Forces Move into Position
On 3 July 1814 Major General Jacob Brown invaded UPPER CANADA across the Niagara River and quickly seized Fort Erie. Numbering more than 3500, his army of regulars, militia and Aboriginal allies advanced north along the river against strong rearguard fighting by the British. They camped at Chippawa and on the afternoon of 25 July Brigadier General Winfield Scott led his brigade, about 1000 strong, along the Portage Road towards the intersection of Lundy's Lane within two kilometres of the falls at Niagara.
The British, not knowing Brown's intentions or exact position, also advanced up the Portage Road where they set up guns on the high ground of Lundy's Lane. They were flanked by regulars, Canadian militia and Aboriginal allies under John NORTON. Upon seeing the British forces, Scott halted within range of the British guns, which began to inflict casualties among the Americans. Thus, shortly after 7 PM, began the bloodiest battle of the War of 1812.
The Battle Commences
One of Scott's regiments attacked the British left flank, pushed it back and captured the wounded Major General Phineas RIALL, second in command under Lieutenant General Gordon DRUMMOND. Brown arrived with the rest of his army and launched repeated attacks against the British gunners. Darkness fell on bitter hand-to-hand fighting. Around the position of the guns, regulars of both sides fought with bayonets and fired their muskets at such close range that the muzzle blasts crossed each other. In the flash of the exploding powder they could even see their opponents' distorted faces. The noise, thick black powder smoke, and screams as men were shot or stabbed, must have seemed like a vision of hell.
The commanding generals on both sides were wounded, Brown and Scott so severely that they had to withdraw. The Americans captured the British guns but failed to take them away when, about midnight, their exhausted troops withdrew southward to Chippawa.
Aftermath of the Battle
The British troops, Canadian militia and Aboriginal warriors slept on or near the battlefield until morning. During the night, they could hear the groans of the wounded and their pleas for water. In daylight, they could see the battlefield littered with the dead and dying, men of both armies intermingled. Almost 900 were killed, wounded and missing on each side. Lundy's Lane was one of the most important battles of the war, for it stopped the American advance into Upper Canada. The Americans withdrew to Fort Erie; General Drummond followed and began a siege of the fort, the end of the final invasion of the province.
Author WES TURNER
Links to Other Sites
The website for the Historica-Dominion Institute, parent organization of The Canadian Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Check out their extensive online feature about the War of 1812, the "Heritage Minutes" video collection, and many other interactive resources concerning Canadian history, culture, and heritage.
Niagara Falls Museums
The website for the City of Niagara Falls museums. Check the "Database" for images of war memorabilia and other archival items.
Battle of Lundy’s Lane National Historic Site of Canada
This site offers a description of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane National Historic Site of Canada. From “Canada’s Historic Places.”
A biography of George Ryerson, militia officer, teacher, Methodist preacher, and Catholic Apostolic minister. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Glengarry Light Infantry
A brief article about the participation of the Glengarry Light Infantry in many of the major actions in the War of 1812. Includes a description of their armaments. From the "Canadian Army Journal."
Battle of Lundy's Lane
Click on the image for a larger view of an illustration depicting British and American troops in close combat during the Battle of Lundy's Lane. From the "1812 History" website.
History of the War of 1812
Read the full text of a digitized copy of a 1905 book that chronicles key events in the War of 1812 from a Canadian perspective. Also describes issues and events leading up to the conflict. See pages 14 and 15 for a table of contents. Includes numerous maps and illustrations. From archive.org.
Review: The Battle of Lundy's Lane on the Niagara in 1814
A review of the 1993 book "The Battle of Lundy's Lane on the Niagara in 1814." From the journal "Canadian Military History."
The Burlington Races Revisited: A Revised Analysis of an 1813 Naval Battle for Supremacy on Lake Ontario
Read a detailed account of a pivotal series of naval encounters between British Commodore Sir James Yeo and US Commodore Isaac Chauncey on Lake Ontario in 1813. Includes numerous illustrations. From the journal "Canadian Military History."
The Class of 1813
A collective bibliography of the general officers of the United States Army in the War of 1812. See profile of Jacob Brown for a description of his role in various conflicts during the war.
Reviews: Books on Military Subjects
Brief notes about books that focus on War of 1812 battles at Crysler's Farm, Lundy's Lane, and Chippawa. From the War of 1812 Magazine.
The Mentor: The War of 1812
Scroll down the page for illustrations from a 1916 publication depicting various encounters between British and American military officers who served in the War of 1812. The accompanying descriptions are written from an American perspective. From gutenberg.org.
Fix Bayonets! A Royal Welch Fusilier at War
A review of a book that covers British Army military engagements on various continents, including the War of 1812 in North America. From the War of 1812 Magazine.
Upper Thames Military Reenactment Society
The website for the Upper Thames Military Reenactment Society, which commemorates the military regiment that fought at Chippawa, Lundy's Lane, Fort Erie, and other battles in the War of 1812.