The enlistment of this corps was begun in the autumn of 1811 when war with the United States seemed all but inevitable. On the 1st December of that year, Sir George Prevost wrote to Lord Liverpool, the Colonial Secretary:
“I have sent Capt. Macdonell, of the King’s Regiment, into the townships where the Glengarry emigrants are settled in Upper Canada, to ascertain their ability to form a regiment of light infantry. Capt. Macdonell is selected for his zeal, ability and intelligence, with a name and national character acceptable to them, and the same religious persuasion, as they are all Roman Catholics.”
Colonel Edward Baynes, Adjutant General to the regular forces in British America, was nominated as colonel of the regiment: Major Francis Battersby, of the King’s Regiment, as lieutenant-colonel commandant, and Capt. George Macdonell as major. Its establishment was then placed at one lieutenant-colonel, one major, eight captains, ten lieutenants, six ensigns, one quartermaster, one adjutant, one paymaster, four staff sergeants, twenty-four sergeants, one drum-major, nine drummers, twenty-four corporals and three hundred and seventy-six privates. In consideration of his eminent services in promoting the formation of the regiment, the Reverend Alexander Macdonell, Parish Priest of Glengarry, (afterwards the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Kingston,) was appointed chaplain, with the understanding that he would not be required to accompany it to the field. The headquarters were fixed at York, in Upper Canada. The non-commissioned officers and men were enlisted for three years, or until six months had elapsed after authentic intelligence of the conclusion of peace. They were required to serve in the two Canadas and such other parts of North America as the exigencies of the war might lead them. The regiment was to be composed as much as possible of the Glengarry emigrants. All recruits were to be between seventeen and forty years of age, and not less than five feet three inches in height. Six guineas for each man was allowed as levy money.
On the 24th of March, 1812, Prevost announced that, in consequence of the threatening aspect of affairs in the United States, he had issued a beating warrant for the levy of the regiment without waiting to receive His Majesty’s commands, and selected officers for it from the several regular regiments in the country eligible for promotion, as being best adapted for the force, but in order that there should he no interference with the Canadian Fencibles, which was then being recruited in Lower Canada, he had prohibited the enlistment of French Canadians and recent immigrants from the United States.
Recruiting proceeded rapidly, and on April 1st Col. Baynes was able to report that, although he had not received complete returns, one hundred men had been fully approved and fifty more intermediately. Many of these men had already seen service in a Highland Regiment, and it was at first proponed to equip them with a Highland uniform to gratify their national sentiment.
After the disbandment of the Highland Fencible Regiment in 1799, several hundreds of these men, after passing some months in their native country, emigrated to America. They were led to this emigration from local feelings of deep disgust in finding their friends or themselves stripped of their little farms to make way for sheep-farmers, a system that much prevailed in those districts at that time. ….They were a brave, hardy, well disciplined set of men, well calculated to act as riflemen.”
Our success has been beyond the expectation of the most sanguine,” Baynes wrote on the 20th of May, “ but I assure you that no labour or expense has been spared. The emulation, to obtain priority of regimental rank has proved a most powerful incitement. Some of the officers have traveled upwards of 300 miles
along the frontier of the townships on foot, carrying their packs on their backs. Sir George Prevost was good enough to sanction any taking material for the first clothing from the King’s store, but, finding that the corps would lose much of its popularity if the green clothing was relinquished, I have purchased all the green cloth in this, place (Quebec) and have commissioned a sufficient quantity to equip the regiment to render it efficient for immediate service.I have, of course, subjected myself to many bad debts. If I am not appointed colonel, I am half ruined.”
On every occasion the officers engaged in the work of enlistment received invaluable assistance from the indefatigable chaplain, who, to use his own words, “had directed his attention in time of peace to nourish and foment the loyal principles of their ancestors in the minds of his flock, and to preserve them from republican principles, which, by means of the uncontrolled influx of emigrants from the United States, he found rapidly diffusing through every part of the province.”
