada) suffered the greatest loss.

Led by the remarkable Tecumseh, the Shawnee and other tribes of the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes formed a confederacy to halt the relentless pressure on their lands by the skyrocketing white population. Those tribes threw in their lot with the British who promised them an Indians-only zone between the United States and Canada after the war. There were early victories at Detroit and Fort Mackinac in Michigan Territory and at Fort Dearborn in what is now Illinois. But gradually the tide turned and when Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of the Thames River in 1813, the confederacy fell apart. British support and supplies for the tribes began to fade and there was no mention of protecting the Indian rights in the Treaty of Ghent that ended the war.

In the American South, Creek warriors known as Red Sticks, for their violent opposition to American expansion into their territory, were moved by Tecumseh’s oratory and decided to side with the British. Other Creeks, known as White Sticks, opposed warring on the Americans. A virtual civil war broke out among the factions. But it spilled over into an attack on both White Sticks and white people taking refuge at stockade in southern Alabama known as Fort Mims. As many as 200-500 whites and White Stick Creeks — including women and children — were killed in the attack

The “Fort Mims Massacre,” both terrified and galvanized whites on the frontier. An army of Tennessee and Kentucky militia, along with some regular troops commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, crushed the Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend and forced them to give up 23 million acres of their land in the Treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814. Years later, after he was elected president, Jackson pushed a bill through Congress, the Indian Removal Act, which forced most eastern Indian tribes to migrate West of the Mississippi River.

Opportunity Lost.

The Treaty of Ghent called for both the United States and Britain to take steps to end the international slave trade, but just as it made no mention of Indian rights or the rights of American ships at sea, it said nothing about slaves or free blacks already in North America.

As we noted yesterday (March 15) there were 1.1 million enslaved black people in the United States by the end of the war. Slaves built the U.S. Capitol, which the British burned in 1814. Slaves dug the three-quarter mile-long trench and the embankment behind it to fortify the American defensive line at New Orleans. Slaves and free blacks helped build the fortifications that defended Baltimore. And free blacks in the U.S. Corps of Flotillamen fought beside U.S. Marines and militia at the Battle of Bladensburg. The flotillamen did not flee when the militia broke and ran.

At the Battle of Lake Erie, where Oliver Hazzard Perry’s fleet beat the British, his black sailors performed so well that Perry praised their courage in a letter to the Navy Secretary.

On the privateers that bedeviled the British at sea, half the crews were often black. At New Orleans, free black men — many of them refugees from the slave revolt in Haiti — along with Choctaw Indians, Jean Lafitte’s pirates and smugglers fought side-by-side with Army regulars, Marines and militiamen from Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Andrew Jackson, himself a slaveholder in Tennessee, ordered the paymaster at New Orleans to pay the free black militiamen the same as white soldiers. But once the crisis was over, the gains blacks made in the military evaporated. No large unit of black soldiers would be created again until the Civil War. when 180,000 blacks fought for the Union. Clearing the Indians out of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia opened the region up for large scale agriculture operations like cotton plantations. The slave-based economy spread West to the Mississippi and beyond.

Other Winners.

Major General Isaac Brock meets Tecumseh. (Historica Canada and Parks Canada)

Major General Isaac Brock meets Tecumseh.
(Historica Canada and Parks Canada)

The War of 1812 gave Canadians an early sense of nationhood. To Americans it gave a poem that became a song that eventually became the national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. It also gave both countries new heroes. For Canadians, it was General Isaac Brock, who fell leading his men at Queenstown Heights in 1812, and Laura Secord, the farm woman who made a dangerous nighttime journey on foot to warn British-Canadian forces of an approaching American attack.

Laura Secord warns Lieutenant Fitzgibbons of impending U.S. attack. (Courtesy Libraries and Archives Canada)

Laura Secord warns Lieutenant Fitzgibbons of impending U.S. attack.
(Courtesy Libraries and Archives Canada)

For the United States, the war produced four presidents and one would-be-president.  Madison’s Secretary of War, James Monroe, was elected the fifth U.S. president. John Quincy Adams, the head negotiator at the Ghent treaty talks, succeeded Monroe as the sixth president. Andrew Jackson, the hero of New Orleans, was elected the seventh president in 1828.

Two other soldiers in the War of 1812 made it to the White House. William Henry Harrison was elected the ninth president in 1840 and Zachary Taylor was elected in 1848, becoming the 12th president. Another war hero, Winfield Scott, sought the presidency in 1852 as candidate for the Whig Party. He lost, however, to Mexican War veteran Franklin Pierce.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final installment of THIS WEEK in the War of 1812. Our thanks to all our viewers who have visited this 4GWAR feature since June 2012.    To View this series from the start, CLICK HERE.

