Timeline of World History TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY



1800 - 1899
1800-09 1810-19 1820-29 1830-39 1840-49 1850-59 1860-69 1870-79 1880-89 1890-99
1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890
1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
1802 1812 1822 1832 1842 1852 1862 1872 1882 1892
1803 1813 1823 1833 1843 1853 1863 1873 1883 1893
1804 1814 1824 1834 1844 1854 1864 1874 1884 1894
1805 1815 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1885 1895
1806 1816 1826 1836 1846 1856 1866 1876 1886 1896
1807 1817 1827 1837 1847 1857 1867 1877 1887 1897
1808 1818 1828 1838 1848 1858 1868 1878 1888 1898
1809 1819 1829 1839 1849 1859 1869 1879 1889 1899
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FitzGerald Edward
1810 - 1819
History at a Glance
1810 Part I
Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma
Edict of Fontainebleau
First Republic of Venezuela
Mexican War of Independence
Argentine War of Independence
Colombian Declaration of Independence
Foolish Fatherland
Chilean War of Independence
Bolivian war of independence
Charles XIV John
Invasion of Guadeloupe
Cavour Camillo
1810 Part II
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Montalembert Charles
Musset Alfred
Scott: "The Lady of the Lake"
Goya: "The Disasters of War"
The Nazarenes
Beethoven: "Egmont"
Chopin Frederic
Chopin - Nocturne Op.9 No.2
Frederic Chopin
Nicolai Otto
Nicolai - The Merry Wives of Windsor - Overture
Otto Nicolai
Rossini: "La Cambiale di Matrimonio"
Schumann Robert
Schumann - Piano sonata n.1 op.11
Robert Schumann
Spurzheim Johann Gaspar
Hahnemann Samuel
Girard Philippe
Humboldt University of Berlin
Krupp Friedrich Carl
Barnum Phineas Taylor
1811 Part I
George IV
Battle of the Danube
Massacre of the Mamelukes at Cairo
Napoleon Francois-Joseph Charles
Battle of Fuentes de Onoro
Paraguay independent of Spain
Venezuelan War of Independence
Peruvian War of Independence
San Martin Jose
Battle of Las Piedras
Artigas Jose Gervagio
Invasion of Java
Battle of Tippecanoe
1811 Part II
Bottiger Karl August
Niebuhr Barthold Georg
University of Oslo
Jane Austen: "Sense and Sensibility"
Stowe Harriet Beecher
Friedrich de la Motte-Fouque: "Undine"
Gautier Theophile
Goethe: "Aus meinem Leben: Dichtung und Wahrheit"
Gutzkow Karl
Thackeray William Makepeace
Dupre Jules
Jules Dupre
Ingres: "Jupiter and Thetis"
Thomas Lawrence: Portrait of Benjamin West
Thorvaldsen: "Procession of Alexander the Great"
1811 Part III
Liszt Franz
Franz Liszt - Liebestraum - Love Dream
Franz Liszt
Prague Conservatoire
Carl Maria von Weber: "Abu Hassan"
Avogadro Amedeo
Great Comet of 1811
Bunsen Robert
Poisson Simeon-Denis
Manning Thomas
Berblinger Albrecht Ludwig
1812 Part I
French invasion of Russia
Battle of Borodino
Kutuzov Mikhail
Malet Claude-François
Perceval Spencer
1812 Part II
War of 1812
Battle of Salamanca
Siege of Burgos
Battle of Tordesillas
Hegel: "Science of Logic"
Jewish emancipation
Browning Robert
Robert Browning 
"Dramatic Romances"
"The Pied Piper of Hamelin"
The Brothers Grimm: "Fairy Tales"
Lord Byron: "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"
Dickens Charles
Charles Dickens
"Great Expectations"
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Goncharov Ivan Aleksandrovich
Smiles Samuel
Krasinski Zygmunt
Kraszewski Joseph Ignatius
1812 Part III
Elgin Marbles
Rousseau Theodore
Theodore Rousseau
Pforr Franz
Franz Pforr
Beethoven: Symphonies No. 7 (Op. 92)
Encounter between Beethoven and Goethe at Teplitz
Beethoven: Symphonies No. 8 (Op. 93)
Flotow Friedrich
Friedrich von Flotow: Piano Concerto No. 2
Friedrich von Flotow
Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna
Burckhardt Johann Ludwig
Krupp Alfred
Red River Settlement, Manitoba, Canada
Hampden Clubs
1813 Part I
German Campaign 1813–1814
Battle of Dresden
Battle of Lutzen
Battle of the Katzbach
Battle of Leipzig
Battle of York
Battle of Fort George
Capture of USS Chesapeake
Battle of Crysler's Farm
Capture of Fort Niagara
Battle of Buffalo
Battle of Vitoria
Siege of San Sebastian
First Serbian Uprising
1813 Part II
Herbart Johann Friedrich
Kierkegaard Soren
Schopenhauer: "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason"
Colby College, Maine
The Baptist Union of Great Britain
Jane Austen: "Pride and Prejudice"
Buchner Georg
Byron: "The Giaour"
Hebbel Friedrich
Ludwig Otto
Shelley: "Queen Mab"
Turner: "Frosty Morning"
London Philharmonic Society
Rossini: "L'ltaliana in Algeri"
Verdi Giuseppe
Anna Netrebko "Final Scene" La traviata
Giuseppe Verdi
Wagner Richard
Richard Wagner - Ride Of The Valkyries
Richard Wagner
Campbell John
Blaxland Gregory
Across the Blue Mountains
Lord Thomas
1814 Part I
1814 campaign in France
Six Days Campaign
Battle of Champaubert
Battle of Montmirail
Battle of Chateau-Thierry
Battle of Vauchamps
Battle of Orthez
Treaty of Chaumont
Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube
Battle of Paris
Battle of Toulouse
Treaty of Fontainebleau
Treaty of Paris
Congress of Vienna
Napoleon's exile to Elba
1814 Part II
Christian VIII
Bakunin Mikhail
Battle of Chippawa
Burning of Washington
Battle of Plattsburgh
Treaty of Ghent
Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814–16
First Anglican bishop in Calcutta
Motley John Lothrop
1814 Part III
Jane Austen: "Mansfield Park"
Byron: "The Corsair"
Edmund Kean's Shylock
Lermontov Mikhail
Mikhail Lermontov
"Death of the Poet"
"The Demon
Walter Scott: "Waverley"
Williav Wordsworth: "The Excursion"
Adelbert von Chamisso: "Peter Schlemihl"
Goya: "The Second of May 1808"
Goya: "The Third of May 1808"
Ingres: "Grande Odalisque"
Millet Jean Francois
Jean Francois Millet
Orfila Mathieu Joseph Bonaventure
Industrial printing presses
Lord's Cricket Ground
1815 Part I
Battle of New Orleans
Hundred Days
Neapolitan War
Battle of Waterloo
Napoleon's surrender
Second Peace of Paris
Ney Michel
1815 Part II
Corn Law
Bismarck Otto
Spanish Invasion of New Granada in 1815–1816
Basel Mission
Beranger Pierre
Byron: "Hebrew Melodies"
Geibel Emanuel
Hoffmann: "Die Elixiere des Teufels"
Scott: "Guy Mannering"
Trollope Anthony
Anthony Trollope 
"Barchester Towers"
Wordsworth: "White Doe of Rylstone"
1815 Part III
Goya: "La Tauromaquia"
Menzel Adolf
Adolf Menzel
Turner: "Crossing the Brook"
Franz Robert
Robert Franz - Oh Wert thou in the Cauld Blast
Robert Franz
Kjerulf Halfdan
Halfdan Kjerulf - Spring Song
Halfdan Kjerulf
Robert Volkmann - Cello Concerto in A minor
Robert Volkmann
Davy lamp
Fresnel Augustin-Jean
Prout William
Prout's hypothesis
Steam battery "Demologos", or "Fulton"
Nations in Arms
Nations in Arms
Apothecaries Act
McAdam John Loudon
Robertson Allan
Eruption of Sumbawa Volcano
1816 Part I
Maria I, Queen of Portugal
John VI of Portugal
Argentine War of Independence
Argentine Declaration of Independence
Federal Convention
American Bible Society
Gobineau Joseph Arthur
Karamzin Nikolai
1816 Part II
Jane Austen: "Emma"
Bronte Charlotte
Charlotte Bronte
"Jane Eyre"
Byron: "The Siege of Corinth"
Freytag Gustav
Derzhavin Gavrila
Leigh Hunt: "The Story of Rimini"
Shelley: "Alastor"
Goya: "The Duke of Osuna"
Rossini: "Barbiere di Siviglia"
Spohr: "Faust"
Brewster David
Laennec Rene-Theophile-Hyacinthe
Siemens Werner
Cobbett William
Froebel Friedrich
1817 Part I
Habeas Corpus Suspension Act
Wartburg Festival
Second Serbian Uprising (1815-1817)
Third Anglo-Maratha War 1817-1818
Bockh August
Hegel: "Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences"
Llorente Juan Antonio
Mommsen Theodor
David Ricardo: "Principles of Political Economy and Taxation"
Byron: "Manfred"
Thomas Moore: "Lalla Rookh"
Storm Theodor
Thoreau Henry David
1817 Part II
Constable: "Flatford Mill"
Daubigny Charles
Charles Daubigny
Thorvaldsen: Ganymede Waters Zeus as an Eagle
Leech John
John Leech
Watts George Frederic
George Frederic Watts
Rossini: "La Gazza ladra"
Rossini: "Cenerentola"
Ritter Carl
Long Stephen Harriman
"Blackwood's Magazine"
"The Scotsman"
Waterloo Bridge
1818 Part I
Chilean Declaration of Independence
Bavarian constitution proclaimed
Treaty of 1818
Dobrovsky Josef
Froude James Anthony
Marx Karl
Karl Marx
"Manifesto of the Communist Party"
- Marxism
Friedrich Engels
First International
1818 Part II
Byron: "Don Juan"
Keats: "Endymion"
Peacock: "Nightmare Abbey"
Walter Scott: "Heart of Midlothian"
Shelley Mary
Mary Shelley "Frankenstein"
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley 
"Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus"
Turgenev Ivan
1818 Part III
Burckhardt Jakob
Fohr Carl Philipp
Karl Philipp Fohr
Donizetti: "Enrico, Conte di Borgogna"
Gounod Charles
Gounod - Ave Maria
Charles Gounod
"Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht"
Rossini: "Mose in Egitto"
Bessel Friedrich Wilhelm
Encke Johann Franz
Oxley John
British Admiralty Expeditions
Scoresby William
Phipps Constantine Henry
Buchan David
Parry William Edward
Ross James Clark
Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
Raiffeisen Friedrich Wilhelm
1819 Part I
Founding of modern Singapore
Queen Victoria
Victorian Era
Peterloo Massacre
Albert, Prince Consort
Jakob Grimm: "German Grammar"
Hermes Georg
Schopenhauer: "Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung"
Sismondi Jean
Wilson Horace Hayman
1819 Part II
Byron: "Mazeppa"
Eliot George
George Eliot 
"Silas Marner"
Fontane Theodor
Howe Julia Ward
Keats: "Hyperion"
Keller Gottfried
Kotzebue August
Lowell James Russell
Shelley: "The Cenci"
Whitman Walt
Walt Whitman
"Leaves of Grass"
Washington Irving: "Rip van Winkle"
1819 Part III
Courbet Gustave
Gustave Courbet
Theodore Gericault: "The Raft of the Medusa"
Ruskin John
Thorvaldsen: "Lion of Lucerne"
Turner: "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"
Museo del Prado
Chasseriau Theodore
Theodore Chasseriau
Offenbach Jacques
Offenbach - Barcarole
Jacques Offenbach
Schumann Clara
Mitscherlich Eilhard
Oersted Hans Christian
Central Asia Exploration
Moorcroft William
First Sightings of the Antarctic Continent
Bransfield Edward
Weddell James
Bellingshausen Thaddeus
Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly, London

The Battle of Leipzig
YEAR BY YEAR:  1800 - 1899
1813 Part I
Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition

Prussia declares war on France; combined Russo—Prussian forces enter Dresden; Napoleon's victory at Lutzen
German Campaign 1813–1814
The German Campaign 1813–1814 (Ger. Befreiungskriege) was the campaign which ended the War of the Sixth Coalition, itself part of the Napoleonic Wars. It took place in Germany after Napoleon's retreat from Russia. In Germany itself it became known as the Befreiungskriege (Wars of Liberation) or Freiheitskriege (Wars of Freedom) - both terms were used at the time, both by liberals and nationalists in terms of a unified and democratic Germany and by conservatives after the Bourbon Restoration to mean freeing Europe from French hegemony and occupation. It is also known as the europaische Befreiungskriege (European Wars of Liberation), to distinguish it from the 1808 Spanish Uprising.
Since 1806 writers and intellectuals such as Johann Philipp Palm, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Ernst Moritz Arndt, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn and Theodor Körner had been criticising the Napoleonic occupation of Germany. They advocated limitations to the dynastic princes of Germany and a joint effort by all Germans to eject the French.

From 1810 Arndt and Jahn asked high-ranking figures in Prussian society again and again to prepare such an uprising. Jahn himself organised the German League and made a major contribution to the founding of the Lützow Free Corps. These forerunners took part in the outbreak of hostilities in Germany, both by serving in the armed forces and by backing the Coalition forces through their writings.

Even before the German Campaign, there had been uprisings against the French troops occupying Germany - these had broken out from 1806 onwards in Hesse and in 1809 in the Tyrol, the latter led by Andreas Hofer. These uprisings intensified in the same year under Wilhelm von Dörnberg, the initiator and commander-in-chief of the Hessian uprising, and Major Ferdinand von Schill.

After the devastating defeat of Napoleon's Grande Armée in Russia in 1812, Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg - the general in command of the Grande Armée's German auxiliaries (Hilfskorps) - declared a ceasefire with the Russians on 30 December 1812 via the Convention of Tauroggen. This was the decisive factor in the outbreak of the German Campaign the following year.

On 17 March 1813 - the day Alexander I of Russia arrived in the Hoflager of Frederick William III of Prussia - Prussia declared war on France. On 20 March 1813 the Schlesische privilegierte Zeitung newspaper published Frederick's speech entitled An Mein Volk, delivered on 17 March and calling for a war of liberation. In addition to newly formed Prussian units such as the Landwehr and Landsturm, the initial fighting was undertaken by volunteers such as German volunteer troops and Jäger and Free Corps (such as the Lützow Free Corps) and the soldiers of Russia and (from summer 1813 onwards) Sweden under Crown Prince Charles John (the former French marshal Bernadotte) and Austria under field marshal Schwarzenberg. Already busy with maintaining naval supremacy and fighting the Peninsular War, Great Britain did not take any direct part in the German campaign, though it sent subsidies to support it.

Via the Trachenberg Plan, developed during a period of ceasefire in the summer of 1813, the ministers of Prussia, Russia and Sweden agreed to pursue a single allied strategy against Napoleon. Austria eventually sided with the coalition, thwarting Napoleon's hopes of reaching a separate agreement with the major powers Austria und Russia. The allies now had a clear numerical superiority, which they eventually brought to bear on Napoleon's main forces, despite earlier setbacks as in the Battle of Dresden. The high point of allied strategy was the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, which ended in Napoleon's decisive defeat. The Confederation of the Rhine, an alliance of west German rulers allied to France, had already lost battles against the Allies in Bavaria and Saxony and after the defeat at Leipzig dissolved completely. This completely broke Napoleon's power to the east of the river Rhine. The German campaign's final phase took place in the early months of 1814, coinciding with the Duke of Wellington's march up through southern France and ending in Napoleon's abdication and the Treaty of Paris.

The campaign ended the 'French period' (Franzosenzeit) in Germany and fostered a new sense of German unity and nationalism. The German Confederation, formed at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, was a precursor to the modern German nation state, which was, however, only realized more than half a century later under Prussian leadership. The popular image of the campaign in Germany was shaped by the cultural memory of its veterans, especially the many students who volunteered to fight in the Lützow Free Corps and other units who later rose to high positions in the military and political spheres. A new boom in remembrance of the war occurred in 1913, on the centenary of its outbreak.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Battle of Dresden
The Battle of Dresden was fought on 26–27 August 1813 around Dresden, Germany, resulting in a French victory under Napoleon against forces of the Sixth Coalition of Austrians, Russians and Prussians under Field Marshal Schwartzenberg. However, Napoleon's victory was not as complete as it could have been. Substantial pursuit was not undertaken after the battle, and the flanking corps was surrounded and forced to surrender a few days later at the Battle of Kulm.

Battle of Dresden
On 16 August, Napoleon had sent Marshal Saint-Cyr's corps to fortify and hold Dresden in order to hinder allied movements and to serve as a possible base for his own manoeuvres. He planned to strike against the interior lines of his enemies and defeat them in detail, before they could combine their full strength. He had some 300,000 men against allied forces totaling over 450,000. But the Coalition avoided battle with Napoleon himself, choosing to attack his subordinate commanders instead (see the Trachenberg Plan). On 23 August, at the Battle of Grossbeeren, south of Berlin, Crown Prince Charles of Sweden (formerly French Marshal Bernadotte, Napoleon's own Marshal) defeated his old comrade Marshal Oudinot. And on 26 August, Prussian Marshal Blücher defeated Marshal MacDonald at the Katzbach.

