Today is the Bicentennial of the Battle of Queenston Heights, fought during the War of 1812. After the failed American operations on the Detroit front, in October of 1812 an American army under the command of General Stephen Van Rensselaer of the New York Militia attempted another invasion into Ontario, Canada -- this time across the Niagara River.
Sir Isaac Brock, killed at Queenston Heights (left) & General Stephen Van Rensselaer (right)
The night before the assault, American batteries tried to soften the British positions on the Canadian shores, but to little effect. They managed to land, and make their way to a position on Queenston Heights -- where Sir Isaac Brock, the "Hero of Upper Canada," knighted for his success at Detroit, launched a counterattack against the invading force, which outnumbered his own. He would fall mortally wounded in the charge.
The Charge of Sir Isaac Brock at the Battle of Queenston Heights. Notice the fallen Brock in the bottom-center-right, and his Indian allies center-right.
The new British commander, General Roger Sheaffe, however, managed to use Iroquois allies to keep the Americans pinned at their position near the river while he brought in 900 more troops. By the time he launched his assualt, the American force was unnerved by the Indian warriors and running low on ammunition. The British force, ready to drive the Americans, fired a single volley, and charged -- defeating the invading army within a quarter of an hour.
Battle of Queenston Heights, Ontario.
At a cost of 104 killed or wounded for the Crown, including Sir Isaac Brock, the British, Canadians, and Indian allies killed and wounded 500 and captured a further 960. It was a disaster, and another set-back for the American ground war.
The year of 1812 was, for the United States, one of disaster along the Canadian border, with two failed invasions and the loss of Detroit. Scattered victories on the high seas gave the USA some success, however, and the war would go on...