Lundy's Lane Historical Society.

The centenary celebration of the battle of Lundy's Lane, July twenty-fifth, nineteen hundred and fourteen online

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versy as to the real result of the battle. "The embattled
hosts struggled for many long hours," declared Dr. J. H.
Coyne, the St. Thomas historian, "and thought the battle
was over, and rested. But the fight was only transferred.
The historians took it up, and their warfare continues
today." Mr. Frank H. Severance, Secretary of the Buffalo
Historical Society, also teased the historians. "It was the
longest battle on record," he remarked. "It has been fought
continuously for a hundred years. The British forces won
a decisive victory here, if you read British or Canadian
history. If you read American history the verdict is rever-
sed. I take it that this afternoon is an armistice in the
cessation of hostilities. Tomorrow, if you insist, the merry
war may go on."

Outside of these sentences, in a light vein, the inter-
national references to the outcome of the battle were not


disturbing, though plenty of historiail material was poured
out on the eagerly-listening crowd.

Historical Societies Active.
The celebration was inaugurated and carried out by
the Lundy's Lane Historical Society, of which Mr. R. W.
Geary is President, and of which Lieut.-Col. Cruikshank,
author of "The Documentary History of the War of 1812,"
has long been an active member. Mr. W. H. Arison was
master of ceremonies. The Ontario Historical Society,
with which the local body is affiliated, was represented by
many members, including the President, Mr. Charles M.
Warner, of Napanee; Veterans Royal Canadian Dragoons,
detachments from various regiments, including the Queen's
Own Rifles, 48th Highlanders, Royal Grenadiers, 37th Regi-
ment and other corps were present, and gave military color
and dash to the proceedings. The soldiery led the proces-
sion, which included various local societies and school
children, through crowded and flag-decked streets. As
the processionists climbed the hill into the quiet cemetery
where rest the nation's heroic dead beside hundreds o)
those who ended their lives in peace, the parallel with the
hot July night of a century ago was easily imagined.

A Symbolic Incident.
A temporary stand had been erected near the British
soldiers' monument, and on its steps stood a chorus of
sweet little schoolgirls, heads bedecked with maple leaves,
who, under the direction of Mr. Charles Bennett Kaye, late
of Norwich Cathedral, England, rendered various patriotic
songs. From this stand went forth during the afternoon
six Canadian and six American maidens, dressed in white,
who, while a band played a reverential hymn, placed sym-
bolic wreaths of flowers, first on the monument to the
British soldiers, and then on the stone wiiich marks the
graves of American soldiers buried nearby. The spirit of
this simple incident seemed to take possession of the vast
crowd who witnessed it. Another memorable event of the


afternoon was when Col. Fred McQueen of Toronto recited
Duncan Campbell Scott's poem, "The Battle of Lundy's
Lane." It w^as given with much dramatic effect, and its
strong lines and moving narrative brought a roar of appre-

The Indians' Protest.
Chief Hill of the Six Nations Indians, Brantford, whose
race came in for warm thanks for their aid to the British
in the war, added a pathetic note to the proceedings. He,
with several other Chiefs, had listened to the speeches, and
when he was called upon at the last he said the Indians in
Canada were unfairly treated. In the United States the
roads on the reserves were maintained by the Government
and not by the Indians. "We are sorry to mingle com-
plaints with this celebration," he said, "but it seems to be
the only place that we can get a hearing."

Sir John Gibson's Speech.

A welcome from Mayor Dores on behalf of the city of
Niagara Falls was followed by a vigorous address by Sir
John Gibson on behalf of the Province. The Lieutenant-
Governor rejoiced in the fact that the two nations had lived
side by side in amity for one hundred years. That there
should ever be another war between them was simply un-
thinkable. Lundy's Lane was one of the most stubborn
battles ever fought. The carnage was appalling. Charges
were made by one side and the other in close and impetuous
succession through the darkness of the night. Drummond
and Riall were offset by the equal bravery of Generals
Brown and Scott. (Applause). Real bravery and heroic
devotion were that night displayed by those engaged which
would not suffer by comparison with the storming of

A Review of the War.

