15 October 2012

Perth Historical Society October Meeting

The War of 1812 on the Lower St. Lawrence
The Battle of Crysler's Farm

For its October meeting, the Perth Historical Society will enter the terrifying world of the Canadians along the St. Lawrence River as they faced the largest American army to attack our country in the War of 1812.  Ronald L. Doering, Ottawa lawyer and former senior Federal deputy minister, will present his recently published historical novel “Defending Our Homeland - Loyalist families of Dundas County and the Battle of Crysler's Farm" – bringing the war to the lower St. Lawrence doorstep.

Accounts of 1812-1814 often focus on the well-known land and water battles from Queenston Heights and York to Lake Ontario.  However, in the fall of 1813 the Americans organized for a two-pronged attack in the east that had the potential to take the St. Lawrence from Prescott to Montreal - and decide the war.  At the far east the eventual Canadian victory at Chateaugay, south of Montreal, turned aside one half of the assault.  To the west, an American force of 8,000 sailed from Sacket’s Harbour, and crossed into Canada east of Prescott.  A British-Canadian detachment, from Kingston and Prescott, caught up to them near Crysler’s farm.  On November 11, 1813, outnumbered by four to one, the combined force of several British regiments and Royal Artillery, the Canadian Voltigeurs, Fencibles, Dundas militia, Mohawks, and possibly Leeds Militia won the day.

Mr. Doering’s novel develops a Canadian story behind these St. Lawrence battles, of Dundas County loyalist families who, having lost their homes 30 years earlier in the American Revolutionary War, are threatened once again.   The story describes the skirmishes along the Canadian shore of the St. Lawrence River, culminating in the dramatic Battle of Crysler’s Farm, seen through the eyes of a young Dundas County militiaman Thomas Marselis.  Mr. Doering will use the novel as the basis to explore a number of historiographical myths that, in his view, require re-balance.  

The meeting is on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm at the Perth Museum, at 11 Gore Street E. in Perth.  (“Toonie Fee”). For further information call David Taylor (613-264 0094) or Ellen Dean (613-264 8362)

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