Nautical reenactment coming to Grimsby

Posted May 13, 2013  by Niagara This Week Source

Engagement at the Forty demonstration June 8

Two hundred years to the day, boats will again do battle off the shores of Grimsby.

But the demonstration on June 8, 2013 is one in recognition of peace. The events of June 8, 1813, however, were not driven by peace.

The Americans had retreated to The Forty, now Grimsby, after the Battle of Stoney Creek. It was there that they were attacked, on land and water, by the British and Six Nations. They fled for Fort George, leaving behind the dead, the wounded and their supplies.

It was a small skirmish in a long war, but one that had an impact on the overall outcome. Few residents of Grimsby know what happened on the patch of grass next the Grimsby Pump House. To change that, the Grimsby Historical Society and the town’s War of 1812 Bicentennial committee have planned a re-enactment of that battle, exactly 200 years to the day it was fought.

“The battle was a small but important British victory in the War of 1812,” said Craig Tallman, of both the GHS and 1812 committee. “It forced the Americans to retreat in a panic back to Fort George rather than recover and attack the British at Burlington.”

The events begin at 1 p.m. on June 8. The whole family can participate in period dancing, children’s role playing, enjoy the Grimsby Pipe Band, and view musket and artillery demonstrations.

At 3 p.m., the activity ends and eyes will shift to the re-enactors who will recreate the battle on land and water. British regulars, Lincoln militia, and Indian allies will disembark from boats and engage a US artillery company holding a strong position at the mouth of Forty Mile Creek.

GHS president Linda Coutts said the event is a celebration of the 200 years of peace between Canada and the United States that have followed the War of 1812.

“Yes, it’s a re-enactment of a battle, an engagement,” said Coutts. “But I think it is important for people to know what happened at The Forty.”