Dr. Alexander Eraser, Ontario Archivist, gave a care-
fully prepared historical review of the causes and issues of
the war. He accused the newly-formed United States Gov-


ernment of that day of unreliability and of being a "century
behind the times in its estimate of the value of truth in
international affairs." Unexpressed causes, of the seeking
of war by the Republic were its obligation to help France
in return for aid in the revolutionary war and a desire to
capture Canada. Encouraged by the tacit aid and advice
of Napoleon and by the small population of Canada (477,-
000 to their 7,250,000) , the Americans looked upon Canada
as an easy prey. At the same time there was a considerable
anti-war spirit, especially in Massachusetts, Dr. Eraser con-

"In the contest we have a large against a small coun-
try, and notwithstanding divisions of opinion in each, the
large country, according to the prophets, should have tri-
umphed. Why, therefore, did not the United States win?

Why the British Won.

"(1) Because the war was one of aggression, and in
such a war a human element was to be reckoned with out-
side of ordinary military calculations.

"(2) The character of the people must be taken into
consideration. Though a small number, a mere handful
of 77,000, iron was in their blood. They rid themselves of
traitors to their country, and they were in the breach to

"(3) Something must be said of the leaders. Prevost,
brave and experienced as he was, proved himself unfit for
supreme command. Brock was a gift of the gods to his
country. He and Drummond are the outstanding Generals
of the war.

"We are then thrown back on the spirit of determina-
tion exercised by a patriotic people. The satisfaction we
feel to-day is that to us the war of 1812-14 was a war of
defence, not of offence or of aggression. Further, that we
were a weak j)eople, as indeed, comparatively speaking, we
are to-day, and that in our militarj'^ and national weakness


we were strong in our faith, strong in our loyalty, and in-
vincible in the defence of our home and country.

An Inspiration to Canada.

"It needs no prophet's eye to see that it will always be
so. Heaven is not always on the side of the big battalions,
as the history of war has demonstrated from the beginning
of time. Abraham's shepherds decimated Chedarladmer's
hosts, Gideon's was a small host, purged of the faint-
hearted and the weak-kneed. The Ten Thousand is im-
mortal, and Bannockburn is celebrated to-day.

"The glory of the 1812-14 war rests with Simcoe's
settler fighting for his home and flag, as well as wath Dor-
chester's regiments. That war gave to Canada a saga of
glowing tradition, an epic of patriotism, a historic pageant
of men and w^omen whose deeds will be our national inspir-
ation and whose names will be our everlasting glory. The
moral of it to us is clear. It is to love our homes, to glorify
them, to make thein worthy of our finest and most rugged
patriotism, to guard their honor and exalt their wholesome
influence. For them the fathers fought, be it ours to
transmit that love of them as a priceless heritage to our
descendants. To cultivate, uphold and maintain a spirit
of nationality, intense and true to the ideals of our best
past, and to honor that past in the best way, by striving to
be worthy of it in every relation and duty of citizenship
and life." (Loud cheers.)

What the War Accomplished.
Col. Peter A. Porter, well known as a local historian
in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and descendant of an American
General, Peter B. Porter, in the war, followed in eloquent
terms. "We Americans," he said, "join with you in the
earnest hope that the future will be as free from war
between us as the past centurj^ has been." The War of
1812, he declared, had established the position of the United
States among the powers of the earth. "It also made
Canada a more integral part of the British Empire. It


welded your loyalty into a concrete force. It laid the foun-
dations for your present great Dominion, and its close
resulted in the peace which has continued even until to-

Dr. Coyne's address contained many illuminating
flashes on the battle itself. The six hours' conflict in the
dark; the volleys aimed at lanterns in the hot, smoke-laden
night; the crude medical work, and the cruel plight of the

"It was a futile war," Dr. Coyne continued, "so far as
its ostensible objects w^erc concerned. Kot one cause
claimed by Congress was even mentioned in the treaty of
peace. But in its indirect results the war was of immense
importance. It drew a line of cleavage between New Eng-
land and the south which widened and deepened into the
great rebellion. It made Canada more intensely British in
sentiment than it was before. It made a country of small,
scattered settlements a country of national ideals and senti-

For the future, Dr. Coyne said, the two countries wer^
one in spirit and in feeling under separate flags. They had
many social problems in common, and their duty would be
rivalry in research rather than rivalry in war.

Mr. George D. Emerson and Mr. F. H. Severance of
Buffalo and Mr. C. M. Warner of Napanee, spoke briefly;
and Miss Janet Carnochan read an inspiring sonnet com-
posed for the occasion.

