The British Defense

Illustration of Holding the High Ground by CW Jefferies

In the early evening of July 25th, 1814, the British commander, Lt. General Gordon Drummond stood on this hilltop. Having just received intelligence that an American force was marching northward in this direction along the Portage Road, he realized that the area on the south side of Lundy’s Lane, marked today by a tall monument, would make an excellent defensive position. Accordingly, he set up his artillery pieces (two 24-pounders, two 6-pounders and a 5 ½ inch howitzer) and deployed his troops (initially 2000 men with later reinforcements of over 1700) in a wide arc to the right and left of the guns.

Following the capture of his artillery by the Americans, Lt. General Drummond and his troops retreated from their defensive position on the height of land in the cemetery to this area on the north side of the hill.  Starting before 10 p.m. and lasting over the next several hours, Drummond led three unsuccessful counterattacks to try and recapture the British guns. In each case, the fighting was vicious and bloody.  Around midnight, with both sides completely exhausted, the Americans withdrew to their camp at Chippawa.  They left the British guns behind, allowing Drummond to reclaim them the following morning.

The enemy had got their artillery posted on a height in a very commanding position, where they could rake our columns in any part of the plain.
Colonel James Miller, US Army
Our artillery men were bayoneted by the enemy in the act of loading, and the muzzles of the enemy’s guns were advanced with a few yards of ours.
Lieutenant-General Sir Gordon Drummond to Sir George Prevost, Governor-in-Chief of Canada

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