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War of 1812 - Artefact of the Week - October 26, 2012

Military General Service Medal, with the Battle of the Châteauguay Bar

This military general service medal featuring the Battle of the Châteauguay bar was awarded to Ignace Portneuf, an important Abenaki war leader, for his involvement in the defence of Canada in the Battle of the Châteauguay. Portneuf was badly wounded in the hand during this battle, though he survived his experiences during the War of 1812 and later became Grand Chief of the Abenaki.

The Battle of the Châteauguay, fought on October 26, 1813, was an important battle. Charles de Salaberry led a force of about 1,630 British regulars, Canadian militia, and First Nations warriors which repelled an American invasion of about 4,000 troops. The Americans sought to capture Montreal, and this British victory was one of the two battles that caused the Americans to abandon their major strategic effort in autumn 1813.

The Military General Service Medal was awarded in 1848 for involvement in defensive actions between 1793 and 1814. There were only three bars issued for actions during the War of 1812, for participation in the capture of Fort Detroit (1812), the Battle of the Châteauguay (1813), and the Battle of Crysler’s Farm (1813).

To learn more about these decisive victories, read Salaberry Blocks American Thrust Against Montreal and Victory at Fort Detroit! in the This Week in History archives. For more information about the Battle of the Châteauguay, visit The Battle of the Châteauguay National Historic Site on the Parks Canada Website.

Military General Service Medal, with the Battle of the Châteauguay Bar Military General Service Medal, with the Battle of the Châteauguay Bar
© Parks Canada