The BATTLE OF MAGUAGA (also known as the BATTLE OF MONGUAGON or the
BATTLE OF THE OAKWOODS was a small battle between British troops,
Canadian militia and
* 1 Background * 2 The battle * 3 Aftermath * 4 Notes * 5 References
In the early days of the War of 1812, an American army under
At the Miami Rapids, Captain Henry Brush's company of
At Monguagon, Miller's command, comprising 280 regulars and more than
Here it was that we first had an opportunity of perceiving the extreme disadvantage of opposing regular troops to the enemy in the woods. Accustomed to the use of the rifle from his infancy ... and possessing the advantage of a dress which renders him almost undistinguishable to the eye of an European, the American marksman enters with comparative security into a contest with the English soldier whose glaring habiliment and accoutrements are objects too conspicuous to be missed, while his utter ignorance of a mode of warfare, in which courage and discipline are of no avail, renders the struggle for mastery even more unequal.
Noticing some men creeping through the woods on their right, some of
the redcoats thought it was the enemy trying to outflank them and
opened fire on them. The "enemy" turned out to be
Meanwhile, seeing the American advance waver, Muir ordered the bugler of the light company of the 41st Regiment to sound the charge. In the British Army, only the light infantry used the bugle; the rest of the infantry communicated using drumbeats. The officer commanding one of the other companies of the 41st Regiment thought that the bugle was sounding the "recall" and ordered his men to fall back. Before Muir knew what was happening, his whole force was streaming off to the rear. The Americans, who thought that the British were running from them, took heart and advanced over Muir's vacated position in pursuit of an enemy they thought they had routed. Miller advanced a good distance only to find that Muir had rallied his men and was standing, awaiting another attack. Miller, satisfied with his "victory", decided not to renew his assault.
Miller's force had suffered 18 killed and 64 wounded. Muir recorded 3 killed, 13 wounded and 2 missing from the 41st Regiment; 1 killed and 2 wounded from the Canadian Militia and 2 killed and 6 wounded from the Native American contingent. The 2 men returned as “missing” were taken prisoner. The Americans later claimed to have taken thirty Indian scalps at the Battle.
At this point, Colonel Miller's nerve seems to have gone. His men had discarded their knapsacks at the beginning of the battle so that they could fight more effectively. Now, Miller refused to go back into the woods to retrieve the knapsacks in case the enemy were waiting there to ambush him. He camped in a large clearing and the next morning, he refused to continue the advance to the Rapids. Miller may have been shaken by the comparatively heavy casualties that his command had suffered. He clearly did not fancy another encounter with Muir. He was also very ill, and almost in a state of collapse.
Unknown to Miller, Muir's detachment had long since retired to their boats and sailed back to Fort Malden, Amherstburg . For two days, Miller stayed bivouacked, ignoring repeated orders from Hull to resume his advance to the Rapids. Finally, Hull realized that Miller was not going to obey him, and ordered him to return to Detroit.
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The Battle of Monguagon was characterized by a series of errors by both sides.
The British routed themselves thanks to two misunderstandings, at least one of which could have been avoided through better training. The 41st Regiment had been stated to be "very sharp", but this probably indicated that their standards of discipline, administration and parade-ground drill were good. Like most British regiments, they were not trained in light infantry tactics or "bush warfare" (except for the Light company, and possibly the Grenadier company which was not present at Maguaga).
Colonel Miller first wasted the tactical advantage that was given to
him by the confusion within the British force, and then appears to
have completely lost his nerve. James Miller's
War of 1812
Miller's failure might have had dire consequences for the garrison of
Monguagon was the first encounter of the
War of 1812
Three active battalions of the current 3rd Infantry (1-3 Inf, 2-3 Inf and 4-3 Inf) perpetuate the lineage of the old 1st Infantry Regiment, which had a detachment at the Battle of Maguaga.
* ^ A B Gilpin, pp.103-104 * ^ A B C Gilpin, p. 103 * ^ Hitsman, p.77 * ^ A B Gilpin, p.101
* Gilpin, Alec Richard (1958). The
War of 1812
* v * t * e
Conflicts of the
War of 1812
Battles of the
War of 1812
Battle of New Orleans
Battle of Big Sandy Creek
* Battles of Fort Bowyer
Battle of Burnt Corn
Battle of Callabee Creek
BRITISH NORTH AMERICA
* Battle of the Chateauguay * First Battle of Lacolle Mills * Second Battle of Lacolle Mills
Battle of Beaver Dams
Battle of Chippawa
* 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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