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Re-enactment of the Siege of Fort Erie

The bloodiest battle of the War of 1812 came alive once more with marching soldiers, artillery and musket fire. The re- enactor's camp opened to the public at 10:00 a.m. and throughout the weekend there were ongoing demonstrations that showed what life in the early nineteenth century was like.

The first battle re-enactment on Saturday morning was that of Major Buck's surrender, on July 3rd 1814 the American forces numbering 4,500 men under General Jacob Brown crossed the Niagara River at Black Rock. They pushed south towards the fort, attacked the British pickets and took up position at Snake Hill. Brown demanded the surrender of Fort Erie, allowing two hours for consideration. The Fort under the command of Major Buck of the King's 8th Regiment surrendered shortly afterward and at 6:00 p.m. on July 3rd, the British soldiers almost 200 in number, marched out, stacked their arms and became prisonors of war to be transported to the American side.

The second battle re-enactment and in my humble opinion the best I have witnessed took place at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday evening. It depicted General Drummond's night assault on the Fort. The British, greatly encouraged by the capture of two armed schooners by the Royal Navy, planned an assault to regain the fort. On August 15th, General Gordon Drummond launched a three pronged night attack. One column was to take Towson's Battery on Snake Hill, the second was to take Douglass' Battery on the North Side, and the third was to capture the north east bastion. Only the last column was successful and even they for a short period of time. The British gained the bastion, turned the artillery around, but then disaster struck. The expense magazine located directly under the gun platform exploded. The surviving British soldiers retreated to their siege line. Their losses were staggering but the siege continued. The British held against a sortie launched by the Americans on September 17th. Several days later the British forces evacuated their camp and the siege was lifted, leaving the American forces with control of Fort Erie.

More than 500 re-enactors camped on the grounds of Historic Fort Erie, some traveling from the U.S. states of Maryland, Louisianna, Ohio and New England. Also many came from all parts of Ontario Canada. It is the re-enactors genuine love of history that teaches us the best history lessons. So in the future if you have a chance to take in one of these events I highly recommend it. CLICK HERE for more information on the Siege of Fort Erie.