Posts tagged ‘War of 1812-New York’

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (May 4-10, 1814)

Raid on Oswego.

Raid on Fort Oswego, New York 1814.

Raid on Fort Oswego, New York 1814.

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.




May 5, 2014 at 12:18 am Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (Nov. 4-Nov. 10)

Friendly Fire

In early November 1812, U.S. Major Gen. Henry Dearborn – commander of the Northern Army (except for the troops in the West now commanded by William Henry Harrison) – makes plans for another invasion of Canada.

(Art Institute of Chicago via Wikipedia)

This time it is to be a thrust from northeastern New York against Montreal. Dearborn — who has dallied in the Albany, New York area for most of the war, trying to recruit troops while planning his invasion strategy —  has been prodded into attack mode by President James Madison.

By Nov. 10, Dearborn – a Revolutionary War hero, former congressman and Thomas Jefferson’s Secretary of War – has moved much of his 6,000-man force to the New York-Canadian border near Plattsburgh, New York.

On Nov. 20, an advance U.S. party commanded by Col. Zebulon Pike (the discoverer of Pike’s Peak in Colorado) moves on Lacolle Mills in Quebec near the village of Champlain, New York, where a blockhouse is garrisoned by about 40 Canadian militia and Indians.

Pike’s vastly superior numbers overwhelm the blockhouse defenders who retreat. But then a U.S. militia unit comes out of nowhere — thinks the blockhouse is still held by the enemy — and fires on Pike’s men, who return fire. Both U.S. units think they are fighting the redcoats and not fellow Americans. When they finally discover their mistake the Americans troops are confused and demoralized.

The British under Major Charles de Salaberry, aided by 300 Mohawk Indians, seize the opportunity and counterattack driving the Americans back across the border.

Lacolle Mills Blockhouse today

The fiasco convinces Dearborn to abandon his planned attack and orders his troops into winter quarters.

November 6, 2012 at 12:33 am 1 comment


August 2022


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