Coordinates : 43°03′08″N 79°01′29″W / 43.052127°N 79.024720°W / 43.052127; -79.024720
BATTLE OF CHIPPAWA
Part of the
War of 1812
DATE July 5, 1814
RESULT American victory
COMMANDERS AND LEADERS
CASUALTIES AND LOSSES
108 dead 319 wounded 75 wounded prisoners 15 captured 18 missing
60 killed 249 wounded 19 missing
NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE OF CANADA
Battle of Chippawa
* v * t * e
* Queenston Heights
* Frenchman\'s Creek
* Fort George
* Stoney Creek
* Beaver Dams
* Black Rock
* Fort Niagara
* Port Dover
The BATTLE OF CHIPPAWA (sometimes incorrectly spelled Chippewa) was a
victory for the
* 1 Background
* 1.1 Scott\'s Camp of Instruction * 1.2 Niagara campaign
* 2 Battle
* 2.1 Casualties
* 3 Aftermath * 4 Legacy * 5 Notes * 6 Sources
Early in 1814, it was clear that Napoleon was defeated in
SCOTT\'S CAMP OF INSTRUCTION
Armstrong had also directed that two "Camps of Instruction" be set
up, to improve the standards of the regular units of the United States
Army. One was at
Plattsburgh, New York
At Buffalo, Scott instituted a major training programme. He drilled
his troops for ten hours every day, using the 1791 Manual of the
French Revolutionary Army
There was only one major deficiency; Scott had been unable to obtain
enough regulation blue uniforms for his men. Although they had been
manufactured and sent to the northern theater, they had been diverted
to Plattsburgh and Sackets Harbor. The
By early July, Brown's division was massed at the Niagara, in
accordance with Armstrong's alternate orders. Without cooperation from
Chauncey, a direct attack on Fort George at the mouth of the Niagara
was impossible. Nor was it possible to land large numbers of troops on
the southern side of the
Niagara Peninsula and advance on Burlington
to cut off the British on the
On July 3, Brown's army, consisting of the regular brigades commanded
by Scott (with 1,377 men) and Ripley (with 1,082 men), and four
companies of artillery numbering 327 men under Major Jacob Hindman,
easily surrounded and captured
Late in the day, Scott encountered British defences on the far bank of Chippawa Creek , near the town of Chippawa . After a brief exchange of artillery fire, Scott withdrew a few miles to Street's Creek. Here he planned to give his troops a belated Fourth of July parade the next day, while Brown manoeuvred other units to cross the Chippawa upstream.
Opposed to Scott was the Right Division of the
Early on July 5, British light infantry, militia and Indians crossed the Chippawa ahead of Riall's main body and began sniping at Scott's outposts from the woods to their west. (Some of them nearly captured Scott, who was having breakfast in a farmhouse.) Brown ordered Porter's brigade and Indians to clear the woods. They did so, but they met Riall's advancing regulars and hastily retreated.
Scott was already advancing from Street's Creek. His artillery (Captain Nathaniel Towson 's company, with three 12-pounder guns) deployed on the portage road and opened fire. Riall's own guns (two light 24-pounder guns and a 5.5-inch howitzer) attempted to reply, but Towson's guns destroyed an ammunition wagon and put most of the British guns out of action.
Meanwhile, Scott's troops deployed into line with the 25th U.S. Infantry on the left near the woods, the 11th U.S. Infantry and 9th U.S. Infantry in the centre and the 22nd U.S. Infantry on the right with Towson's guns. At first, Riall was under the impression that the American line was composed of grey-clad militia troops, whom the professional British soldiers held in much contempt. He expected the poorly trained soldiers to fall back in disarray after the first few volleys. As the American line continued to hold steady under British artillery fire, Riall realized his error and supposedly exclaimed his famous phrase "Those are regulars, by God!" (Scott appears to be the only source for Riall's utterance; there is no record of it in any British source.)
The British infantry, with the 1st (Royal Scots) Foot and the 100th Foot leading and the 8th (King\'s) Foot in reserve, were advancing very awkwardly and becoming bunched and disordered, because Riall had formed them into line for an advance over uneven ground with some very long grass instead of keeping them in column, in which they could have advanced more rapidly. Advancing in line meant that Riall's troops moved more slowly and were under fire from the American artillery for longer. The only benefit of using the line formation instead of column was that it increased firepower, yet Riall sacrificed even this advantage by ordering his infantry to fire only one volley before closing with the bayonet. As the redcoats of the 1st and 100th Regiments moved forward, their own artillery had to stop firing in order to avoid hitting them. Meanwhile, the American gunners switched from firing roundshot to firing canister , with lethal consequences for the British infantry. Once the opposing lines had closed to less than 100 yards apart, Scott advanced his wings, forming his brigade into a "U" shape which allowed his flanking units to catch Riall's advancing troops in a heavy crossfire.