Map of the battle
On the same day as Katzbach, Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg, the commander of the Austrian force of over 200,000 men of the Austrian Army of Bohemia and accompanied by Francis II, Alexander I, and Frederick William III, attacked Saint-Cyr.

In Dresden, French infantry manned the various redoubts and defensive positions. They hoped to last long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Sure enough, they got their wish. Napoleon arrived quickly and unexpectedly with reinforcements to repel this assault on the city. French counterattacks on the Great Garden in the southeast and on the allied center were successful, and by nightfall the French had regained almost all of Saint-Cyr's original positions. Although outnumbered three to two, Napoleon attacked the following morning (27 August), turned the allied left flank, and won an impressive tactical victory.

The flooded Weisseritz cut the left wing of the Allied army, commanded by Johann von Klenau and Ignaz Gyulai, from the main body. Marshal Joachim Murat took advantage of this isolation and inflicted heavy losses on the Austrians.
  A French participant observed, "Murat.... cut off from the Austrian army Klenau's corps, hurling himself upon it at the head of the carabineers and cuirassiers. .... Nearly all his [Klenau's] battalions were compelled to lay down their arms, and two other divisions of infantry shared their fate." Of Klenau's force, Lieutenant Field Marshal Joseph, Baron von Mesko de Felsö-Kubiny's division of five infantry regiments was surrounded and captured by Murat's cavalry, which amounted to approximately 13,000 men, and 15 colours. Gyulai's divisions also suffered serious losses when they were attacked by Murat's cavalry during a rainstorm. With damp flints and powder, their muskets would not fire and many battalions became an easy prey to the French cuirassiers and dragoons.

Then suddenly, Napoleon had to leave the field by virtue of a sudden fit of gastric spasma and the failure to follow up on his success allowed Schwarzenberg to withdraw and narrowly escape encirclement. The Coalition had lost some 38,000 men and 40 guns. French casualties totaled around 10,000. Some of Napoleon's officers noted he was "suffering from a violent cholic, which had been brought on by the cold rain, to which he had been exposed during the whole of the battle."


On 27 August, General Vandamme received orders to advance on Pirna and bridge the Elbe there. This was accomplished in a pouring rain, without disturbing the Russians drawn up on the heights of Zehista. This advance by Vandamme resulted in the Battle of Kulm three days later. Interestingly Napoleon's old rival Jean Victor Marie Moreau who had only recently returned from his banishment from the United States was talking to the Tsar (who wished to see Napoleon defeated) and was mortally wounded in the battle and died later on 2 September in Louny.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Battle of Lutzen
In the Battle of Lutzen (German: Schlacht von Großgörschen, May 2, 1813), Napoleon I of France halted the advances of the Sixth Coalition after his devastating losses in Russia. The Russian commander, Prince Peter Wittgenstein, attempting to preempt Napoleon's capture of Leipzig, attacked Napoleon's isolated right wing near Lützen, Germany. After a day of heavy fighting, the combined Prussian and Russian force retreated, but without cavalry the French were unable to follow their defeated enemy.

Lutzen, Battle of (1813). Napoleon with his troops. Fleischmann, Andrea Johann
Following the disaster of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, a new Coalition formed against him. In response to this, Napoleon hastily assembled an army of just over 200,000 consisting largely of inexperienced, barely trained recruits and severely short of horses (a consequence of the Russian invasion, where most of his veteran troops and horses had perished). He crossed the Rhine into Germany to link up with remnants of his old Grande Armée, and to quickly defeat this new alliance before it became too strong. On April 30 Napoleon crossed the river Saale, advancing on Leipzig in three columns led by an advanced guard. His intention was to work his way into the Coalition's interior lines, dividing their forces and defeating them in detail before they could combine. But due to inexperienced cavalrymen and faulty reconnaissance, he was unaware of 73,000 allied troops under Wittgenstein and Graf (Count) von Blücher concentrating on his right flank to the south. Marshal Ney's corps was surprised and attacked on the road from Lützen to Leipzig. On the eve of the battle, one of Napoleon's marshals, Jean-Baptiste Bessières, was killed by a stray cannonball while reconnoitering near Rippach.

Map of the battle
Napoleon was visiting the 1632 battlefield, playing tour guide with his staff by pointing to the sites and describing the events of 1632, in detail from memory, when he heard the sound of cannons. He immediately cut the tour short and rode off towards the direction of the artillery fire. Arriving on the scene, he quickly sized up the situation and decided to set a trap using Ney's corps as bait. He ordered the Marshal to make a fighting withdrawal towards Lützen. Meanwhile he sent Ney reinforcements which would take up strong, defensive positions in and around two villages south of the city. Once these divisions were ready, the rest of the corps would withdraw towards them, luring the allies to attack, while Napoleon, leading the main 110,000 strong French force, would come around the allied flank and counterattack.

Wittgenstein and Blücher took the bait, continuing to press Ney until they ran into the "hook" Napoleon had prepared.
  Once their advance had halted, with the perfect timing of old, he struck. While he had been reinforcing Ney, he had also concentrated a great mass of artillery (Grande Batterie) that unleashed a devastating barrage towards Wittgenstein's center.

Then Napoleon himself, along with his Imperial Guard, led the massive counter assault into the allied flank. Wittgenstein and Blücher were in danger of suffering another defeat on the scale of Austerlitz, but the green and exhausted French troops, who had been marching and fighting all day long, could not follow through. In addition, darkness was closing in. This allowed the allied force to retreat in good order. The lack of French cavalry meant there would be no pursuit.

Napoleon lost 19,655 men killed and wounded, while the Prussians lost 8,500 and the Russians 3,500 killed, wounded and missing. But casualties aside, by nightfall Wittgenstein and Blücher were in retreat while Napoleon controlled Lützen and the field.
The Coalition had been very fortunate. Had the battle started earlier that day when Napoleon had fresher troops and more time, Lützen could well have become a second Austerlitz. But what was almost a decisive, strategic defeat turned into only a marginal, tactical one. Wittgenstein and Blücher withdrew towards Dresden. Lützen and the succeeding Battle of Bautzen had shown the allies that Napoleon was still very dangerous. They decided on a new strategy (the Trachenberg Plan) of avoiding direct battle with him while seeking out and attacking his subordinates instead, thus weakening his army. Meantime they would assemble an overwhelming force against him that the Emperor, for all his abilities, could not withstand.

During the battle of Lützen, Gerhard von Scharnhorst, one of the brightest and most able Prussian generals, serving as Wittgenstein's Chief of Staff, was wounded. Although the wound was minor, owing to the hasty retreat it could not be tended to soon enough. Infection set in and he died as a result.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Battle of the Katzbach
The Battle of the Katzbach on 26 August 1813, was an engagement of the Napoleonic Wars between the forces of the First French Empire under Marshal MacDonald and a Russo-Prussian army of the Sixth Coalition under Prussian Marshal Graf von Blucher (Blucher Gebhard). It occurred during a heavy thunderstorm at the Katzbach river between Wahlstatt and Liegnitz in the Prussian province of Silesia. Taking place the same day as the Battle of Dresden, it resulted in a Coalition victory.

Battle of the Katzbach
The two armies, roughly equal in size, stumbled upon one another after MacDonald crossed the swollen river. In the midst of the confusion and heavy rain, MacDonald seemed to recover first. Although his orders were to defend the flank of Napoleon's main force from Blucher, MacDonald decided to attack. He dispatched two-thirds of his army, about 60,000 men, in an attempt to flank the Russo-Prussian right. But confusion reigned again as the French columns found themselves too far apart to support one another.

Meanwhile, the remaining 30,000 men of MacDonald's force, who were supposed to hold down the Coalition forces, were met by a heavy counter-attack by Prussian cavalry. Without support or reinforcement, the French were soon forced to withdraw with many men being forced into the river to escape and thousands drowning.

  MacDonald's casualties numbered 13,000 killed and wounded with another 20,000 captured. Blücher's losses were some 4,000.

Beyond the battle losses, the French strategic position had been weakened. This, coupled with the defeats at Kulm, four days later, and Dennewitz on 6 September, would more than negate Napoleon's victory at Dresden.

Because of his victory, Blücher received the title of "Prince of Wahlstatt" on 3 June 1814.

In Germany there used to be a now obsolete saying "Der geht ran wie Blücher an der Katzbach!" ("He goes forward like Blücher at Katzbach!"), referring to Blücher and describing a vigorous behavior.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Battle of Leipzig
Battle of Leipzig, also called Battle of the Nations, (Oct. 16–19, 1813), decisive defeat for Napoleon, resulting in the destruction of what was left of French power in Germany and Poland.
The battle was fought at Leipzig, in Saxony, between approximately 185,000 French and other troops under Napoleon, and approximately 320,000 allied troops, including Austrian, Prussian, Russian, and Swedish forces, commanded respectively by Prince Karl Philipp Schwarzenberg, General Gebhard Leberecht Blücher, General Leonty Leontyevich Bennigsen, and the Swedish crown prince Jean Bernadotte. After his retreat from Russia in 1812, Napoleon mounted a new offensive in Germany in 1813. His armies failed to take Berlin, however, and were forced to withdraw west of the Elbe River. When the allied armies threatened Napoleon’s line of communications through Leipzig, he was forced to concentrate his forces in that city. On October 16 he successfully thwarted the attacks of Schwarzenberg’s 78,000 men from the south and Blücher’s 54,000 men from the north, but he failed to defeat either decisively. The number of troops surrounding him increased during the lull on the 17th, when Bennigsen and Bernadotte arrived.   The allied attack on the 18th, with more than 300,000 men, converged on the Leipzig perimeter. After nine hours of assaults, the French were pushed back into the city’s suburbs.

At 2 am on October 19, Napoleon began the retreat westward over the single bridge across the Elster River. All went well until a frightened corporal blew up the bridge at 1 pm, while it was still crowded with retreating French troops and in no danger of allied attack. The demolition left 30,000 rear guard and injured French troops trapped in Leipzig, to be taken prisoner the next day. The French also lost 38,000 men killed and wounded.

Allied losses totaled 55,000 men. This battle, one of the most severe of the Napoleonic Wars (1800–15), marked the end of the French Empire east of the Rhine.

Encyclopædia Britannica


Russian, Austrian, and Prussian troops in Leipzig

16-18 October 1813

Forces Engaged
Allied: 57,000 Prussians (Army of Silesia). Commander: Field Marshal Gebhard von Bliicher.
160,000 Austrians and Russians (Army of Bohemia). Commander: Prince Karl von Schwarzenberg.
65,000 Swedes and Russians (Army of the North). Commander: Crown Prince Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte.
French: 160,000 men. Commander: Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

The battle at Leipzig marked the beginning of true European cooperation against Napoleon.
Allied victory broke his power, leading to the invasion of France and Napoleon's abdication the following year.

The Battle of Leipzig
Historical Setting
After Napoleon's disastrous retreat from Russia at the end of 1812, during which he lost the bulk of the half-million-soldier army with which he invaded, no one in Europe expected him to recover so quickly. He reached Paris well before the news of the Russian fiasco and was able to immediately build another army by robbing future conscription rolls. That meant that most of the enroUees in the new Grande Armee were barely of military age, but they were nonetheless enthusiastic. Napoleon transferred some veterans out of Spain to stiffen the ranks with experienced fighters and then marched east toward the countries that he had long dominated and who were now organizing against him.
As Napoleon previously had conquered one European country after another, he had forced them into alliance with him. In the wake of the Russian campaign, many of those countries withdrew from their compacts. Although that weakened Napoleon's hold on northern and eastern Europe, he needed to fear his former allies only if they combined. In early 1813, that seemed somewhat doubtful, as Russia, Prussia, Austria, and a few German principalities such as Saxony eyed each other with suspicion. They looked past the immediate danger of Napoleons new army to which power might try to fill the vacuum left by the French emperors demise, and that fear of the future almost stopped any short-term cooperation. The primary figure attempting to coordinate an anti-French alliance was Austrian Foreign Minister Karl von Metternich. He had held his post since 1807 and had brokered a marriage between Napoleon and Marie-Louise, daughter of Austria's Emperor Francis I. In 1813, however, to bring Napoleon down, Metternich was eager to subvert the alliance that he had arranged. Convincing Russia, Prussia, and the other European powers to agree was a slow process. Still, in March, he organized the Sixth Coalition: Austria, Prussia, Russia, Sweden, and Great Britain. Soon 100,000 men were in position between Dresden and Magdeburg.
  Napoleon planned to reconquer these enemies in the same way he had conquered them in the first place, by attacking each separately before they could join and present him with overwhelming numbers. He had two major problems to overcome, however. The first was the inexperience of most of his army; the second was the lack of cavalry, most of which had perished in Russia. Without the cavalry, the gathering of intelligence was severely curtailed, and thus his ability to locate enemy forces and defeat them in detail was hampered. Still, he was active in late spring and summer 1813.
On 2 May, Napoleon defeated a Prussian force outside Leipzig at Liitzen, but the lack of cavalry meant that he was unaware of an enemy force on his flank until they attacked. He beat diem back and occupied Leipzig, but failed to win decisively. The French quickly marched on Dresden and captured that city and then fought the Russians nearby at Bautzen on 20-21 May. Again Napoleon drove his enemy from the field, but again was unable to destroy them. In the two battles combined, both sides lost about 38,000 men each. Soon Napoleon learned of large armies marching on his position from north, south, and east, so he negotiated a truce on 4 June that lasted just over 2 months.
In that time, he continued to mass and re-supply his forces, as did his enemies. Mettemich met with Napoleon for 9 hours on 26 June in Dresden, but no negotiated peace settlement could be reached. Mettemich offered a lasting peace on the basis of Napoleon ceding almost all the territory he had captured outside France's natural borders. That would mean giving up die desired French border of the Rhine River, as well as French conquests in Italy and Spain. Napoleon, not surprisingly, refused. Mettemich later claimed that, to brand Napoleon as the aggressor, he made a reasonable offer that he
knew would not be accepted. Napoleon knew he could not accept such an offer and remain emperor of France because his people would not allow their European empire to be taken away from them without a fight. By the time the truce ended on 16 August, both sides had amassed immense forces.

October 16 actions
The Battle
Napoleon had 300,000 men in Germany, but he placed a corps in a defensive position at the port city of Hamburg to threaten the Prussian rear and a corps at Dresden (southeast of Leipzig) near the Bohemian (Czech) border. In standard Napoleonic fashion, he had his remaining units spread out to live off the land as much as possible, but near enough together to support one another in case of attack. The allies decided that the best strategy would be to harry Napoleon's subordinates, defeating them as often as possible while avoiding a major battle until overwhelming forces could be arrayed against him.
This they proceeded to do: Swedish Crown Prince Bernadotte (a former marshal of Napoleon) defeated Napoleon's Marshal Oudinot at Grossbeeren, south of Berlin, on 23 August; Prussia's Marshall Gebhard von Bliicher beat Marshal Macdonald at Katzbach on 26 August. The enemy being in too many places at once, Napoleon exhausted himself and his men marching and countermarching to aid his subordinates. When he heard of an Austrian attack on Dresden, he forced his young army on yet another rapid move. He beat back the assault, but his worn out troops could not follow up the victory. More such battles took place in September and early October, and then the French withdrew back to Leipzig before allied pressure on all fronts.
On 15 October, Napoleon turned to face Bliicher's advancing Prussians from the north, but soon had to face about and deal with the larger Austrian Army of Bohemia approaching from the south. The Army of Bohemia numbered 160,000 Austrians and Russians commanded by Prince Karl von Schwarzenberg. When day broke on 16 October 1813, the field upon which Napoleon had chosen to deploy his men was covered with mist. Both sides had massed artillery, and that weapon did the most damage. The village of Wachau was the scene of most of the fighting, and it changed hands three times during the course of the day. By noon, Prince Karl's troops held the town, and then Napoleon launched his own attack. The land across which the armies fought was crossed by a number of streams, marshes, and woods and was perfect for defense. Napoleon, however, wanted to break the Austro-Russian line with massed artillery and then turn left and roll up the allied armies arrayed in a semicircle to the east of Leipzig. Early in the afternoon, he began pummeling the Austro-Russian force with his artillery. After an hour, he ordered his cavalry under Marshal Murat to attack. Murat's 10,000 men easily pushed back the first enemy troops they encountered, but Russian Czar Alexander quickly ordered his reserves to shift to the southern flank. When they arrived, the French cavalry was exhausted, and the Russian cavalry drove them off the field, restoring the Army of Bohemia's lines.
As Napoleon attempted to break through in the south, he held the northern flank with minimal force. Marshal Marmont defended the town of Mockern against Bluchers Prussians in a bitterly fought struggle. Neither Prussian nor French soldiers showed any mercy, and few prisoners were taken by either side.
Richard Caton Woodville - Charge of Polish uhlans at Leipzig (1912)
Marmont held the town most of the day, but in the afternoon a chance Prussian cannonball found a French ammunition wagon and the explosion not only demoralized the French troops but wounded Marmont so badly that he had to be evacuated. By day's end, the Prussians were in possession of the ruins of Mockern.
When the sun set on 16 October, Napoleon had failed to break through the Army of Bohemia and found himself in danger of losing Leipzig to the Prussians.