Miss Carnochan's Sonnet.
Miss Carnochan's sonnet was as follows:
Upon this hill we come to celebrate
That fateful day a century ago,
How saved our heritage with forceful blow^
We meet to tell the tale, but not in hate.
We meet tlieir loyal names to consecrate
Who fouglit and fell, shall we forget? Oh, no.
But high emblaze their names and proudly show


How nobly stood our sires in dangers great,
To tell the inspiring tale that so we, too,
May meet our hill of difliculties well.
For we have problems hard to solve to-day
And enemies of greed and gold not few.
Heaven grant us grace their forces to repel
And at the call of duty straight obey.

Peace and War Commemorated.

Great Demonstration Marks Centenary of Battle of

Lundy's Lane — Speakers heard from both

Canada and the United States.

From The Mail and Empire, Toronto, Monday, July 27, 1914
Niagara Falls, Ont., July 26. — Lundy's Lane, the scene
of one of the fiercest battles in the War of 1812, was com-
memorated yesterday on the 100th anniversary of the battle,
when representatives of Canada and the United States met
together in friendship to celebrate the completion of one
hundred years of peace between the nations. The pro-
ceedings were under the auspices of the Lundy's Lane His-
torical Society. The Niagara Frontier Historical Society,
of Niagara Falls, N.Y., participated in the celebration,
speakers from both sides of the line being heard, while a
group of young ladies, half of whom were from either
country, united in decorating the graves of those who fell
in the memorable battle.

The day's celebration commenced with a luncheon
given by the local society to the speakers of the day and
their friends at the Clifton House, after which a military
contingent, made up of members of local regiments and
representatives of the Toronto garrison, together with a
company of the United States National Guards, school
cadets and boy scouts, formed in line and paraded through
the city to Lundy's Lane. The regiments represented were:
Queen's Own Rifles, Royal Grenadiers, 48th Highlanders,


Royal Canadian Dragoons, Royal Canadian Regiment, 7th
Field Battery, 19th Regiment, 44th Regiment, 37th Regi-
ment, Army Medical Corps. The American troops were
from Fort Niagara, and there were also in line representa-
tives of the Six Nations Indians.

On arriving at the top of the hill beyond the historic
cemetery the speakers took their places upon a platform
which had been erected, and which was decorated for the
occasion with bunting and flags of both countries, the en-
tire line of march and the vicinity of the battlelield also
being covered with flags and banners inscribed with the
names of the regiments that took part in the battle. A
number of patriotic selections of both countries were sung
by a chorus of school children at intervals during the
speeches, the music being furnished by several regimental
bands. The chairman of the celebration, Mr. W. H. Arison,
introduced the speakers, and a short prayer for continued
peace was said by Rev. Mr. Robb, while Mayor O. E. Dores
welcomed the visitors.

Sir John Gibson, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, was
the first speaker, and in a brief address he paid a high
tribute to the memory of the brave soldiers who were en-
gaged in the fight 100 years ago upon the ground where
the concourse was assembled. Since that time, the speaker
declared, a vast change had taken place, and war between
ihe two neighboring nations had become unthinkable since
both had come to realize that their great national and inter-
national duties led them in the direction of lasting peace.
Sir John enlarged upon the greatness of the national heri-
tage preserved to Canadians by the valor of their fore-
fathers, and concluded by saying that, while Canadians
cherished the warmest feelings of friendship and fraternity
for their great neighbor to the south, they would for ever
continue with heart and voice to say "God Save the King."

Letters of regret were read from II. R. H. the Duke of
Connaught, Sir Robert Borden, and others, after which Dr.
.Mex. Eraser, Provincial Archivist, gave an address of an


historical character, dcahng largely with the causes leadinj(
up to the war, the source of which reached to the Revolu-
tionary War. While there had been errors on both sides,
in the opinion of Dr. Fraser, diplomacy would have re-
moved the existing grievances had not the inlluence of
France entered into the situation. In conclusion, Dr.
Fraser dealt at some length with the situation in Canada
at the time of the outbreak of the war, and he found the
chief reason for the failure of the Americans to be the
magnificent defence for home and country made by t he
Canadians, assisted by the British troops, coupled with a
considerable element of opposition to the war in the United
States, particularly in the States along the frontier of Upper

Col. Porter, of Tonawanda, N.Y., dealt with the present
peaceful relations existing between the two nations, declar-
ing that nowhere was this manifested more particularly
than along the Niagara frontier.

Several other speakers were heard and poems suitable
to the occasion were read, in particular a sonnet written for
the celebration by Miss Janet Carnochan, the noted historian
of the Niagara frontier.

Among those present on the platform were also the
following: Dr. Severance and George D. Emerson, from
the Buffalo Historical Society and City Council; Clarence
M. Warner, Napanee; Miss Reid and Miss Rothwcll, Ottawa;
Andrew Braid, Detroit; Dr. Jas. D. Whitaker, Cleveland;
Senator McCall, Simcoe; Dr. Coyne and Jas. Lanigan, St.
Thomas; G. R. Pattullo, Woodstock; S. D. Passmore, Major
Gordon J. Smith, and Chiefs of the Six Nations Indians,
Brantford; R. E. Land, and Justin Gritfin, Hamilton; Dr.
Jessop, M.P.P., Dr. Musgrove, M.P.P., Evan Fraser, H.
Lovelock, Lt.-Col. Belcher, Jas. Nichol, Stratford; Major
Beck, Major Cooper and Capt. J. A. Macdonald, of Veterans'
Association, Toronto; Col. G. Sterhng Ryerson, W. J. Hor-
ton. Dr. E. A. Hardy, Dr. McCormick.

Two interesting figures upon the platform were Mrs.


Newton, an aged lady of 83, whose father was Major Mac-
Dougall, of the Glengarry Fencibles, who was wounded live
times in the battle, and Mrs. L. S. Lundy, who in spite of
her years was able to take a seat on the platform.

The Battle of Lundy' s Lane.
Dr. Alexander Fraser, Toronto.

From the Mail and Empire, Toronto, Monday, July 27, 1914
Pilgrim-spirited Canadians from many parts of
Ontario assembled on Saturday, at Niagara Falls, where,
within sound of the famous cataract, memories that Canada
will not suffer to die, were revived and revered anew.
Brave deeds, whatever the walk of Ufe in which they may
be found, appeal to the best in man, but when done on the
field of battle, against odds, and in defence of home and
country, as was the case at Lundy's Lane, the patriotic
emotions are stirred and the tribute to their memory be-
comes a nation's enduring homage.

"Not here? Oh, yes, our hearts their presence feel.

Viewless, not voiceless, from the deepest shells,

On memory's shore harmonious echoes steal.

And names which, in the days gone by, were spells,

Are blent with soft music, if there dwells

The spirit here our country's fame to spread

While every breast, with joy and triumph swells,

And earth reverberates to our measured tread.

Banner and wreath will own our reverence for the dead.'

The scene today presents to the visitor a different aspect
to that presented one hundred years ago when the liercely-
contested battle was fought. The key to the position was
a hill, now known as Drummond Hill, situated almost
opposite the Horseshoe Fall, and within an area formed by
the junction of Lundy's Lane running over the hill to the
west and Queenston Road which skirled the Niagara River


southward from Qucenston to Chippawa. Settlement of
the land had been in progress for about fifteen years.
There were many "clearings" in the locality and the villages
of Chippawa and Fort Erie would contain almost twenty
houses each. There was, however, much dense brush and
broken, waste land, and on the ground where part of the
fighting occurred tree and underbrush were a trying ob-
struction as well as a shelter to the combatants.

The Crown grantee of the land now so famous was
James Forsyth, whose patent for 400 acres was issued in
1798. A year later a part of this grant was transferred to
Christopher Burchner, Forsyth's son-in-law, and Burchner
dedicated half an acre, on the top of the hill, as a cemetery
for the first settlers. It is said to be the highest point on
the Niagara frontier. Around this little roughly enclosed
cemetery the battle raged, and next day many of the soldiers
who fell, British and American, were buried in it. A more
picturesque spot could scarcely have been selected as the
resting-place of the dead, "near," as Dr. Harper says, "the
torrent's resonant gorge; where the rhythm of the centuries
unrolls its wondrous lay." The Lane extends about two
miles from the Queenston Road, to the farm of William
Lundy, a Pennsylvania Quaker, who at the close of the
Revolutionary War took up a 500-acre grant of land in the
Township of Stamford, where his descendants are to the
present day. After William Lundy the Lane was named.

How different is the scene today! Lundy's Lane forms
a beautiful, well-built street of a prosperous city. On Drum-
mond Hill is a large monumented cemetery, including n
sculptured memorial to Laura Secord, the heroine of the
War of 1812-14. A commodious and substantially buiTl
church is nearby; stores and residences fill the waste lands,
and only the sacred memory of the past remains.

