Date: Aug 11-12, 2012
Location: Old Fort Erie
350 Lakeshore Road
Fort Erie, Ontario
Put on by the Niagara Parks Commission, the 2012 Siege of Fort Erie will be the biggest re-enactment for them to date. Visit the site of the war's "Bloodiest Battlefield" and see history come alive.
Featuring the new Welcome Centre at the fort, the Siege will host a variety of activities for the public throughout the weekend. Step back into a time of red coats, black powder and gray fortress walls.
Fort Tours Start at the Welcome Centre on the Hour from 10am - 5 pm.
At 11 am & 2 pm Guides will Escort Tours to BATTLES.
Saturday, August 11th and Sunday August 12th
Fort and Camps open to the public
11:00 am South Field
‘Major Buck’s Surrender’
On July 3, 1814, the American forces numbering 4,500 men under General Jacob Brown crossed the Niagara River at Black Rock. They pushed south and surrounded the fort. Brown demanded the surrender of Fort Erie, allowing two hours for consideration. The Fort under the command of Major Buck of the King’s 8th Regiment surrendered shortly afterward and at 6:00 pm on July 3rd, the British soldiers, almost 200 in number, marched out, stacked their arms and became prisoners of war. The tenth and final American army to enter Canada during the War of 1812 had scored its first victory.
‘Stars & Stripes’ run up
12:00 Inside Fort
Uniforms of the War of 1812
1:00 pm South Field
British Artillery Demonstration
2:00 pm South Field
Following their capture of Fort Erie, the U.S. Army marched north and defeated the British Forces at the Battle of Chippawa on July 5th. American troops advanced as far as Fort George before withdrawing. The British and Americans engaged each other in a vicious night battle on July 25th at Lundy’s Lane, during which each side lost almost 1,000 men.
3:00 pm Camp Displays
4:00 pm Inside the Fort
U.S. Artillery Demonstration
Fort and Camps will be closed to the public
8:00 pm South Field
‘Drummond’s night assault on the Fort’
After an unsuccessful attempt to take over the Niagara Peninsula and rendezvous with the American naval squadron on Lake Ontario, the battered American forces retreated from Lundy’s Lane to Fort Erie. There they immediately started to expand the area of fortification. Upon completion, the American lines consisted of the Fort itself, a gun battery on the river bank, Douglass’Battery and a long fortified line to the south with two batteries, Fanning’s and Biddle’s. The half mile long line ended on the shore of Lake Erie at Snake Hill with Towson’s battery.
By August 7, 1814, the main British forces occupied the heights approximately 1.6 km/ 1 mile north of the American position. Here they built a series of breastworks and siege batteries for guns, rockets and mortars.
The British, greatly encouraged by the capture of two American schooners by the Royal Navy, planned an assault to regain the Fort. On August 15, at 3 a.m, Lt. General Gordon Drummond launched a four-pronged night attack. One column was to take Towson’s Battery on Snake Hill, the second was to take Douglass’ Battery on the East Side of the Old Fort, and a column of Native warriors was to act as a distraction near Biddle’s Battery. A fourth column was to capture the North-East demi-bastion of the Old British Fort. Only the last column was successful and even then for only a short period. The British gained the bastion, turned the artillery around, but then disaster struck. The expense magazine located directly under the gun platform exploded.
The surviving British retreated to their siege line. American losses were less than 100. The British losses numbered 1,000, but the siege continued.
9:00 pm In The Fort
‘After the Battle’ Lantern tours of the Fort
See the effects of the Failed British Attack!
This is a not-to-be-missed, whirlwind tour of Old Fort Erie!
Separate Tickets are required and are available at the Gift Shop
Regular Admission Applies. Tours start at the Front Gate of the Fort.
Sunday, August 12th
10:00 am Fort and Camps open to the public
10:30 am South Field
1:00 pm South Field
For a month, the bombardment and constant skirmishing inflicted hundreds of casualties on both sides, including the American Commander, General Gaines. By Sept. 17th General Brown had recovered from his wound at Lundy’s Lane and he planned an attack on the British forces The American troops succeeded in smashing two of the British siege batteries. Losses for each side during this action exceeded 500 men.
2:00 pm In The Fort
American Evacuation of the Fort
Fort Erie continued to be the base of American operations. General Izard arrived with another division of American troops and he tried to outflank the British position at Chippawa but this ended in the Battle of Cook’s Mills.
In late October, with winter approaching and the eastern seaboard of the U.S. under British attack, a decision was made to completely remove all U.S. troops from the Canadian side. On November 5, 1814, in the early morning, all artillery and troops were removed, the buildings burned and the bastions exploded.
Captain James Fitzgibbon of Upper Canada’s famed Glengarry Light Infantry was the first British Officer on the site following the American departure and witness to the almost total destruction. To this day, Fort Erie is still Canada’s bloodiest battlefield.
‘Union Jack’ run up
4:00 pm Camp closed to the public
5:00 pm Fort Closed
Old Fort Erie is owned and operated by The Niagara Parks Commission. No tax dollars are used to maintain this National Historic Site.
For more details, visit the website link above in info.