In the western part of the Province of Upper Canada, where there were few Scotch settlers, Macdonell does not appear to have met with much success. In a letter to Colonel Baynes, dated at York on the 26th of January, General Brock said:
“Captain Macdonell, accompanied by the priest, arrived here some days ago. The badness of the weather has prevented his return as soon as he proposed. All the junior commissions being already disposed of among the youth of Glengarry. I fear that little can be done in this part of the province towards recruiting the
intended corps. A few idlers may be picked up, but without the aid of persons of influence no great number can be expected, unless, indeed, the militia be called out and land promised.”
In consequence of this explanation, and an assurance from the Executive Council of the province that a grant of land would be made to recruits, Prevost consented to add two companies, whose officers were to be nominated by General Brock.
On the 14th of May Baynes wrote to Brock in high spirits that recruiting was still being vigorously conducted:
“I have great satisfaction in telling you that I have reported, the Glengarry Light Infantry more than complete to the establishment of 400 rank and file, and have received Sir George Prevost’s command to recruit for a higher establishment; indeed the quota the officers have engaged to fulfill will nearly amount
to double that number, and from the very great success that has attended our exertions I have no doubt of succeeding by the end of the year. Two officers have divided Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for their hunting ground, and are permitted to recruit Acadians, and Lieut. Ranald Macdonell of the Canadians proceeds in a few days to Pictou and the Highland settlements on the coast and gulf; he is an officer that appears to be eminently qualified for that service, and he is sanguine that the proffer of lands in the Scotch settlements of Upper Canada will induce great numbers to enter. I am assured that the men I have got are generally young and of good disposition, there being very few Yankees among them.”
On the 26th of May the Governor-General was able to state in a letter to Lord Liverpool that the battalion had been completed to the proposed establishment, and that four hundred fine young men were then assembled at Three Rivers, under Major Battersby.
“Never in thus part of the world,” he continued with unwonted emphasis, ” was a corps of volunteers so numerous and so select in the description of men, for none but British subjects of unsuspected loyalty have been admitted in the battalion so speedily raised. They are chiefly Scotch, or their descendants.”
“One great advantage which will result from the Glengarry levy is restoring to their country many English, Scotch and Irish, who have, from mistaken views, abandoned their native soil for that of the United States. They have been invited to return to their allegiance and join their comrades in arms in Canada.”
A return of the 4th July showed that the battalion assembled at Three Rivers numbered 19 officers, 28 sergeants, 22 drummers and 306 rank and file.
On the 15th of July, Prevost announced that the corps was more than complete, and that he had given orders to increase its strength to 600 rank and file, but had limited the Canadian Voltigeurs to 300 in consequence of the depleted state of the military chest.
While the efforts of the recruiting officers had thus been rewarded with remarkable success, the Colonial Secretary had become convinced that there would be no war and determined to revoke his orders for the enlistment altogether. Accordingly on the 30th of March, 1812, Lord Liverpool wrote to the Governor-General, instructing him to suspend all steps for the formation of the Glengarry Regiment, as he had been informed that the zeal of the gentlemen who had undertaken to raise it had outrun their ability. His successor, Lord Bathurst, referring to this letter on the 4th of July, stated his belief that the scheme had been abandoned. Before either of these letters were received by Sir George Prevost the regiment was fully equipped and war had actually been declared by the United States. In a despatch dated the 10th of August, Lord Bathurst finally gave his sanction to the organization of the corps, and announced that he had directed clothing for 800 men, similar to that worn by the 95th, to be sent to Quebec. At the same time the establishment of the regiment was increased to 800 rank and file, and he promised that 100 acres of land should be allotted to each man upon receiving his discharge, and his claim secured, in the event of his death, to his wife and family.
As soon as the declaration of war became known at Quebec all the recruiting parties were ordered to join their regiment, and recruiting was suspended. The greatest exertions were made by the officers to prepare their men for active service as soon as possible, and although much inconvenience and some delay was caused by the want of suitable accoutrements and clothing, as the stores shipped from England had not arrived, Sir George Prevost was able to state, on the 16th of October, that eight companies of the Glengarry Light Infantry were then on their way to the seat of war in Upper Canada to take part in the defence of that province.
