The life blood of Upper Canada was the St. Lawrence River, long before it was the mighty seaway we know today it was just a river, often times areas of rapids and flowed past several loyalist settlements that were established following the American Revolution. The river was a link to the major centers of the colonies of British North American, the mighty fortress and administrative capital of Quebec City and the major seaport of Halifax to the smaller settlements in Upper Canada. It was also the weak point, cut off access to the river at either end and you could choke Upper Canada. In factRead More →

While most of the actions of the War of 1812 took place along the border between the Canadas and the United States, there was a series of native raids in the southern reaches of the Northwest and Indiana Territories. The native allied, stirred into action by the successes of their British Allies in the north proceeded to lay siege to several American forts such as Forts Harrison and Wayne throughout the fall of 1812. But when General William Henry Harrison took command of the Army of the Northwest following Hull’s removal after his loss at Detroit. The old hand at dealing with the native threatRead More →

The history of Mackinac Island and the War of 1812 in the Northern part of what is now Michigan and Ontario is actually a trilogy of events that lead to the eventual British Victory in the North. In the 19th Century communication was a slow and dangerous journey for the couriers that carried messages from the larger posts in the south. This was both a help and a hindrance to the theatre in the north. Fort Mackinac was built by the British 1780 near the end of the American Revolution as the island fort better defended than the old French fort, Fort Michilimackinac, on theRead More →

I never realized exactly how isolated Fort St. Joseph is, even from the main highway you’re still looking at around 30-45 minutes drive down to the south western corner of St. Joseph Island. And to make things all the better it was pouring rain the day I visited these distant ruins, at least the wonderful staff at the site were welcoming and very friendly, and probably happy that they even saw one other person. It’s no wonder that the 10th Royal Vets that were stationed here in the early 19th century turned to drink. The path from the visitors centre to the ruins of theRead More →

When war was declared in June of 1812, neither side was particular ready or wanting to go to war, they hoped that simply being at war would generate the fighting spirit among the troops. Plus with methods of communications being what they were at the time, there was a bit of a delay getting the word out, in fact the British forces stationed in Upper and Lower Canada knew about it before even the Americans did. The British had a very small force of regular troops stationed in British North America, most being concentrated at Quebec City, the Capital of the colonies, and Halifax, homeRead More →

The battle of Fort Dearborn, and the Fort itself are small footnotes in the War of 1812, the battle itself lasting less than fifteen minutes and resulted in complete victory in the hands of the natives, it’s also of note that there were no British or Canadian units present at the battle as well. But for the residents of Chicago, it is their only connection to the war. A bronze relief showing what Fort Dearborn looked like in 1812 Fort Dearborn itself was built on the south shore of the Chicago river in 1804, named after US General Henry Dearborn (his name can still beRead More →

The Battle of Malcolm’s Mills is little more than a small skirmish, noted only for it being the final engagement of the war in Upper Canada. By November 1814 the Americans had abandoned their beachhead at Fort Erie. Negotiations in Gent between the British and the American governments saw progress, but for those living in the western part of Upper Canada, they remained under threat of American raids and occupation. And while the Americans had neither the will, supply line, or manpower to occupy the territory fully they did continue to send out small raiding parties to disrupt any militia activity or destroy British supplyRead More →

When it rains, the last place you’ll want to be is Fort Meigs, trust me on this one. The fort isn’t the nicest fort that got involved in the war, there is not a long drawn out or particularly memorable history about the depot fortification. It really is more of an afterthought, a post designed to be a stopping point for troops and supplies, and while it saw only two sieges over the course of the war it did stand out in one way. It was the largest wooden palisade wall fort in all of North America, at least when it was first built. UnlikeRead More →

While many forts from the Anglo-American War of 1812 survive today in either original form or having been rebuilt in the 20th-Century, there are just as many that have not survived or have survived in a limited fashion. One such location and the center of the early days of the conflict is Fort Amherstburg or better known as its second name, Fort Malden. Located along the Detroit River in the town of Amherstburg, Ontario was the seat of British power on the western frontier of Upper Canada. There are few remains of the American built Fort Malden, but today the former site is operated byRead More →

The American plan for the invasion of Upper Canada would be a simple one. A coordinated three-pronged attack that would strike at Fort Amherstburg in the West, Montreal in the East, and the Niagara Penisula in the center. But in the 19th-Century coordinating three attacks with such vast distances between them was impossible. The Americans also believed that the local population would welcome them as liberators, not invaders. The quick turnabout at Detroit proved this second part wrong. And while General Isaac Brock proved himself the Saviour of Upper Canada at Detroit he would soon face both his next challenge and his mortality. A PlaqueRead More →