The Battle of Queenston Heights was the first major battle in the War of 1812 and took place on 13 October 1812, near Queenston, in the present-day province of Ontario. It was fought between United States regulars and New York militia forces led by Major General Stephen Van Rensselaer, who had been humiliated at Detroit. He faced a smaller defending force of British regulars, York volunteers and Mohawks led by Major General Isaac Brock, ‘The Hero of Upper Canada’ after the victories at Fort Michilimackinac and Detroit.
Part of the American strategy in the early stages of the war was to establish an invasion bridgehead on the Canadian side of the Niagara River before campaigning ended with the onset of winter. Brock had garrisons at vulnerable points and was waiting to concentrate his defenders when American intentions were clear. Although he initially thought the main attack would come at Fort George. When the ferocity of the artillery attacks convinced him that Queenston was the invasion point, Brock took command at Queenston. After the Americans captured a strategic battery on the escarpment, Brock was killed leading a counterattack.
However, the American troops were pinned down on Queenston Heights by a small detachment of Mohawk and Delaware warriors. British reinforcements led by Major General Roger Hale Sheaffe arrived from Fort George, including the Coloured Corps. With many of the American militia in Lewiston unwilling to cross into Upper Canada, the poorly trained and demoralized American army was forced to surrender.
Almost 1000 Americans were taken prisoner, with 300 killed or wounded, while the victors lost only 28 killed and 77 wounded. Unfortunately, one of the losses was irreplaceable – the much-admired Isaac Brock. But his memory inspired Upper Canada to fend off subsequent American invasions.
However, US Lieutenant Colonel Winfield Scott, who had signaled the surrender, went on to become a Brigadier General and lead troops to victory at Chippewa Creek in 1814. By then American regular forces had evolved into a highly professional army, under his guidance, having modeled and trained his troops using French Revolutionary Army drills and exercises.
PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS
A is for Anishinaabe ~ B is for Brock ~ C is for Coloured Corps ~ D is for Detroit ~ E is for Erie ~ F is for First Nations ~ G is for Ghent ~ H is for Harrison ~ I is for Impressment ~ J is for Jackson ~ K is for Key ~ L is for Lundy’s ~ M is for Madison ~ N is for New Orleans ~ O is for Ontario ~ P is for Pushmataha
The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, we blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.
My theme is ‘The War of 1812’, a military conflict, lasting for two-and-a-half years, fought by the United States of America against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, its North American colonies, and its American Indian allies. The Memoirs of a British naval officer from the war is central to my novel “Seeking A Knife” – part of the Snowdon Shadows series.
Further reading on The War of 1812: