Benjamin Forsyth was an American officer of rifle troops in the War of
1812 between Britain and the United States. Born in North Carolina,
Forsyth joined the
United States Army in 1800 as an officer and was a
captain of the Regiment of Riflemen at the outbreak of war in 1812. He
led raids into
Upper Canada along the
Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River in
1812–13 before transferring south and taking part in the battles of
York and Fort George. Promoted to brevet lieutenant colonel, he held a
command along Lake Champlain. Forsyth was killed in June 1814 at
Odelltown, Lower Canada.
1 Early life and career
1.1 War of 1812
Early life and career
Originally from Stokes County, North Carolina, he was commissioned as
a second lieutenant in the 6th Infantry Regiment on April 24, 1800 and
was discharged on June 15, 1800. He was commissioned as a captain in
the Regiment of Riflemen on 1 July 1808.
War of 1812
Ogdensburg, New York
Ogdensburg, New York during the autumn and winter of 1812, he
led the successful
Raid on Gananoque and other attacks across the
Saint Lawrence River, which threatened the British supply lines to
their forces in Upper Canada. In February 1813, the British used a
temporary superiority in strength to drive Forsyth from his positions
at the Battle of Ogdensburg.
On October 24, 1812, Forsyth wrote to President
James Madison that he
had served as a captain for four years without promotion and requested
a brevet promotion in recognition of his service. Forsyth was
promoted (not brevetted) to major on January 20, 1813 and brevetted to
lieutenant colonel on February 6, 1813.
Raid on Elizabethtown occurred on February 7, 1813, when Benjamin
Forsyth and 200 men crossed the frozen St. Lawrence River to occupy
Elizabethtown and seize military and public stores, free American
prisoners, then capture British military prisoners.
Forsyth's company was ordered to join the main American force at
Sackett's Harbor rather than reoccupy Ogdensburg. They led the
American assault at the Battle of York, and played a major part at the
Battle of Fort George.
Later in the year, Forsyth (now a major) and his men took part in the
campaign aimed at capturing Montreal, but were not present at the
Battle of Crysler's Farm. Forsyth was promoted to brevet Lieutenant
Colonel the following winter. He was active in skirmishing and
patrolling north of
Lake Champlain in the late spring and summer and
was killed in June 1814 in a clash at Odelltown, Lower Canada.
His death made him a hero to the people of North Carolina, who named
Forsyth County after him. In addition, the state General Assembly
paid for his son's education through special legislation and gave him
a jewelled sword. Forsyth Street on Manhattan's
Lower East Side
Lower East Side is
also named for him.
^ a b Heitman p. 430
^ Stagg p. 441
^ Mahon, J. (1972). The
War of 1812
War of 1812 Pg. 140 . Da Capo Press.
^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the
United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 128.
Heitman, Francis B. (1903). "Historical register and dictionary of the
United States Army". War Department. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
Stagg, J. C. A. (ed.). "To
James Madison from Benjamin Forsyth, 24
October 1812 (Abstract)". University of Virginia Press. Retrieved 4