March 17, 2015 at 2:58 am Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812: (March 1-March 7, 1815)

Reckoning in Canada.

Sir George Prevost (Courtesy of Canadian House of Commons Collection)

Sir George Prevost
(Courtesy of Canadian House of Commons Collection)

March 1, Quebec City

Word that the Treaty of Ghent has been signed by British negotiators and ratified by the Prince Regent (and future King George IV) finally reaches Quebec, Canada. The provincial governor general, Sir George Prevost, announces the end of hostilities on the Northern Front.

Prevost also orders the disbanding of the militia, which he organized to defend a poorly fortified Canada at the beginning of the War with the United States.

March 2

Ironically, a ship arrives in Quebec the next day carrying Sir George Murray, Prevost’s replacement, as well as orders from London for Prevost to return and explain his conduct during the disastrous Plattsburgh campaign in New York’s Lake Champlain Valley.

After the British naval attack on U.S. ships defending Lake Champlain failed on September 11, 1814, Prevost called off his land attack on the key lakeshore town of Plattsburgh– even though his forces outnumbered U.S. troops defending the town.

Prevost’s key brigade commanders — Manley Power, Thomas Brisbane and Frederick Philipse Robinson — all veteran generals of the Napoleonic Wars under the Duke of Wellington — urged him to continue the assault and complained bitterly when he refused and ordered a withdrawal back to Canada.

(War of 1812 map via wikipedia) Click on Image to enlarge

(War of 1812 map via wikipedia)
Click on Image to enlarge

Historians today see the British defeats at Lake Champlain/Plattsburgh and Baltimore as more decisive battles than the celebrated American victory at New Orleans months later on January 8, 1815.

The three brigadiers’ complaints — as well as those of Admiral James Yeo, the British naval commander in Canada — followed Prevost back to England and he asked for a court martial to clear his name and repair his tattered honor. Unfortunately, a month before the 1816 trial was to open, Prevost died of dropsy.

Denial in the South.

March 5, Cumberland Island, Georgia

Rear Admiral George Cockburn, the driving force behind the British burning of Washington and the campaign against Baltimore, has been shunted aside since the fall of 1814. Based in Georgia, he has been raising havoc along the Southern U.S. coast as a diversion for the main British invasion targeting New Orleans.

Colonial Marine in forage dress, British Army, 1814. (Image by Jakednb vis wikipedia)

Colonial Marine in forage dress, British Army, 1814.
(Image by Jakednb vis wikipedia)

Cockburn plans to attack  Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina from his fortified base on Cumberland Island, Georgia. Cockburn is also recruiting escaped American slaves for the Colonial Marines. As many as 1,700 slaves have converged on British ships.

On February 25, an American officer under a flag of truce informs Cockburn that the peace treaty has been signed, but the admiral declines to suspend hostilities until he hears the treaty has been ratified by the U.S. Senate.

Official word of the ratification arrives on March 2. Cockburn ceases hostilities but keeps sending booty seized from American plantations to Bermuda and collecting more escaped slaves. Three days later a U.S. delegation arrives on Cumberland Island with a newspaper showing the treaty has been signed, sealed and delivered but Cockburn says it is not authoritative. He also refuses to return U.S. property as stipulated in the treaty — including escaped slaves unless they want to go back to their masters. Few of them do.

March 1, 2015 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (November 9-November 15, 1814)

Objective: New Orleans

Major General Andrew Jackson

Major General Andrew Jackson

After driving the British out of Pensacola in Spanish Florida (Nov. 7-8), Major General Andrew Jackson heads back to Mobile, in what is now Alabama, but in 1814 it was part of the Territory of Mississippi or Spanish West Florida — depending on who you talked to.

Jackson fears the small British fleet that evacuated Pensacola may be headed to Mobile to set up a base for a larger invasion of New Orleans.

The British aren’t there when he arrives in Mobile on November 11 but here is word that thousands of British troops are heading for New Orleans from bases in Bermuda and the Bahamas. So Jackson marches out, headed for the Crescent City on the lower Mississippi River.

*** *** ***

McArthur’s Raid

With more than 1,000 British soldiers and Canadian militia on his tail, U.S. Brigadier General Duncan McArthur and his raiding party of some 700 mounted Kentucky and Ohio riflemen are making their way back to Fort Detroit about 100 miles away.

McArthur is burning settlements — especially flour mills and other sources of food and supplies for the British and Canadian troops — along the Lake Erie shoreline. On November 6, McArthur’s troops defeated a smaller force of Canadian militia and Mohawk Indian allies at  Malcolm’s Mills. It will be the last battle with an invading army fought on Canadian soil.

