Throughout the AMERICAN REVOLUTION, Fort Niagara was the major British supply depot for the Loyalist provincial troops, Butler's Rangers, and SENECA allies who raided rebel supply lines. Garrisoned by American troops from 1796, Fort Niagara was an important American staging area during the WAR OF 1812. It fought several artillery duels with FORT GEORGE across the river and was captured by British and Canadian forces on 19 December 1813 (see CAPTURE OF FORT NIAGARA). Returned to the US in 1815, the fort remained a peaceful border post. It was expanded and strengthened during the American Civil War and occupied by troops into the 20th century. During World War II, Fort Niagara became a PRISONERS OF WAR camp.
Today, Fort Niagara, restored between 1927 and 1934, is a New York State historic site (listed in 1980) operated by the Old Fort Niagara Association and known as Old Fort Niagara. Listed as a national historic landmark in 1960, the building is one of a number of structures making up what is also called the Colonial Niagara Historic District. Among its many features are a visitor centre, which displays, among other artifacts, the flag that was flying when the fort was captured by the British in 1813.
Author ROBERT S. ALLEN Rev: RONALD J. DALE
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.
A biography of John Butler army officer, office-holder, and Indian agent. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Fort George National Historic Site of Canada
Take a virtual tour of Fort George National Historic Site, a much fought over location in the War of 1812. From Parks Canada.
A Century of Sail and Steam on the Niagara River
Explore 400 years of sailing history in the Niagara River and Lake Ontario region. Peruse original illustrations and rare photographs and the full text of this 1913 publication. From the “Maritime History of the Great Lakes” website.
The Canadian Register of Historic Places
Canada is home to a vast array of fascinating historical sites. Many of them are illustrated and described in this searchable online database of Canadian historic places that are of local, provincial, territorial, and national significance.
Old Fort Niagara
Check out the turbulent history of Old Fort Niagara, strategically located at the mouth of the Niagara River. From the Old Fort Niagara Assocation in New York State.
A brief history of the American Loyalist corps known as "Butler's Rangers." Also, check out "Butler's Barracks," for information about this historic building located in Niagara-on-the-Lake. From the website for the Lincoln and Welland Regimental Museum.
History blazes to life at battle re-enactment
An article about the re-enactment of the capture of Fort Niagara by British soldiers and Iroquois warriors. From thestar.com.
Sir Roger Hale Sheaffe
A biography of Sir Roger Hale Sheaffe, British army officer in the War of 1812 and colonial administrator. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Fighting for Naval Supremacy on Lake Ontario, 7-10 August 1813
A detailed article about the battle for control over Lake Ontario in the War of 1812. Covers the actions of British commander Sir James Lucas Yeo and American Isaac Chauncey. Also, scroll down to page 17 to view the illustration "Forty Mile Creek, 8 June 1813." The caption describes how control of Lake Ontario influenced the actions of land forces in the war. From the journal "Canadian Military History."
The War of 1812 and the Tourist Encounter in Upper Canada
See a series of 1840 watercolour paintings depicting scenes of various sites related to the War of 1812 created by British military artist Lieutenant Philip John Bainbrigge. Includes an illustration of the original Brock's Monument and other structures that no longer exist. Also provides an account of Bainbrigge's travels through the region. Click on each image for a larger view. From the War of 1812 Magazine.