War of 1812 Facts related to Western Corridor
- Home to Six Nations and John Brant, who played a major role in helping the British win the war. Brant’s Ford on the Grand River was used as a crossing point for military on the move during the war.
- The trails, rivers and lakes were vital to the British war effort, connecting troop and supply movements. These routes also connected to other significant War of 1812 areas such as Toronto, Niagara and south-west Ontario.
- British General Brock, considered by some to be Canada’s most endearing hero, travelled with his army of 300 regulars and 400 militia from Fort York through the Western Corridor to get to the first battle in the War of 1812 at Fort Detroit, (which he captured). He befriended Tecumseh, who had his Native warriors join forces with the British against the American invasion. From Fort Detroit, Brock travelled to Niagara to defend the boarder and was killed during the battle on Queenston Heights. We refer to these marches as “Brock’s Walk” and his path will become a key aspect of an 1812 Discovery Trail, highlighting historic sites and bicentennial events.
- British commander, John Vincent, to avoid capture, fled from the American landing at Niagara, by retreating to Queenston Heights and then heading north to Burlington Heights (present day Dundurn Park, Hamilton).
- After his disastrous loss at Moraviantown (the Battle of the Thames), which saw the death of Tecumseh, British General Proctor fled north, through Brant’s ford up to Burlington Heights.
- American General McArthur invaded the Thames Valley in October 1814 from Fort Detroit. The plan was to devastate the Grand River settlements and the region around the head of Lake Ontario (Hamilton) to cut the supply line for the British defending the Niagara frontier. He travelled the used routes in the Southwest and Western Corridor, until he ran into the Six Nations at Brant’s Ford. Beaten back, and with the knowledge that reinforcements were coming from Burlington Heights, McArthur retreated looped south and raided the settlements along the north shore of Lake Erie on his way back to Detroit.
- The site where the Joseph Brant Museum is now in Burlington was considered to be a safe meeting place for British and Native allies.
- The role of the militia was essential to ensuring the success of Britain in this war. Comprised of local volunteers, mostly United Empire Loyalists (living in Upper Canada after leaving America after the Revolution) and “late Loyalists”, who arrived recently from America. These were farmers and rural people who wanted to remain British subjects and so moved to Upper Canada to make a new life for themselves. It is their stories that have been past down through family history and remain in the active memory of Canadians today. Our region’s role in the War of 1812 will be marketed using a “story telling” approach, based on these family tales and connections to the places here.
- Stoney Creek; a decisive battle which turned the war in Britain’s favour
- Malcolm Mills (present day Oakland), Nov 6, 1814, fought by General McArthur on his return to Detroit after being stopped at Brant’s Ford. McArthur encountered militia from Norfolk, Oxford and Middlesex regiments. The goal was to get McArthur to retreat or at least hold him back until reinforcements arrived from Burlington Heights. This was the last foreign battle on Canadian soil. Unsuccessful in their attempt to stop McArthur, he was able to continue to raid the villages along Lake Erie. He then journeyed north again to the Thames River, where he travelled the river back to Lake St. Clair and returned to Detroit on Nov 17, 1814.
- May 14, 1814, Port Dover, with its mills and distilleries, was burned by Americans. Women and children were allowed to escape, given minutes to collect personal items, before their homes were destroyed. This was considered a deplorable act, as civilian buildings were destroyed along with the mills and distilleries used to supply the British army. This action caused the retaliation of British forces and resulted in the burning of the Whitehouse in Washington in August 1814.