While yet on the march one of these companies was afforded an entirely fortuitous opportunity of winning distinction almost within view of their former homes. Upon arriving at Glengarry House, near Cornwall, it was learned that a company of New York Volunteers, that had participated in the attack on the Indian village of St. Regis, about a month before, was posted in a blockhouse near the mouth of Salmon River, and it was proposed to expel this force from a position which menaced the navigation of the St. Lawrence.
On the 22nd November, Capt. Roxborough’s company of Glengarry Light Infantry, with a few men of the 49th, accompanied by Majors Macdonell and Clarke and Captain Gray, arrived at Glengarry House and formed the design of attacking the American past at Salmon River. Orders were sent to Colonels McLean and McMillan to march to that point with all the force they could collect. As the flank companies were at Prescott Col. McLean was obliged to call upon those living in the vicinity of Cornwall. In two hours 250 men were collected at Glengarry House and the expedition set out at 11pm. At 1am, we landed at a road a little below St. Regis, which leads to Salmon River. Ono hundred men, under Lt.-Col. McLean, were sent to guard St. Regis to prevent communication with Salmon River. The remainder, 150 in number, with about 30 Indians, proceeded through the woods to the place of destination. The advance guard preceded the main body by sixty paces. Two bridges had to be crossed as they approached the post. They had passed the first when the sentry fired and was immediately shot down. When halfway over the second another sentry fired and was also shot. Several shots were fired from the windows, into which several volleys were fired by us. We ascertained that the Indians had given them information of our coming three hours before, and they had shut themselves into the blockhouse. When surrounded they surrendered …a captain, ensign and forty men. Three were killed to our knowledge, the prisoners say seven. None of us were hurt. The whole business was over in fifteen minutes after crossing the first bridge. We rushed on, Macdonell leading, Glengarry Militia in the second rank, Indians in the rear.”
Lieut. Walter Kerr, son of Dr. Robert Kerr of Niagara, was present and distinguished himself at the battle of Queenston. General Sheaffe acknowledged his services in the following terms: “ I derived much aid from the activity and intelligence of Lieutenant Kerr of the Glengarry Fencibles, whom I employed in communicating with the Indians and other flanking parties.”
During the winter the regiment was quartered at Cornwall, Prescott, and Kingston, to keep open the line of communication with Montreal. The casualties for the year ending on the 25th December, 1812, numbered 125. Among these were thirty-one deaths from disease or accident Thirty-men had deserted from headquarters; thirty-six others, after being intermediately approved, deserted while they were on the march to join their corps: five were claimed as deserters from other regiments: one was sentenced to general service; twenty-five were discharged as unfit for service after inspection. The effective strength of the battalion at that date was thirty-six servants, nineteen buglers and 550 rank and file, making a total of 730 enlistments in nine months.
Mainly on account of his minute local knowledge and great personal popularity among the inhabitants, Major Macdonell (familiarly known in Glengarry as Red George) was selected for the command of the eastern district of Upper Canada, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and established his headquarters at
Prescott. When Sir George Prevost arrived there on a tour of inspection, about the middle of February, he solicited and with some difficulty obtained permission to make an attack upon Ogdensburg, where the enemy had formed entrenchments and assembled about 800 men, chiefly militia from the adjacent country. For this enterprise Macdonell had at his command two companies of the 8th Regiment, on their way to the Niagara, a flank company of his own corps, a detachment of the Royal Newfoundland, and about two hundred local militia, making n force of less than five hundred rank and file in all. The passage of the river was effected on the ice in the face of a heavy cannonade, in two columns, one under Macdonell’s own command, the other led by Captain Jenkins of the Glengarry Light Infantry, composed of his own flank company and seventy militia. The latter met with a determined resistance, and Jenkins displayed indomitable courage in the struggle, which is described in Macdonell’s own words:
Captain Jenkins had gallantly led on his column and had been exposed to a heavy fire of seven guns, which he bravely attempted to take with the bayonet though covered with 200 of the enemy’s best troops: advancing as rapidly as the deep snow and the exhausted state (in consequence) of his men would admit, he ordered a charge, and had not proceeded many paces when his left arm was broken to pieces by a grape shop, but still, undauntedly running on with his men, he almost immediately afterwards was deprived of the use of his right arm by a discharge of ease shot; still heroically disregarding all personal consideration, he nobly ran on, cheering his men to the assault, till exhausted by pain and loss of blood he became unable to move. His company gallantly continued the charge under Lieutenant Macaulay, but the reserve of the militia not being able to keep up with them they were compelled by the superiority of the enemy to give way, leaving a few men on a commanding position and a few of the most advanced in the enemy’s possession.”
