Saint-Denis and Saint-Charles

British Crush Opposition at Saint-Charles

Battle of St. Charles, 25 November 1837

Caption: Battle of St. Charles, 25 November 1837

But the triumph of the Patriotes was to be short-lived. On November 25 Lieutenant-Colonel Wetherall's column of 420 soldiers from the 1st and 66th regiments, with two field artillery pieces, along with a detachment from the Royal Montreal Cavalry, reached Saint-Charles. Approximately 200 to 250 Patriotes, led by Thomas Storrow Brown, were in position. Although warned of Gore's defeat, Wetherall decided to attack immediately, surprising the Patriotes with his boldness. After two hours of firing, Wetherall ordered the three companies of the 1st Regiment to charge with fixed bayonets. The Patriotes, who did not have bayonets on their guns, were soon at a disadvantage. That is when an incident of disastrous consequences occurred: 50 of them, pretending to surrender in order to get a better shot at the soldiers, killed a sergeant and wounded several men. This treacherous gesture enraged their adversaries, who bayoneted large numbers of Patriotes and then sacked and burned the village. At the Battle of Saint-Charles the English had only three dead and 18 wounded, whereas the Patriotes had about 150 dead.

This victory returned the initiative to the British troops, and two days later Wetherall's column scattered a corps of approximately 300 Patriotes with only a few shots. On December 2 a new column commanded by Gore, consisting of detachments from the 24th, 32nd, 66th and 83rd regiments, with three cannon, had no difficulty entering Saint-Denis and burning part of the village. To the southeast of Montreal the rebellion had been truly quelled.

Additional Images

Sir George Augustus Wetherall (1788-1868)