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Fort George National Historic Site of Canada

The war of 1812


Time Line (All events occur in the year 1813).

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec

January 17, British concede skirmish at River Raisin

Brigadier General Winchester collects 1,000 men at Frenchtown and skirmishes with 100 Canadian Militiamen and 50 Natives across the River Raisin. The British force retires after exchanging fire for a few hours.

January 22 British victory at Frenchtown

Henry Proctor, colonel of the 41st Regiment gathers the forces from Fort Malden and Detroit and hurries to Frenchtown. With nearly equal numbers Proctor surprises the American force, taking 500 soldiers prisoner (including U.S. General Winchester) and returns to Fort Malden.

February 7 U.S. raid on Elizabethtown (Brockville)

Benjamin Forsyth and 200 men cross the frozen St. Lawrence and free prisoners, occupy the Courthouse Square in Elizabethtown and seize military and public stores, and 50 prisoners.

February 22 British capture Ogdensburg

Troops are led by Lieutenant Colonel Red George Macdonnell (stationed at Fort Wellington), across the St. Lawrence in a surprise assault on Ogdensburg. They seize control of the town, routing the American army (500 men), and burn the barracks and retrieve military supplies which they take back to Fort Wellington. 20 American militiamen are killed and 70 are captured.

March 30, British Naval blockade extends from Long Island (N.Y.) to the Mississippi Delta

April 27 U.S. attack at York and burn the capital of Upper Canada.

Early in the morning, 14 American vessels with 1,700 soldiers land an assault west of the garrison at Fort York. The British defenders, a combined force of 600 militia, British regular soldiers and Natives engage the attackers at the beach, and are pushed back to the western battery where an accidental explosion wreaks havoc amongst the defenders. Dispirited, Sheaffe withdraws the remaining regular troops, sets the naval supplies and the almost finished vessel (to have been named the Sir Isaac Brock) alight, blows up the powder magazine and retreats across the Don River burning the bridge after him. The falling debris from the explosion of the magazine causes the greatest number of American casualties including American Brigadier General Zebulon Pike who was killed. The British force retreats to Kingston. The American soldiers occupy the town for 6 days, loot and burn several buildings and take the Royal Standard and the Speaker's mace from the legislature.

May 1- 5, seige of Fort Meigs.

Brigadier General Proctor with 520 regulars, 450 militia, and Tecumseh with 1,500 Natives lay siege to, and bombard the newly constructed Fort Meigs. On the 5th a relief column led by Kentuckian William Dudley is beaten in the woods across the river from Fort Meigs when his militiamen encounter Tecumseh and Brevet Major Adam Muir. Of a force of 800 men 150 make it to safety, 450 are captured by the British force leaving some 200 killed, wounded, or missing. Across the river 40 British soldiers are captured in an engagement beside Fort Meigs. After several days of negotiation regarding prisoners and an American surrender, Proctor and Tecumseh abandon the siege.

May 9 raid at Forty Mile Creek.

U.S.S. Governor Thompkins and U.S.S. Conquest raid and burn British storehouses.

May 25 U.S. bombards and destroys Fort George

In the morning of May 25, Fort Niagara and the batteries across from Fort George, open fire. The British and American forts exchange fire, with most of the damage occurring to Fort George, the wooden complex. The American hot shot' (cannonballs heated until red hot), set Fort George alight and it burns very quickly. Only the stone powder magazine and the earthen bastions remain. Fort Niagara loses several wooden buildings but remains largely intact.

May 27, U.S. assault on the Fort George complex

The British leave the smouldering complex of Fort George and encamp on the commons (military lands west of the Fort) for 2 nights. Early in the morning of the 27th, General Dearborn and an assembled army of 5,000 men embark from Fort Niagara in several large vessels accompanied by smaller assault vessels under the command of Commodore Chauncey. Unsure of the direction of the American assault, the British force of 1,200 regular soldiers is divided into 3 parts responsible for defending against an assault from the north (Lakeside), the east (on the Fort itself) or the south (from the Fort to Queenston). The American attack occurs (lakeside) near Two Mile Creek, where they come ashore and meet a small British force. A firefight ensues on the shore and the British are forced to retire towards the town. The collected force, being too small to meet the invading American army (having lost 350 men) and at great risk of being encircled and trapped on the peninsula, retire towards Beaver Dams and ultimately to Burlington Heights. The Niagara frontier is abandoned by the British with the Americans in pursuit.

May 29, British Victory at Sackets Harbour

To disable and distract U.S. Commodore Chauncey (supporting the invasion of Niagara), Sir James Yeo (British naval Commander) and Adjutant General Colonel Edward Baynes with 750 men, cross to Sackets Harbour with the intention of trying to cripple the American Lake Ontario fleet at the source. The British came ashore, push the American militia back, and march toward Fort Tompkins. The assault is repulsed by American artillery and the British retreat and decide that another attack would be futile. The British re-embark while the American defenders decide that another assault is inevitable and set fire to naval supplies to prevent their capture by the British.

