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By Joseph A. (Joseph Alexander) Altsheler - Joseph A. (Joseph Alexander) Altsheler

This Bibliography lends itself primarily to reliable sources covering early U. The bibliography also includes sources that are not committed to the subject of U. Among the contemporary and earlier historical accounts are primary sources , historical accounts, often derived from letters, dispatches, government and military records, captain's logs and diaries, etc.

Becoming America’s Greatest Villain

Primary source material is often collected, compiled and published by other editors also, sometimes many years after the historical subject has passed. Many of the authors are notable and even famous in their own right and are linked to their corresponding biographies. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The British North American provinces in what is now Canada would become a hotly contested battleground.

The Americans planned to annex Upper Canada Ontario and all territory to the west. A badly outnumbered force of British regular army and navy personnel, provincial militia and First Nations allies foiled these attempts over three years of war. Naval actions took place on the Great Lakes and in the Atlantic Ocean. Privateers plied their trade on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The rumbles of war were heard in distant Aboriginal communities across the land and western fur traders hungered for news of American invasions, fearing for their enterprises in the interior of North America.

The Niagara frontier was the most hotly contested battlefront of the war. For British North America, the War of was a near run thing with the fate of the provinces on the edge of the abyss. Britain was fighting a world war against Napoleon and could spare few forces to defend their North American possessions. The population of the provinces was one tenth that of the United States. There was some question of whether or not the people would defend their lands against American incursions or whether they would welcome the Americans as liberators.

British strategy, if the inhabitants of Upper Canada would not fight, was to abandon everything west of Quebec with the hope of being able to recover the territory through diplomacy if the war ended with an American victory. However, at Queenston Heights the loyal militia of York and Niagara, men of many different ethnic backgrounds including a squad of Upper Canadians of African descent, along with Six Nations allies, joined a small force of British regulars in defeating an American invasion in the autumn of At Chateauguay the following year, a very small force of Canadian soldiers with their First Nations allies drove off a much larger American army, saving Montreal from an American attack.

In numerous other actions the inhabitants proved their bravery and their fierce determination to defend their land. The war ended with the negotiation of the Treaty of Ghent signed on Christmas Eve, and finally ratified on February 16, It is most remarkable that word of the declaration reached British headquarters at Fort George in the Town of Niagara Niagara-on-the-Lake only a week later. American strategy for the war was to launch a three-pronged attack on British North America — on the Detroit and Niagara frontiers and up the Richelieu River to threaten Montreal.

Prevost believed that the British should take a purely defensive approach to the war. He felt that aggressive British moves into American territory would solidify support for the war in the United States and make defence of British North America more difficult. American public opinion was divided and the decision for war was not a popular one.

Prevost worried that the Americans could muster a much larger army than could the British. The population of the United States was ten times that of British North America and Prevost had few British soldiers to defend a very large territory. Brock took a different view on the way in which the war should be conducted. He believed in immediate action and proposed attacking Fort Niagara in Youngstown, New York immediately. Prevost overruled Brock on this proposed assault but both men agreed that the only way to defend tiny Fort St. This was done and on July 17, , Fort Michilimackinac surrendered without a shot being fired.

The American commander there had not received word of the outbreak of war and learned the news from British Captain Roberts who had already positioned his men around the American fort. The Americans retreated back across the river to Fort Detroit.

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The first prong of the American strategy, the intent to capture the Detroit frontier had ended in American defeat. The second prong of the American attack, a campaign on the Richelieu River, never got launched.

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The third prong was aimed at an invasion on the Niagara frontier and the capture of Fort George, which could serve as bridgehead for the capture of Upper Canada. He knew that they would invade and that they would attack Fort George but he did not know where the actual invasion would take place. He kept his army of British regulars and Canadian militia, assisted by Six Nations allies, spread along the frontier, concentrated at vulnerable spots.

In the early morning of October 13, the American army struck, rowing across the river from Lewiston, New York to invade at the village of Queenston. A much smaller force of British regulars and Canadian militia stationed in the village resisted the invaders. Initially Brock feared that this attack was only a feint and that the Americans were trying to draw his attention to Queenston while launching a main attack on Fort George.

