North american history - 1813
I wonder how many of our families, for those who have been on the Continent almost since it was discovered (my paternal family goes back to around 1750) were involved with this, when it actually happened. My paternal origins in the country were from France and were deeply involved in the fur trade at the time.
U.S. to commemorate British-Canadian soldiers killed during War of 1812 battle
By Randy Boswell, Postmedia News January 5, 2012
A magnanimous gesture by U.S. heritage advocates to commemorate enemy soldiers killed during a key War of 1812 battle on American soil is shedding fresh light on the sacrifices of Canadian, British and First Nations troops in the cross-border conflict nearly 200 years ago.
Officials in Sackets Harbor, New York, site of a major U.S. naval base during the war at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, have revealed plans to erect a bicentennial monument to about 30 fallen members of a British-Canadian assault force that tried to destroy the American port on May 29, 1813.
The attack fell short of its goal, but the rattled American defence force — convinced at one point in the battle that the invaders from Canada would triumph — set one of their own ships on fire to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemy. They also torched most of their supplies, effectively ending U.S. chances of controlling the Great Lakes and thus decisively tilting the balance of power in a war that ultimately ended in a stalemate.
Now, as part of New York town's plan to mark the 200th anniversary of the event, the Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance and the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation intend to pay tribute to the enemy soldiers killed by U.S. troops and hastily buried at unknown sites along the shore.
Among those to be honoured is John Maid, a member of Canadian Voltigeurs, a largely French-Canadian militia regiment from present-day Quebec that took part in the Sackets Harbor assault.
In a bid to attach names and personal stories to the proposed monument, the U.S. officials have probed historical sources to identify as many of the invading soldiers as possible. Among them was Maid, whose death from U.S. gunfire was poignantly recorded by Voltigeurs officer and diarist Capt. Jacques Viger, who would survive the Battle of Sackets Harbor and go on to become the first mayor of Montreal in 1833.
"I saw John Maid die in front of me from a bullet in his neck," Viger wrote at the time. "Tears came to my eyes when Maid rose and shook my hand, and said with emotion, 'Farewell, my captain, it is all over for me.'"
Constance Barone, site manager of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, told Postmedia News on Thursday that a detailed picture of exactly who died in the battle — and who will be commemorated in the monument — is already emerging.
Various regiments of professional soldiers from Britain as well several Canadian-based units — including the Glengarry Light Fencibles and Newfoundland Fencibles — were involved in the attack, she said.
At least two aboriginal warriors allied to the British-Canadian troops are believed to be buried at Sackets Harbor, as well, she said.
Ted Schofield, a trustee with the Battlefield Alliance and a leader on the monument project, said the 1813 battle best would be described as "both a victory and a defeat for both sides" — a good summary, as it turns out, for the entire War of 1812.
While the objective of the assault was to "raid, destroy and disrupt" the U.S. naval base at Sackets Harbor, the invading British, Canadian and native fighters were, in the end, successfully repulsed by the American troops defending the port.
Nevertheless, the initial panic among American soldiers that led to the defensive burning of a warship and military supplies seriously curbed future U.S. invasion attempts during the war.
Schofield said the proposed memorial is not only meant to honour the soldiers who fought in the battle but also to signify the two centuries of good relations between Canada and the U.S. since the War of 1812 ended.
"We're looking for as much cross-border interest and participation as possible," said Schofield, who is helping to organize a major battle re-enactment to be held in conjunction with the unveiling of the monument in 1813.
Read more: http://www.canada.com/life/commemora...#ixzz1ighyimGM