June 1, H.M.S. Shannon defeats U.S.S. Chesapeake and tows her captive into Halifax.240-1 June 2,

Capture of 2 ships and 90 Americans taken prisoner near Fort Lennox (Isle aux Noix) south of Montreal.

June 6 British victory at Stoney Creek

Dearborn's forces having slowly pursued the British to Stoney Creek, encamp at the base of the escarpment. The British force of 700 men (from the battle of Fort George) attack the American force of 3,400 at night. There is a confused engagement where the two American generals, several officers and almost 100 American soldiers are captured. In disarray, and without effective leadership, the Americans retire to Forty Mile Creek. Although successful, the British force is reduced to under 500 troops having suffered over 200 casualties in the night battle.

June 7 British victory at 40 mile creek, U.S. troops withdraw to Fort George.

Sir James Yeo, following the attack at Sackets Harbour, crosses the lake and arrives at Forty Mile Creek on June 7th. The Americans encamped there (following the rout from Stoney Creek), assume that Yeo's ships are loaded with soldiers and retreat quickly to Fort George.
June 9 American forces burn Fort Erie and abandon the posts at Chippewa and Queenston.

June 19th Major General (Baron) Francis de Rottenburg becomes Lt. Governor of Upper Canada

June 24 Native (British allied) victory at Beaver Dams

American Captain Boerstler and 700 men lead an expedition from Fort George to DeCew House (a military supply depot) to impact the advancing British forces encamped within striking distance of Fort George. On the way he stops at Queenston at the Secord household. Laura Secord gathers as much information about the American army as she can and travels 19 miles through swamps forests and American lines to meet FitzGibbon and warn him of the American attack. The next day the Americans are ambushed at Beaver Dams by Caughnawaga, and Six Nations Mohawks under the leadership of Dominique Ducharme and William Kerr (of the Indian Department) and John Brant. (Son of Joseph Brant) The Caughnawagas bear the brunt of the ambush and after the fighting is over, FitzGibbon (as warned by Laura Secord) swoops in to negotiate with the Americans. The Americans surrender and 460 men are taken prisoner.

July 8 Battle of Ball's Farm ( draw )

A small skirmish surrounding the recovery of British medical supplies. No clear victor.

July 5 Raid on Fort Schlosser

A small raid by British Colonel Thomas Clark captures some American military supplies at Fort Schlosser.

July 11 British Raid on Black Rock

Lt. Col C. Bisshopp takes 250 men across the Niagara River to Black Rock in a night raid. The force burns the American barracks and captures military provisions. A small skirmish with regrouped American forces causes the loss of almost 50 men (killed and wounded).

July 18 U.S. victory at Goose Creek

American privateers seize a British convoy near Rockport, and remove the captured goods and prisoners towards Sackets Harbour. Yeo brings several detachments of regulars to retrieve the lost goods but is trapped in the mouth of Goose Creek. The soldiers disembark and engage the Americans but fail to recapture their provisions or prisoners.

July 27 Second Siege of Fort Meigs.

Proctor and Tecumseh, with a combined force of 1,400 men (1,000 Natives) cross Lake Erie and try to entice the American garrison at Fort Meigs leave their defences and fight, but are refused engagement by the fort's commander Brigadier General Green Clay.

July 29, British assault on Plattsburg.

A British force of 1,000 strong attack Plattsburg, Cumberland Head, (try to engage the American Navy at Burlington,)Shelburne Bay and Charlotte, capturing supplies, and several vessels and seizing control of Lake Champlain.

July 31 Americans return to York to acquire naval supplies and burn some storehouses.

August 2 British attack Fort Stephenson

Proctor and the remnants of the force used in the assault on Fort Meigs, attack Fort Stephenson. After a frontal assault the Natives disengage, leaving the regular force of 400 men to face the American garrison of 160 men. Sensing the futility of the attack Proctor's troops retire under the cover of darkness.

August 8 U.S.S. Hamilton and Scourge sunk

Caught by a sudden squall late in the evening, the two vessels are caught unprepared , they capsize and sink.

August 10 Capture of the Julia and the Growler.

In a small engagement south east of York, Yeo and Chauncey's squadrons meet. Two American vessels, the Julia and the Growler separate from the main force and are captured.

September 10 British fleet on western Lake Erie defeated by American fleet.

Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry captures the 6 vessels of the British Fleet (under Provincial Marine Commander Barclay) at Put-in-Bay in a violent struggle for the control of Lake Erie. , effectively cutting off supplies to Fort Malden, Detroit and the Upper Great Lakes. British losses,135 killed and wounded, (the rest captured) American losses, 123 men and officers killed and wounded.