The ferocity of the battle at Queenston, and the roar of the cannons were heard at Fort George and convinced Brock that this was no feint but the actual invasion.


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Brock immediately set off for Queenston, issuing orders for the garrisons of Fort George and Chippawa and for the militia stationed along the river road to join him at the site of the invasion. Arriving in Queenston, Brock quickly assessed the situation. The Americans had overwhelmed and captured the Redan Battery, a British cannon position on the side of Queenston Heights, a very strategic point.

Brock rallied the forces at his disposal and rashly attacked the American position. A very tall and heavy man, Brock was targeted by an American soldier and killed by a shot in the chest early in the battle.


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  • As the Americans consolidated their position on top of the heights, British regulars from Fort George, men of the York and Lincoln militia regiments and Six Nations allies under war chiefs John Norton and John Brant began to arrive on the outskirts of Queenston. By mid afternoon, he had deployed his men on top of Queenston Heights, facing the main American force that had been kept disorganized by the annoying fire of First Nations warriors and Canadian militiamen. Sheaffe ordered a classic British assault. His thin line of red-coated soldiers fired a volley of musket fire at very close range and then charged with the bayonet.

    The Americans panicked. Many tried to rush down the escarpment and fell to their deaths on rocks at the base of the steep precipice. Others tried to swim back to safety in Lewiston and drowned in the attempt. The remainder, men surrendered. The Battle of Queenston Heights was significant in that it showed the British high command that the settlers of Upper Canada would fight fiercely to defend their land. Also, the crucial alliance with the Six Nations was strengthened.

    The successful defence of Upper Canada now seemed a possibility. It was a victory in which Upper Canadians could take a great deal of pride but was darkened by the death of Isaac Brock. While the Americans had been defeated in their invasion attempt, they remained busy on the Niagara frontier, building up defences and planning for the next campaign season.

    The Americans remained somewhat active and on November 28 a large force of U. They drove off the small group of British defenders at the cannon battery but were in turn forced to retreat by British reinforcements from Fort Erie. On December 8 a small American naval force were able to board and capture the Caledonia and the Detroit , two British vessels that had been anchored close to Fort Erie.

    War of 1812

    Elliot of the United States Navy. Initially, American efforts on the Detroit frontier ended in frustration. However, during the spring of they were able to successfully defend their post at Fort Meigs in Ohio from British and First Nations attacks launched from Amherstburg. Before that event we have seen, she had conveyed to De Monts a parchment title to the entire region extending to the meridian of Philadelphia. The original charter of Virginia asserted the claim of England to the 45th parallel of latitude, while the other grants extended her sovereignty to the waters of the St.

    The ultimate acquisition of the title of Holland, by the cession of New Netherlands, fortified these pretensions, which England alleged were matured by the recognition in the treaty of Utrecht, of her paramount sovereignty over the possessions of the Iroquois, or as the. Iroquois assumed a broad and formal protectorate as a trust for their benefit and safety.

    Blood and treasures were profusely expended in the assertion of hostile claims, founded on these ideal assumptions to a rude and howling wilderness. The annals of war exhibit scarcely a parallel to the daring intrepidity, the exposure and suffering of that expedition. The point of contemplated attack was distant almost three hundred miles, and to secure the more perfect secrecy, and an assurance of surprise, the season selected was the most rigorous of winter. Courcelles, the governor of Canada, on the 29th of December, , began his march with scarcely six hundred men, to seek out their inveterate enemies, the Mohawks.

    The use of horses was impossible, and it was equally impracticable for the troops, who consisted of about equal proportions of Indians and whites, to carry on an expedition so long and laborious, with their own supplies. In like manner, the subjects of Great Britain shall behave themselves peaceably towards the Americans who are the friends or subjects of France and they shall enjoy on both sides full liberty of resort for purposes of trade.

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    Surmounting perils and toils like these, the French approached the Mohawk territory; but bewildered amid pathless snows, and exhausted and paralyzed by cold and hunger, they were only preserved from destruction by the active although ill-requited beneficence of a small Dutch settlement, standing on the outer verge of civilization. The potent influence and urgent intercessions of a prominent, although private citizen of Schenectady, averted from the suffering and defenseless Frenchmen, the vengeance of the exasperated Mohawks.