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War of 1812 Timeline: April 1813 - June 1813

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April 1813 - June 1813

Spring 1813          

Captain Daniel Pring commands the Royal Navy on Lake Champlain. He arrives at Ile au Noix on July 25.

 

Because of Kingston, Upper Canada's strategic role as a transshipment point for men and supplies and for its naval yard, the British commence a series of fortifications. By war's end the town will be encircled with wooden blockhouses and batteries linked with a wooden palisade. On the east side of the harbor the ship yard will be protected by a new post named Fort Henry.

April 1813             

Construction begins to strengthen Coteau-du-Lac, Lower Canada including an octagonal blockhouse.

For many years, Coteau-du-Lac was an important logistical link between Upper and Lower Canada and was the site of North America's first lock canal (1781).  Early in the war, troops were sent to garrison the decaying 18th century blockhouse at this post on the St. Lawrence River, Britain's critical transshipment route.  Upon recommendations of Royal Engineer Ralph Bruyeres, an ambitious construction program began in order to strengthen defences including a large octagonal wooden blockhouse and earthworks on either side of the canal.  Although it was never attacked, Coteau-du-Lac was in a state of heightened alert when Major General James Wilkinson began his November 1813 campaign down the St. Lawrence to attack Montreal.

 

Gunboats constructed at Ile aux Noix, Lower Canada naval yard.

 

The Western Rangers, or Caldwell's Rangers, is formed in Upper Canada.  Named after William Caldwell, their commander and a merchant with ties to the Indian Department, this militia unit is raised to fight alongside British First Nations allies.  They will participate in several actions in Upper Canada including the Battles of Moraviantown, Longwoods , and Lundy's Lane.

 

Captain Andrew Adams and Captain Richard Fraser's troops of Provincial Light Dragoons are formed in eastern Upper Canada.  Both troops will be amalgamated on 25 September 1813.

3 April 1813          

Engagement on the Rappahannock River, Virginia. Royal Navy boats capture four American vessels after a boarding action.

6 April 1813 

Royal Navy vessels Bombard Lewes, Delaware.

8 April 1813  

Raising of the Provincial Commissariat Voyageurs, Lower Canada.

12 April 1813 

Creation of the Militia Light Infantry Battalions, Lower Canada.

15 April 1813

Spanish Fort Charlotte in West Florida is taken by American troops.

22 April 1813

The Provincial Marine, established in 1778, is dismantled.

27 April 1813

Battle of York, Upper Canada.

An amphibious attack on Kingston being impractical as its harbour was blocked by ice, American Brigadier General Zebulon Pike turned his attention toward York and the warship under construction there.  Incapable of preventing the landing, Major-General Sir Roger Hale Sheaffe ordered the sloop Sir Isaac Brock burned and Fort York's powder magazine detonated, which caused several hundred American casualties including Pike who was fatally wounded.  Sheaffe's British regulars then retreated to Kingston leaving the militia to negotiate the terms of surrender.  Occupying the town just over a week, the Americans destroyed private and public property.  Although the attack left their army weakened, the Americans did succeed in disrupting British plans since supplies destined for their squadron on Lake Erie were lost during the raid.

28 April 1813

The British launch HMS Sir George Prevost (22 guns), shortly renamed Wolfe, at Kingston, Upper Canada which will become Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo's flagship when he arrives at that post in May 1813.

29 April 1813 

Raising of the Canadian Light Dragoons in the district of Montreal, Lower Canada.  They will serve in both Lower and Upper Canada.

 

Raid on Frenchtown, Maryland. British sailors and Royal Marines attack and disperse Maryland Militia. Supplies are taken from the town.

May 1813

Two companies of the 99th Regiment are stationed in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia to defend this part of the Bay of Fundy coast from privateers, and to be available for crossing over to Saint John, New Brunswick, should it come under attack.

 

Dominique Ducharme enlists the help of numerous First Nations fighters and leads them to the Niagara Peninsula, Upper Canada.  They will take part in the Battle of Beaver Dams in June 1813.

 

Arrival of British reinforcements to Quebec, Lower Canada: 19th Regiment of Light Dragoons, the only British regular cavalry unit to serve in British North America during the war.

 

Creation of the Frontier Light Infantry and the Independent Company of Militia Volunteers, Lower Canada.

1-9 May 1813

First siege of Fort Meigs, Ohio. 

