The Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812

Laura Secord and Beaver Dams

Iroquois Terrorize Americans Into Surrender

The following day at dawn the Amerindian scouts commanded by Captain Dominique Ducharme spotted the Americans. At 9 a.m. Ducharme, with some 300 well-hidden Iroquois, opened fire on the rear of the American column. A hundred additional Iroquois, led by Captain William Johnson Kerr, arrived as reinforcements. For three hours they sniped at the Americans, shouting their terrible war cries. Terrorized, Boerstler and his soldiers wanted to surrender, but not to the Amerindians. FitzGibbon arrived with his 49th Detachment, just in time to enable them to do so! No fewer than 462 officers and soldiers of the regular army, along with 30 American militiamen, were taken prisoner. The colours of the 14th Infantry Regiment, along with two cannon, were taken. FitzGibbon received virtually all the glory from the victory, while the Amerindians and Ducharme and Kerr were forgotten.

It is usually said that the Amerindians did the fighting and that FitzGibbon took all the credit for this feat. As for Laura Secord, without whose efforts it could not have occurred, her story became known only at the end of her life. Her act eventually came to symbolize not only Upper Canada's resistance, but also the patriotism and abnegation suffered by so many Canadian women during these sombre years of repeated invasions.