Battle of Leipzig, 18 October actions
On the next day,however, little fighting took place. Both sides received reinforcement, however, so the battle was merely delayed. For the allies, the Swedes of Crown Prince Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte finally arrived. Had he made haste and been available on 16 October, the numbers may well have been sufficient for the northern French flank to have been overwhelmed and Napoleon trapped. His arrival, however, boosted the allied armies to 300,000 men and almost 1,500 cannon. After a halfhearted attempt at opening negotiations, Napoleon prepared to stage a fighting withdrawal. On 18 October, fighting was once again intense, and he pulled his forces back into Leipzig after a unit of Saxons under French command defected to the Prussians. That night, he ordered his men to retreat westward down the only road available, through the town of Lindenau, where the only available stone bridge across the Elster River was located. It was very narrow, however, and a bottleneck quickly formed. Napoleon ordered a force of 30,000 to remain as a rear guard, but they were unable to retreat across the Elster because of the premature destruction of the bridge. Many French troops died on the bridge or in attempts to swim across the river, and the rear guard was annihilated.

Retreat of Napoleon on 19 October 1813, showing the explosion of the bridge
Napoleon's star, already sinking after the Russian campaign of 1812, finally set at Leipzig. Going into battle with an army less than adequately trained hurt him badly, and the loss of more than 60,000 dead, wounded, and prisoners reduced his force to 100,000 as he retreated toward France. Harassment and desertion whittled that number down to 60,000 by the time he had reached Paris. He still held the throne, but it was only a matter of time before he was forced to step down. The allies, although they also lost about 60,000 men, could better afford such casualties. They also picked up more allies.

Bavaria abandoned Napoleon on 18 October, and the Netherlands as well as the collection of principalities that Napoleon had organized into the Confederation of the Rhine both rebelled against his rule in November. On 8 November, the allies once again offered a peace settlement returning France to borders behind the Alps and well back from the Rhine, and foolishly Napoleon rejected the offer. Therefore, on 21 December 1813, the allied armies crossed the Rhine and invaded France. During the first 3 months of 1814, a string of battles was fought across northern France, climaxing in the battle for Paris on 30 March. Napoleon abdicated unconditionally on 11 April and was exiled to the small island of Elba in the Mediterranean.
  Napoleon had shown in those battles of early 1814 his traditional abilities to maneuver and win, but each battle depleted his already small forces. After Leipzig, it was a numbers game he could not win. Had he played his cards differendy at Leipzig, however, the battle's outcome could have been altered. Instead of leaving thousands of men defending Hamburg and Dresden, a concentration offerees could have given him the strength he needed to win. Marmont's force holding the northern flank against the Prussians was woefully small, and with a greater attacking force against the Army of Bohemia in the south he might have broken through and won the battle. As stated earlier, the allies were cooperating but mutually suspicious; a defeat at Leipzig may have crumbled the united front and given Napoleon much more bargaining power.
The allied victory, however, strengthened Metternich's hand and the result, in 1815, was the Concert of Europe, dedicated to maintaining a balance of power in Europe. That cooperative effort kept European countries from gaining too much individual power and kept them from fighting each other until the Crimean War in 1854. Not until the 1880s did that balance of power begin to fall apart with the ambitions of Kaiser Wilhelm in Germany. The victory at Leipzig not only proved that Napoleon could and would be beaten, but that European nations could and would profitably cooperate.
Napoleon I

Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815)
French expelled from Holland; return of William IV of Orange
Prussian army under Blucher Gebhard crosses the Rhine
The Americans capture York (Toronto) and Fort St. George
Battle of York
The Battle of York was fought on Tuesday, April 27, 1813, in York (present-day Toronto), the capital of the province of Upper Canada (present-day Ontario), between United States forces and the British defenders of York during the War of 1812. U.S. forces under Zebulon Pike were able to defeat the defenders of York, comprising a British-led force under the command of Roger Hale Sheaffe, combined with a small group of Ojibway allies.

An American force supported by a naval flotilla landed on the lake shore to the west, defeated the defending British force and captured the fort, town and dockyard. The Americans themselves suffered heavy casualties, including Brigadier General Zebulon Pike who was leading the troops, when the retreating British blew up the fort's magazine. The American forces subsequently carried out several acts of arson and looting in the town before withdrawing.

Though the Americans won a clear victory, it did not have decisive strategic results as York was a less important objective in military terms than Kingston, where the British armed vessels on Lake Ontario were based.


Battle of York by Owen Staples, 1914. The American fleet prior to the capture of York.

York, the provincial capital of Upper Canada, stood on the north shore of Lake Ontario. During the War of 1812, the lake was both the front line between Upper Canada and the United States, and also part of the principal British supply line from Quebec to the various armies and outposts to the west. At the start of the war, the British had a small naval force, the Provincial Marine, with which they seized control of the lake, and also of Lake Erie. This made it possible for Major General Isaac Brock, leading the British forces in Upper Canada, to gain several important victories during 1812 by shifting his small force rapidly between threatened points to defeat disjointed American attacks individually.

The United States Navy appointed Commodore Isaac Chauncey to regain control of the lakes. He created a squadron of fighting ships at Sackett's Harbor, New York by purchasing and arming several lake schooners and laying down new purpose-built fighting vessels. However, no decisive action was possible before the onset of winter, during which the ships of both sides were confined to harbour by ice. To match Chauncey's ships, the British laid down a sloop of war at Kingston, and another in the dockyard at York. This vessel was named Sir Isaac Brock after the general, who had been killed at the Battle of Queenston Heights the previous October.

US planning
On January 13, 1813, John Armstrong, Jr. was appointed United States Secretary of War. Having been a serving soldier, he quickly appreciated the situation on Lake Ontario, and devised a plan by which a force of 7,000 regular soldiers would be concentrated at Sackett's Harbor on April 1. Working together with Chauncey's squadron, this force would capture Kingston before the Saint Lawrence River thawed and substantial British reinforcements could arrive in Upper Canada. The capture of Kingston and the destruction of the Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard together with most of the vessels of the Provincial Marine, would make almost every British post west of Kingston vulnerable if not untenable. After Kingston was captured, the Americans would then capture the British positions at York and Fort George, at the mouth of the Niagara River.

Armstrong conferred with Major General Henry Dearborn, commander of the American Army of the North, at Albany, New York during February. Both Dearborn and Chauncey agreed with Armstrong's plan at this point, but they subsequently had second thoughts. That month, Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost, the British Governor General of Canada, travelled up the frozen Saint Lawrence to visit Upper Canada. This visit was made necessary because Major General Roger Hale Sheaffe, who had succeeded Brock as Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, was ill and unable to perform his various duties.
Prevost was accompanied only by a few small detachments of reinforcements, which participated in the Battle of Ogdensburg en route. Nevertheless, both Chauncey and Dearborn believed that Prevost's arrival indicated an imminent attack on Sackett's Harbor, and reported that Kingston now had a garrison of 6,000 or more British regulars.

Even though Prevost soon returned to Lower Canada, and deserters and pro-American Canadian civilians reported that the true size of Kingston's garrison was 600 regulars and 1,400 militia, Chauncey and Dearborn chose to accept the earlier inflated figure. Furthermore, even after two brigades of troops under Brigadier General Zebulon Pike reinforced the troops at Sackett's Harbor after a gruelling winter march from Plattsburgh, the number of effective troops available to Dearborn fell far short of the 7,000 planned, mainly as a result of sickness and exposure. During March, Chauncey and Dearborn recommended to Armstrong that when the ice on the lake thawed, they should attack the less well-defended town of York instead of Kingston. After capturing York, they would then attack Fort George.

Although York was the Provincial capital of Upper Canada, it was far less important than Kingston as a military objective. Armstrong, by now back in Washington, nevertheless acquiesced in this change of plan as Dearborn might well have better local information.[6] Historians such as John R. Elting have pointed out that this effectively reversed Armstrong's original strategy. Also, by committing the bulk of the American forces at the western end of Lake Ontario, it would leave Sackett's Harbor vulnerable to an attack by British reinforcements arriving from Lower Canada.

The Americans appeared off York late on April 26, 1813. Chauncey's squadron consisted of a ship-rigged corvette, a brig and twelve schooners. The embarked force commanded by Brigadier General Zebulon Pike numbered between 1,600 and 1,800, mainly from the 6th, 15th, 16th and 21st U.S. Infantry, and the 3rd U.S. Artillery fighting as infantry. Dearborn, the overall army commander, remained aboard the corvette Madison during the action.

The defences of York consisted of a fort a short distance west of the town, with the nearby "Government House Battery" mounting two 12-pounder guns. A mile west was the crude "Western Battery", with two obsolete 18-pounder guns. (These weapons were veterans of earlier wars and had been disabled by having their trunnions removed, but they were fixed to crude log carriages and could still be fired.) Further west were the ruins of Fort Rouillé and another disused fortification, the "Half Moon Battery", neither of which was in use. Major General Sheaffe, the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, was present at York to transact public business. He had under his command only four companies of regulars. The Militia was ordered to assemble, but only 300 of the 1st and 3rd York Regiments could be mustered at short notice. There were also about 40 to 50 natives (Mississaugas and Ojibwa) in the area.

Early on April 27, the first American wave of boats, carrying Major Benjamin Forsyth's company of the U.S. 1st Rifle Regiment, landed about 4 miles (6.4 km) west of the town, supported by some of Chauncey's schooners firing grapeshot. Because Sheaffe could not know where the Americans would land, Forsyth's riflemen were opposed only by some of the Indians led by Indian Agent James Givins, who were outflanked and retreated into the woods after a stiff resistance.

Sheaffe had ordered a company of the Glengarry Light Infantry to support the Natives, but they became lost in the outskirts of the town, having been misdirected by Major-General Æneas Shaw, the Adjutant General of the Canadian Militia, who took some of the militia north onto Dundas Street to prevent any wide American outflanking move.

As three more companies of American infantry landed accompanied by General Pike, the grenadier company of the 8th (The King's) Regiment of Foot charged them with the bayonet. The grenadiers were already outnumbered and were repulsed with heavy loss.

Pike ordered an advance by platoons, supported by two 6-pounder field guns, which steadily drove back the other two companies of Sheaffe's redcoats (another company of the 8th regiment, and one from the Royal Newfoundland).

The British tried to rally around the Western battery, but the battery's travelling magazine (a portable chest containing cartridges) exploded, apparently as the result of an accident. This caused further loss (including 20 killed) and confusion among the British regulars, and they fell back to a ravine north of the fort, where the militia were forming up.


Meanwhile, Chauncey's schooners, most of which carried a long 24-pounder or 32-pounder cannon, were bombarding the fort and Government House battery. (Chauncey himself was directing them from a small boat). British return fire was ineffective.

Sheaffe decided that the battle was lost and ordered the regulars to retreat, setting fire to the wooden bridge over the River Don east of the town to thwart pursuit. The militia and several prominent citizens were left "standing in the street like a parcel of sheep". Sheaffe instructed the militia to make the best terms they could with the Americans, but without informing the senior militia officers or any official of the legislature, he also dispatched Captain Tito LeLièvre of the Royal Newfoundland to set fire to the sloop of war HMS Sir Isaac Brock under construction in the dockyard, and to blow up the fort's magazine.

When the fort's magazine exploded, Pike and the leading American troops were only 200 yards (180 m) away, or even closer. The flag had been left flying over the fort as a ruse, and Pike was questioning a prisoner as to how many troops were defending it. Pike was mortally injured by flying stones and debris. The explosion killed 38 American soldiers and wounded 222.


Zebulon Pike was mortally wounded during the capture of Fort York.

The American loss for the entire battle was officially reported as 52 killed and 254 wounded for the Army and 3 killed and 11 wounded for the Navy, for a total of 55 killed and 265 wounded.

The British loss was officially reported by Sheaffe as 59 killed, 34 wounded, 43 wounded prisoners, 10 captured and 7 missing, for a total of 153 casualties. However, historian Robert Malcomson has found this return to be inaccurate: it did not include militia, sailors, dockyard workers or Native Americans and was incorrect even as to the casualties of the regulars. Malcomson demonstrates that the actual British loss was 82 killed, 43 wounded, 69 wounded prisoners, 274 captured and 7 missing, for a total of 475 casualties.

Colonel William Chewett and Major William Allen of the 3rd York Regiment of militia tried to arrange a capitulation, assisted by Captain John Beverley Robinson, the acting Attorney General of Upper Canada. The process took time.
The Americans were angry over their losses, particularly because they believed that the ship and fort had been destroyed after negotiations for surrender had already begun. Nevertheless, Colonel Mitchell of the 3rd U.S.

Artillery agreed to terms. While they waited for Dearborn and Chauncey to ratify the terms, the surrendered militia were held prisoner in a blockhouse without food or even medical attention for the few wounded. Forsyth's company of the 1st U.S. Rifle Regiment was left as guard in the town. At this stage, few Americans had entered the town.

The next morning, the terms had still not been ratified, since Dearborn had refused to leave the corvette Madison. When he eventually did, Reverend John Strachan (who held no official position other than Rector of York at the time) first brusquely tried to force him to sign the articles for capitulation on the spot, then accused Chauncey to his face of delaying the capitulation to allow the American troops licence to commit outrages. Eventually, Dearborn formally agreed to the articles for surrender.

The Americans took over the dockyard, where they captured a brig (the Duke of Gloucester) in poor state of repair, and twenty 24-pounder carronades and other stores intended for the British squadron on Lake Erie.
  The Brock was beyond salvage. The Americans had missed another ship-rigged vessel, the Prince Regent, which carried 16 guns, as it sailed for Kingston to collect ordnance two days before the Americans had been sighted. The Americans also demanded and received several thousand pounds in Army Bills, which had been in the keeping of Prideaux Selby, the Receiver General of Upper Canada, who was mortally ill.

Burning of York

Between April 28 and 30, American troops carried out many acts of plunder. Some of them set fire to the buildings of the Legislative Assembly. It was alleged that the American troops had found a scalp there, though folklore had it that the "scalp" was actually the Speaker's wig. The Parliamentary mace of Upper Canada was taken back to Washington and was only returned in 1934 as a goodwill gesture by President Franklin Roosevelt. The Printing Office, used for publishing official documents as well as newspapers, was vandalized and the printing press was smashed. Other Americans looted empty houses on the pretext that their absent owners were militia who had not given their parole as required by the articles of capitulation. The homes of Canadians connected with the Indians, including that of James Givins, were also looted regardless of their owners' status.

Dearborn emphatically denied giving orders for any buildings to be destroyed and deplored the worst of the atrocities in his letters, but he was nonetheless unable or unwilling to rein in his soldiers. Sheaffe was later to allege that local settlers had unlawfully come into possession of Government-owned farming tools or other stores looted and discarded by the Americans, and demanded that they be handed back.

The Americans sent the captured military stores away on May 2 but were then penned in York harbour by a gale. They left York on May 8, in miserable weather, and required a period of rest at Fort Niagara on the Niagara peninsula before they could be ready for another action.
Sheaffe's troops endured an equally miserable fourteen-day retreat overland to Kingston. Many members of the Provincial Assembly and other prominent citizens severely criticized Sheaffe, both for his conduct generally and during the fighting at York. For example, Militia officers Chewitt and Allan, the Reverend Strachan and others wrote to Governor General Prevost on May 8, that Sheaffe "kept too far from his troops after retreating from the woods, never cheered or animated them, nor showed by his personal conduct that he was hearty in the cause." Sheaffe lost his military and public offices in Upper Canada as the result of his defeat.

However, the Americans had not inflicted crippling damage on the Provincial Marine on Lake Ontario, and they admitted that by preserving his small force of regulars rather than sacrificing them in a fight against heavy odds, Sheaffe had robbed them of decisive victory. Secretary of War Armstrong wrote, "...we cannot doubt but that in all cases in which a British commander is compelled to act defensively, his policy will be that adopted by Sheaffe – to prefer the preservation of his troops to that of his post, and thus carrying off the kernel leave us the shell."

The most significant effects of the capture of York were probably felt on Lake Erie, since the capture of the ordnance and supplies destined for the British squadron there contributed eventually to their defeat in the Battle of Lake Erie.

Five currently active regular battalions of the United States Army (2-1 ADA, 1-2 Inf, 2-2 Inf, 1-5 Inf and 2-5 Inf) perpetuate the lineages of several American units (Crane's Company, 3rd Regiment of Artillery, and the old 6th, 16th and 21st Infantry Regiments) that were engaged in the Battle of York.

An archeological dig led by Ron Williamson to mark the 200th anniversary of the war shed new light on the battle. The dig unearthed evidence that the destruction of the magazine and its impact on US forces was bad luck. The Americans just happened to be at the exact distance of the shock wave and its debris field. The documentary film Explosion 1812 argues that the battle had a much greater impact than previously assumed. The mistreatment by US forces of the civilian Canadian population, dogged resistance by militia and the burning of British symbols and buildings after the battle led to a hardening of Canadian popular opinion.

  Later attack
Chauncey and Dearborn subsequently won the Battle of Fort George on the Niagara peninsula, but they had left Sackett's Harbor defended only by a few troops, mainly militia. When reinforcements from the Royal Navy commanded by Commodore James Lucas Yeo arrived in Kingston, Yeo almost immediately embarked some troops commanded by Sir George Prevost and attacked Sackett's Harbor. Although the British were nevertheless repelled by the defenders at the Second Battle of Sacket's Harbor, Chauncey immediately withdrew into Sacket's Harbor until mid-July, when a new heavy sloop of war had been completed.