While thin stubborn conflict was in progress, Macdonell turned the right of the American position with the other column and drove them out of the village. The remaining batteries were then carried in a few minutes and the victory was complete. The Reverend Alexander Macdonell was conspicuous by his efforts to
encourage his clansmen in the field.
The loss of the Glengarry flank company was quite severe. Two privates were killed and Major Macdonell, Captain Jenkins, Ensign McKay, two sergeants and seven rank and file were wounded. Ensigns Macdonell and McKay were mentioned in despatches for distinguished conduct, the latter being in charge of a field piece.
In March and April a wing of the battalion accomplished the harassing journey to the Niagara frontier while, the winter roads were breaking up. One company was present at York when that place was attacked, but, owing to a misunderstanding on the part of the officer in command, was not seriously engaged. It was, however, stationed in rear of the battery when the magazine blew up and lost two men killed, Ensign Robins and three privates wounded and three others missing. This company also lost most of its arms by the explosion, and all its greatcoats and packs were abandoned in the retreat.
Three companies of the Glengarry Light Infantry formed part of Gen. Vincent’s Division in the engagement near Fort George on the 27th May, 1813. Ninety picked men of this detachment, supported by forty of Newfoundland Regiment, were detailed for the desperate task of opposing the enemy’s landing, in the face of the concentrated fire of his whole fleet. When this gallant attempt proved unsuccessful, Vincent assembled the remainder of his force near the town. “This movement,” he said, “was admirably covered by the Glengarry Light Infantry, joined by a detachment of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and militia, which commenced skirmishing with the enemy’s riflemen who were advancing through the brushwood.” In this disastrous action the three companies of the Glengarry Regiment lost more than half their numbers. Captain Liddle, Ensign McLean, one sergeant and twenty-four rank and file were killed; Capt. Roxborough, Lieut. Walter Ker, three sergeants and twenty rank and file wounded, besides two sergeants and twenty-three rank and file wounded and returned as missing. They also lost their greatcoats and knapsacks, as these had been left in quarters when they marched out in the morning, and they were obliged to retreat directly upon Queenston. When the remnant of this detachment arrived at Forty Mile Creek on the 30th May, it was found to muster only five officers and fifty-eight non-commissioned officers and men.
While these events occurred on the Niagara, Captain McPherson’s company, numbering forty-six of all ranks, formed part of the expedition from Kingston directedagainst Sackett’s Harbor, and was employed in covering the landing and advance of the remainder of the troops, a service which was performed with admirable skill and discipline.
In his despatch describing this action, Colonel Baynes took occasion to remark that, “the detachment of the 104th regiment under Major Moodie, Captain McPherson’s company of Glengarry Light Infantry, and two companies of Canadian Voltigeurs under Major Heriot, all of them levies in the British Provinces of North America, evinced mast striking proofs of their loyalty, steadiness and courage.”
In this obstinate engagement the Glengarry company lost more than half its number – six men being killed, and Captain McPherson and nineteen rank and file wounded.
A detachment of the regiment was next employed in the pursuit of the enemy after their discomfiture at Stoney Creek, and Lieut. Wm. Johnson Kerr (grandson of Sir William Johnson and Molly Brant) commanded a party of Mohawks in the successful action at the Beaver Dams on the 24th of June, in which 542 Americans were taken prisoner.
