This Week in History
Victory at Cook’s Mills
For the week of Monday October 14, 2013
On October 19, 1814, the second-to-last battle fought in Canada during the War of 1812 took place at Cook’s Mills on the Niagara Peninsula, near modern-day Welland, Ontario. The battle was such a closely contested affair that both sides claimed victory!
Drummond sent 750 British troops, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Myers, to Cook’s Mills, on Lyon’s Creek, where they encountered the Americans. Though outnumbered, the British had the advantage in the form of a cannon and a Congreve rocket. The Americans had no artillery. At first, the British were able to stop the Americans from advancing along the creek. Then the Americans attacked again, forcing the British troops to withdraw back to the main body of the army.
The British lost about 20 men while the American casualty toll was close to 70. Following the British retreat, the Americans destroyed the wheat at the mill. However, Izard realized that he could not possibly overcome the entire British defensive line along the river, so instead of commanding an attack he ordered his troops to retreat to Fort Erie.
Both Izard and Drummond reported to their superiors that they had won the battle. Izard claimed a U.S. victory on the basis of having forced the British to retreat. Drummond declared victory since his main defensive line had not been breached and the Americans had subsequently retreated to the fort.
No more battles took place on the Niagara Peninsula during the War of 1812, and there was only one more battle in Canada (a small skirmish at Malcolm’s Mills) before the peace treaty was signed in December 1814.
The Battle of Cook’s Mills was designated a national historic site in 1921. This year is the second of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. To learn more about the war please read The Long Walk of the 104th Regiment of Foot, A Decisive Victory at Stoney Creek, and The Battle of Lundy's Lane in the This Week in History archives.
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