Battle of the Cedars National Historic Site of Canada

Les Cèdres, Quebec
Photo of the location of the HSMBC plaque commemorating this national historic site. (© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2011.)
Photo of the location of the HSMBC plaque
(© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2011.)
Address : River Road, Les Cèdres, Quebec

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1923-05-25
Dates:
  • 1776 to 1776 (Significant)
  • 1776 to 1776 (Significant)

Other Name(s):
  • Battle of the Cedars  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 2012-CED-SDC-012

Plaque(s)


Existing plaque:  River Road, Les Cèdres, Quebec

In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, an invading American army occupied Montréal and established a small post here to protect its western flank. Advancing westward from Niagara, Captain George Forster and a small detachment of the 8th Regiment of Foot (Kings Liverpool) reinforced by Cayugas, Senecas and Mississaugas encountered the American outpost on 18 May. After a brief siege the defenders capitulated and the American force sent to relieve the garrison also surrendered. Despite this victory Forster lacked the necessary resources to continue his advance to Montréal.

Description of Historic Place

The Battle of the Cedars National Historic Site of Canada is located at Les Cèdres, 52 km south-west of Montreal, Quebec, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. There are no visible remains of the battle, during which British and Canadian forces defeated American forces that held a post at Les Cèdres, on the 19th - 20th of May, 1776, and also defeated the American reinforcements on the 21st of May, 1776. A Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque was erected in 1980 to commemorate the battle site. Surrounded by a small fence, the cairn stands in a small grassed plot at the edge of the Chemin du Fleuve surrounded by farmland and trees. Official recognition refers to the site at the time of designation.

Heritage Value

The Battle of the Cedars was designated as a national historic site of Canada in 1923 because:
In 1776, during the American War of Independence, a small detachment of the 8th Regiment of Foot (King’s
Liverpool), assisted by Aboriginals, attacked the American outpost established to protect the west side of Montreal.
After a brief siege, the defenders withdrew.

In 1776, during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), American soldiers invaded Canada and occupied the city of Montreal. To protect their western flank from British attacks the Americans established a small outpost at Les Cèdres, Quebec. The Battle of the Cedars occurred when British forces advanced from the Niagara region encountered this American outpost. British Captain George Forster, commanding a detachment of the 8th Regiment, was supported by Cayugas, Senecas and Mississaugas under Captain Guillaume de Lorimier. During the battle the Forster’s forces were reinforced by 30 Canadians led by Captain J.B. Testard de Montigny.

Captain Forster’s force attacked the American outpost and after a short siege the Americans surrendered. American reinforcements that arrived the next day also surrendered when they encountered Captain Forster’s force. Though victorious in the Battle of the Cedars Captain Forster did not have the resources to advance to Montreal which remained under American occupation until June of 1776.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, May 1923, October 1980

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
its location near the banks of the St. Lawrence River, approximately 52 km from the City of Montreal; its open, agricultural setting surrounded by trees and fields; the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains which may be found within
the site of the Battle of the Cedars in their original placement and extent; viewscapes to the St. Lawrence River and across the battlefield.