General SIR ROGER HALE SHEAFFE, 1ST BARONET (15 July 1763 – 17 July
1851) was a Loyalist
General in the
British Army during the War of
1812 . he was created a
Baronet in 1813 and afterwards served as
Commander and acting
Lieutenant Governor of
Upper Canada . There is
conflicting information to statements regarding his military
accomplishments (1812) in the "Letters of Veritas" in and around page
* 1 Early life
* 2 Military career
War of 1812
War of 1812
* 4 Subsequent career
* 5 Family
* 6 Dates of rank
* 7 References
* 8 External links
Roger Hale Sheaffe
Roger Hale Sheaffe was born at
Boston, Massachusetts , the third son
and eighth child of William Sheaffe (1705–1771), a graduate of
Harvard University who became Deputy Collector of Customs at Boston.
His mother, Susannah Child (1730–1811), was the daughter of Thomas
Child and Susannah Hatch. Her father was an
Englishman of the same
Richard Child, 1st Earl Tylney . He owned considerable
property in his native
Lincolnshire but emigrated to
Boston where he
co-founded Trinity Church , in 1733.
One of Roger's sisters, Margaret, married Robert Livingston , of
Clermont Manor , one of the
Founding Fathers of the United States
Founding Fathers of the United States .
Another sister, Susanna, married Captain Ponsonby Molesworth, grandson
Robert Molesworth, 1st Viscount Molesworth . A third sister married
Benjamin Clarke Cutler, brother of Mrs Samuel Ward .
Shaeffe was educated at the
Boston Latin School with his cousin Sir
Isaac Coffin, 1st Bt. His father died penniless in 1771 and his
mother opened a boarding house to support her ten children. One of the
residents there was Lord Percy , later the 2nd Duke of Northumberland
, the leader of the British forces in
Boston during the American War
of Independence . Lord Percy greatly aided the family during the War
and was so struck by the qualities and the leadership potential of
Shaeffe that he sent him to a military academy in
London . Lord Percy
became Shaeffe's lifelong friend and benefactor, purchasing his first
commission as Ensign in 1778 in the
5th Regiment of Foot . He later
purchased a Lieutenancy .
Sheaffe served with his regiment in Ireland from 1781 until 1787,
when it was posted to Canada. In Detroit and at Fort Niagara, he
John Graves Simcoe
John Graves Simcoe , who had a high
opinion of him. He was commissioned Captain in 1795. He first served
Isaac Brock in the
49th Regiment of Foot
49th Regiment of Foot in
1798; they served together in the campaign against the Batavian
Republic in 1799 and in the Baltic in 1801.
The 49th was posted to Canada in 1802. As Lieutenant-Colonel, Sheaffe
commanded the garrison at Fort George, where he faced an attempted
mutiny. Despite his own notable achievements, Sheaffe was often
compared unfavourably with the popular and charismatic Brock. Sheaffe
had been Brock's second in command prior to their time in Canada, and
continued in that role upon their arrival. Shortly after arriving at
their new station, a mutiny was attempted by some of Sheaffe's men.
Brock hurriedly came to the aid of his subordinate, ended the mutiny
without conflict, and arrested the perpetrators. They claimed they
took their actions directly as a result of Sheaffe's belligerence, but
were subsequently executed after a court-martial. Brock warned Sheaffe
to stop working the men too hard and to stop punishing men harshly for
Sheaffe nevertheless attained the rank of Colonel in 1808, and
General in 1811. This last promotion actually hurt Sheaffe
financially, as he transferred from a full-pay commission as Colonel
of the 49th to half pay as an unassigned general officer on the staff.
WAR OF 1812
Sheaffe's house at 12 Inverleith Row,
Sheaffe returned to Canada from a visit to England in July 1812. The
next month, the
War of 1812
War of 1812 broke out. Sir
George Prevost , the
General of Canada and commander in chief of the forces there,
appointed Sheaffe to command the troops at Fort George on the Niagara
River . While Brock was absent, dealing with an American army at the
Siege of Detroit
Siege of Detroit , Sheaffe was required by Prevost to negotiate an
armistice with the American forces on the opposite side of the river.
Prevost may have believed that peace could be negotiated quickly, but
by the time the armistice ended, the Americans had been substantially
Early on 13 October the Americans began crossing the Niagara at
Queenston , a few miles south of Fort George. Brock galloped from Fort
George to Queenston, arriving just in time to see the Americans
capture the commanding heights and a British heavy gun battery. He
sent orders to Sheaffe to bring reinforcements, but before they could
arrive he led two frontal assaults against the heights. During the
second, he was shot dead. Sheaffe arrived on the battlefield at 2 p.m.
In contrast to Brock's actions, he waited for reinforcements before
leading his force on a wide detour to the top of the heights, so as to
shield them from American artillery. He then meticulously drew up his
force before attacking at 4 p.m. The Americans, terrified of the
Mohawks who had also joined the battle, tried to flee but were trapped
against the river, and surrendered. 1,000 prisoners were taken, for a
cost of 50 casualties.
Sheaffe was appointed
Lieutenant Governor and commander in Upper
Canada in succession to Brock, but was unpopular with the people he
was to defend, and often with his own soldiers. During the later
months of 1812 he was unable to transact business with the Legislature
due to illness and other military commitments, forcing Prevost to make
a personal visit to
Upper Canada in February 1813.
In April, Sheaffe was present in York , the provincial capital, to
deal with the civil authorities. York was weakly defended and Sheaffe
had only four companies of regulars, passing through en route to Fort
George and other posts. On 27 April, an American force supported by
gunboats and other armed vessels attacked. In the
Battle of York
Battle of York ,
Sheaffe's outnumbered troops were driven back to the edge of the town.
Sheaffe decided to preserve his regulars and ordered a retreat to
Kingston , having destroyed the fort and a sloop of war under
construction in the dockyard. The militia were left to be taken
prisoner, while the town was looted by the Americans and several
buildings were set on fire.
Many prominent citizens of
Upper Canada denounced Sheaffe's conduct
at York, and Sir
George Prevost relieved Sheaffe of his military and
civil appointments in Upper Canada, putting him in charge of the
36 Melville Street, Edinburgh, Sheaffe's final home grave
Roger Hale Sheaffe
Roger Hale Sheaffe in
New Calton Cemetery
Later in the year, Sheaffe was recalled to Britain. Here he
subsequently had a successful military career, being promoted to
General in 1821 and full
General in 1835.
He and his family lived in
Worcester , but he retired to
Edinburgh . In the 1830s he is listed as living at 12 Inverleith Row
in north Edinburgh.
He died at his home in 36 Melville Street on 17 July 1851, and is
New Calton Cemetery , beside his daughters Frances Julia and
He had been awarded a baronetcy in January 1813 as a reward for the
victory at Queenston Heights, but as none of his children survived
him, the title died with him but his coat of arms was also bestowed on
his dead brother's children in perpetuity.
In 1810, at
Quebec City ,
Roger Hale Sheaffe
Roger Hale Sheaffe married Margaret,
daughter of John Coffin (1729–1810) and Isabella Child, a relation
of his mother's from
Boston . Lady Sheaffe's sister was the mother of
Benjamin Joseph Frobisher , half-sister of Mrs George Hamilton .
They had six children, all of whom predeceased their parents:
* Frances Julia Sheaffe, b. 1812 in Canada, d. 1834 in Edinburgh
(buried beside him).
* Agnes Isabella Sheaffe, b. 1814 in
London , died in infancy.
* Agnes Emily Sheaffe, b. 1817 in
Worcester , d. 1832 in Edinburgh
(buried beside him).
* Percy Sheaffe, died as a young man.
* Another son and daughter both died in infancy.
His younger brother, William, and his Wife Mary, died leaving 4 young
children. Roger adopted them as his own and brought them up. The boys
joined the army and William arrived in Australia as a lieutenant on a
convict ship in 1834 with his wife and baby. Their 2 elder children
were left in England to be cared for by Roger and Margaret. All the
Australian Sheaffes are descended from William and Rosalie.
DATES OF RANK
* Ensign - 1 May 1778
Lieutenant - 27 December 1780
* Captain - 6 May 1795
* Major - 13 December 1797
Lieutenant Colonel - 22 March 1798
* Colonel - 25 April 1808