Chauncey sortied again on July 21. Six days later, he embarked a battalion of troops commanded by Colonel Winfield Scott at the Niagara. They first intended to attack the British position at Burlington Heights at the western end of Lake Ontario, but found the defenders to be too strong and too well-entrenched for any landing to be successful. Instead, they decided to make another attack on York, and landed east of the town on July 31. There was no opposition. (The British regulars stationed at York had been rushed to Burlington Heights.)

The Americans burned a barracks and seized 11 batteaux, 5 cannon and some flour. Chauncey returned some private property, and books from the public library, which had been looted after the Battle of York.

The Ontario Heritage Foundation erected a plaque in 1968 near the entrance to Coronation Park, Exhibition Place, Lake Shore Boulevard. The plaque reads:

On the morning of July 31, 1813, a U.S. invasion fleet appeared off York (Toronto) after having withdrawn from a planned attack on British positions at Burlington Heights. That afternoon 300 American soldiers came ashore near here. Their landing was unopposed: there were no British regulars in town, and York's militia had withdrawn from further combat in return for its freedom during the American invasion three months earlier.

The invaders seized food and military supplies, then re-embarked. The next day they returned to investigate collaborators' reports that valuable stores were concealed up the Don River. Unsuccessful in their search, the Americans contented themselves with burning military installations on nearby Gibraltar Point before they departed.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

see also: War of 1812
Battle of Fort George

The Battle of Fort George (May 25–27, 1813) was a battle fought during the War of 1812, in which the Americans defeated a British force and captured the Fort George in Upper Canada. The troops of the United States Army and vessels of the United States Navy cooperated in a very successful amphibious assault, although most of the opposing British force escaped encirclement.

Fort George was the westernmost of the British fortified posts on Lake Ontario, the others being York, the provincial capital of Upper Canada, and Kingston where most of the ships of the Provincial Marine were based. The fort was situated on the western bank of the Niagara River near its mouth. On the American side of the river lay Fort Niagara. Fort George was constructed to replace and counterbalance Fort Niagara, which the British lost to the Americans after Jay's Treaty in the year 1796.
Events in 1812
At the beginning of the war both the British forces near Fort George and the American forces at Fort Niagara felt unprepared for conflict. On May 18, 1812 Sir George Prévost, the Governor General of the Canadas, wrote a letter in response to the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies who was inquiring about the military situation in Canada.
He stated that there were 400 soldiers of the 41st Regiment and a Captain's Command of Artillery stationed at Fort George. He also wrote that he felt Fort George would not be able to withstand an attack by the Americans if they came with a considerable force.

On the American side, Colonel Philetus Swift and Benjamin Barton wrote before the war to the Governor of New York, Daniel Tompkins, that Fort Niagara would fall to the British if a war were to be declared. By July 1812 however, the American commander at Fort Niagara was expecting a British attack and was demanding more reinforcements.

On October 8, 1812 Major General Stephen Van Rensselaer of the New York state militia outlined a plan of attack to send a militia force from Lewiston to attack Queenston which would force the British to send soldiers from Fort George to Queenston. When that happened, a force of U.S. Regulars commanded by Brigadier General Alexander Smyth were to travel by boat from Four Mile Creek to the rear of Fort George and capture the fort.

This plan failed to materialize in part because Smyth failed to cooperate. An attempt to carry out the plan on the night of October 10/11 was thwarted by bad weather. Smyth marched his detachment back to Black Rock, New York.

Van Rensselaer attacked Queenston with the troops he had at Lewiston on the night of October 13/14, without Smyth's troops. During the ensuing Battle of Queenston Heights, the guns of Fort George and Fort Niagara began to fire at the opposite fort.

During the exchange the Americans ended up burning the court house, jail, and fifteen or sixteen other buildings. During this battle Fort George was left under the control of Major Evans and there were no more than twenty soldiers acting as the main guards.

  American plans
The Americans drafted a new plan on February 10, 1813. The plan was to attack Kingston, then York from Sackets Harbor with 4,000 soldiers. Only then were they to assault Fort George. Simultaneously 3,000 soldiers from Buffalo, New York were to capture Fort Erie then march on Fort George. This plan was changed to avoid Kingston because Major General Henry Dearborn, commander of the United States armies on the frontier with Canada, believed there were 6,000 to 8,000 British soldiers at Kingston due to a false report.

On April 27, the Americans on Lake Ontario under Dearborn and Commodore Isaac Chauncey gained success at the Battle of York, occupying the town for several days and capturing many guns and stores, although Brigadier General Zebulon Pike and several dozen soldiers were killed by an exploding magazine. The American army was then transported across the lake in Chauncey's ships to Fort Niagara. Dearborn planned to attack Fort George next, but his army required rest and reorganisation. No preparations had been made to accommodate the troops at Fort Niagara, and they suffered considerable shortages and privations for several days. In particular, the wounded were left without shelter or medical attention.

On May 15, Colonel Winfield Scott took up his appointment as Dearborn's Adjutant General (i.e. Chief of Staff), having been exchanged after being captured at the Battle of Queenston Heights in the previous year. (The British maintained that Scott had only been paroled pending an exchange, and protested when he took up the appointment.) Scott improved the army's administration and pushed forward the plans for the forthcoming attack. At the same time, Lieutenant Oliver Hazard Perry of the United States Navy, who had arrived from Lake Erie to request sailors and supplies for his squadron and was temporarily serving as one of Chauncey's senior officers, reconnoitred the landing sites at the mouth of the Niagara River, taking bearings and placing marker buoys.

At Fort George, the Americans planned to land on the shore of the lake rather than on the shore of the Niagara River. The troops would be supported as they landed by twelve schooners, each mounting one or more heavy cannon, which could approach the shore closely. Two larger vessels, the corvette Madison and the brig Oneida would engage the nearest British batteries.


The American army numbered approximately 4,000 regular infantry. The force was divided into four waves, which would land in succession. The first wave was to be commanded by Scott himself, the second by Brigadier General John Parker Boyd, a professional soldier, and the third by Brigadier General William H. Winder, a recently commissioned lawyer. A brigade under a political appointee, Brigadier General John Chandler, formed the reserve, together with most of the artillery under Colonel Alexander Macomb. The Army's second-in-command, Major General Morgan Lewis, was nominally in overall command of the landing force. Dearborn, the commander in chief, would observe from aboard the Madison.

As the American preparations proceeded, on May 25 they began to bombard Fort George from their positions along the river and from Fort Niagara, and also from Chauncey's schooners. The gunners in the fort and the nearby batteries were using cannonballs which had been heated in furnaces until they were red-hot, then quickly loaded into cannons and fired. Several log buildings within Fort George burned down, and the women and children in the fort were forced to take shelter within the bastions.


British situation
The commander of the British forces on the Niagara peninsula was Brigadier General John Vincent. He had 1,000 regular soldiers (the bulk of the 1st battalion of the 8th (King's) Regiment and the 49th Regiment, with detachments of the Royal Newfoundland Fencibles and the Glengarry Light Infantry). There were also up to 300 militia present, including Captain Runchey's Company of Coloured Men.

Although Vincent knew that an assault was imminent, he could not know from which direction it would come. To try to cover the entire threatened front, he split his regulars into three detachments and would counterattack the Americans when they landed. Most regulars were placed on the Niagara River, assuming that the Americans would attack under cover of their guns in Fort Niagara.

The attack, however, did not come along the Niagara River. Just after dawn on May 27, an early morning fog dispersed to reveal the American vessels off the lake shore to the west. Vincent believed he saw 14 or 15 vessels and 90 to 100 large boats and scows each with 50 or 60 soldiers. Scott's troops began landing west of the mouth of the Niagara River, while Perry's schooners silenced the nearby British batteries. Scott's force consisted of the U.S. 1st Rifle Regiment under Major Benjamin Forsyth, two companies of the U.S. 15th Infantry and the bulk of the U.S. 2nd Artillery, fighting as infantry. A company of the Glengarry Light Infantry charged the Americans with the bayonet as they waded ashore. Winfield Scott had to personally fight off a Glengarry soldier while falling into the water. The Glengarry company was outnumbered and forced to retreat, losing half their men. A company of the Royal Newfoundland also attacked but took heavy casualties from grapeshot fired by the schooners.

Scott advanced from the beach but was counter-attacked by British troops (the remnants of the troops which had already engaged Scott, plus five companies of the 8th (King's), Runchey's company and 100 other militia) which had been concentrated in a ravine out of the American fire. Scott was driven back, but once again the fire from Perry's schooners caused heavy losses among the British. Scott's force was reinforced by the leading troops of Boyd's brigade, which was just landing, and the British were driven back in turn.

As Winder's brigade also began landing, Vincent realized that he was outnumbered and outflanked and decided to evacuate his soldiers before they were completely encircled. He ordered an immediate retreat south to Queenston. Although he ordered the fort's guns to be spiked and the magazines to be blown up, the task was so hastily performed and Scott pursued so closely that the Americans were able to secure the fort substantially intact. One small magazine did explode, and the blast threw Scott from his horse and broke his collarbone. (Some British women and children had been left behind in the fort in the hasty retreat and would have suffered heavy casualties if the demolitions had proceeded as Vincent ordered.)

Scott continued to press after Vincent and the American batteries bombarded the retreating British from the other side of the river. Vincent's rearguards, including Merritt's Troop of Provincial Dragoons, held off Scott although several stragglers were captured. However, the American plan had allowed for only two companies of U.S. Dragoons commanded by Colonel James Burn to cross the Niagara 5 miles (8.0 km) above Fort George cut off Vincent's retreat.

The dragoons were delayed in their crossing by a British battery, and Burn cautiously waited for both companies to assemble before moving against Vincent, by which time Scott had reached Burn's position. As Scott waited for the American dragoons to reorganise before pressing on again, Brigadier General Boyd brought him orders from Major General Lewis to abandon the pursuit and return to Fort George. Lewis feared that the British would lead Scott into an ambush.

The U.S. Army lost one officer and 39 enlisted men killed and five officers and 106 other ranks wounded, while the U.S. Navy lost one killed and two wounded, for a total 41 killed and 113 wounded.

The British official casualty return, for the regular troops only, gave 52 killed, 44 wounded and 262 missing; also mentioning that 16 men who had been "wounded on former occasions" had been left behind in the Fort George military hospital and were not included in the casualty total. The detachment of the (local) Lincoln Militia who fought at the battle lost 5 officers and 80 other ranks, although only four of these seem to have been killed. The Americans took 276 prisoners, 163 of them wounded.

The wounded prisoners would have included the 16 wounded patients captured in the Fort George hospital. Including these 16 as unwounded prisoners (because they were captured at this engagement but received their wounds in earlier ones), this gives total British casualties of 183 killed, wounded or deserted; 147 wounded prisoners and 129 unwounded prisoners; adding up to a loss of 459 men.

The Americans had inflicted heavy casualties and captured a strongly fortified position with fewer losses to themselves. The victory can be credited to excellent planning and leadership by two comparatively junior officers: Scott and Perry.

When the Americans broke off the pursuit, Vincent continued his retreat to Beaver Dams, near present-day Thorold, Ontario, where he gathered in the other British regular detachments from Fort Erie and other posts higher up the Niagara, and temporarily disbanded the militia, before falling back to Burlington Heights near the western end of Lake Ontario.

When the British abandoned Fort Erie, Perry was able to move several armed schooners which had been blockaded in Black Rock into Lake Erie, and these were to be instrumental in his victory later in the year in the Battle of Lake Erie.

However, the American army was slow to exploit the capture of Fort George by advancing up the Niagara peninsula, and they allowed Vincent to launch a surprise attack at the Battle of Stoney Creek, after which the Americans withdrew to Fort George.

By concentrating their naval squadron against Fort George, the Americans had also left themselves vulnerable to a counter-attack on their base, and only indecisive command by Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost allowed the Americans to fight him off at the Battle of Sackett's Harbor.

The Americans subsequently remained in a small defensive enclave around Fort George.
After a disaster when a sortie against a British outpost was surrounded and forced to surrender by Native Americans at the Battle of Beaver Dams, they remained largely inactive on this front until they abandoned Fort George in December 1813.


Ten currently active regular battalions of the United States Army (2-1 ADA, 3-4 ADA, 4-1 FA, 1-2 Inf, 2-2 Inf, 1-4 Inf, 2-4 Inf, 3-4 Inf, 1-5 Inf and 2-5 Inf) perpetuate the lineages of a number of American units (Crane's Company, 3rd Regiment of Artillery, Baker's Company, 2nd Regiment of Artillery, Leonard's Company, 1st Regiment of Artillery, and the old 6th, 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd Infantry Regiments) that were engaged at Fort George.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
see also: War of 1812
Capture of USS Chesapeake
The Capture of USS Chesapeake, or the Battle of Boston Harbor, was fought on 1 June 1813, between the frigates HMS Shannon and USS Chesapeake, as part of the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom. The Chesapeake was captured in a brief but intense action in which over 80 men were killed. This was the only frigate action of the war in which there was no preponderance of force on either side.
At Boston, Captain James Lawrence took command of Chesapeake on 20 May 1813, and on 1 June, put to sea to meet the waiting HMS Shannon, the frigate whose written challenge had just missed Chesapeake's sailing. Chesapeake suffered early in the exchange of gunfire, having her wheel and fore topsail halyard shot away, rendering her unmanoeuvrable. Lawrence himself was mortally wounded and was carried below. The American crew struggled to carry out their captain's last order, "Don't give up the ship!", but the British boarding party overwhelmed them. The battle was notably intense but of short duration, lasting ten to fifteen minutes, in which time 252 men were killed or wounded. Shannon's Captain Philip Broke was severely injured in fighting on the forecastle. Chesapeake and her crew were taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the sailors were imprisoned; the ship was repaired and taken into service by the Royal Navy. She was sold at Portsmouth, England in 1819 and broken up. Surviving timbers were used to build the nearby Chesapeake Mill in Wickham and can be seen and visited to this day.
Broke's naval gunnery and training

During his long period in command of Shannon, Captain Philip Broke introduced practical refinements to his 'great guns', which were virtually unheard of elsewhere in contemporary naval gunnery. He had 'dispart sights' fitted to his 18-pounder long guns, which improved aiming as they compensated for the narrowing of the barrels from the breech to the muzzle. He had the elevating 'quoins' (wedge-shaped pieces of wood placed under the breech) of his long guns grooved to mark various degrees of elevation so that his guns could be reliably levelled to fire horizontally in any state of heeling of the ship under a press of sail. The carronades were similarly treated, but the elevating screws on these cannon were marked in paint. He also introduced a system where bearings were incised into the deck next to each gun; fire could then be directed to any bearing independent of the ability of any particular gun crew to see the target. Fire from the whole battery could also be focused on any part of an enemy ship.

Broke drilled his crew to an extremely high standard of naval gunnery; he regularly had them fire at targets, such as floating barrels. Often these drills would be made into competitions to see which gun crew could hit the target and how fast they could do so. He even had his gun crews fire at targets 'blindfold' to good effect; they were only given the bearing to lay their gun on without being allowed to sight the gun on the target themselves. This constituted a very early example of 'director firing'.

In addition to these gunnery drills, Broke was fond of preparing hypothetical scenarios to test his crew. For example, after all hands had been drummed to quarters, he would inform them of a theoretical attack and see how they would act to defend the ship. Though the use of cutlasses in training was avoided a method of swordsmanship training called 'singlestick' was regularly practised.
This was a game employing roughly similar thrusts and parries as were used with the cutlass, but as it was played with wooden sticks with wicker hand guards; hits, although painful, were not often dangerous. It soon developed quickness of eye and wrist. Many of the crew became very expert.

  Issuing a challenge
Eager to engage and defeat one of the American frigates that had already scored a number of victories over the Royal Navy in single ship confrontations, Broke prepared a challenge. The USS President had already slipped out of the harbour under the cover of fog and had evaded the British. The Constitution was undergoing extensive repairs and alterations and would not be ready for sea in the foreseeable future. However, the Chesapeake appeared to be ready to put to sea. Consequently Broke decided to challenge the Chesapeake, which had been refitting in Boston harbour under the command of Captain James Lawrence, offering single ship-to-ship combat. Whilst patrolling offshore, the Shannon had intercepted and captured a number of American ships attempting to reach the harbour. After sending two of them off to Halifax, he found that his crew was being dangerously reduced. Broke therefore resorted to burning the rest of the prizes in order to conserve his highly trained crew in anticipation of the battle with the Chesapeake. The boats from the burnt prizes were sent into Boston, carrying Broke's oral invitation to Lawrence to come out and engage him. Broke had already sent the Tenedos away in the hope that the more favourable odds would entice the American out, but eventually began to despair that the Chesapeake would ever come out of the harbour. He finally decided to send a written challenge. In this he was copying his adversary. Lawrence had earlier in the war, when captain of the sloop of war Hornet, sent a written invitation to the captain of the British sloop of war Bonne Citoyenne to a single-ship contest. Lawrence's offer had been declined.

As the Chesapeake appears now ready for sea, I request you will do me the favour to meet the Shannon with her, ship to ship, to try the fortune of our respective flags. The Shannon mounts twenty-four guns upon her broadside and one light boat-gun; 18 pounders upon her maindeck, and 32-pounder carronades upon her quarterdeck and forecastle; and is manned with a complement of 300 men and boys, beside thirty seamen, boys, and passengers, who were taken out of recaptured vessels lately. I entreat you, sir, not to imagine that I am urged by mere personal vanity to the wish of meeting the Chesapeake, or that I depend only upon your personal ambition for your acceding to this invitation.


We have both noble motives. You will feel it as a compliment if I say that the result of our meeting may be the most grateful service I can render to my country; and I doubt not that you, equally confident of success, will feel convinced that it is only by repeated triumphs in even combats that your little navy can now hope to console your country for the loss of that trade it can no longer protect. Favour me with a speedy reply. We are short of provisions and water, and cannot stay long here.

—Philip Broke, original message edited by James and Chamier 1837

Captain Lawrence did not in fact receive Broke's letter and, according to author Ian W. Toll, it would not have made the slightest difference; Lawrence intended to sail USS Chesapeake at the first day of favorable weather. The fact that it was not in his nation's interests at this point in the war to be challenging British frigates seems to have not entered into his reasoning. When USS President had slipped out of harbor, it was to embark on a commerce-raiding mission, which was deemed in the U.S. national interest. Half of the officers and up to one quarter of the crew were new to the ship. In the short time he was in command of the Chesapeake Lawrence had twice exercised his crew at the great guns, walking the decks and personally supervising the drill. He also instigated a signal, a bugle call, to call on his crew to board an enemy vessel. Unfortunately the only crewmember able to produce a note on the bugle was a "dull-witted" 'loblolly boy' (surgeon's assistant) called William Brown. Lawrence believed that he would win the battle and wrote two quick notes, one to the Secretary of the Navy pronouncing his intentions, and another to his brother in-law asking him to look after Lawrence's wife and children in event of his death.


The initial exchange of gunfire. Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, 1836
By now the Shannon had been off Boston for 56 days and was running short of provisions, whilst the extended period at sea was wearing the ship down. She would be at a disadvantage facing the Chesapeake, fresh from harbour and a refit. A boat was despatched carrying the invitation, manned by a Mr Slocum, a discharged American prisoner. The boat had not reached the shore when the Chesapeake was seen underway, sailing out of the harbour. She was flying three American ensigns and a large white flag at the foremast inscribed 'Free Trade and Sailor's Rights'. Shannon carried 276 officers, seamen and marines of her proper complement, eight recaptured seamen, 22 Irish labourers who had been 48 hours in the ship, of whom only four could speak English, and 24 boys, of whom about 13 were under 12 years of age. Broke had trained his gun crews to fire accurate broadsides into the hulls of enemy vessels, with the aim of killing their gun crews, rather than shooting down the masts. Lawrence meanwhile was confident in his ship, especially since she carried a substantially larger crew. Previous American victories over Royal Navy ships left him expectant of success. Just before the engagement, the American crew gave three cheers.

The two ships had in one another about as close a match in size and force as was possible, given the variations in ship design and armament existing between contemporary navies. The USS Chesapeake's (rated at 38 guns) armament of 28 18-pounder long guns was an exact match for HMS Shannon. Measurements proved the ships to be about the same deck length, the only major difference being the ships' complements: Chesapeake's 379 against the Shannon's 330.

Comparison of combatant vessels (English measurement methods used for both ships; dimensions from Gardiner (2006) pp. 25, 32 and armament from Padfield p. 140)

Gunnery duel

As the American ship approached, Broke spoke to his crew, ending with a description of his philosophy of gunnery, "Throw no shot away. Aim every one. Keep cool. Work steadily. Fire into her quarters – maindeck to maindeck, quarterdeck to quarterdeck. Don't try to dismast her. Kill the men and the ship is yours."

The two ships met at half past five in the afternoon, 20 nautical miles (37 km) east of the Boston Light, between Cape Ann and Cape Cod. Shannon was flying a weather-worn blue ensign, and her dilapidated outside appearance after a long period at sea suggested that she would be an easy opponent. Observing the Chesapeake's many flags, a sailor had questioned Broke: "Mayn't we have three ensigns, sir, like she has?" "No," said Broke, "we've always been an unassuming ship." HMS Shannon refused to fire upon USS Chesapeake as she bore down, nor would USS Chesapeake rake HMS Shannon despite having the weather gage. Lawrence's behavior that day earned him praise from the British officers for gallantry.

The two ships opened fire just before 18:00 at a range of about 35 metres, with Shannon scoring the first hit, striking the Chesapeake on one of her forward gunports with two round shot and a bag of musket balls fired by William Mindham, the gun captain of the aftmost of Shannon 's starboard 18-pounders. Chesapeake was moving faster than the Shannon, and as she ranged down the side of the British ship, the destruction inflicted by the precise and methodical gunnery of the British crew moved aft with the American's forward gun crews suffering the heaviest losses. However, the American crew were well drilled and, despite their losses, returned fire briskly. As Chesapeake was heeling, many of their hits on Shannon struck the water or waterline of Shannon causing little damage, but American carronade fire caused serious damage to Shannon's rigging.


In particular, a 32 pounder carronade ball struck the piled shot for the Shannon's 12 pounder gun that was stowed in the main chains; the shot was propelled through the timbers to scatter like hail across the gundeck.

Captain Lawrence realised that his ship's speed would take it past the Shannon and ordered a 'pilot's luff'. This was a small and brief turn to windward which would make the sails shiver and reduce the ship's speed. Just after the Chesapeake began this limited turn away from the Shannon, she had her means of manoeuvring entirely disabled as a second round of accurate British fire caused more losses, most critically to the men and officers manning Chesapeake 's quarterdeck.


Broke leads the boarding party aboard the Chesapeake
Here the helmsmen were killed by a 9-pounder gun that Broke had ordered installed on the quarter deck for that very purpose, and the same gun shortly afterwards shot away the wheel itself. Surviving American gun crews did land hits on Shannon in their second round of fire, especially American carronade fire which swept Shannon 's forecastle, killing three men, wounding others and disabling Shannon 's nine pounder bow gun while one round shot demolished Shannon 's ship's bell.

At almost the same time as Chesapeake lost control of her helm, her fore-topsail halyard was shot away, her fore-topsail yard then dropped, and she 'luffed up'. Losing her forward momentum, she yawed further into the wind until she was 'in irons', her sails were pressed back against her masts and she then made sternway (went backwards). Her port stern quarter (rear left corner) made contact with the Shannon's starboard side, level with the fifth gunport from the bow, and the Chesapeake was caught by the projecting fluke of one of Shannon's anchors, which had been stowed on the gangway. The Chesapeake's spanker boom then swung over the deck of the British ship. Mr Stevens, Broke's boatswain, lashed the boom inboard to keep the two ships together, and lost an arm as he did so.

  Trapped against the Shannon at an angle in which few of her guns could fire on the British ship, and unable to manoeuvre away, the Chesapeake's stern now became exposed and was swept by raking fire. Earlier in the action the Shannon's gunnery had devastated the Chesapeake's forward gun crews; this destruction was now inflicted on the gun crews in the aft part of the ship. The American ship's situation worsened when a small open cask of musket cartridges abaft the mizzen-mast blew up. When the smoke cleared, Broke judged the time was right and gave the order to board. Captain Lawrence also gave the order to board, but the frightened bugler aboard the Chesapeake, William Brown, failed to sound the call, and only those near Lawrence heard his command. By this time Lawrence was the only officer left on the upper deck, as Lieutenants Ludlow and Ballard had been wounded. Lieutenant Cox, who had brought up men from the lower deck to form a boarding party, reached the quarterdeck only to find that his captain had been badly, indeed mortally, wounded by a musket ball. Lawrence was clinging to the binnacle in order to stay upright; Cox, who had served all his sea life with Lawrence, carried him down to the cockpit with the help of two sailors. As he was being taken down Lawrence called out "Tell the men to fire faster! Don't give up the ship!"
The British board
In contrast to the confusion and loss of leadership aboard the American vessel, the British boarding party was being effectively organised. A number of small-arms men rushed aboard the Chesapeake, led by Broke, including the purser, Mr G. Aldham, and the clerk, Mr John Dunn. Aldham and Dunn were killed as they crossed the gangway, but the rest of the party made it onto the Chesapeake. Captain Broke, at the head of not more than twenty men, stepped from the rail of the waist-hammock netting onto the muzzle of the after-carronade of the Chesapeake, and from there he jumped down to her quarterdeck. As the British boarded there were no American officers left on the quarterdeck to organise resistance.

The maindeck of the Chesapeake was almost deserted, having been swept by Shannon's gunfire; the surviving gun crews had either responded to the call for boarders or had taken refuge below. Two American officers, Lieutenant Cox (who had returned from carrying Captain Lawrence down to the surgeon) and Midshipman Russell saw that the aftmost 18-pounders on the port side, still bore on the Shannon and working between them managed to fire both.

Lieutenant Ludlow, who had been slightly wounded and had gone down to Chesapeake's cockpit for treatment, now returned to the upper decks, rallying some of the American crew as he did so. Lieutenant Budd joined him with a band of men he had led up the fore-hatch. Ludlow led them in a counter-attack which pushed the British back as far as the binnacle.

However, a wave of British reinforcements arrived, Ludlow received a mortal wound from a cutlass, and the Americans were again thrown back. James Bulger, one of Shannon's Irishmen, charged into the Americans wielding a boarding pike and shouting Gaelic curses - "And then did I not spit them, beJaysus!" Lacking officers to lead them (Lieutenant Budd had also been wounded by a cutlass) and lacking support from below, the Americans were driven back by the boarders.

  American resistance then fell apart, with the exception of a band of men on the forecastle and those in the tops. A number of the Americans driven from the upper decks jostled each other to get down the main hatchway to the comparative safety of the berth deck. Seeing this, Lt. Cox called to them, "You damned cowardly sons of bitches! What are you jumping below for?" When asked by a nearby midshipman if he should stop them by cutting a few down, Cox replied, "No sir, it is of no use."

Fighting had now broken out between the tops (platforms at the junction of mast and topmast) of the ships as rival sharpshooters fired upon their opponents and upon sailors on the exposed decks below. The British marksmen, led by midshipman William Smith, who had command of the fore-top, stormed the Chesapeake's fore-top over the yard-arm and killed all the Americans there. At this point, the wind tore the two ships apart, and Chesapeake was blown around the bows of the Shannon. This left the British boarders, about fifty-strong, stranded. However, organised resistance aboard the American ship had almost ceased by this time.

Broke himself led a charge against a number of the Americans who had managed to rally on the forecastle. Three American sailors, probably from the rigging, descended and attacked him. Taken by surprise, he killed the first, but the second hit him with a musket which stunned him, whilst the third sliced open his skull with his sabre, knocking him to the deck. Before the sailor could finish Broke off, the American was bayoneted by a British Marine named John Hill. The Shannon's crew rallied to the defence of their captain and carried the forecastle, killing the remaining Americans. Broke sat, dizzied and weak, on a carronade slide, and his head was bound up by William Mindham, who used his own neckerchief. Meanwhile, the Shannon's First Lieutenant, Mr George T. L. Watt, had attempted to hoist the British colours over the Chesapeake's, but this was misinterpreted aboard the Shannon, and he was hit in the forehead by grapeshot and killed as he did so.


The Brilliant Achievement of the Shannon ... in boarding and capturing the
United States Frigate Chesapeake off Boston, 1 June 1813 in fifteen minutes by W. Elmes.
Chesapeake is taken
The British had cleared the upper decks of American resistance, and most of the Chesapeake's crew had taken refuge on the berth deck.[36] A musket or pistol shot from the berth deck killed a British marine, William Young, who was guarding the main hatchway. The furious British crewmen then began firing through the hatchway at the Americans crowded below. Lieutenant Charles Leslie Falkiner of the Shannon, the leader of the boarders who had rushed the maindeck, restored order by threatening to blow out the brains of the next person to fire. He then demanded that the Americans send up the man who had killed Young, adding that the Chesapeake was taken and "We have three hundred men aboard. If there is another act of hostility you will be called up on deck one by one – and shot." Falkiner was given command of the Chesapeake as a British prize-vessel.

Shannon's midshipmen during the action were Messers. Smith, Leake, Clavering, Raymond, Littlejohn and Samwell. Samwell was the only British officer other than Broke to be wounded in the action; he was to die from an infection of his wounds some weeks later. Mr Etough was the acting master, and conned the ship into the action. Shortly after the Chesapeake had been secured, Broke fainted from loss of blood and was rowed back to the Shannon to be attended to by the ship's surgeon.

  The engagement had lasted just ten minutes according to Shannon's log, or eleven minutes by Lieutenant Wallis' watch. Broke more modestly claimed fifteen minutes in his official despatch. Shannon had lost 23 men killed, and had 56 wounded. Chesapeake had about 48 killed, including four lieutenants, the master and many other of her officers, and 99 wounded. Shannon had been hit by a total of 158 projectiles, Chesapeake by 362. In the time the batteries of both ships were firing, the Americans had been exposed to 44 roundshot, whilst the British had received 10 or 11 in reply (these are figures for shot which would have produced casualties or material damage; some of the Chesapeake's shot was fired low, bouncing off the Shannon's side at waterline level). Even before being boarded, Chesapeake had lost the gunnery duel by a considerable margin.

A large cask of un-slaked lime was found open on Chesapeake's forecastle, and another bag of lime was discovered in the fore-top. British sailors alleged the intention was to throw handfuls into the eyes of Shannon's men in an unfair and dishonourable manner as they attempted to board, though that was never done by the Chesapeake's crew. Historian Albert Gleaves has called the allegation "absurd," noting, "Lime is always carried in ship's stores as a disinfectant, and the fact that it was left on the deck after the ship was cleared for action was probably due to the neglect of a junior, or petty, officer."


An 1830 representation of HMS Shannon leading the captured American Frigate Chesapeake into Halifax, Nova Scotia in June 1813
After the victory, a prize crew was put aboard the Chesapeake. The commander of the prize, Lieutenant Falkiner, had a good deal of trouble from the restive Americans, who outnumbered his own men. He had some of the leaders of the unrest transferred to the Shannon in the leg-irons that had, ironically, been shipped aboard the Chesapeake to deal with expected British prisoners. The rest of the American crew were rendered docile by the expedient of a carpenter cutting scuttles (holes) in the maindeck through which two 18-pounder cannon, loaded with grapeshot, were pointed at them.

The Shannon, commanded by Lieutenant Provo Wallis, escorted her prize into Halifax, arriving there on 6 June. On the entry of the two frigates into the harbour, the naval ships already at anchor manned their yards, bands played martial music and each ship Shannon passed greeted her with cheers. The 320 American survivors of the battle were interned on Melville Island (Nova Scotia) in 1813, and their ship, taken into British service and renamed the HMS Chesapeake, was used to ferry prisoners from Melville to England's Dartmoor Prison.

Many officers were paroled to Halifax, but some began a riot at a performance of a patriotic song about the Chesapeake's defeat. Parole restrictions were tightened: beginning in 1814, paroled officers were required to attend a monthly muster on Melville Island, and those who violated their parole were confined to the prison.

As the first major victory in the naval war for the British, the capture raised the shaken morale of the Royal Navy. After setting out on 5 September for a brief cruise under a Captain Teahouse, the Shannon departed for England on 4 October, carrying the recovering Broke. They arrived at Portsmouth on 2 November. After the successful action Lieutenants Wallis and Falkiner were promoted to the rank of commander, and Messrs. Etough and Smith were made lieutenants. Broke was made a Baronet that September.

  The Court of Common Council of London awarded him the freedom of the city and a sword worth 100 guineas. He also received a piece of plate worth 750 pounds and a cup worth 100 guineas. Captain Lawrence was buried in Halifax with full military honors with six British Naval Officers serving as pall bearers. The Chesapeake, after active service in the Royal Navy, was eventually sold at Portsmouth, England, for £500 in 1819 and broken up. Some of the timbers of the Chesapeake were used in the construction of the Chesapeake Mill in Wickham, Hampshire. The Shannon was reduced to a receiving ship in 1831, and broken up in 1859.

In the US, the capture was seen as a humiliation, and contributed to popular sentiment against the war. Many New Englanders, now calling the conflict "Madison's war" after James Madison, demanded that he resign the presidency.

Broke never again commanded a ship. The head wound from a cutlass blow, which had exposed the brain, had been so severe that it was initially pronounced fatal by the ship's surgeon. However, Broke survived the wound into moderate old age (64 years), though he was debilitated. He suffered, to a greater or lesser extent, from headaches and other neurological problems for the rest of his life. The casualties were heavy. The British lost 23 killed and 56 wounded. The Americans lost 48 killed and 99 wounded. Between the wounded of the ships' two companies, another 23 died of their wounds in the two weeks following the action. Relative to the total number of men participating, this was one of the bloodiest ship-to-ship actions of the age of sail. By comparison, HMS Victory suffered fewer casualties during the whole of the Battle of Trafalgar. The entire action had lasted, at most, for 15 minutes, speaking to the ferocity of the fighting.

A sister ship of HMS Shannon has been restored and preserved, HMS Trincomalee of the Leda class; she can be seen in a dock at Hartlepool in the North East of England and is the oldest British warship afloat.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Battle of Crysler's Farm
The Battle of Crysler's Farm, also known as the Battle of Crysler's Field, was fought on 11 November 1813, during the Anglo-American War of 1812. The name Chrysler's Farm is sometimes used for the engagement, but Crysler is the proper spelling. A British and Canadian force won a victory over an American force which greatly outnumbered them. The American defeat prompted them to abandon the St. Lawrence Campaign, their major strategic effort in the autumn of 1813.
The St. Lawrence Campaign
The American plan
The battle arose from an American campaign which was intended to capture Montreal. The resulting military actions, including the Battle of the Chateauguay, the Battle of Crysler's Field and a number of skirmishes, are collectively known as the Saint Lawrence Campaign.

