As part their two-day tour of Ottawa and Morrisburg, The Princess Royal and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence undertook a variety of Remembrance engagements.
On the afternoon of the 11th November, Vice Admiral Laurence paid a visit to the memorial of the Battle of Crysler’s Farm.
The Battle took place on the 11th November 1813 as part of an American plan, known as the St. Lawrence Campaign, to invade and capture Montreal.
The American forces vastly outnumbered their British and Canadian counterparts. It is estimated that the strength of the Americans was around 12,000 regulars compared to around 2,500 regulars and militia of the British and Canadian forces.
Remarkably, it was the latter which won a decisive victory over their American counterparts, marking the end of the St Lawrence Campaign.
An American army commanded by Major General Wade Hampton was ready to move from the south, up the traditional invasion route of the Champlain Valley, and the other stood under the command of Major General James Wilkinson at Sackets Harbor on Lake Ontario, ready to descend the river.
The British and Canadian armies were commanded by Colonel Charles-Michel d’Irumberry de Salaberry in Lower Canada and Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Wanton Morrison in Upper Canada.
On October 26th 1813, Hampton’s force was defeated at the Battle of Chateauguay, with de Salaberry forcing the southern invaders back on their base in the U.S.
The invasion down the St. Lawrence river was to be a much more serious affair.
Wilkinson’s army traveled down the St. Lawrence from Sackets Harbor and was met by a 1200-man-strong ‘corps of observation’. Aided by Commander William Howe Mulcaster’s detachment of gunboats, Wilkinson’s force was bombarded as their flotilla of bateaux and smaller gunboats made their way to Montreal.
During the trip to Crysler’s Farm, Vice Admiral Laurence viewed displays and meet with children in period costumes before observing historical re-enactments.
He discussed the battle with representatives of the Aboriginal community and participating regiments, including Judy Neville whose ancestors were Empire Loyalists and Tyendinaga Chief Don Maracle, whose ancestors helped to repel the American invaders.
As part of the Remembrance Day events, Sir Laurence laid a wreath at the monument, met SDG Highlanders Regiment officers and, before leaving, fired one of the Memorial’s cannons.
Image Credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson