October 16, 2013

The Battle of Cook’s Mills

By mid-September 1814 the Siege of Fort Erie had ended and British forces moved behind the Chippawa River into a strong defensive position. By mid-October, Major-General George Izard and a number of regulars reinforced the American forces at Fort Erie. Izard decided to take his large force and move up the Niagara to attack the British position at Chippawa.

By October 17th Izard moved to the Chippawa in hopes of drawing out Major-General Drummond. Drummond refused to give battle and Izard was forced to move back toward Fort Erie. Izard learned of a large quantity of flour at Cook’s Mills and ordered Brigadier-General Bissell to take four infantry battalions, along with a company of riflemen and a troop of dragoons, to capture or destroy the essential British food resources. 

Upon learning of this American movement, Drummond ordered Colonel Myers and Lieutenant-Colonel Tweeddale with elements of the Glengarries, the 82nd, the 100th, 104th, a six-pound gun, and a Congreve rocket detachment to intercept the American advance. On October 19th, the Battle of Cook’s Mills began in the morning and lasted about a half hour.
Cook's Mills plaque
Lieutenant John Le Couteur described the battlefield as the British approached,

“The Ground was a fine large clearing with the Chippawa Creek on our left, a gentle slope to the front and bank of the creek. About a mile in front were woods and to the extreme left we could perceive the American Army moving over a pontoon or temporary bridge which they had thrown over the river.”

The British attempted to lure the Americans out from behind the woods but were unsuccessful. The Americans began to move through the trees and the British believed that they were about to be outflanked. Colonel Myers decided to retreat since his orders were to not be decisively engaged with the enemy.

The Battle of Cook’s Mills was not a large or decisive battle, but it was the last battle on the Niagara during the War of 1812. Although the British lost about 200 bushels of grain, they soon captured a similar number from American ships crossing the Niagara. Drummond decided that the best option was to remain in his strong defensive position behind the Chippawa and await the end of the campaign season. The Battle of Cook’s Mills showed Izard that Drummond could not be lured from his defences and this engagement helped to convince Izard to return to Fort Erie before destroying the fort on November 5 and returning to the Buffalo area.

On Saturday, October 19th, you can commemorate the 199th anniversary of The Battle of Cook’s Mills with the unveiling of a peace garden. Click here for more information. 


  1. my ancestors lived close to here the Lyon's Creek Methodist Church was used as a barracks and graveyard , they fought in this battle and at Lundy's Lane also.

    1. That's pretty interesting to read. Thanks for the information!