The American plan was devised by United States Secretary of War John Armstrong, Jr., who originally intended taking the field himself. Because it was difficult to concentrate the necessary force in one place due to the initially scattered disposition of the troops and inadequate lines of communication, it involved two forces which would combine for the final assault. Major General James Wilkinson's division of 8,000 would concentrate at Sackett's Harbor on Lake Ontario, and proceed down the Saint Lawrence River in gunboats, batteaux and other small craft. At some point, they would rendezvous with another division of 4,000 under Major General Wade Hampton advancing north from Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain, to make the final attack on Montreal.

Even as preparations proceeded, it was apparent that the plan had several shortcomings. Until the last minute, it was uncertain that Montreal was to be the objective, as Armstrong originally intended to attack Kingston, where the British naval squadron on Lake Ontario was based. However, Commodore Isaac Chauncey, commanding the American naval squadron on the lake, refused to risk his ships in any attack against Kingston. There was mistrust between the Army officers concerned; Wilkinson had an unsavoury reputation as a scoundrel, and Hampton originally refused to serve in any capacity in the same army as Wilkinson. The troops lacked training and uniforms, sickness was rife and there were too few experienced officers. Chiefly though, it appeared that neither force could carry sufficient supplies to sustain itself before Montreal, making a siege or any prolonged blockade impossible.

  American preliminary moves
Hampton began his part of the campaign on 19 September with an advance down the River Richelieu, which flows north from Lake Champlain. He decided that the defences on this obvious route were too strong and instead shifted westward to Four Corners, on the Chateauguay River near the frontier with Canada.

He was forced to wait there for several weeks as Wilkinson's force was not ready, which cost him some of his initial advantage in numbers as Canadian troops were moved to the Chateauguay, and reduced his supplies.

Armstrong had intended that Wilkinson's force would set out on 15 September. On 2 September, Wilkinson himself had gone to Fort George, which the Americans had captured in May, to arrange the movement of Brigadier General John Parker Boyd's division from Fort George to rendezvous with the troops from Sacket's Harbor.

Possibly because he was ill, he delayed around Fort George for nearly a month. He returned to Sacket's Harbor, and Boyd's division began its movement, only in the first week in October.

The poor prospects for success (and possibly his own illness) led Armstrong to abandon his intention of leading the final assault himself. He handed overall command of the expedition to Wilkinson and departed Sacket's Harbor on his way to Washington on 16 October, just before Wilkinson's part of the campaign was at last launched.
Armstrong's letter to Hampton, notifying him of the change in command and also throwing much of the burden of supplying the combined force onto him, arrived the evening before Hampton's army fought the Battle of the Chateauguay.

Although Hampton nevertheless attacked, as part of his force was already committed to an outflanking move, he immediately sent his resignation, and fell back when his first attack was repulsed.

Wilkinson's moves
Wilkinson's force left Sackett's Harbor on 17 October, bound at first for Grenadier Island at the head of the St. Lawrence.
Mid-October was very late in the year for serious campaigning in the Canadas and the American force was hampered by bad weather, losing several boats and suffering from sickness and exposure. It took several days for the last stragglers to reach Grenadier Island.

On 1 November, the first boats set out from the island, and reached French Creek (near present-day Clayton, New York) on 4 November. Here, the first shots of the campaign were fired. British brigs and gunboats under Commander William Mulcaster had left Kingston to rendezvous with and escort batteaux and canoes carrying supplies up the Saint Lawrence. The aggressive Mulcaster bombarded the American anchorages and encampments during the evening. The next morning, American artillerymen under Lieutenant Colonel Moses Porter drove him away, using hastily-heated "hot shot". (The red-hot American cannonballs set fire to the brig Earl of Moira, and the crew intentionally scuttled the brig to extinguish the fire. The brig was later salvaged and returned to service.)

From French Creek, Wilkinson proceeded down the river. On 6 November, while at the settlement of Hoags, he received the news that Hampton had been repulsed at the Chateauguay River on 26 October. He sent fresh instructions to Hampton to march westward from his present position at Four Corners, New York and meet him at Cornwall.

  Wilkinson's force successfully bypassed the British post at Prescott late on 7 November. The troops were disembarked and marched around Ogdensburg on the south bank of the river, while the lightened boats ran past the British batteries under cover of darkness and poor visibility. Only one boat was lost, with two killed and three wounded. The next day, while the main body re-embarked, an advance guard battalion commanded by Colonel Alexander Macomb and a battalion of riflemen under Major Benjamin Forsyth were landed on the Canadian side of the river to clear the river bank of harassing Canadian militia.

On the following day (9 November), Wilkinson held a council of war. All his senior officers appeared to be determined to proceed with the expedition, regardless of the difficulties and alarming reports of enemy strength. The advance guard was reinforced with the 2nd Brigade (6th, 15th and 22nd U.S. Infantry) under Brigadier General Jacob Brown, who took command of the force, and marched eastward along the northern bank of the river. Before the main body could follow by water, Wilkinson learned that a British force was pursuing him. He landed almost all the other troops as a rearguard, under Brigadier General John Parker Boyd.

Late on 10 November, after a day spent marching under intermittent fire from British gunboats and field guns, Wilkinson set up his headquarters in Cook's Tavern, with Boyd's troops bivouacked in the woods around.


British counter-moves
The British had been aware of the American concentration at Sackett's Harbor, but for a long time they had believed, with good reason, that their own main naval base at Kingston was the intended target of Wilkinson's force. Major General Francis de Rottenburg, the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, had massed his available troops there. When Mulcaster returned from French Creek late on 5 November with news that the Americans were heading down the Saint Lawrence, de Rottenburg dispatched a Corps of Observation after them, in accordance with orders previously issued by Governor General Sir George Prevost.

The corps initially numbered 650 men, and was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Wanton Morrison, the commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, the 89th Regiment. They were embarked in the schooners Beresford and Sidney Smith, accompanied by seven gunboats and several small craft, all commanded by Mulcaster. They departed from Kingston in thick weather late on 7 November and evaded the ships of Commodore Isaac Chauncey, which were blockading the base, among the Thousand Islands at the head of the Saint Lawrence River. On 9 November, they reached Prescott, where the troops disembarked as the schooners could proceed no farther (although Mulcaster continued to accompany them with three gunboats and some batteaux). Morrison was reinforced by a detachment of 240 men from the garrison of Prescott, to a total strength of about 900 men.

Marching rapidly, they caught up with Boyd's rearguard on 10 November. That evening they encamped near Crysler's Farm, two miles upstream from the American positions. The terrain was mainly open fields, which gave full scope to British tactics and musketry, while the muddy ground (planted with fall wheat) and the marshy nature of the woods surrounding the farm would hamper the American manoeuvres. Morrison was keen to accept battle here if offered.

As dawn broke on 11 November, it was cold and raining, though the rain later eased. Firing broke out in two places. On the river, Mulcaster's gunboats began shooting at the American boats clustered around Cook's Point, while a Mohawk fired a shot at an American party scouting near their encampment, who replied with a volley. Half a dozen Canadian militia dragoons bolted back to the main British force, calling that the Americans were attacking.

The British force dropped its half-cooked breakfast and formed up, which caused American sentries to report that the British were attacking, and forced the Americans in turn to form up and stand to arms.

At about 10:30 in the morning, Wilkinson received a message from Jacob Brown, who reported that the previous evening he had defeated 500 Stormont and Glengarry Militia at Hoople's Creek and the way ahead was clear.

To proceed however, the American boats would next have to face the Long Sault rapids and Wilkinson determined to drive Morrison off before tackling them.

He himself had been ill for some time, and could not command the attack himself. His second-in-command, Major General Morgan Lewis, was also "indisposed". This left Brigadier General Boyd in command.

He had immediately available the 3rd Brigade under Brigadier General Leonard Covington (9th, 16th and 25th U.S. Infantry) and the 4th Brigade under Brigadier General Robert Swartwout (11th, 14th and 21st U.S. Infantry), with two 6-pounder guns.

Some distance down-river were part of Boyd's own 1st Brigade under the brigade's second-in-command, Colonel Isaac Coles, (12th and 13th U.S. Infantry), four more 6-pounder guns and a squadron of the 2nd U.S. Dragoons. In all, Boyd commanded perhaps 2,500 men (though some sources put the figure at 4,000).


Initial dispositions
The British were disposed in echelon, with their right wing thrown forward:

Lining a ravine close to the American positions and in the woods on the left was the skirmish line under Major Frederick Heriot of the Canadian Voltigeurs, consisting of three companies of the Voltigeurs and around two dozen Mohawks from Tyendinaga under Interpreter-Lieutenant Charles Anderson. (A small rifle company of the Leeds Militia may also have been present.)

The right wing was part of the detachment from Prescott under its commandant, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Pearson. It consisted of the flank (i.e. light and grenadier) companies of the 49th Regiment and a detachment of the Canadian Fencibles (perhaps 150 men in total) with a 6-pounder gun of the Canadian Provincial Artillery. They occupied some buildings on the river bank near the Americans, with a small gully protecting their front.

Behind their left flank were three companies (150 men) of the 2/89th under Captain G. W. Barnes.
Behind Barnes's left flank in turn was the British main body; the centre companies of the 49th (160 men) under Lieutenant Colonel Charles Plenderleath on the right and six companies (300 men) of the 2/89th on the left under Morrison himself.

Morrison himself stated that he disposed one each of his three 6-pounder guns to support each of his three detachments (Pearson, Barnes and the main body). However, various sources state that while the militia gun was posted with Pearson, the two 6-pounder guns of the Royal Artillery under Captain H. G. Jackson occupied a small hillock behind the 49th, and fired over their heads during the engagement.

Boyd did not order an assault until the middle of the afternoon. On the American right, the 21st U.S. Infantry under Colonel Eleazer Wheelock Ripley advanced and drove the British skirmish line back through the woods, for almost a mile. Here they paused to draw breath, and were joined by the 12th and 13th U.S. Infantry from Coles' brigade. (Where Swartwout's other two regiments were at this point is unclear). Ripley and Coles resumed their advance along the edge of the woods, but were startled to see a line of redcoats (the 2nd/89th, on Morrison's left flank) rise up out of concealment and open fire. The American soldiers dived behind tree stumps and bushes to return fire, and their attack lost all order and momentum. As ammunition ran short, they began to retreat out of line.

Meanwhile, Covington's brigade struggled across the ravine and deployed into line, under musket and shrapnel fire. Legend has it that at this point, Covington mistook the battle-hardened 49th Regiment in their grey greatcoats for Canadian militia and called out to his men, "Come on, my lads! Let us see how you will deal with these militiamen!" A moment later, he was mortally wounded. His second-in-command took over, only to be killed almost immediately. The brigade quickly lost order and began to retreat.

Boyd could not bring all his six guns into action until his infantry were already falling back. When they did open fire from the road along the river bank, they were quite effective. Morrison's second-in-command, Lieutenant Colonel John Harvey, ordered the 49th to capture them. The 49th made a charge in awkward echelon formation, suffering heavy casualties from the American guns as they struggled across several rail fences. The United States Dragoons (under Wilkinson's Adjutant General, Colonel John Walbach) now intervened, charging the exposed right flank of the 49th. The 49th halted their own advance, reformed line from echelon formation and wheeled back their right. Under heavy fire from the 49th, Pearson's detachment and Jackson's two guns, the dragoons renewed their charge twice but eventually fell back, leaving 18 casualties (out of 130). They had bought time for all but one of the American guns to be removed. Barnes's companies of the 2/89th overtook the 49th and captured the one gun which had become bogged down and been abandoned.

It was now about half past four. Almost all of the American army was in full retreat. The 25th U.S. Infantry under Colonel Edmund P. Gaines and the collected boat guards under Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Upham held the ravine for a while, but Pearson threatened to get round their left flank, and they too fell back. As it was growing dark and the weather was turning stormy, the British halted their advance. The American Army meanwhile retreated in great confusion to their boats and crossed to the south (American) bank of the river, although the British did not stand down from battle stations for some time, wary of the Americans renewing the attack. An American witness stated that 1,000 American stragglers had made their way across the river during the battle itself.

Although the British casualties were reported in Morrison's despatches as 22 killed, 148 wounded and 9 missing, it has been demonstrated that a further 9 men were killed and an additional 4 men were missing, giving a revised total of 31 killed, 148 wounded and 13 missing. The American casualties, from the official return, were 102 killed, and 237 wounded including General Leonard Covington. No figures were given for men missing or captured but the official return notes that three of the sixteen officers listed as wounded were also captured.

The number of American prisoners taken was initially reported as "upwards of 100" by Morrison but he wrote that more were still being brought in. The final tally was 120. Most of these were severely wounded men who had been left on the field but fourteen unwounded enlisted men were captured after trying to hide in a swamp. A Canadian who rode across the battlefield on the morning of 12 November remembered it being "covered with Americans killed and wounded".

On 12 November, the sullen American flotilla successfully navigated the Long Sault rapids. That evening, they reached a settlement known as Barnhardt's, three miles above Cornwall, where they rendezvoused with Brown's detachment. There was no sign of Hampton's force, but Colonel Henry Atkinson, one of Hampton's staff officers, brought Hampton's reply to Wilkinson's letter of 6 November. Hampton stated that shortage of supplies had forced him to retire to Plattsburgh. Wilkinson used this as pretext to call another council of war, which unanimously opted to end the campaign. The defeat of American forces at the Battle of Crysler's Farm and, on October 26, at the Battle of the Chateauguay ended the American threat to Montreal in the late fall of 1813 and with it the risk that Canada would have been cut into two parts.

The army went into winter quarters at French Mills, 7 miles (11 km) from the Saint Lawrence, but the roads were almost impassable at this season, and Wilkinson was also forced by lack of supplies and sickness among his army to retreat to Plattsburg. He was later dismissed from command shortly after a failed attack on a British outpost at Lacolle Mills.

He subsequently faced a court martial on various charges of negligence and misconduct during the St. Lawrence campaign, but was exonerated. Lewis was retired, while Boyd was sidelined into rear-area commands. Brown, Macomb, Ripley and Gaines were subsequently promoted.

On the British side, Mulcaster was promoted to post-captain to take command of a frigate but lost a leg in 1814 during the Raid on Fort Oswego, ending his active career. Morrison also was severely wounded later in 1814 at the Battle of Lundy's Lane.

Morrison, Harvey and Pearson all eventually became generals, as did Major James B. Dennis, who commanded the militia which fought Brown at Hoople's Creek. Twelve rank and file survived to claim a Military General Service Medal in 1847 for serving at the battle, although others may not have bothered to do so.


The battle site was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1920. The area of Crysler's Farm was permanently submerged in 1958 as a result of the construction of the Moses-Saunders Power Dam for the St. Lawrence Seaway. A monument (erected in 1895) commemorating the battle was moved from Crysler's Farm to Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg.

Ten active regular battalions of the United States Army (1-2 Inf, 2-2 Inf, 1-4 Inf, 2-4 Inf, 3-4 Inf, 1-5 Inf, 2-5 Inf, 1-6 Inf, 2-6 Inf and 4-6 Inf) perpetuate the lineages of a number of American infantry regiments (the old 9th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 16th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 25th Infantry Regiments) that took part in the battle.

Three regiments of the Canadian Army (the Royal 22e Régiment, the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders and Les Voltigeurs de Québec) commemorate the regular and militia units that took part in the battle and therefore carry the Battle Honour "Crysler's Farm".

On the occasion of the bicentennial of the battle (November 11, 2013) Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the Crysler's Farm Battlefield Park on Remembrance Day and laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in the presence of contingents from the Royal 22e Regiment, the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders and Les Voltigeurs de Quebec as well as representatives from First Nations who fought there. American and British diplomatic representatives also attended the ceremony and laid wreaths.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Capture of Fort Niagara
The Capture of Fort Niagara took place late in 1813, during the War of 1812 between the United Kingdom and the United States. The American garrison was taken by surprise, and the fort was captured in a night assault by a select force of British regular infantry.


Fort Niagara was an important American post near the outlet of the Niagara River into Lake Ontario. During the early days of the war, it was involved in several exchanges of artillery fire against the British at Fort George on the other side of the river.

On 27 May 1813, the Americans won the Battle of Fort George. This left Fort George in their hands, and they briefly captured the entire Niagara peninsula, but they were then driven back to a narrow enclave around Fort George. Later during the year, almost all the regular soldiers on the Niagara front were redeployed to Sacket's Harbor to take part in an attack down the Saint Lawrence River against Montreal. They had briefly been replaced by regulars from the western theatre under William Henry Harrison, but in November these too had been ordered to march to protect Sacket's Harbor, which had been stripped of troops to furnish the Montreal expedition. This left Brigadier General George McClure of the New York militia with only 60 regulars, 40 volunteers from the New York militia and 100 Canadian Volunteers (renegades fighting for the United States) to hold Fort George.

Burning of Newark
In late 1813, Major General Francis de Rottenburg, the British Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, had been alarmed by defeats in the west (the Battle of Lake Erie and the Battle of the Thames) and American concentrations to the east. On 9 October he ordered the troops on the Niagara peninsula to retreat hastily to Burlington Heights at the western end of Lake Ontario. He intended to abandon even this position and concentrate his forces at Kingston but during the first week in December, de Rottenburg was replaced by the more forceful Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond. Drummond was aware that the American attack on Montreal had been defeated, leaving the American Army stranded in poorly-supplied winter quarters in Upper New York State. He immediately cancelled de Rottenburg's plans for further retreat, and ordered the units at Burlington Heights to advance instead.