The main points in the battle may be noted briefly.
The American army, numbering at least 4,000 men, lay a I
Chippawa, commanded by the veteran. General Brown,
under whom were Generals Winfield Scott and Eleazer


Ripley, experienced and brave officers, the objective point
being Burlington Heights. The British forces were spread
over the peninsula at different posts, and had to be brought
together long distances, after the battle had actually begun.
The^ were under the immediate command of General
Phineas Riall, described as being "as brave as Ney in
action," an experienced commander, though scarcely for-
tunate in the Niagara engagements. The Commander-in-
Chief was Lieutenant-General Gordon Drummond, of Meg-
gincli Castle, Perthshire, a brilliant soldier, who had won
distinction in the Napoleonic wars. He arrived at Niagara
from Toronto only on the morning of the battle. Under
him were Colonels Harvey and Morrison and officers of the
calibre of Fitzgibbon, who were familiar with the ground.
Riall placed a force numbering less than 1,000 men, under
Col. Pearson, at Lundy's Lane junction, about three miles
distant from the enemy. Col. Herculus Scott was still at
Twelve Mile Creek with about 1,200 men, most of whoin
were young and inexperienced, and this force Riall ordered
to join Pearson at Lundy's Lane. In the meantime General
Brown, fearing a British advance from Lewiston on Fort
Schlosser, above the Falls, on the American side, where
was the base of his supplies, sought to create a diversion by
marching from Chippawa to Queenston. He threw for-
ward Gen. Scott's brigade. This was the fii-si move in the
battle. Riall, thinking that Brown was attacking in force,
ordered Pearson to fall back on Queenston, and then sent
orders countermanding Col. Herculus Scott to divert from
Lundy's Lane to Queenston. On the arrival of Drummond
early in the day at Queenston, he learned of the dispositions
that had been made by Riall, and at once proceeded to
Lundy's Lane, arriving after Riall had ordered Pearson's
retreat. With Drummond were about 800 men, who, with
Pearson's force, made up a body of from 1,600 to 1,800. He
recalled Pearson's men at once, and despatched orders to
Col. Herculus Scott to retrace his march from Queenston
and to make for Lundy's Lane, determining to give full


battle to the enemy. It was then nearin^ 6 o'clock in the
afternoon, and Drumniond's men had liad a loni:; marcfi,
but they were formed on the hill, on the sunnnit of which
Drummond placed his artillery. Gen. Brown marched up
to Winfield Scott's assistance, and shortly the attack was
begun. The fighting was the fiercest of the war, and, dark-
ness setting in, it was sometimes hard to distinguish friend
from foe. Again and again fortunes varied; desperate
attacks on the British artillery were launched and
failed, but at last the enemy under Col. Miller captured the
guns, having approached under cover of a shrubbery fence.
It is claimed the British recaptured the cannon and an
American gun in addition. The claim is disputed; and
owing to the confusion in the darkness of the night the
point is uncertain, but daylight showed the guns in British
possession. At nine o'clock in the evening Col. Herculus
Scott's weary-footed troops, after marching and counter-
marching twenty miles on a hot July day, arrived at t he
scene. They were not in a condition to be very effective,
hut their presence enabled Drummond to extend his line
and strengthen his defences. For three hours longer the
fight went on in confusion and disorder, with only the lurid
blazes from the musketry to light up the scene, until shortly
after midnight the enemy was called off, both Generals
Brown and Winfield Scott having been wounded. Gen. Riall
wounded and a prisoner, and Gen. Drummond wounded
in the neck but able to remain on duty.

Lundy's Lane has been described as essentially a sol-
dier's battle, and certainly the valor, endurance and fighting
qualities of all concerned have never been called in ques-
tion. While there are still those who, in admiration of
the stubborn combatants, would agree to call it a drawn
battle, it was nevertheless in all the essentials and purposes
of the fight a British victory and as such will continue to
be known.

Gen. Drummond, born in Quebec in 1771, the friend
of the Duke of Kent, the coadjutor of Abercrombie and


Sir Eyre Coote, succeeded Prevost as commander of the
iorces and administrator-in-chicf of the Canadas. When
at his own request he returned to Britain in 1816, his de-
parture was deeply regretted by all classes. The honor of
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath was conferred
upon him for his services, and in further recognition the
grand cross of that order. In 1825 he became a full General

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Online LibraryLundy's Lane Historical SocietyThe centenary celebration of the battle of Lundy's Lane, July twenty-fifth, nineteen hundred and fourteen → online text (page 6 of 10)