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October 25, 2012


From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Oct. 24, 1812

Compiled, with comments



Weather: Utica 1812 Almanack: Now more pleasant.

Battle of Queenston Heights

Capt. A[braham] Dox, who passed through this village [Utica] yesterday morning, directly from Buffalo, gives the following account of the engagement fought at Queenston between the American and British troops, on Tuesday the 13th instant [October].

Early in the morning, Col. [Solomon] Van Rensselaer, with about 1000 men, embarked at Lewiston, and crossed the [Niagara] river to Queenston, with the intention of dismantling the British battery at that place. They made good their landing and succeeded in taking possession of the battery, but the British receiving a reinforcement, our troops were driven back with considerable loss, Col. Van Rensselaer being wounded and carried off the field.

Information of this disaster reaching Lewiston, Gen. [Stephen] Van Rensselaer passed over to take the command, and was followed by a detachment of the 6th and 13th United States regiments and a company of flying artillery. The conflict was then renewed and our troops again got possession of the battery, but were finally obliged to abandon the ground and recross the river.

Capt. Dox had not ascertained the loss on either side when he left Buffalo. There were, however, a very considerable number of prisoners taken by the British, among whom were Gen. [William] Wadsworth, and colonels [John] Christie, [John R] Fenwich, and [Winfield] Scott.

Maj. Gen. [Isaac] Brock, British commander in Upper Canada, was supposed to have been killed in the action... — Utica Gazette, Oct. 20, 1812.

COMMENT: No War of 1812 battle was more important, than the Battle of Queenston Heights, which marked the first big British/Canadian military victory and contributed to form a sense of nationality among English-speaking Canadians. 

The source of the Utica paper’s information was a good one. Captain Abraham Dox (1780-1862) of the 20th NY Volunteers (and a member of the NY Assembly) served after the battle as a liaison between the British and American forces for the recovery of wounded and burial of the dead.

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