The Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812

The 1814 Invasion of Canada

Bloody Exchanges at Chippawa and Lundy's Lane

Officer, 100th Regiment of Foot (HRH the Prince Regent's County of Dublin Regiment), circa 1812

Caption: Officer, 100th Regiment of Foot (HRH the Prince Regent's County of Dublin Regiment), circa 1812

Brown, an excellent strategist, avoided attacking Fort Niagara and forced the British to deploy along the border. On July 3 he had his army cross into Canada on both sides of Fort Erie, which, defended as it was by barely two companies of British soldiers, surrendered immediately. When the news reached him, British General Phineas Riall left Fort George with 1,800 men, 1,500 of whom were regular soldiers. They met the Americans on July 5 at Chippewa, with the British attacking General Winfield Scott and his 2,000 men. Riall moved the 1St, 8th and 100th regiments forward towards the enemy lines. But this time the usual rout did not occur. The American line held in perfect order, and its salvos, which were well organized, rapid and murderous, forced the British to retreat. Scott then moved his regiments forward, and the British were defeated, losing more than 500 men, with 148 dead, against only 48 dead and 227 wounded for the Americans.

The defeat worried General Gordon Drummond, in command of the British troops in Upper Canada. Of the three regiments engaged in the battle, two - the 1St, the famous Royal Scots, and the 8th, the King's - were famed for their bravery and excellence. Therefore something had obviously changed on the American side. Drummond immediately requested reinforcements from Lower Canada and had troops brought in from Kingston to Fort George and to York (Toronto).

On July 25 Riall's and Scott's brigades met once again at Lundy's Lane, not far from Niagara Falls, and engaged in the bloodiest battle of the war. Reinforcements reached both camps soon afterwards, along with commanding generals Drummond and Brown. The battle raged fiercely even after sundown. In spite of the smoke, which masked the moonlight, the battalions attacked and counterattacked through the evening, in the glare of musket and cannon fire. Generals Riall, Drummond, Brown and Scott were all seriously injured. The battle ended after midnight with both armies at the end of their tether. Losses were heavy: 853 Americans and 878 British were missing, but the battle was a draw. As the British continued to receive reinforcements, unlike the Americans, General Ripley ordered a retreat to Fort Erie.

Additional Images

Officer, Glengarry Regiment of Fencible Light Infantry, 1812-1816
Soldier,  1st Regiment of Foot (Royal Scots), 1813-1816