The British Capture of Fort Niagara is one of many controversial engagements of the Anglo-American War of 1812 and certainly marked a shift in the tactics of both the British and Americans in the final year of the war. General Gordon Drummond’s orders came on the heels of the destruction of the town of Niagara, today Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, by the Americans and a group of traitorous Canadians. While the exact details of the destruction were blown out of proportion to justify the brutality of the capture better, it none the less is a dark stain on the British record of the war. Fort Niagara asRead More →

With a commanding view of both Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, the old colonial fort has a long and complicated history connecting it to three different nations that formed the basis of the modern countries that exist today. Not to mention it serves as the oldest collection of stone buildings west of Montreal and the oldest fortification I have had the honour of visiting and documenting. I’m of course talking about Fort Niagara. The French Castle is the oldest and central structure of Fort Niagara and dates back to 1729. Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznack Angulon 1:6,8/90 – Kodak Tri-X Pan @ ASA-320 KodakRead More →

One of the best-kept secrets of Niagara-On-The-Lake is the fact that the town itself has risen from the literal ashes to the quiet tourist town that it is today. If you take a close look at many of the historic buildings most don’t date any further back than 1813, and there’s a reason for that, considering how old the community is. Founded originally in 1781 as Butlersburg, as many of the original settlers were members of the Loyalist Irregular unit known as Butler’s Rangers, would take on the name West Niagara. When Upper Canada was officially established, John Graves Simcoe renamed the town again toRead More →

She is the stuff of legends, a hero in her own right, a hull of iron, and undefeated in battle. A mighty sailing ship that spans the course of three centuries, and still able to move under her own power, she’s called Old Ironsides, but her real name is the US Frigate Constitution (38). And while the history of the Constution extends both before and long after the Anglo-American War of 1812. And while the ship is not a fort, person, battle, or location, it played a major role in the war and adds to the overall mythos that has surrounded the war in theseRead More →

Following a series of defeats that saw the surrender of three American Armies and the British in control of the entire Michigan Territory from Ohio to Mackinac Island, General Henry Dearborn needed a new plan, one that would not only boost the morale of his troops, but give Washington DC a swift victory that they had been expecting. It was again decided that a three-pronged assault would be enough to force the British retreat and surrender from Upper Canada. But it didn’t go exactly to plan. Dearborn believed the false report that 8,000 British Regulars garrisoned Kingston, home to the Royal Navy Squadron on LakeRead More →

The Battle of Stoney Creek is recognized by many as one of the engagements that saved Upper Canada. And they would be right, by the end of May 1813 the British Army having been defeated at the Battle of Fort George retreated from the Niagara frontier and established a new defensive post at Burlington Heights, fortifying a small farm that commanded a view of Burlington Bay. A network of Blockhouses and earthworks to hopefully hold any further American aggression before they could reach further into Upper Canada. In the later part of the 19th-Century, Dundurn Castle would be built over the ruins of the BritishRead More →

If you’ve ever crossed from Canada into the United States through one of the four land crossings in the Niagara Region, or have been shopping in Buffalo, there is an excellent chance that one of those crossings took place at Fort Erie on the Peace Bridge. If you’ve ever wondered how the small town got that name, take a drive just past the Mather Arch along Lakeshore Road, and you’ll find a small squat stone fort standing on a hill above Lake Erie. This is Olde Fort Erie and the source of the town’s eventual name of Fort Erie. The Old Fort is also oneRead More →

What do chocolate and the war of 1812 have in common; just one thing, a name, Laura Secord. Many people today hear the name Laura Secord and think of the Canadian confectionary company, but there was a hero behind that name. But unlike other heroes from the war whose names were praised right after their great victories, Laura lived in relative obscurity for decades after the war had ended. Born Laura Ingersoll on the 13th of September 1775 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, she was the eldest of four born to Thomas Ingersoll and Elizabeth Dewey. When she was eight her mother passed away, her fatherRead More →

Fort Wellington is one of the many forts that helped defend Upper Canada during the War of 1812, but unlike many other forts of the era, Fort Wellington never saw a direct attack. By 1810 the small village of Prescott had been founded along the shores of the St. Lawrence River and the King’s Highway which ran between Montreal, Kingston, and York (Toronto). Prescott soon found importance in travel along the St. Lawrence as bateaux from Montreal, used to navigate the rapids, would be offloaded onto the larger lake freighters to continue onto Kingston, York, and the Niagara region. Fort Wellington is one of aRead More →

Fort George, once the primary defensive structure for Upper Canada at the mouth of the Niagara River located on the edge of the quaint tourist town of Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario. Built apparently to provide the British Army in the center a headquarters following the surrender of Fort Niagara to the Americans at the close of the 18th Century, today sits as it would have during the height of it’s use in 1813 as a National Historic Site. Three blockhouses provided shelter and defense for the troops garrisoned at the fort. Today they’re setup to show how soldiers lived. Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4Read More →