The Southern Frontier 1812-1815 (Map: U.S. Army Office of Military History)

The Southern Frontier 1812-1815
(Map: U.S. Army Office of Military History)

November 13, 2014 at 11:55 pm Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (October 26-November 1, 1814)

Trouble on the Frontier

October 26

The Last Raid

(Courtesy of westerncorridor1812.com)

(Courtesy of westerncorridor1812.com)

U.S. Brigadier General Duncan McArthur leads a force of 700 mounted infantry out of Fort Detroit across into Lower Canada (modern day Ontario) to raid the Thames River Valley. McArthur plans to burn out settlements along the Grand River and up around the head of Lake Ontario, an area that supplies flour for British forces on the Niagara frontier.

The raid may also divert British attention from U.S. occupied Fort Erie in Canada opposite Buffalo, New York, which U.S. troops are preparing to evacuate.

*** *** ***

Another Fort Fails

The U.S. Army’s fortunes continue to fade in the Upper Mississippi Valley.

After losing Fort Madison, in what is now the state of Iowa in 1813, and Fort Shelby near modern day Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin earlier in 1814, to Indian attacks, the Army is getting ready to abandon Fort Johnson in Illinois Territory.

Established just a month earlier by future U.S. president Major Zachary Taylor after defeat his troops are repelled by the Sauk and other allied Indian tribes at the Battle of Credit Island, Fort Johnson sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi.

However, the company of soldiers stationed there abandon the hastily constructed fort when provisions run out and there is no word of resupply. They make their way down river to Cap au Gris near St. Louis in Missouri Territory.

Upper_Mississippi_1812

MAP: via Wikipedia

The Upper Mississippi River during the War of 1812. 1: Fort Bellefontaine U.S. headquarters; 2: Fort Osage, abandoned 1813; 3: Fort Madison, defeated 1813; 4: Fort Shelby, defeated 1814; 5: Battle of Rock Island Rapids, July 1814 and the Battle of Credit Island, Sept. 1814; 6: Fort Johnson, abandoned 1814; 7: Fort Cap au Gris and the Battle of the Sink Hole, May 1815

 

October 27, 2014 at 1:08 am Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (October 12-October 18, 1814)

War in the North. 

October 15

Skirmishing at Chippawa

Map-Chippawa-NHS

U.S. Major General George Izard catches up with the British force that had besieged the Americans in Fort Erie over the summer. Even though he outnumbers them nearly three-to-one, Izard finds Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond’s troops dug in along Chippawa Creek — the site of a bloody encounter in July. To the frustration of Major General Jacob Brown, the commander at Fort Erie, Izard has waited too long to pursue Drummond after he broke off the siege allowing his troops to rest and build a defensive position.

Izard exchanges artillery fire with the British and Canadians and plans to attack a British outpost at Cook’s Mill.

October 16

Age of Steam

Shipbuilders in New York City are readying the world’s first steam-powered warship, designed by Robert Fulton, for launching in late October. The 150-foot-long, 2,455-ton  steam frigate, or floating fort, is created to protect New York harbor more efficiently than any land fort because it can move to block enemy warships whichever the direction they attack from. Officially, th massive ship does not have a name yet. Fulton calls it “Demologos,” and Navy records describe it as a U.S. Steam Battery.

The U.S. Steam Battery, later dubbed "Fulton he First." (Naval Historical Center)

The U.S. Steam Battery, later dubbed “Fulton he First.”
(Naval Historical Center)

October 18

New England Storm

Lawmakers and businessmen in the New England states are furious with the Madison administration’s inept prosecution of the war: with the end of the Napoleonic wars in Europe, the Royal Navy has effectively blockaded the entire eastern sea coast, Maine — still a part of Massachusetts — was invaded and occupied by British sailors and Marines July, the White and Capitol were burned by British troops in August, the British are advancing farther in Maine and a naval assault on Boston is expected at any moment.

The blockade has cost thousands of sailors, fishermen, warehousemen, importers and exporters in maritime-dependent New England their jobs. The federal government is nearly broke.

Massachusetts Governor Caleb Strong, of the anti-war Federalist Party, calls a special session of the legislature  on October 5, 1814. A report by a legislative committee calls for resistance to any British invasion, criticizes the Democratic-Republican Party leadership that brought the nation close to disaster, and calls for  a convention of New England states to deal with both their common grievances and common defense. The committee report passes the state senate on October 12 (22 to 12 vote) and the house on October 16 by 260 to 20. Letters go out to the other sates on the 18th.

