March 05, 2014

Desperate slaughter – Amasiah Ford

On February 18, 1813, the 17 year old Amasiah Ford of Saratoga County, New York, enlisted in the United States Army to serve for the duration of the war. Ford saw action as part of the 23rd Regiment of Infantry throughout the Niagara in 1813 and 1814.

It didn’t take long for Ford to see action after enlisting as he took part in the U.S. attack on Fort George in May of 1813. Later in the year, Ford took part in an 18 day march to Sackets Harbor in late November 1813. The men spent the month of December living in tents with heavy snowfall before completing a wooden barracks. Unfortunately, Ford and his comrades only enjoyed the newly built barracks for three days before they were ordered to march on December 25 to join Wilkinson’s army.
Battle of Lundy's Lane 

By July 1814, Ford was with the American Army in Buffalo. On July 25, 1814, Ford fought in the Battle of Lundy’s Lane where he recounts that “when marching up in open column a party of the enemy which lay in ambush rose & fired upon us, when, out of thirty-two in the first platoon, only eight of us escaped the desperate slaughter.” Ford continued to fight for over three hours before the troops were ordered to withdraw to Chippawa.

Ford didn’t get much rest after the battle as he was detailed to participate in the morning of July 26 to return to the Lundy’s Lane battlefield. Ford writes that the Americans proceeded within musket shot of the British before deciding to withdraw to Chippawa, burning buildings and bridges in their path. Shortly thereafter, Ford and the rest of the American Left Division withdrew to the defences of Fort Erie to await the British.

This year on Friday, July 25, you can help commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane by participating in a walk to the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield. Participants will start about 2.5 km from the battlefield as they arrive around dusk for a commemorative ceremony. Click here for more information and to register for this Niagara 1812 Signature Event.


  1. look forward to this event, the battle took place on my ancestors farm and cemetary land was donated by him for burials of dead.

  2. amasiah ford was the son of Sanbun Ford, 2nd Contl Lt Dragoons. The family was raised in ballston spa. He is buried in the Ballston Spa cemetery next to the Ballston spa highschool. He had a son named Sanborn that was killed at 11 years age by a gig. He was caught up in a scheme to defraud a judge in Clifton Park and spent some time in jail and fined. Believe he died at the age of 57. His father Sanbun wrote in a 12 page pamphlet how his sons have taken opposite sides of the political spectrum and he wishes they didn't return from Queenstown. As a shirt tail relative I would love to know if the website info came from a journel and if so where could I read it. great stuff here. thank you for keeping history alive.

    1. Hello Don,

      The majority of the information for the posts about Amasiah Ford came from "Soldiers of 1814: American Enlisted Men's Memoirs of the Niagara Campaign" edited by Donald Graves.