In July several of the companies stationed in the eastern district were pushed forward to the support of the division engaged in the defence of the Niagara frontier, and took an active part in the blockade of the entrenched camp which the enemy had formed adjacent to Fort George. In conjunction with small parties
of militia and Indians, they were constantly employed on outpost duty, and were frequently engaged with the American piquets and scouting parties, “tensing them and harassing them all day long.” Subsequently the entire battalion was assembled here, and with the light companies of several regiments of the line
formed a moveable column under Lieut. Col. Battersby, for the special service of observing the movements of the American fleet, which was then hovering about the head of Lake Ontario. Guided by the smoke of burning houses, it was led in ineffectual pursuit by forced marches from Niagara to Burlington, from
Burlington to York, and then buck to Burlington, for the invaders hastily re-embarked upon Battersby’s approach.
Excessive fatigue and privation occasioned numerous desertions from this in common with other corps, and the intense heat of that memorable summer caused disease to prevail to a remarkable degree in the entire division. A return of the 15th September shows that the Glengarry Light Infantry, having its
headquarters at the Cross Roads, was reduced to fifteen officers and 245 effective non-commissioned officers and men, and with thirty-four sick in the field hospital and thirty-seven elsewhere.
During the hurried and disorderly retreat of the division from its lines in front of Fort George to Burlington Heights, on the 9th and 10th October, Lt.-Col. Battersby was assigned the difficult service of covering the movement with this skeleton of a battalion, which was performed in an exemplary manner in marked
contrast to the haste and confusion which prevailed among some other corps. During the month of November the Glengarry Regiment was quartered in the vicinity of Burlington and Ancaster and was then withdrawn for the winter to York and Kingston. The casualties for the year comprised sixty-five deaths and one hundred and six desertions.
The campaign of 1814 in Upper Canada was opened by General Drummond by an attack upon Oswego. The landing of the troops was covered by the light company of the Glengarry Regiment, composed of 58 officers and men under Captain McMillan, which cleared the woods of the enemy’s riflemen in an admirable manner. Nine privates were wounded on this service, and Captain McMillan was especially mentioned in despatches for his gallant conduct in leading the attack.
On the 8th of July the entire battalion was concentrated at York for the purpose of reinforcing the division guarding the Niagara, which was being forced to retire by superior members. It then mustered eighteen officers and 391 effective non-commissioned officers and privates, and thirty-five sick.
It was immediately pushed forward, leaving all the non-effectives in garrison, and joined General Riall at the Twenty Mile Creek on the 16th and 17th July. Together with the light companies of four regiments of the line, it formed a light brigade under the command of Lieut.-Colonel (afterwards Sir Thomas) Pearson
and preceded the division in its advance to relieve Fort George, then menaced by the entire invading army. On the morning of the 22d July, Capt. Fitzgibbon, with a party-of picked men, advanced to Queenston and discovered that the enemy was retiring towards that village. Two companies of the Glengarries were
instantly detached to the support of Colonel Parry at the upper crossing of the Ten Mile Creek, where the Lincoln Militia were fast assembling. Learning that the American army had actually retired across the Chippewa, Col. Pearson marched from the Twelve Mile Creek at midnight on the 24th with the Light Brigade and Incorporated Militia, about 800 men in all, and at seven o’clock next morning took possession of the high ground at the junction of Lundy’s Lane and the Portage Road.
The adroitness and imperturbable discipline with which the Glengarry Light Infantry masked the British position that afternoon until the line of battle was formed, has been recorded by a hostile witness who watched their movements with involuntary admiration. The regiment then took its station among the orchards on the right of the line, slightly in advance of Lundy’s Lane. While warmly engaged with the enemy’s rifleman in the fields below, it was fired upon from the rear by a small detachment of the Royal Scots, which had just arrival from Queenston. This unfortunate mistake caused temporary confusion and the loss of some men. When the American column advanced to the assault of the battery the Glengarries were directed to retire into the Lane, but as boon as this attack was decisively repelled they were again pushed forward as far as the skirts of the woods, nearly half a mile in advance. During the remainder of the action they maintained this position, and were warmly engaged with the enemy’s riflemen and militia, but, owing to the excellent cover, their losses were not nearly as serious as those of several other regiments. Four privates were killed, while Lieut. Kerr and thirty privates weir wounded. Lieut. Robins and twenty rank and file were reported missing, in his official letter Sir Gordon Drummond said that “the (Glengarry Light Infantry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Battersby, displayed valuable qualities as light troops.”