A letter of invitation was sent to the other New England governors to send delegates to a convention in Hartford, Connecticut. The stated purpose of the convention is to propose constitutional amendments to protect New England’s interests and make arrangements with Washington for the region’s defense. Some of the fiery opponents to the war have mentioned secession as a way to get out from the war and blockade.

October 12, 2014 at 10:33 pm Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (September 21-September 27, 1814)

Historic re-enactors of British troops at Fort Erie. (Courtesy of Parks Canada)

Historic re-enactors of British troops at Fort Erie.
(Courtesy of Parks Canada)

Siege Ends.

September 21, Fort Erie, Canada

British Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond, after weeks of failed attacks and bombardment, calls off his siege of Fort Erie and marches away into the rainy night. The 48-day-long siege has cost British-Canadian-First Nations (Indian) forces more than 280 killed, 500 wounded and over 700 captured or missing. The Americans have lost 213 dead, over 500 wounded and more than 250 missing or captured.

Drummond heads north along the Niagara River to Chippawa Creek near the scene of two bloody battles in July.

That same day, The Baltimore Patriot is the first newspaper to print Francis Scott Key’s four-stanza poem, “Defense of Fort M’Henry.” I becomes wildly popular – first in Baltimore – and then throughout the country. It becomes even better known when set to music (a difficult-to-sing – but popular — tune) and the title is changed to “The Star-Spangled Banner” (but the song does not become the official national anthem of the United States until 1931).

*** *** ***

At Sea

September 26-27, the Portuguese Azores

The U.S. privateer Gen. John Armstrong (U.S. Navy via Wikipedia)

The U.S. privateer Gen. John Armstrong
(U.S. Navy via Wikipedia)

The American privateer, General Armstrong, a Baltimore clipper, has been raiding British shipping in the Atlantic for over a year when she puts into port at Fayal (now Faial) in the Azores, a Portuguese colony. The Armstrong is named for Brigadier General John Armstrong Senior, a commander in the Revolutionary War as well as the earlier French and Indian War. The privateer, a non-military ship authorized by the U.S. government to raid commercial shipping, has captured or destroyed several British ships since 1813.

A squadron of three British warships heading for Jamaica and the British military buildup for an attack on New Orleans, sails into the port, spies the Armstrong and send several small boats to try and board her. Contemporary British, American and Portuguese accounts differ on who did what to whom – and when.

What is certain: Samuel Chester Reid, the captain of the eight-gun Armstrong, ordered his canon to fire on approaching boats carrying British sailors and Marines, driving them off. The British tried to board the American vessel again but were again driven off after a fierce hand-to-hand fight on deck (like something out of the novels of Patrick O’Brian or C.S. Forester). At least two large British rowboats were sunk.

A Currier and Ives print of the British attack on the American privateer Gen. John Armstrong Sr.

A Currier and Ives print of the British attack on the American privateer Gen. John Armstrong Sr.

The next day, September 27, the infuriated British commander, Captain Robert Lloyd, orders his smallest warship, the brig HMS Carnation, to attack. Reid fires on the Carnation, doing some damage but sees he is outnumbered with no way out. He orders his crew to abandon ship and scuttles the Armstrong. Historians don’t even agree on who set fire to the ship. Reid and his crew (two dead, seven wounded) take refuge on the island, which is neutral territory, and the Portuguese governor refuses to allow the British to land and hunt them down. Lloyd and his ships sail for the West Indies and historians again disagree on whether this has any bearing on the Battle of New Orleans. British losses in the fracas are put at 36 dead and 93 wounded.

Historical Footnote: The man the General Armstrong is named for is the father of the second U.S. Secretary of War during the War of 1812, John Armstrong Junior, who is largely blamed for not fortifying Washington before the British attacked and burned parts of the U.S. capital.

September 21, 2014 at 10:48 pm Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (September 14-September 20, 1814) UPDATE

Silent Emblem.

September 14, Baltimore

UPDATES with final action in Fort Erie Siege September 17

Bombardment of Fort McHenry by Peter Rindlisbacher (Courtesy of Royal Canadian Geographic Society/Parks Canada)

Bombardment of Fort McHenry by Peter Rindlisbacher
(Courtesy of Royal Canadian Geographic Society/Parks Canada)

Some 20 Royal Navy ships – bomb and rocket vessels, frigates and troop-carrying barges – continue their futile assault on Fort McHenry and the outer defenses of Baltimore. The ships, blocked by sunken hulks, a chain boom and batteries on either side of the channel east of the fort leading to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, are forced to bombard McHenry from two miles out – beyond the range of the American guns.