With the occupation of parts of their homeland in Ohio, First Nations' leaders pressured British Major-General Henry Procter to attack Major General William Henry Harrison's headquarters along the Maumee River.  Procter also realized that the Americans posed a military threat to his base at Amherstburg , Upper Canada.  After reinforcements from Niagara arrived Procter laid siege to Fort Meigs bombarding it with gunboats and with batteries erected on both sides of the river.  On 5 May the allies defeated a substantial American relief force as well as a sortie by the fort's defenders but, with dwindling supplies and lacking adequate siege artillery, Procter was forced to end the operation.  With the defeat Procter lost the respect of Tecumseh and other First Nations leaders.

3 May 1813           

British naval forces under Rear-Admiral Sir George Cockburn attack Havre de Grace, and Bell's Ferry both in Maryland.

5 May 1813           

Arrival of Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo at Quebec, Lower Canada with detachments of the Royal Navy.

To strengthen Canada's freshwater naval defences, Governor General Sir George Prevost made several pleas for reinforcement from the Royal Navy.  In response, the British government appointed distinguished veteran Sir James Lucas Yeo commodore and commander of naval forces on Canada's lakes.  Yeo was responsible first and foremost with the defence of the Canadian provinces but it was also hoped that he would regain dominance of Lakes Champlain and Ontario.  Yeo left England in March on the Woolwich accompanied by over 400 officers and seamen, many of whom had just served in the Baltic Sea.  As well, Yeo brought ordnance and supplies needed for the lakes naval establishments.

13 May 1813          

Captain James MacLaughlan, Commanding Royal Engineer at Saint John, New Brunswick, reports that the inhabitants of St. Andrews have erected three batteries, each containing a blockhouse .

15 May 1813         

Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo arrives at Kingston, Upper Canada.

Prior to Commodore Yeo's arrival, the British naval establishment on the lakes had been administered by the Provincial Marine, essentially a transport service with few experienced officers and deficiencies in crew.  The organization, part of the Quartermaster General's Department of the army, was incapable of opposing the increasing strength of the U.S. Navy commanded by Commodore Isaac Chauncey.  Yeo along with 465 Royal Navy officers and seamen were therefore sent from England in March 1813 to supersede the Marine in defence of the colony.  Yeo assumed command of all Provincial Marine vessels and members of his force were soon detached, under Commander Daniel Pring, to Lake Champlain and, under Commander Robert Barclay, to Lake Erie.  Shortly after his arrival, Yeo engaged the Americans at Sackets Harbor.

22 May 1813

Commencement of the cruise of the British privateer Dart.

New Brunswick-based privateers were rare because they threatened to interfere with the licensed trade. Of the few that did put to sea, the 74-ton sloop Dart was the most successful. Originally an American-owned sloop, she was captured by the Royal Navy in early 1813 and sold at auction in Halifax to a group of Saint John, New Brunswick investors. Her privateering career, which began on 22 May under the command of Captain John Harris of Clementsport, Nova Scotia, was almost stillborn, for on the 28th she was fired upon by HMS Rattler, whose captain mistook her for an enemy vessel in the heavy fog. She took 10 prizes before being captured by the United States revenue cutter Vigilant off the Rhode Island coast on 4 October 1813.

25-27 May 1813

Battle of Fort George, Upper Canada.

On 25 May, U.S. batteries on the Niagara River opened fire on Fort George, destroying the main British fort on that river after a day-long bombardment.  On the morning of 27 May, 4,500 American troops commanded by Major General Henry Dearborn landed on the Lake Ontario shore west of Niagara.  Outnumbered two to one, the British, Canadians and First Nations were overwhelmed by the cannon fire from the U.S. vessels.  British Brigadier-General John Vincent abandoned positions on the Niagara Peninsula and ordered a retreat to Burlington Heights after suffering heavy losses.  This retreat thwarted the American plans to cut off and destroy the British between Queenston and Niagara.  The Americans established a base at Fort George to support their invasion of Upper Canada.

27 May 1813         

British retreat to Burlington Heights, Upper Canada. 

After the Battle of Fort George, British Brigadier-General John Vincent abandoned the Niagara Peninsula and retreated to fortifications at Burlington Heights.  Five U.S. warships trapped in the Niagara River by the guns at Fort Erie now joined the U.S. Lake Erie fleet.  They would fight in the Battle of Lake Erie in the fall.  Vincent disbanded the Niagara militia who were left to face the victorious Americans alone.  From Burlington Heights the British could send reinforcements and vital supplies to their western posts.  The loss of this important position would mean the abandonment of western Upper Canada, and end the alliance with the First Nations associated with Shawnee Chief Tecumseh. 

29 May 1813

Battle of Sackets Harbor, New York.