On 10 December, McClure learned of this advance. He had despaired of receiving any reinforcements and decided his position was untenable. He hastily evacuated his troops to Fort Niagara. The artillery could not be withdrawn from Fort George and was thrown into the ditch surrounding the fort.

Earlier in the year, the United States Secretary of War, John Armstrong, had given permission to destroy the nearby village of Newark if it became necessary to prevent British troops finding cover close to Fort George. The inhabitants were to be given several days' notice, and care was to be taken that they were not to be left destitute. As the Americans abandoned Fort George, the order was unaccountably given to burn down the village without warning, leaving the inhabitants without shelter or possessions in the depths of winter. Part of the village of Queenston was also torched. It was alleged that the pro-American Canadian Volunteers performed most of the destruction.

This action was undoubtedly contrary to the conventions which governed warfare at the time, although several similar acts had already been committed by both sides during the war. The burning of Newark was to be the pretext for the British to carry out several outrages later.

Once the British had recovered Fort George, Fort Niagara was vulnerable to a British attack. Its defenders consisted of Captain Nathaniel Leonard's company of the 1st Regiment of Artillery, a company of the 24th U.S. Infantry, and small detachments (mainly convalescent wounded or sick men) from other regular units. Captain Leonard was in command of the fort.

He had been attracting unfavourable reports from his superiors since taking charge of the fort in 1812 and was a notorious drunkard, but orders to replace him as commandant had not been carried out. The defences of Fort Niagara had been allowed to deteriorate and damage to the outer defences caused by artillery fire in 1812 and early 1813 had not been repaired, although this was not to be a factor in the fort's capture.

Drummond had ordered boats to be brought forward from Burlington. They proceeded by water to the mouth of the Four Mile Creek, from where Canadian militia carried them overland on sledges to Fort George. On the night of 18 December, a force consisting of the 100th Foot, the grenadier company of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Scots, and the grenadier and light companies of the 41st Foot, with some small detachments of militia, crossed the river 3 miles (4.8 km) above Fort Niagara.

The force numbered 562 and was under the command of Colonel John Murray, the commanding officer of the 100th Foot. They were equipped with axes and scaling ladders and under orders to use the bayonet so as not to lose the advantage of surprise.

They captured American pickets posted in the village of Youngstown, the men having been trying to stay warm instead of keeping watch. One of the prisoners was forced to reveal the American challenge and password. The British force then advanced silently towards the fort. An advance party of some artillerymen and the grenadier company of the 100th under a lieutenant and a sergeant approached the gate, where the sergeant affected an accent from the southern American states and confused the guard long enough to gain entry.

By the time the defenders became aware of the deception, it was too late to stop the British from rushing in.

Resistance came mainly from two buildings, the South Redoubt and the Red Barracks, which was being used as a hospital. Some of the defenders barricaded themselves inside the South Redoubt of the fort and held off repeated attempts to break into the building. However, when they refused demands that they surrender, the British commander offered no quarter to the defenders. When the attackers forced their way into the building, the infamous order was given to "Bayonet the whole".
Only six of the attackers were killed, with five wounded.

The British report on the engagement listed 65 Americans killed, 14 wounded prisoners and 344 other prisoners. However, Robert Lee, an American civilian who had been visiting the Fort when it was attacked, gave a sworn deposition on 18 January 1814 that the British report giving 65 Americans killed had been "issued very soon after they took possession of the fort and did not include a number that were afterwards found bayoneted in the cellars of the houses". Lee thought that "at least eighty" Americans had in fact been killed.
Captain Leonard was captured at his home two miles away, allegedly drunk.

A force consisting of the centre companies of the Royal Scots and the 41st under Major General Phineas Riall followed Murray's troops across the river. They captured several outposts and batteries, and proceeded to burn almost every village on the American side of the river, including Lewiston and a nearby settlement of Tuscarora Indians, in reprisal for the burning of Newark. Some Indians accompanied Riall; one source stated that up to 500 "Western Indians", who had remained with the British after the Battle of the Thames the previous autumn, took part. Many of the Indians (and some British soldiers) became drunk on looted liquor and several American settlers were scalped. Riall was eventually prevented from advancing further south by some militia and Canadian Volunteers who destroyed the bridge over the Tonawanda Creek.

Having returned to the Canadian side of the Niagara, Riall marched upstream past Niagara Falls, carrying the boats. On 30 December, Riall crossed the Niagara again, 2 miles (3.2 km) downstream of Black Rock and defeated American forces at the Battle of Buffalo, after which the villages of Black Rock and Buffalo were set ablaze and the navy yard on Buffalo Creek was destroyed.

Fort Niagara remained in British possession until the end of the war.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Battle of Buffalo
The Battle of Buffalo (also known as the Battle of Black Rock) took place during the War of 1812 between British Empire and the United States on December 30, 1813 in the State of New York, near the Niagara River. The British forces drove off the hastily-organized defenders and engaged in considerable plundering and destruction. The operation was conceived as an act of retaliation for the burning by American troops of the Canadian village of Newark (present day Niagara-on-the-Lake).
When Brigadier General George McClure of the New York State Militia, commander of the garrison of Fort George, decided to abandon the post on December 10, 1813, he ordered the neighboring village of Newark to be destroyed. Giving the inhabitants only a few hours' notice, he turned them out into the cold winter night and burned all but one of the hundred and fifty or so buildings to the ground.

Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond, the newly appointed Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, was planning an offensive against the American positions on Niagara frontier. In the early hours of December 18, a force under Colonel John Murray captured Fort Niagara by surprise. Another force under Major General Phineas Riall raided the American side of the lower Niagara River, destroying the villages of Lewiston, Youngstown, Manchester, Tuscarora and the small military post and surrounding settlement of Fort Schlosser.

Riall's raid was eventually halted when the Americans set fire to a bridge over the Tonawanda Creek. Drummond and Riall intended further devastation, and Riall's troops returned to the Canadian side of the Niagara and marched south around Niagara Falls, carrying their boats, to launch an attack on the villages of Buffalo and Black Rock.

  Opposing Forces
Major General Riall commanded 370 of the 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment (Royal Scots), 240 of the 1st Battalion, 8th (King's) Regiment, 250 of the 41st Regiment, 55 of the light infantry company of the 2nd Battalion, 89th Regiment, 50 of the grenadier company of the 100th (Prince Regent's County of Dublin) Regiment, 50 Canadian militia and 400 Native Americans allied to the British. In total, the force numbered 1,415 officers and men.

Available to the American area commander, Major General Amos Hall of the New York Militia, were 2,011 men, all of them volunteers or militia. Stationed at Buffalo were 129 cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel Seymour Boughton, 433 Ontario County volunteers under Lieutenant Colonel Blakeslee, 136 Buffalo Militia under Lieutenant Colonel Cyrenius Chapin, 97 of the Corps of Canadian Volunteers under Lieutenant Colonel Benajah Mallory, 382 of the Genesse Militia Regiment under Major Adams and 307 Chautauqua Militia under Lieutenant Colonel John McMahon.
At Black Rock were 382 of Lieutenant Colonel Warren's and Lieutenant Colonel Churchill's Regiments under Brigadier General Timothy Hopkins, 37 mounted infantry under Captain Ransom, 83 Native Americans under Lieutenant Colonel Erastus Granger and 25 militia artillerymen with a six-pounder gun under Lieutenant Seeley.

Riall crossed the Niagara around midnight on December 29 and landed with most of his men some 2 miles (3.2 km) downstream of Black Rock in the early hours of December 30. He delegated Lieutenant Colonel John Gordon and the Royal Scots to land at Black Rock itself in order to attack the Americans from a different direction. Major General Amos Hall was first alerted to the British presence when Riall's advance guard, the light infantry company of the 89th Regiment, drove off the American piquet at Conjunckaty Creek (now known as Scajaquada Creek) and captured the bridge and the battery there. Hall sent the militia under Warren and Churchill to reconnoitre. When they ran off at the first enemy fire, Hall dispatched a second force under Adams and Chapin but exactly the same thing happened. Hall now took personal command of the remainder of his force.
He ordered a detachment under Lieutenant Colonel Blakeslee to attack the British left and advanced toward Black Rock with the rest of his men.

As dawn broke, Hall directed "a very heavy fire of cannon and musketry" at Gordon's Royal Scots as they tried to land at Black Rock. Gordon was supported by the fire of a five-gun battery but several of his boats grounded and his regiment took substantial casualties before they could force their way ashore. Riall now advanced with his main body against Hall's center, sending a detachment from his left wing to hit the American right flank. Although the Americans fought with considerable obstinacy, according to Riall, after half an hour of fighting the American right wing broke into a rout. In order to avoid being outflanked, Hall ordered a general retreat. The British pursued all the way to Buffalo, two miles away. Once in Buffalo, the British and Indians sacked it, burning down all but four of its buildings. The British troops also destroyed the navy yard and three armed schooners (the Chippewa, Ariel, Little Belt) and one sloop (the Trippe).

Riall's force then moved on to Black Rock, where once again, all but one building was razed to the ground, before going back over the Niagara to Canada.

The British casualty return gave 25 British regulars, 3 militiamen and 3 Native Americans killed; 63 regulars, 6 militiamen and 3 Native Americans wounded; and 9 regulars missing: a total of 31 killed, 72 wounded and 9 missing. Of these, 13 killed, 32 wounded and 6 missing were from the Royal Scots, who had endured a heavy cannonade while grounded in their boats. The Americans took 5 prisoners.

The official American casualty figures were reported as 50 killed and 52 wounded. The dead included Lieutenant Colonel Boughton. The Ontario Messenger of January 25, 1814, published a list of 67 Americans captured on December 30, 11 of whom were wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Chapin was among the prisoners. Eight pieces of American artillery were captured.

On January 22, 1814, Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost, British Commander-in-Chief in North America, issued a proclamation in which he expressed his regret that "the miseries inflicted upon the inhabitants of Newark" had necessitated such retaliation.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Battle of Vitoria
At the Battle of Vitoria (21 June 1813) a British, Portuguese and Spanish army under General the Marquess of Wellington broke the French army under Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan near Vitoria in Spain, eventually leading to victory in the Peninsular War.
In July 1812, after the Battle of Salamanca, the French had evacuated Madrid, which Wellington's army entered on 12 August 1812. Deploying three divisions to guard its southern approaches, Wellington marched north with the rest of his army to lay siege to the fortress of Burgos, 140 miles (230 km) away, but he had underestimated the enemy's strength and on 21 October he had to abandon the Siege of Burgos and retreat. By 31 October he had abandoned Madrid too, and retreated first to Salamanca then to Ciudad Rodrigo, near the Portuguese frontier, to avoid encirclement by French armies from the north-east and south-east.

Wellington spent the winter reorganising and strengthening his forces. By contrast, Napoleon withdrew many soldiers to rebuild his main army after his disastrous invasion of Russia. By 20 May 1813 Wellington marched 121,000 troops (53,749 British, 39,608 Spanish and 27,569 Portuguese) from northern Portugal across the mountains of northern Spain and the Esla River to outflank Marshal Jourdan's army of 68,000, strung out between the Douro and the Tagus. The French retreated to Burgos, with Wellington's forces marching hard to cut them off from the road to France. Wellington himself commanded the small central force in a strategic feint, while Sir Thomas Graham conducted the bulk of the army around the French right flank over landscape considered impassable.

Wellington launched his attack at Vitoria on 21 June, in four columns. After hard fighting, Thomas Picton's 3rd Division broke the enemy's centre and soon the French defence crumbled. About 5,000 French soldiers were killed or wounded and 3,000 were taken prisoner, while Wellington suffered about 5,000 killed or wounded. 151 cannons were captured, but Joseph Bonaparte, erstwhile King of Spain, narrowly escaped. The battle led to the collapse of Napoleonic rule in Spain.

The battlefield centres on the Zadorra River, which runs from east to west. As the Zadorra runs west, it loops into a hairpin bend, finally swinging generally to the southwest. On the south of the battlefield are the Heights of La Puebla. To the northwest is the mass of Monte Arrato.
Vitoria stands to the east, two miles (3 km) south of the Zadorra. Five roads radiate from Vitoria, north to Bilbao, northeast to Salinas and Bayonne, east to Salvatierra, south to Logroño and west to Burgos on the south side of the Zadorra.

Jourdan was ill with a fever all day on 20 June. Because of this, few orders were issued and the French forces stood idle. An enormous wagon train of booty clogged the streets of Vitoria. A convoy left during the night, but it had to leave siege artillery behind because there were not enough draft animals to pull the cannons.

Gazan's divisions guarded the narrow western end of the Zadorra valley, deployed south of the river. Maransin's brigade was posted in advance, at the village of Subijana. The divisions were disposed with Leval on the right, Daricau in the centre, Conroux on the left and Villate in reserve. Only a picket guarded the western extremity of the Heights of La Puebla.

Further back, d'Erlon's force stood in a second line, also south of the river. D'Armagnac's division deployed on the right and Cassagne's on the left. D'Erlon failed to destroy three bridges near the river's hairpin bend and posted Avy's weak cavalry division to guard them. Reille's men originally formed a third line, but Sarrut's division was sent north of the river to guard the Bilbao road while Lamartinière's division and the Spanish Royal Guard units held the river bank.

Wellington directed Hill's 20,000-man Right Column to drive the French from the Zadorra defile on the south side of the river.


While the French were preoccupied with Hill, Wellington's Right Centre column moved along the north bank of the river and crossed it near the hairpin bend behind the French right flank.

Graham's 20,000-man Left Column was sent around the north side of Monte Arrato. It drove down the Bilbao road, cutting off the bulk of the French army. Dalhousie's Left Centre column cut across Monte Arrato and struck the river east of the hairpin, providing a link between Graham and Wellington.


Map of the battle

Coming up the Burgos road, Hill sent Morillo's Division to the right on a climb up the Heights of La Puebla. Stewart's 2nd Division began deploying to the left in the narrow plain just south of the river. Seeing these moves, Gazan sent Maransin forward to drive Morillo off the heights. Hill moved Col. Henry Cadogan's brigade of the 2nd Division to assist Morillo. Gazan responded by committing Villatte's reserve division to the battle on the heights.

About this time, Gazan first spotted Wellington's column moving north of the Zadorra to turn his right flank.

He asked Jourdan, now recovered from his fever, for reinforcements. Having become obsessed with the safety of his left flank, the marshal refused to help Gazan, instead ordering some of D'Erlon's troops to guard the Logroño road.

Wellington thrust James Kempt's brigade of the Light Division across the Zadorra at the hairpin. At the same time, Stewart took Subijana and was counterattacked by two of Gazan's divisions. On the heights, Cadogan was killed, but the Anglo-Spanish force managed to hang on to its foothold. Wellington suspended his attacks to allow Graham's column time to make an impression and a lull descended on the battlefield.

At noon, Graham's column appeared on the Bilbao road. Jourdan immediately realised he was in danger of envelopment and ordered Gazan to pull back toward Vitoria. Graham drove Sarrut's division back across the river, but could not force his way across the Zadorra despite bitter fighting. Further east, Longa's Spanish troops defeated the Spanish Royal Guards and cut the road to Bayonne.

With some help from Kempt's brigade, Picton's 3rd Division from Dalhousie's column crossed to the south side of the river. According to Picton, the enemy responded by pummelling the 3rd with 40 to 50 cannon and a counter-attack on their right flank, still open because they had captured the bridge so quickly, causing the 3rd to lose 1,800 men (over one third of all Allied losses at the battle) as they held their ground. Cole's 4th Division crossed further west. With Gazan on the left and d'Erlon on the right, the French attempted a stand at the village of Arinez. Formed in a menacing line, the 4th, Light, 3rd and 7th Divisions soon captured this position. The French fell back to the Zuazo ridge, covered by their well-handled and numerous field artillery. This position fell to Wellington's attack when Gazan refused to cooperate with his colleague d'Erlon.

French morale collapsed and the soldiers of Gazan and d'Erlon ran for it. Artillerists left their guns behind as they fled on the trace horses. Soon the road was jammed with a mass of wagons and carriages. The efforts of Reille's two divisions, holding off Graham, allowed tens of thousands of French troops to escape by the Salvatierra road.

The Allied army lost about 5,000 men, with 3,675 British, 921 Portuguese and 562 Spanish casualties. French losses totalled at least 5,200 killed and wounded, plus 2,800 men and 151 cannon captured. By army, the losses were South 4,300, Centre 2,100 and Portugal 1,600. There were no casualty returns from the Royal Guard or the artillery.

French losses were not higher for several reasons. First, the Allied army had already marched 20 miles (32 km) that morning and was in no condition to pursue. Second, Reille's men valiantly held off Graham's column. Third, the valley by which the French retreated was narrow and well-covered by the 3rd Hussar and the 15th Dragoon Regiments acting as rearguard. Last, the French left their booty behind.

Many British soldiers turned aside to plunder the abandoned French wagons, containing "the loot of a kingdom". It is estimated that over one million pounds of booty (perhaps £100 million in modern equivalent) was seized, but the gross abandonment of discipline caused an enraged Wellington to write in a dispatch to Earl Bathurst, "We have in the service the scum of the earth as common soldiers".

