October 15, 2014

The prettiest little affair – Battle of Cook’s Mills

On October 18, 1814, the Americans sent a force to Cook’s Mills having learned that “a considerable quantity of grain collected for the British troops” was being stored. Brigadier-General Daniel Bissell’s American force of about 1,000 men occupied Cook’s Mills late in the afternoon.

Among the forces sent to evict the Americans from their position were elements of the 104th Regiment. Lieutenant John Le Couteur was resting when one of his comrades woke him and said they were going to surprise an American force. Le Couteur’s journey to Cook’s Mills was unpleasant, writing “it is hardly worth repeating that we were marching knee deep in mud in a pitch dark night – over rough and smooth – an exquisite enjoyment for those who have never tried it.”

Le Couteur arrived at the battlefield around 8 a.m. when the Glengarry Light Infantry were engaged with the enemy. Soon after the 82nd and the 100th formed line as British field guns and rockets deployed. Le Couteur and his men moved forward in open order to help relieve the Glengarries and to turn the American right flank. Le Couteur wrote “Our men dashed into the ravine in good style and engaged the Yankees in our front, who soon gave way, for a short distance.” Their success was short lived as Le Couteur and his men were forced to withdraw as 400 American troops advanced.

The battle continued and Le Couteur wrote “Our Gun was very ill-place behind a little wood and only barked without biting.” Le Couteur goes on to note that the Americans advanced and the British withdrew in good order, noting that the engagement was “altogether the prettiest little affair any of us had ever seen.” Le Couteur spent a cold night with no blankets, frost on the ground and no fire before receiving orders to march to Fort George.

On October 21, Le Couteur celebrated his birthday by writing, “I completed my twentieth year this day and am thankful to God for having preserved me in safety through many dangers.”

On October 18 and 19, head out to Cook’s Mills in Welland for the Battle of Cook’s Mills re-enactment. This Niagara Signature Event features not only battle re-enactments, but also will have musket and artillery demonstrations along with 1812 period displays, just to name a few activities. Click here for more information.

No comments:

Post a Comment