September 11 The two squadrons meet north-west of the Genesee river

In an exchange that lasted about an hour and a half the Americans chase the British who are becalmed on Lake Ontario. There is no loss to either side, but several ships are badly damaged.

September 20, Odelltown

American forces under Major General Wade Hampton cross into Lower Canada and are met by the Canadian militia. Following several small engagements Hampton decides to abandon the advance.
September 23 Amherstburg abandoned and military establishment (Forts Detroit and Malden and Naval Yards ) burned.

September 27 American forces (4,500) under General Harrison land in Amherstburg

September 28 The Burlington Races The U.S. Lake Ontario Fleet drives the British fleet into Burlington Bay.

October 5 British defeated at Moraviantown (battle of the Thames) Tecumseh killed

On September 27, cut off by the American Navy and in danger of capture, Proctor abandons Detroit and Amherstburg and begins a retreat up the Thames River towards the British Headquarters at Burlington Heights.. Slow moving and short on supplies the British stay slightly in advance of Brigadier General Harrison and his 3,500 American soldiers. The retreating British consisted of 850 regular soldiers and roughly 1,000 Native allies. The two forces meet at Moraviantown and after a very short engagement the British force is overrun and surrenders. Proctor flees. In the swamp to the right of the British force the Natives fight on and Tecumseh is killed. Of the1,800 strong British force, 250 soldiers and 400 Native Allies make it to Burlington Heights. Harrison, afraid of extending his army beyond its possible supply train returns to Detroit. American raids into south western Upper Canada begin.

October 11 Missisquoi Bay

Colonel Isaac Clark and 200 soldiers (of Wade Hampton's force at Four Corners) capture British supplies and in Philipsburg takes some militiamen prisoner.

October 26 American invasion at Chateauguay repulsed

With a force of over 4,000 regulars and some militia, Major General Wade Hampton advances up the Chateauguay River towards Chateauguay (and ultimately to meet with Wilkinson's Army for an assault on Montreal.). He encounters a force of French Canadian Militia, Voltigeurs, Canadian Fencibles and their Native Allies behind a number of quickly built defence works. He divides his force with one wing to cross the river and take the Canadian Militia from behind. The battle is won by the militia who hold off the American attack from the front and rear. Discouraged by his army's effort, Hampton withdraws to Four Corners and then Plattsburg, refusing to join Wilkinson's Army for the attack on Montreal.

November 11 American invasion attempt at Chrysler's Farm defeated and repelled.

Wilkinson's force of 1,800 men cross the St. Lawrence near John Crysler's Farm and are attacked by a combined British force of 800 Regulars, Militia and some Natives. The Americans turn and fight for several hours until the British force push them away east along the St. Lawrence. The Americans retired towards Montreal and re-cross the river to spend the winter in Plattsburg.

December Lieutenant Henry Medcalf (Norfolk Militia) captures American raiders

December 10 U.S. army abandons Fort George and burns town of Newark

To man the assault on Montreal, the regular forces in the Niagara area are removed to Sackets Harbour leaving the New York State Militia and 120 men of Willcocks Canadian Volunteers (American sympathisers) to defend the Niagara region. With the British pressuring the Americans whose sole defence was a rebuilt Fort George, U.S. General George McClure decides to evacuate the Canadian side. The options that had been presented to Brigadier General George McClure were to a) defend the position at Fort George (wherein he could burn the town to assist in the defence) or b) burn Fort George and abandon the Canadian side of the river.

Instead, McClure burns the town and abandons the fort (intact). The people of Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake) are warned shortly before the town is burned and Willcocks and his Canadian Volunteers do the actual burning. The 400 residents of Newark are left homeless. McClure goes to Buffalo and a small force returns to Fort Niagara.
December 13 Canadian born Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond becomes Lt. Governor of Upper Canada

December 18 British capture Fort Niagara in night attack

During the night a British force of 500 men cross the Niagara River and attack Fort Niagara in a silent assault. The American garrison of 460 men are captured (all except 20) along with numerous military supplies.
December 19 The British advance up the Niagara River.

A second British force of 500 regulars and 500 Natives and Militia under Major General Riall cross to support the British position at Fort Niagara, and advance to Lewiston. The British Force advance up the east side of the Niagara River burning towns and Forts. Youngstown, Tuscarora (a Native village), Lewiston, Fort Schlosser up to Tonawanda are burned in retaliation for the burning of Niagara.

December 31 Britsh capture Black Rock

British General Phineas Riall returns to the American side at Black Rock with a force of 1400 men. The attack is on both Buffalo and Black Rock. The American force of 1,200 retreats through Buffalo. The British collect provisions and burn Black Rock and Buffalo as well as 4 vessels of the Lake Erie Squadron.