Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Battles of the War of 1812

Located at 2651 Commercial Drive, this building was built around 1910. Park Drive Meats occupied this space in 1915.

Monday we looked at some of the causes of the War of 1812. Today, let's look at some of the battles.

The British and Canadians were badly outnumbered and the Americans knew this and plotted accordingly. Our Maritime Provinces were protected by British sea power and lower Canada was not conducive to an attack to its remoteness and protection by the fortress of Quebec.

So the US planned to attack Upper Canada. However, the British and Canadians were better prepared than the Americans knew. The 41st Regiment of British regulars had been reinforced and the Provincial Marine controlled Lake Ontario. Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, administrator of Upper Canada, was the person to thank for this. Eight months prior to the war, Brock had pushed forward defence measures in every conceivable way. He has also made sure to make allies of the First Nations.

Brock was not prepared to just sit idly by and wait for the Americans to attack. He obviously believed that the best defence is a good offence.

On July 17, Brock and his regiment quickly, and bloodlessly, captured the US post at Michilimackinac Island in Lake Huron. Then, when he arrived at Amhertsburg, Brock found General William Hull had already withdrawn that part of the American invasion. The Shawnee chief, Tecumseh was at Brock's side when the British military officer told the American to surrender Detroit. Which Hull did. On August 16, the British had control of Michigan territory and the Upper Mississippi. 

I bet that Thomas Jefferson was now regretting his remark that the capture of Canada was a 'mere matter of marching'! We Canadians may seem like a docile bunch but don't mess with us!
1670-74 Commercial Drive built 1911.

The Americans had now lost one and they lost another on the 13th of October at Queenston Heights. Sadly, Britain and Canada also lost Brock at that battle.

Part of these battles were fought on the water as well. On November 9, a Provincial Marine corvette, HMS Royal George - commanded by Commodore Hugh Earle - is intercepted in Lake Ontario by Commander Isaac Chauncey in the brig USS Oneida and six converted merchantmen. Earle managed to escape into the Bay of Qunite.

Chauncey didn't give up though and on November 10, pursued the HMS Royal George into Kingston harbour. He withdrew from the harbour after a two-hour exchange of fire with the shore batteries and the Royal George. However, the Americans now controlled Lake Ontario.
Built in 1906, this is 1505-1509 Commercial Drive.

There is a recording of an honourable gesture. While returning from Kingston, Chauncey happened to capture the sloop Elizabeth. On board the sloop was Major-General Sir Isaac Brock's cousin, Captain James Brock, with the Major-General's worldly goods. American sailors waived their right to the prize money from Brock's goods and granted the Captain parole out of respect for the hero of Queenston Heights.

1411 Commercial Drive - circa 1909.

On November 20, Colonel Zubelon Pike led an advance guard of American invasion forces headed to Montreal. Pike crossed into Canada with 650 regulars and drove out the small guardhouse garrison at Lacolle Mill in Lower Canada. Major Charles-Michel de Salaberry responded by attacking the Americans and Pike withdrew to Champlain, NY.

Two days later, an American punitive exhibition - they were headed to retaliate against native villages for the massacres at Pigeon Roost and Fort Dearborn - is ambushed by warriors at the Battle of Wildcat Creek, Indiana Territory.

The next day there were combined British and Canadian militia and First Nations' warriors that successfully attacked the American militia post near French Mills, NY.
I have more to tell you on the War of 1812 but that's all for today. Thanks go to a reader who sent me a clipping from a magazine with information on this conflict and to the Canadian Encyclopedia website.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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  1. First of all I am not a man. Second tell the Canadian Encylopedia online sinc that is where I got my information. Third if you are going to say my facts are wrong, back them up!

  2. Thank you for these pictures and story.

    1. You're welcome RodentDung. I think the outcome of this war will be a bone of contention between Canada and the US for all time! LOL