Both lines stood and fired repeated volleys; after 25 minutes of this
pounding Riall, his own coat pierced by a bullet, ordered a
withdrawal. The 1/8th, which had been moving to the right of the other
two regiments, formed line to cover their retreat. As they in turn
fell back, three British 6-pounder guns came into action to cover
their withdrawal, with two more 6-pounders firing from the
entrenchments north of the Chippawa. Scott halted his brigade,
although some of Porter's
17-year-old soldier “Wound by the bursting of a Bomb”. New York Pension Roll, 1815.
The American official casualty return stated the loss as 60 killed, 249 wounded and 19 missing.
British losses had been heavy; the 100th Regiment, which held the center, was reduced to ...one Captain 303 British regulars (not including Captains Bird and Wilson, who come under the 'wounded prisoners' category), 16 Canadian militiamen and an unknown number of Indian warriors wounded; 75 British regulars (including Captains Bird and Wilson) wounded and captured by the Americans; 9 British regulars, one officer of the British Indian Department and 5 Indian warriors taken prisoner unwounded. A further 9 British soldiers and 9 Canadian militiamen appear to have deserted. This gives a grand total of 108 killed, 319 wounded, 75 wounded prisoners, 15 unwounded prisoners and 18 missing.
A curious feature of the British casualty list is that the 1st Battalion, 1st (Royal Scots) Regiment was officially a Scottish unit, yet out of the 36 enlisted men of the battalion who were killed at Chippawa and whose nationality has been identified in the regimental records, 20 were Irish, 8 were English, one had "the Army" as his nationality and only 7 were Scottish.
Two days after the battle, Brown completed his original intended manoeuvre and crossed the Chippawa upstream of Riall's defences, forcing the British to fall back to Fort George. It was not possible to attack this fortified British position because Commodore Chauncey was still failing to support the American army on the Niagara peninsula. No reinforcements or siege artillery could be brought to Brown's army. At the same time, the British were able to rush reinforcements to the Niagara front and soon became too strong for Brown to risk a direct attack. Eventually, a series of feints and manoeuvres led to the Battle of Lundy\'s Lane a few weeks later.
The Battle of Chippawa, and the subsequent Battle of Lundy's Lane, proved that American regular units could hold their own against British regulars if properly trained and well led. It is generally considered that Riall, although misled as to the strength of the American forces and their quality advanced overconfidently, and his mistaken tactics led to the heavy British casualties.
The 25th Infantry was later combined with the 27th, 29th and 37th Infantry Regiments to form the 6th Infantry Regiment . The 6th Infantry's motto is "Regulars, by God" from this battle.
Ten active regular infantry battalions of the
The Corps of Cadets of the
The site is preserved in the Chippawa Battlefield Park, a unit of the
Niagara Parks Commission , with a battle monument and interpretive
plaques south of Niagara Falls in the town of
* ^ Graves,Donald E.. The
Battle of Lundy's Lane
* Cruikshank, Ernest A. (1971). A Documentary History of the
Campaigns on the Niagara Frontier in the Year 1814. New York: Arno
Press Inc. ISBN 0-405-02838-5 .
* Elting, John R. Amateurs to Arms:A military history of the war of
1812. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80653-3 .
* Graves, Donald E. Red Coats & Grey Jackets: The Battle of
Chippawa. Toronto & Oxford: Dundurn Press. ISBN 1-55002-210-5 .
* Graves, Donald E. The
Battle of Lundy's Lane
* v * t * e
Conflicts of the
War of 1812
Battles of the
War of 1812
Battle of New Orleans
Battle of Baltimore
Battle of Big Sandy Creek
* Battles of
Battle of Burnt Corn
BRITISH NORTH AMERICA
* Battle of the Chateauguay * First Battle of Lacolle Mills * Second Battle of Lacolle Mills
Battle of Beaver Dams
* Battle of Pensacola
Capture of HMS Boxer
Capture of HMS Cyane
* Battle of La Guaira
* Action of 13 December 1814 * Battle of Lake Borgne
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