Napoleonic War of 1812

Battle of Queenston Heights 1812

Battle of Queenston Heights first major battle of the War of 1812, death of British Major-General Isaac Brock, the Independence of Canada.

It had been Four months since the U.S Congress declared war on Britain. Major-General Stephen Van Rensselaer lead the assault in the Battle of Queenston Heights, Upper Canada (now Ontario) across the Niagara River.

13th October 1812, during the early hours of the morning, Major-General Isaac Brock was woken-up by American artillery. The Americans were crossing the Niagara River. Major-General Brock rode out to lead his men during the landings of the American force.

At 4am the Americans landed on the surrounding heights of Queenston. This became the first major battle of the War of 1812. They came under British volley fire at he heights, while the British artillery had pinned the invading force down at Queenston.

the death of sir isaac brock
The death of Sir Isaac Brock, by Charles W. Jefferys

Major-General Brock lead a charge with the 49th Regiment of Foot, and the 2nd Regiment of York Militia up the heights. While leading his men he was shot on the arm, then once he reached the American positions he received a fatal shot to the chest. Major General Roger Hale Sheaffe took over command

American reinforcements had now arrived, and retook the heights. This had become the only foothold the Americans established at Queenston. Major-General Van Rensselaer ordered more militiamen to cross the Niagara River, but they refused to make the crossing.

the death of general brock at the battle of queenston heights, 1812
The death of General Brock at the Battle of Queenston Heights, 1812 by John David Kelly

The American soldiers under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Winfield Scott became stranded on Queenston Heights, as British reinforcements arrived. Lieutenant-Colonel Scott retreated form the heights back down to the beach, and eventually surrendered to the British.

The Americans took the defeat hard, and Major-General Van Rensselaer resigned in disgrace. Further plans to invade Canada had been put on hold.

A renewed offensive in 1813 fared little better in the area to the East of Niagara, where the British counter-attacked and burned Buffalo, although in the West, after a US naval victory on Lake Erie, American troops did force a British withdrawal.