The Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812

The 1814 Invasion of Canada

The Siege of Fort Erie

Officer with regimental colour,  9th (the East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot, 1814

Caption: Officer with regimental colour, 9th (the East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot, 1814

It was not long before the two armies faced one another again, because General Drummond surrounded Fort Erie and began a siege on August 13. After only two days of shelling, the British attempted to take the fort with approximately 1,300 soldiers, but they had not banked on the Americans' determination. They suffered heavy losses when an underground powder magazine exploded, killing hundreds of men. There was no choice but to withdraw. They had lost more than 900 men, killed, wounded or missing, against only 84 on the American side. Drummond nevertheless received reinforcements and continued the siege.

On September 17 a raid by some 1,600 Americans took the British by surprise, with their lines insufficiently protected. The American attack was eventually warded off after fierce fighting. The losses were heavier for the British, with 115 dead, than for the Americans, with only 79. The Americans had also succeeded in destroying six of the British heavy cannons.

After the carnage Drummond decided to lift the siege, and his troops withdrew to Chippewa on September 21. On November 5 the Americans blew up Fort Erie after evacuating their troops to Buffalo. Thus ended this third attempt to invade Canada via the Niagara Peninsula.

Additional Images

Plan of Fort Erie in September 1814