This Week in History


The Battle of Lundy's Lane

For the week of Monday July 22, 2013

On July 25, 1814, British regulars, Canadian militiamen, and First Nations allies clashed with invading American forces almost within sight of Niagara Falls. The action would become the Battle of Lundy’s Lane – the bloodiest battle in Upper Canada during the War of 1812.

American infantry attacks at the Battle of Lundy's Lane
© Alonzo Chapel, 1859
The battle arose from the invasion of American Major General Jacob Brown, who led an army of over 3,500 men across the Niagara River to Upper Canada on July 3, 1814. He quickly seized Fort Erie and continued north along the river. Over the next three weeks he fought the British at Chippawa and outside of Fort George before withdrawing to regroup. Brown set up camp at Chippawa on July 24 and the next afternoon ordered American Brigadier General Winfield Scott toward the intersection of Lundy’s Lane and Portage Road, with about 1,000 men. Unbeknownst to him, that same afternoon Lieutenant-General Gordon Drummond arrived with 2,800 British regulars, Canadian militia, and First Nations allies at the same intersection! Shortly after 7 p.m. that evening, the costliest struggle ever to be fought on Canadian soil began.

The armies were so evenly matched that the six-hour battle lasted until well after darkness and ended with heavy casualties. Both sides suffered about 800 killed, wounded, or missing, and ultimately the American forces failed to dislodge Drummond’s troops. They withdrew the next day to Fort Erie. Drummond followed and began a siege of the fort and ended the final American invasion of the province.

Map of the Lundy's Lane battle grounds
© Alfred Sandham / Library and Archives Canada / C-93560
The Battle of Lundy’s Lane was the bloodiest clash in Upper Canada during the War of 1812. Important and decisive because it ended the American thrust to take Upper Canada in 1814, the battle was designated a National Historic Site in 1937. A plaque commemorating the battle is on the Lundy’s Lane monument in the cemetery in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

This year is the second of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. For more stories about the war, read The Battle of Beaver Dams and A Decisive Victory at Stoney Creek! in the This Week in History archives. Commemorative events will take place all over Canada! For more information on the War of 1812, visit Commemorating the War of 1812 on the Parks Canada website.

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