West End of the Battlefield
An American army of about 4000 soldiers, under the command of Major General Wade Hampton, left Plattsburgh in September 1813. This column marched the length of the Richelieu River, while another under the command of General James Wilkinson followed the St. Lawrence River. They were ordered to converge on Montreal and seize it to prevent the provision of supplies to the colonies of Upper Canada.
Along the way, Wade Hampton’s troop encountered British forces at Odelltown, near Lacolle. Short of fresh water, they withdrew to the United States (Chazy) and then headed towards the Châteauguay River.
During this time, in Lower Canada, Lieutenant Colonel Charles-Michel de Salaberry, responsible for protecting the Châteauguay corridor, placed scouts in various positions to keep track of Hampton’s movements. In the afternoon of October 1, 1813, Salaberry, accompanied by Canadian and Amerindian Voltigeurs, attempted to attack Hampton’s encampment set up at Châteauguay Four Corners, in New York State. Detecting the threat of American flank companies, Salaberry retreated along the Châteauguay River:
“While retreating along the Châteauguay River, on the cart road he blocked as he went along, Salaberry noted the advantages afforded by the terrain near the present site of Allan’s Corner (Quebec) as a place to confront the American army in the event it moved northward.” (V. J. H. Suthren, The Battle of the Châteauguay, 1980)
© E. Leliepvre, 1977, Parks Canada
A Canadian picket made up of about 40 Sedentary Militia soldiers and Amerindians set themselves up near Spear’s Farm. Upon the arrival of Brigadier General George Izzard at supper time, the Canadian troops, after exchanging a few gun shots, succeeded in warning Salaberry that the Americans were coming.
It is said that the American militia, who were accompanying Hampton’s regular troops, refused to cross the border into Lower Canada. As a result, on October 21, 1813, Hampton continued his march to Montreal with an army of about 3700 men in two brigades: that of Colonel Robert Purdy and that of Izzard. With his 1000 men, Izzard took the Aux Outardes River while Purdy followed the Châteauguay with the rest of the troops on a road that was in very poor condition.
Today, the Aux Outardes River drains directly into the Châteauguay River, at the town of Ormstown. As indicated on Jebb’s map, in 1813, the mouth of the Aux Outardes River divided into two, thereby forming a small island.