The War of 1812 - Niagara to Stoney Creek
In 1812 the United States declared war on Britain, and invaded Upper Canada from the Niagara Penninsula. An American force crossed the Niagara River and captured Fort George (Niagara-on-the-Lake) in May 1813. With about 3500 troops, they moved on in pursuit of the British who had retreated to Burlington Heights (where Dundurn Castle now stands).
The American troops reached Stoney Creek on June 5, 1813 and settled down for the night. The Gage House was used as headquarters by the two American Generals, Winder and Chandler.
At Stoney Creek, a surprise night attack was made possible through the daring assistance of Billy Green, a local 19-year-old civilian. Billy Green went to Burlington Heights to warn the British that the Americans were in Stoney Creek. The British decided on a night attack and Billy acted as a scout, since he was a very experienced woodsman who knew the area well.
About 700 regulars of the 8th and 49th Regiments of Foot, under Lieutenant - Colonel John Harvey, stopped the American advance and allowed the British to re-establish their position in Niagara.
During the 40-minute battle hundreds of soldiers died and the British had captured the two American Generals and some field artillery. The Americans retreated to Forty Mile Creek (Grimsby) and then to Fort George.
The Americans never advanced so far into into the Niagara Peninsula again.
Site of the Battle of Stoney Creek
This engraving by Benson Lossing is from 'The Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812: Illustrations by Pen and Pencil of the History, Biography, Scenery, Relics and Traditions of the Last War for American Independence', which was published in 1869.
The Stoney Creek Battle Ground
This map shows the location of the British and American troops before the Battle of Stoney Creek in 1813. The British advance from Burlington Heights is shown, as well as the camps of the American troops near the Lewis Homestead and the Gage Homestead.
The map is signed by William B. Ford, Ontario Land Surveyor, Hamilton, Ont. and appears in 'History of the War of 1812' by James Hannay, published by Morang & Co. in 1905.
The Seat of the War in North America
This map was published in 1813 and 1815 by John Melish in his Military and Topographical Atlas of the United States. Colour is used to outline political divisions.
We have added a red dot to show the location of Stoney Creek. This map is only a small portion of the original, and shows the Niagara locations where battles were fought during the War of 1812.
If you look along the orange-coloured border line, you can see the British Fort George in Newark (now Niagara on the Lake, Ontario) and Fort Niagara now on the American side (Youngstown, N.Y.). The population of Newark at that time was 500 and at Queenston it was 300. (Hand-coloured engraving)
A View of Fort George, Upper Canada