Near its western end is a new bridge linking Prescott, Ontario, and Ogdensburg, New York. Strangely, it could equally be a memorial to some bitter fighting which occurred there during the War of 1812, or to the raid by American members of the Hunters’ organization in 1838. They were hoping to “liberate” Canada from Britain.
It was on February 22, 1813 that British-Canadian troops won a hard battle against the Americans at Ogdensburg. Earlier in the month the Americans under Major Forsyth had come over the ice from Ogdensburg and raided nearby Brockville. They took fifty-two Canadians back to Ogdensburg as hostages, as well las all the horses, cattle, pigs and chickens they could round up.
Major Macdonnell of the Glengarries, stationed at Prescott, wanted to hit back, but Governor Sir George Prevost would not allow him to attack. Perhaps he felt the hostages might be killed. However, Macdonnell persuaded Prevost to allow him to put on a “demonstration” on the river.
Macdonnell took 480 men and three pieces of artillery out on the ice. The river is more than one mile wide there. The “demonstration” was suddenly turned into a real attack.
The Canadian troops had no shelter, but they advanced through the American gunfire. There was a bloody battle as they fought their way into Ogdensburg and the Americans fled into the woods.
Macdonnell returned to Prescott with seventy-four prisoners, twelve gunds, three hundred tents and a large quantity of food and ammunition. There were no more raids on the Prescott-Brockville area during the rest of the war. Later in the year, American General Wilkinson left Sackets Harbor, New York, with 8,000 men and sailed past Prescott with the intention of attacking Montreal. They landed below Prescott and suffered disastrous losses at Crysler’s Farm.
Very recently, I read an interesting article in Maclean’s Magazine about a version of “why” the Americans lost the battle of Ogdensburg. You can read it on Maclean’s site.
Another interesting site is Celebrate 1812.ca
War of 1812-related articles:
- The story of an Ogdensburg pioneer and the War of 1812 (northcountrypublicradio.org)
- Talisman layoffs could be harbinger of pain ahead for other Canadian gas producers (business.financialpost.com)
- War of 1812 Bicentennial Memorial to the Crown Forces (visitamuseum.org)
- The African American Experience during the War of 1812 (jacksonianamerica.com)
- Most popular page visited after arriving at War of 1812 website? The exit (canada.com)
- Black History Month (straightnocut.wordpress.com)
- In Essence: The Wikipedia Way (wilsonquarterly.com)
- History on Steroids: How a Local Community is Using New Media to Explore its Past (activehistory.ca)
- Seaway Trail to install War of 1812 signs on bayfront (goerie.com)
- 2 War of 1812 battles to be commemorated in Monroe (clickondetroit.com)