An amphibious assault at an area west off the fort in the wee hours of the 14th is repulsed when Americans manning two fortifications outside McHenry, spot the British barges carrying infantry and open fire with deadly effect.

Meanwhile, Colonel Arthur Brooke, leading the land forces facing the Americans near heavily fortified Hampstead Hill in Baltimore finally receives a note from Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane. Cochrane, the expedition’s overall commander, explains that his ships in the Patapsco River won’t be able to offer supporting fire for any land attack on the other side of the city. It was up to Brooke to decide if he could take Baltimore with his force of less than 5,000 men. If not, Cochrane writes, it “would be only throwing the men’s lives away” and keep the expedition from performing other missions.

Brooke, has been planning a 2 a.m. attack on American General Samuel Smith’s 15,000-man force of soldiers, sailors, flotilla men, Marines, militia and volunteers spoiling for a little payback after the burning of Washington. But the note gives him pause – and an honorable out from an attack likely to end in failure. After a council of war with his officers, Brooke’s army slips away leaving campfire burning to fool the Americans into thinking the British were still there.

Francis Scott Key notes "that our flag was still there." Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Francis Scott Key notes “that our flag was still there.” Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

At daybreak on the 14th Cochrane calls off the bombardment. Maryland lawyer Francis Scott Key, stuck on a boat downstream from Fort McHenry during the attack, is thrilled to see the fort’s huge American flag still flying in the morning light. Fifty-years later, American General William Tecumseh Sherman will call it “the silent emblem of [our] country” but thanks to Key, the amateur poet, his opus “The Defense of Fort McHenry,” will immortalize the national flag as The Star Spangled Banner.

Brooke and his troops march back to where they first came ashore two days earlier and re-board the transports. Cochrane’s fleet eventually weighs anchor and heads for Canada. The Battle of Baltimore is over. Here is the seldom sung fourth, and final, verse of the poem that becomes the U.S. National Anthem …

Oh! thus be it ever, when free men shall stand

Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!

Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

*** *** ***

War Moves South

September 14-16, Mobile Bay

British leaders in London still have their eye on New Orleans and plan to send an invasion force there as part of the strategy to attack the United States from the north and south.

Maj. William Lawrence (War of 1812 Alabama, Facebok page)

Maj. William Lawrence
(War of 1812 Alabama, Facebok page)

In preparation for that operation, the British plan to attack Fort Bowyer overlooking Mobile Bay on the Gulf Coast. Major General Andrew Jackson, expecting a British thrust from Pensacola (in what was then Spanish Florida) has beefed up the earth and timber fortification with 160 Army regulars and 20 canon under the command of Major William Lawrence of the 2nd U.S. Infantry Regiment..

If the British capture the small fort, it will enable them British to move on Mobile, and then head overland to Natchez in Mississippi Territory and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, cutting off New Orleans from the north.

Four British ships under Captain William Percy land 60 Royal Marines, 60 pro-British Indians and a small canon nine miles from the fort, but they are repulsed by the Americans September 14. The British ships attack the fort the next day but canon fire from the fort damages one ship which runs aground. That ship is set afire by the British after the beached ship’s crew is rescued. The other three ships sail away on September 16 after losing 34 killed and 35 wounded in the land and sea attacks. American casualties are only four killed and four wounded.

*** *** ***

Fort Erie Sortie

September 17, Canada

The British siege of Fort Erie on the Canadian side of the Niagara River continues after 42 days.

On September 17, two columns of American troops totaling 1,600 men sortie from the fort and sneak up on three British artillery batteries under cover of a heavy rain. One column, commanded by Brigadier General Peter Porter, consists of volunteers from the New York and Pennsylvania militia and elements of the 23rd U.S. Infantry Regiment. Porter’s men capture Battery Number 3. The other column, commanded by Brigadier General James Miller, includes detachments from the 9th, 11th and 19th U.S. Infantry regiments. Miller’s group captures Battery Number 2.

But there is fierce fighting after the British regroup and counter attack. The Americans are driven out of batteries 2 and 3 and are unable to take Battery Number 1. Three of the six siege guns in Battery Number 3 are destroyed, but the Americans are unable to spike the guns in Battery Number 2 before retreating following the two-hour engagement in the trenches.

In the often hand-to-hand fighting, the Americans suffer 79 killed, 216 wounded and 170 captured. The British losses are 49 killed, 178 wounded and 382 captured. A few days later, the British commander, Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond, decides to break off the siege.

East Bastion and barracks of Fort Erie today. (photo by Ernest Mettendorf via Wikipedia)

East Bastion and barracks of Fort Erie today.
(photo by Ernest Mettendorf via Wikipedia)

September 14, 2014 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment


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