With Commodore Isaac Chauncey's American squadron engaged at Niagara, Governor General Sir George Prevost planned an amphibious attack from Kingston, Upper Canada on Sackets Harbor, the main U.S. naval base on Lake Ontario.  Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo's squadron ferried about 800 troops but, becalmed off the American coast on the 28 May, failed to surprise their foe.  The town's garrison reinforced during the delay, assaults the following morning failed when the British came under heavy fire.  Panicking, American officers ordered naval storehouses burned along with a warship under construction, the General Pike, extinguished once the British withdrew.  Chauncey recalled the fleet to Sackets and did not venture from the port until General Pike was completed in late-July.  Temporarily uncontested, Yeo engaged in several successful amphibious operations.

June - December 1813

British blockade of American held Fort George, Upper Canada. 

After the battle of Stoney Creek (6 June), the British and their First Nations allies began a blockade of American held Fort George.  U.S. Brigadier General Peter Porter wrote that "the whole army lies panic struck - shut up and whipped."  American parties who advanced beyond the walls of the fort were attacked and driven back often by First Nations allies of the British.  The farmer's fields and woodlands echoed with gunfire as groups of regulars, militia and First Nations fought for control. Terrible sanitation and living conditions led to sicknesses and deaths, and a decline in morale in the U.S. camps.  Failure on the Niagara frontier caused the Americans to shift their troops to the St. Lawrence region by the fall of 1813. 

June 1813 

Arrival of British reinforcements to Quebec, Lower Canada: De Watteville Regiment, 13th Regiment.

 

Major-General Louis de Watteville is made commander of the district of Montreal, Lower Canada.

 

The 2nd Battalion 8th (or King's) Regiment arrives in New Brunswick and the militia that had been embodied to defend the Province stands down.

 

The last of Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry's vessels is launched at Erie, Pennsylvania. Constructed over the course of the previous winter six new American ships join a squadron of five vessels already gathered at Black Rock, New York.

1 June 1813

HMS Shannon defeats the USS Chesapeake off Boston, Massachusetts.

Although the Royal Navy's blockade of the American coast did not yet include New England, HMS Shannon, under Captain Philip Broke, belonged to a small squadron that had been monitoring American naval activity in Boston harbour. She was alone, however, when Captain James Lawrence of USS Chesapeake - the same vessel that had been mistreated by HMS Leopard in 1807 - unwisely decided to venture out for battle. Lawrence was unwise because Broke was a leader in the science of naval gunnery, having embraced such concepts as concentrated fire. Despite relative parity in their weaponry, Shannon made quick work of Chesapeake, capturing it in a mere 15 minutes. Mortally wounded, Lawrence became a national hero thanks to his last order: "Don't give up the ship."

3 June 1813

British forces capture two American warships, Growler and Eagle, on the Richelieu River near Ile aux Noix, Lower Canada.

While patrolling Lake Champlain to reduce American smuggling into Lower Canada, USS Growler and Eagle, entered the Richelieu River continuing northward until they were within sight of the fortifications at Ile aux Noix.  Made aware of the American incursion, the British immediately sent three gunboats to engage the approaching sloops.  The narrow channel impeded the latter's effort to turnabout while the gunboats inflicted heavy damage during a three-hour struggle.  The Americans surrendered and the warships, renamed Shannon and Broke, became part of the British squadron.   Because of this loss naval control of Lake Champlain briefly shifted to the British.  Both vessels were later retaken by the Americans in 1814 during the Battle of Plattsburg Bay, New York.

6 June 1813

Battle of Stoney Creek, Upper Canada.

On 1 June, 3,000 American soldiers commanded by Brigadier General William Winder and Brigadier General John Chandler advanced on the British positions at Burlington Heights, Upper Canada.  On the evening of 5 June they halted at Stoney Creek.  With only 700 men, British Brigadier-General John Vincent ordered a risky night assault on the American encampment.  Led by militia scout Billy Green, the British regulars and a small party of First Nations surprised the U.S. force.  The Americans rallied and a confused battle raged in the darkness.  Winder and Chandler were both captured. The British withdrew before daylight revealed their numbers to their enemy.  This unexpected attack shocked and disorganized the Americans, who retreated to Forty Mile Creek, Upper Canada.  The victory inspired First Nations and Canadian militia.

 

HMS Shannon escorts her prize of war, USS Chesapeake, into Halifax harbour, Nova Scotia.

 

Dispatched by Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo at Kingston, Upper Canada Commander Robert Barclay, and a contingent of Royal Navy sailors, arrives at Amherstburg, Upper Canada.

Already a seasoned naval veteran at age 28, British Commander Robert Barclay was sent to Amherstburg in an effort to strengthen the naval establishment on Lake Erie by replacing the Provincial Marine with the more professional Royal Navy.  Arriving with several naval officers and a few dozen Royal Navy and former Provincial Marine seamen, Barclay found the situation gloomy: there were few trained sailors and a lack of supplies and equipment to properly complete the new flagship of the Amherstburg squadron, HMS Detroit.  As well, U.S. Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry was building a superior squadron, which would threaten the British supply line across Lake Erie.  Despite these difficulties, Barclay would soon engage the Americans in battle for mastery of Lake Erie.