On the afternoon of the 3rd August, the Light Brigade was, employed in a prolonged reconnaissance of the enemy’s works at Fort Erie, during which it was exposed to a spirited and well directed cannonade from all their batteries as well as the armed vessels anchored in the river, and lost several men.
Three days later a hot skirmish occurred, in which the Glengarry Regiment was is pitted against the greater part of the 1st and 4th Regiments of United States Rifles. ” A sharp affair of outposts took place, the enemy having thrown the whole of his riflemen into the woods in front of his position for the purpose of
driving away the Indians. The latter having retired precipitately on the advance of the rifles, some of our most advanced picquets also fell back. On being supported, however, by the Glengarry Light Infantry in the first instance, and subsequently by the reserve, the enemy was driven back, and our advanced posts quickly re-occupied.” During this action the American schooners briskly cannonaded the British position. The Glengarries lost two killed, seven wounded and two missing.
The besieged lost no opportunity of annoying the working parties and outposts as they approached their lines.
The enemy makes daily efforts with his riflemen to dislodge our advanced picquets,” General Drummond wrote on the 12th of August, “and to obtain a reconnaissance of what we are doing. These attacks, tho’ feeble and invariably repulsed, yet harass our troops and occasion some loss. I enclose returns of
those of the 10th and of this day. Your Excellency will observe with concern that on both occasions we have lost an officer killed. I am happy to report that on every occasion the troops show great steadiness, and invariably inflict a loss on the enemy more considerable than their own. The Indians went forward with
great spirit the day before yesterday, and in the affair of this day, it has been just reported to me, they surprised, took, and scalped every man of one of the enemy’s picquets.
I cannot forbear taking this occasion of expressing to Your Excellency my most marked approbation of the uniform exemplary good conduct of tho Glengarry Light Infantry and the Incorporated Militia, the former under command of Lt.-Col. Battersby, and the latter under Major Kirby; of tho services of the latter
officer, I regret to say that I have this day been deprived by two wounds, which I trust will prove slight. These two corps have constantly been in close, contact with the enemy’s outposts and riflemen during the severe service of the last fortnight; their steadiness and gallantry, as well as their superiority as
light troops, have on every occasion been conspicuous.”
In the skirmish of the 12th of August Major Morgan, who commanded the American riflemen, was killed with several of his men, and the remainder were, driven into their works in great disorder.
During the assault on the morning of the 15th August, the Glengarry Regiment formed part of the reserve, and lost, but a single private wounded. Captain Thomas Powell of this corps, who was acting as an assistant to the Quartermaster-General, volunteered to conduct Col. Fischer’s column to the attack of the left of the enemy’s entrenchments. He was the first man to enter their works, and ” by his coolness and gallantly particularly distinguished himself.” fortunately he escaped the perils of that disastrous night with but a slight wound. ” Capt. Powell’s zeal and gallantry,” said General Drummond, ” was most conspicuous. His exertions have at all times been so unremitting as to merit my warmest approbation.”
On the morning of the 7th September this officer again distinguished himself in a dashing attack upon the enemy’s outposts, which he both planned and conducted.
The enemy’s picquet (No. 4) was surprised at daylight this morning. Of its advance party, which consisted of twenty-one men and an officer, not one escaped; fourteen, including the officer, being killed, and seven wounded and taken prisoners. The main body of the picquets fled towards the fort, pursued by our troops close under the guns of the place, and must have suffered very considerably from our fire. Our loss has been only one killed (private of 6th) and one slightly wounded.”
The British force engaged in this gallant exploit consisted of a company of Glengarry Light Infantry and one of the 6th, under the command of Capt. R.D. Patterson of the latter regiment, joined as it advanced by the piquets posted on the road leading from Platow’s house to Fort Erie.
On the 14th September, the greater part of the Glengarry Regiment being employed on outpost duty, it was warmly engaged in repelling a violent attack by about 400 riflemen, led by Major Sinclair, in which that officer and a considerable number of his followers were left dead on the field.
On the 17th the entire battalion took a conspicuous part in defeating a much more formidable sortie, under Sir Gordon Drummond’s personal supervision.
