The War of 1812 (2)

1812 to 1815

Map of Major Northern Campaigns

Another move was launched by the Americans aimed at capturing York (now Toronto). Some 1600 troops took part in the offensive and more than a fifth of them became casualties when a powder magazine blew up. The force's commander, General Zebulon Pike, was killed in the incident.

Going against orders, the Americans then burnt York's public buildings.

In May, there some success for Washington when American troops attacked and captured Fort George, which overlooked the mouth of the Niagara River.

The 700 British defenders retreated followed by some 2100 Americans. The pursuers may have been too eager to follow the redcoats and were caught by surprise when the British abruptly turned around and stood at Stony Creek. Despite their huge advantage in numbers the Americans were routed.

A British attack on the enemy arsenal at Sackett's Harbour, on Lake Ontario, failed when a combined naval-army force was unable to capture a ferociously defended fort, held by a small garrison.

Following that success, the Americans sent two separate forces - one of 4000 men led by General Wilkinson and another of 8000 men headed by General Wade Hampton - against Montreal.

Hampton's push ended at Chateaugay when he was tricked by another clever British bluff - using buglers to make it seem there were more redcoats than there actually were - and withdrew.

The other attack wing suffered more humiliation when it came up against another small British force at Chrysler's Farm. Wilkinson had some 8000 men - 10 times the number of the defending British troops - but they were completely humiliated and fled for safer territory, ending the danger to Montreal and Wilkinson's career.

The new American leader, General Jacob Brown, spent much time training his militia and the British, under pressure, sent reinforcements to Canada. Before they arrived, however, came the battle of Chippewa, where Brown's men defeated an outnumbered General Riall.

The new British units bolstered the defence of Canada and, at Lundy's Lane, Brown and the British, now under General Sir Gordon Drummond, clashed. It was a bloody encounter, with both commanders injured - along with some 900 men each - and the Americans retreated.


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