The British general also vented his fury on a new cavalry regiment, writing, "The 18th Hussars are a disgrace to the name of soldier, in action as well as elsewhere; and I propose to draft their horses from them and send the men to England if I cannot get the better of them in any other manner." (On 8 April 1814, the 18th redeemed their reputation in a gallant charge at Croix d'Orade, shortly before the Battle of Toulouse.)

Order was soon restored, and by December, after detachments had seized San Sebastián and Pamplona, Wellington's army was encamped in France.

The battle was the inspiration for Beethoven's Opus 91, often called the "Battle Symphony" or "Wellington's Victory", which portrays the battle as musical drama. The climax of the movie The Firefly, starring Jeanette MacDonald, occurs with Wellington's attack on the French centre.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Siege of San Sebastian
In the Siege of San Sebastián (7 July - 8 September 1813) Allied forces under the command of Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington captured the city of San Sebastián in northern Spain from its French garrison under Louis Emmanuel Rey. The attack resulted in the ransacking and devastation of the town by fire.
After winning the decisive Battle of Vitoria on 21 June 1813, Wellington's army moved into the western Pyrenees to face Marshal Soult's reorganized French army. To clear his rear area before advancing into France, Wellington laid siege to San Sebastián.

On 1 July General of Brigade Rey's 3,170-man French garrison consisted of the 22nd and 34th Line (1 battalion each), 62nd Line (2 battalions), elements of the 1st and 119th Line, one company each of sappers and pioneers, and two companies of gunners. Seventy-six guns lined the fortifications.

To prosecute the siege, Lieut-Gen Sir Thomas Graham was given command of 9,000 troops from Maj-Gen John Oswald's 5th Division and Brig-Gen Henry Bradford's Portuguese brigade. Graham initially deployed 40 heavy guns from various sources.

Javier Sada has stated that the makeup of the allied troops investing the town included an important multinational share of soldiers of fortune, whose only incentive was the booty obtained in the conquered strongholds. In fact the 5th Division had 3,900 British officers and men and 2,300 Portuguese, with a further 2,300 Portuguese troops in Bradford's brigade.

San Sebastián (Donostia in Basque), numbering 9,104 inhabitants at the time, was a rather liberal town as opposed to the more conservative province of Gipuzkoa, open to different influences from overseas, the north (Gascony and France altogether) and the south (Spain). Additionally, the make-up of the town had been conspicuously mixed ethnic Gascon and Basque since its foundation, while Gascon language may have died out at this point of the town's history.

After Napoleon's takeover in France, elder brother Joseph I was proclaimed king of Spain in 1808. Francisco Amorós, who is cited in many accounts as "French-minded", was then appointed chief magistrate of the town. While it seems that the new authorities and aides weren't especially highly regarded by the population, it holds true that peace prevailed the whole period running up to 1813, and French troops were generally well accepted. This balance swung when French troops on retreat under Emmanuel Rey's command and refugees fleeing Vitoria after the French defeat arrived in the city in June.
San Sebastián stood on a peninsula into the Bay of Biscay that ran generally north and south. The southern face of the city's fortifications was very strong. On its eastern side, the city was protected by the estuary of the Urumea River.


British engineers detected a weak point near the riverfront at the city's southeastern corner. Assaults were possible across the river bed at low tide from both the south and the east. Breaching batteries were constructed to the south of the city and in sandhills on the east side of the estuary.

British seapower could not be utilized because the Biscayan blockading fleet was understrength. In fact, French vessels regularly brought in supplies and reinforcements, while taking out wounded and sick soldiers. Because of this, Wellington could not expect to starve out the city. He would have to breach the walls and carry the city by assault.


The Storming of San Sebastian by Denis Dighton

First Siege
The first parallel was opened on 7 July and Graham launched an unsuccessful attack on 25 July. In the first siege, the British suffered 693 killed and wounded and 316 captured. Rey's garrison lost 58 killed and 258 wounded.

On the same day, 25 July, Wellington learnt that Soult had launched and attack (which would become the Battle of the Pyrenees) and ordered Graham to remove his guns to ships at Passages.

Second Siege
After driving Soult back across the frontier, Wellington waited until the rest of the battering train and sufficient supplies of shot had arrived from England before he again turned his attention to San Sebastián on 22 August: even with the increased resources now available to him, Wellington could only mount one formal siege at a time, whilst it was decided to plump for San Sebastian on the grounds that it was weaker, more accessible and open to resupply by sea. Situated on a narrow promontory that jutted out into the sea between the waters of the Bay of Biscay and the broad estuary of the River Urumea, the town was hard to get at and well fortified – "it was the strongest fortification I ever saw, Gibraltar excepted", wrote William Dent. By 15 August Rey had received some drafts from blockade running vessels but, even so, he had 2,700 effective troops and 300 wounded in hospital. By 26 August the British had established batteries for 63 pieces of artillery.

On 30 August, the 15 heavy cannon firing from the south and 48 guns firing from the east blasted two breaches in the walls. The main breach was made near the southeast corner of the fortress while a smaller breach was located on the east side. Graham ordered an assault for the following day.

Because the attack had to be made as the tide fell, it was scheduled for 11:00 am on 31 August. The 5th Division made the assault from the south on the main breach. The soldiers dashed across the 180 yards from the trenches to the foot of the breach with little loss, but then the French opened a terrific fire.
Again and again the men of the 5th Division rushed up the rubble-strewn breach, but they were cut down in swaths.
Colin Campbell leading the 'forlorn hope' at the Siege of San Sebastián, 1813. Painting by William Barnes Wollen
The French had built an inner wall that stopped the redcoats from breaking through the defenses. Hundreds of British soldiers were killed. Graham committed 750 volunteers from the 1st, 4th and Light Divisions, but they were unable to beat down the French defenders. A Portuguese brigade splashed across the Urumea River and attacked the eastern breach, but their drive also stalled. After two hours, the assault was a costly failure. The survivors hugged the ground to avoid the searing fire.

After consulting with his artillery commander, Alexander Dickson, Graham chose to open fire on the inner wall, despite risk of killing many British soldiers who lay so close under the barrier. When the British heavy guns first fired over their heads, the survivors of the attack began to panic. But, when the smoke cleared, they noticed that the big guns had wrecked most of the inner wall. With a yell, they charged, reached the top of the breach and spilled into the city. At the sight of their defence lines broken, the French retreated to the fortress on the hill of Urgull and by midday the besiegers had taken over the town. Rey and his surviving garrison held out until 5 September before asking for terms. The French commander formally surrendered on 8 September, and, in recognition of a noble defence, the remainder of the garrison stationed in the fortress was granted the honours of war by the Anglo-Portuguese forces, to march out of the stronghold with shouldered arms, flags flying, to the sound of the drums and the officers with the right to retain their swords.

  Ransacking and burning of San Sebastian
On entering the town, the victorious British and Portuguese troops quickly discovered plentiful supplies of Brandy and Wine in the shops and houses, with many soon becoming part of a "reeling, riotous mob". Drunken and enraged at the heavy losses they had suffered, the troops ran amok, pillaging and burning the city and killing an unknown number of inhabitants according to some sources, but they may amount to 1,000. Some British officers tried to stop the looting but were either ignored or threatened by the drunken soldiers, or turned a blind eye or added to the plight. Statements (75 reports) were gathered bearing witness to the events starting on 31 August. One of the survivors and witness Gabriel Serres claimed that, "[the assailants] committed the biggest atrocities, such as killing and injuring many inhabitants and also raping most of the women".

The burning started that very night on some houses, according to local witnesses. Local Domingo de Echave gave evidence echoing an English soldier's words pointing to flames coming out of a house: "See that house ablaze? Mind you, tomorrow all like this." The city kept burning yet for seven days, by which time only a handful of buildings survived. The rest of it burned to the ground—600 houses, city hall and record office included.

After the burning, the town council and many survivors of the destruction held a meeting in Zubieta, where the devastated town dwellers decided the reconstruction of the town almost from scratch.


Since the previous council had collaborated with the French, a new council was appointed, and a letter was written congratulating Wellington on his victory and requesting him that they'd be granted 2,000 starvation wages for those most in need. The demand was not met since Wellington refused to do so, and wholeheartedly wished in the reply that he not be addressed again. He went on to attribute the pillage to the French, and on November 2 while he was in Lesaka the British general denied any responsibility of the British troops on the burning. In November a popular trial was arranged by the town council "on the atrocious behaviour shown by the British and Portuguese troops", where tellingly only 2 women answered the questionnaire provided.

The tragedy is remembered every year on August 31 with an extensive candlelit ceremony.


Of Rey's original garrison of 3,170 plus some later drafts, 850 were killed, 670 had been captured on 31 August and 1,860 surrendered, of whom 480 were sick and wounded. Graham's command lost 3,770 killed, wounded and missing. In the final assault, 867 men died, 1,416 fell wounded and 44 were listed as missing. Maj-Gen James Leith, who had just returned to command the 5th Division, was wounded in the assault. The engineering officer who laid out the Lines of Torres Vedras, Sir Richard Fletcher was killed during the siege, as was one of Harry Burrard's sons.

Not realizing he was too late to save San Sebastián, Soult launched a final attack on 31 August. This attempt was beaten back in the Battle of San Marcial. With the possession of San Sebastián, Wellington could think about driving Soult back into France. The next action was the Battle of the Bidassoa on 7 October, followed by the Battle of Nivelle in November. The French garrison of Pamplona surrendered to the Spanish on 30 October.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

First Serbian Uprising

The First Serbian Uprising (Serbian: Први српски устанак, Prvi srpski ustanak) was the first stage of the Serbian Revolution (Српска револуција), the successful wars of independence that lasted for 9 years and approximately 9 months (1804–1813), during which Serbia perceived itself as an independent state for the first time after more than three centuries of Ottoman rule and short-lasting Austrian occupations.


Serbia in 1813 before Ottoman reconquest
After Serbia had fallen to the Ottoman Empire in 1459, several uprisings were organized by the Serbs; the Banat uprising, Kočina Krajina uprising etc. but greater political independence of Serbs was established briefly by Jovan Nenad and Voivode Radoslav 1526-1530, and in Montenegro a unique autonomy was established as the mountainous regions were governed by voivodes.

After the Slaughter of the knezes, the Serbs responded by establishing its separate government (Правитељствујушчи Совјет, Praviteljstvujušči Sovjet), Parliament (Збор, Zbor) and the oldest and largest Serbian University of Belgrade, with Grand Vožd Karađorđe as leader. Even though it was crushed by the Ottomans in 1813, this revolution sparked the Second Serbian Uprising in 1815, which resulted with the creation of the Principality of Serbia, as it gained semi-independence from Ottoman Empire in 1817 (formally in 1829).


Dahias (renegade Janissary) assassinate Hadži Mustafa Pasha, plate from 1802
When the Austro-Turkish War (1787–1791) ended with the return of the Belgrade Pashaluk to the Ottoman Empire the Serbs expected reprisals from the Turks due to their support for the Austrians. Sultan Selim III had given complete command of the Sanjak of Smederevo and Belgrade to battle-hardened Janissaries that had fought Christian forces during the previous Austro-Turkish War (1787–1791) and many other conflicts. Although Sultan Selim III granted authority to the peaceful Hadži Mustafa Pasha, tensions between the Serbs and the Janissary command did not subside.

Selim III proclaimed fermans in 1793 and 1796 which gave more rights to Serbs. Among other things, taxes were to be collected by local Serbian rulers called knezes ("local dukes"), freedom of trade and religion were granted. Selim also decreed that some unpopular Janissaries were to leave the Belgrade Pashaluk as he saw them as a threat to central authority of Hadži Mustafa Pasha.

Many of those Janissaries were employed by or found refuge with Osman Pazvantoğlu, a renegade opponent of the Sultan in Bulgaria. Fearing the dissolution of the Janissary command in Sanjak of Smederevo, Osman Pazvantoğlu launched a series of raids against Serbian brigands without the permission of Sultan Selim III causing much volatility and fear in the region.

However, on January 30, 1799, the Sultan Selim III court allowed the Janissaries to return, referring to them as local Muslims from the Sanjak of Smederevo. Initially the Janisaries accepted the authority of the Belgrade Pasha under Hadži Mustafa Pasha. Until a Janissary in Šabac, named Bego Novljanin, demanded from a Serb a surcharge and murdered the Serb when he refused to pay. Fearing the worst Hadži Mustafa Pasha, marched on Šabac with a force of 600 to ensure that the Janissary was brought to justice and order was restored. Not only did the other Janisaries decided to support Bego Novljanin but Osman Pazvantoğlu attacked the Belgrade Pasahaluk in support of the Janisaries.

After killing Vizier Hadži-Mustafa Pasha (nicknamed "Serbian Mother" due to his tolerant stance towards Serbs) of Belgrade in 1801, they started to rule Serbia on their own. Recently granted rights were suspended, and four Dahias (leaders of Janisaries): Aganli, Kuchuk Ali, Mula Yusuf and Mehmet-Ağa Fotcić exerted unlimited rule over Belgrade Pashaluk. Taxes were drastically increased, land was seized, forced labour (čitlučenje) was introduced, and many Serbs fled the Janissaries in fear.

  Uprising against the Dahias
Serb leaders began to conspire about starting an uprising against the dahias. When the dahias found out about this, they captured and killed many of the Serbian leaders on February 4, 1804 in an event known today as the Slaughter of the knezes. This action by the Janissaries incited the uprising, as it angered the people and the leaders had nothing to lose.

On February 14, 1804, in the small Šumadija village of Orašac, nearby modern Aranđelovac, in Marićevića jaruga, the Serbs gathered and decided to undertake an uprising. Karađorđe Petrović was elected as the leader of the uprising, which started immediately. That afternoon, a Turkish inn (caravanserai) in Orašac was burned and its residents fled or were killed. Similar actions were undertaken in surrounding villages and then spread further. On 11 March rebels captured Rudnik, which was under control of Sali Aga, and then Valjevo, Požarevac, and started the siege of Belgrade.

At this stage the Serbs were acting in the name of the Sultan and on the 12 March the Sultan issued a fermans ordering all to support the uprising against the Dahias. The Dahias fled from Belgrade, abandoning their followers, but they were captured on Ada Kaleh island on the Danube by 40 uprisers led by Milenko Stojković with knowledge and approval of the Ottoman authorities and executed. With the success of the uprising, Selim III started to negotiate with the rebels.

Breakdown in relations between the Serbs and the Sultan
Eventually, the negotiations failed, and the Sultan organised a military campaign against the uprising. The first major battle of the uprising was the Battle of Ivankovac in 1805, where Karađorđe defeated the Turkish army and forced it to retreat toward Niš. The second major battle of the uprising was Battle of Mišar in 1806, in which the rebels defeated an Ottoman army from the Eyalet of Bosnia led by the Turkish Sipahi Suleiman-Pasa. At the same time, the rebels led by Petar Dobrnjac defeated Osman Pazvantoğlu and another Ottoman army sent from the south-east in the Battle of Deligrad. The Ottomans continuously faced defeat despite their continuous efforts and support by Ottoman commanders led by Ibrahim Bushati and Ali Pasha's two sons Muktar Pasha and Veil Pasha. In December 1806, the Serbian rebels besieged Belgrade and the Ottomans dispatched kapetan Mehmed-beg Kulenović of Zvornik to relieve the siege but this attempt ended in a devastating defeat and Belgrade was taken in the spring of the year 1807. Mehmed-beg Kulenović of Zvornik later made efforts to drive the Serbian rebels out of the western districts but was killed in battle.

In 1806 the insurgents sent the Belgrade merchant Petar Ičko as their envoy to Ottoman government in Constantinople. He managed to obtain for them a favourable Ičko's Peace. However, the Serbian leaders preferred to reject the treaty and possibly poisoned Petar Ičko due to his acquaintance with the Ottomans. The Serbian rebels then joined the Russians as their allies in Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812).

Battle of Mišar, painting by Afanasij Šeloumov
In 1805 the Serbian rebels organized a basic government for administering Serbia during the combat. Rule was divided between the Narodna Skupština (People's Assembly), the Praviteljstvujušči Sovjet (Ruling Council), and Karađorđe himself. Land was returned, forced labour was abolished, and taxes were reduced.

The young state was modernised and by 1808 the Belgrade Higher School was founded, regarded as the foundation of the University of Belgrade.

Some of the leaders of the uprising later abused their privileges for personal gain, such as the reintroduction of forced labour in some places.
There was dissent between Karađorđe and other leaders; Karađorđe wanted absolute power, while his voivods wanted to limit it.
  After the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-12 ended, the Ottoman Empire exploited these circumstances and reconquered Serbia in 1813.

The then Grand Vizier Hurşid Paşa and a substantially large and well organized Ottoman army successfully swept through the territories held by the Serbian rebels. The diverse Ottoman force included vast numbers of soldiers from many nearby Pashaliks including servicemen such as Samson Cerfberr of Medelsheim, Osman Gradaščević and Reshiti Bushati. By the end of the year 1813 the Serbian rebels were ultimately defeated and Belgrade was retaken by the forces loyal to Sultan Selim III. The majority of troops who participated in devastation of Serbia were from the territory of Albania and Bosnia. They burned down villages along main invading routes while their inhabitants were massacred or made refugee with many women and children being enslaved.

Death of Veljko Petrović during battle for Negotin
Though ultimately unsuccessful, the First Serbian Uprising paved the way for the Second Serbian Uprising of 1815, which eventually succeeded in securing Serbian autonomy.

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Bolivar Simon becomes dictator of Venezuela

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