I myself witnessed,” he wrote, ” the good order and spirit with which the Glengarry Light Infantry, under Lieut.-Col. Battersby, pushed into the wood, and by their superior fire drove back the client’s light troops.”
Maj.-General DeWatteville, commanding the division, reported that ” Lieut.-Col. Pearson, with the Glengarry Light Infantry under Lient.-CoI. Battersby, pushed forward by the centre road and carried, with great gallantly, the new entrenchment, then in full possession of the enemy.”
Three privates were killed and nineteen wounded in this action.
When the siege was abandoned, and the division commenced its retreat five days afterwards, the Glengarry Regiment was selected to cover this movement, and for several days remained encamped at Palmer’s, in front of Black Creek, with its outposts thrown forward along the river and the Ridge Road, in hourly expectation of an attack.
In the course of the next fortnight the American army was reinforced by General Izard’s division, and Drummond retired behind the Chippewa, leaving fifty men of the Glengarry Light Infantry at Black Creek and the remainder of the regiment at Street’s Grove, to observe the enemy’s movements. On the 13th October General Izard advanced to Black Creek, which he bridged during the night. In the morning he continued his march to Street’s, the ” Glengarry Light Infantry retiring before them in the most perfect order and with the utmost regularity.” A line of piquets was then posted in front of the tete du pont at Chippewa and maintained until the morning of the 15th, when they were driven in by the whole of the American army, supported by the fire of several heavy guns.
On the 17th Izard suddenly retired and detached a brigade to threaten the right of the British position. The Glengarry and 82nd Regiments, and flank companies of the 104th, under the command of Col. C. Myers, were dispatched to oppose this movement, and a collision took place at Cook’s Mills, where there was a bridge over Lyon’s Creek, a branch of the Chippewa. The American brigade, under General Bissell, composed of the 5th, 14th, 15th and 16th U. S. Infantry, with detachments of Rifles and Dragoons, had driven off a militia piquet and taken possession of the bridge and mills. The advance-guard, consisting of about 750 men, was then posted on the right bank of a deep ravine, or gully, leading down to the creek, a short distance from the mills. “A part of the Glengarries,” Col. Myers wrote in his report, “turned around a small wood, which covered the American front, and crossed the head of the ravine, while the remainder pushed through the wood and drove in their light troops in admirable style, when a part of their force crossed Lyon’s Creek to annoy our left. Having a reconnaissance in view, and finding this not attainable owing to the thickness of the woods, I retired the Glengarries in the hope of drawing the enemy forth to the open ground and engaging him in a general action. This had no further effect than to induce him to advance to the skirts of the wood, showing two columns on the left and one on the right, and opening a heavy fire of small arms, which, from the distance, we sparingly returned, but from the fire of our six pounder and rockets their columns on our left suffered severely.” Failing to draw out the enemy, Myers retired his troops to their cantonments at Wilson’s house, keeping outposts in contact with theirs until the afternoon of the 20th, when they retired without burning the mills, and as Drummond remarked with apparent surprise, “having studiously abstained from plundering and burning” throughout these operations. The British lost one private killed and Captain McMillan of the Glengarries and thirty-five men wounded. Bissell stated his loss at twelve killed and fifty-five wounded.
The Glengarry Regiment was then directed to join the brigade under Gen. DeWatteville at Chippewa, and on the 21st October their position was again menaced by the appearance of Gen. Izard’s army, but it soon retired, leaving only a few piquets in sight. On the 23rd, Drummond advanced in pursuit and ascertained that the enemy “had not a man on this side of the heights opposite to Black Rock, where his advance was posted.” He then returned to cantonments, leaving an advance guard at Black Creek, with outposts and patrols beyond. On the 30th, Captain Fitzgibbon, of the Glengarry Regiment, returned from scouting and reported that the enemy had blown up and abandoned Fort Erie. He had been through every part of the works and found that they were totally ruined.
No further military operations took place before the conclusion of peace, when the regiment was disbanded, the non-commissioned officers and privates receiving grants of land in various parts of the Province of Upper Canada.