The Battle of Queenston Heights
"Revenge the General!!"
The British at Queenston Heights
The British at Queenston HeightsIn the silence of the still morning on October 13, 1812, the sound of oars carries across the Niagara River and alerts the British troops on the escarpment above Queenston. They spray gunfire on the river, directed only by the sound of the splashing. Within moments, the British artillery opens fire and the light from the exploding bombs gives the gunners their first glimpse of the U.S. invasion force. It is obvious that this is no bluff; the Americans are crossing with artillery and hundreds of men.
The slow and treacherous crossing allows the British to inflict considerable damage with their rifles and artillery. Many Americans are killed before they even have a chance to land in Canada. The Niagaras strong current carries three American boats downriver, where they are promptly taken prisoner. But the bulk of the US force lands below the Heights and pushes the British back towards the village of Queenston.
A few miles to the north, the mud-splattered General Brock gallops towards the battle on his horse, Alfred. The thundering guns at Queenston, just seven miles away from his quarters at Newark, have awoken him. Before riding off he orders an artillery unit and Nortons entire Iroquois force, to follow him to Queenston; the remaining troops are to be made ready for battle. As Brock approaches Queenston, he meets the York Volunteers and urges them on towards the village.
Brocks movements after he enters Queenston remain unclear. It seems likely that he is briefed about the details of the invasion and quickly sends for reinforcements. He then heads for high ground to survey the situation. The British keep up a heavy fire, but the Americans continue to land on the shore below the village. All the extra British troops are ordered down to he edge of town to stall the advance. This leaves only a handful of men to protect the main British gun. An American force bursts from the woods. The British soldiers quickly spike the gun and withdraw part-way down the Heights.