7 June 1813           

Action at Forty Mile Creek, Upper Canada.

After the Battle of Stoney Creek, the Americans retreated to Forty Mile Creek. On 7 June Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo's British fleet carrying troops and supplies to Burlington appeared offshore.  Yeo landed his troops and began to bombard the U.S. force now commanded by Major General Morgan Lewis.  Fearing that he would be cut off from his base, Lewis retreated towards Fort George. The retreat became disorderly when the Americans were attacked by First Nations and Canadian militia.   Panicking, Lewis' men discarded a vast store of military supplies.  Two days later the Americans withdrew from Fort Erie, Chippawa and Queenston to take shelter in their camp at Fort George.

9 June 1813

American forces burn Fort Erie and abandon posts at Chippawa and Queenston all in Upper Canada.

11 June 1813

The Liverpool Packet is captured by the crew of the American privateer Thomas, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

12 June 1813

After being damaged by fire during the 29 May 1813 British attack on Sackets Harbor, New York, USS General Pike (26 guns) is launched from that port and will add greatly to the strength of the American fleet on Lake Ontario.

16 June 1813

On Lake Ontario, the American schooner Lady of the Lake captures the British vessel Lady Murray bound with provisions from Kingston to York, both in Upper Canada.

19 June 1813

Raid on Sodus Point, New York.  In an amphibious assault, British Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo seizes American supplies and sets fire to the town's storehouses.

20 June 1813

A flotilla of 15 American gunboats attacks the British frigate Junon in Chesapeake Bay causing slight damage and several casualties.

Summer 1813

Creation of the Marine Corps in the district of Montréal to be posted at the British naval establishment on I le aux Noix, Lower Canada.

22 June 1813

Laura Ingersoll Secord warns the British of an impending American attack.

After learning of American plans to attack a key British outpost at DeCew's house near Beaver Dams, Upper Canada, 38 year old Laura Secord left her injured husband at their home in Queenston, and began her famous walk to warn Lieutenant James FitzGibbon. In order to avoid U.S. sentries and patrols, Laura left the main road and travelled about 30 km through the swamps and forests on a terribly hot day.  British First Nations allies brought her to FitzGibbon that night.  Her warning contributed to the American defeat at the Battle of Beaver Dams.  Laura Secord's story became known during the royal visit of the Prince of Wales in 1860.  She remains one of the best known Canadian heroes of the War of 1812. 

 

Battle of Craney Island, Virginia. British amphibious forces unsuccessfully attack the American fortifications on the island.

24 June 1813

Battle of Beaver Dams, Upper Canada.  

On 24 June, 600 American soldiers led by Colonel Charles Boerstler moved inland from Queenston to attack a key British outpost at DeCew's house near Beaver Dams. The column was attacked by Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) fighters from Kahnawake (Caughnawaga), Lower Canada led by Captain Dominique Ducharme.  They were joined by a smaller group from Ohsweken (Grand River Six Nations) with Captain William Kerr. After three hours of fighting, the exhausted Americans had almost run out of ammunition, and surrendered to a small party of British soldiers under Lieutenant James FitzGibbon.  FitzGibbon became a popular hero for bluffing the Americans into thinking he commanded a large force.  This defeat led to the removal of Major General Henry Dearborn from command of the U.S. force in the Niagara Peninsula.

25-26 June 1813

Battle of Hampton, Virginia. British soldiers, marines and sailors land and capture the town defeating a force of Virginia militia.

26 June 1813

Rather than surrender to his pursuers, the captain of the American privateering schooner Young Teazer blows up his vessel in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, killing 28 of the vessels' 36 crewmen. Some of the victims are buried in an unmarked grave in Mahone Bay's Anglican cemetery.  

28 June 1813

The New Brunswick Royal Gazette publishes tenders for the supply of building materials for the Martello Tower on Carleton Heights. 

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War of 1812 Timeline


Section 1: 1775 - November 1811
Section 2: January 1812 - June 1812
Section 3: July 1812 - September 1812
Section 4: October 1812 - December 1812
Section 5: January 1813 - March 1813
Section 6: April 1813 - June 1813
Section 7: July 1813 - September 1813
Section 8: October 1813 - December 1813
Section 9: January 1814 - March 1814
Section 10: April 1814 - June 1814
Section 11: July 1814 - December 1814
Section 12: January 1815 - 1871

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