Battle of Chateauguay
In August, 1813, United States Secretary of War John Armstrong realized that his plan of capturing the city of York and then attacking the Niagara border was failing. He decided that the British military and naval base at Kingston needed to be captured through an invasion down the St. Lawrence River.
In preparation for the attack, Major General Wade Hampton planned to invade the province of Lower Canada to divert British attention. After an unsuccessful attempt to invade along the Richelieu River, he traveled down the Chateauguay River, with over 3,000 men and 10 cannon. The general planned to join Major General James Wilkinson and his army at the mouth of the river, and future attacks would proceed from there. The Americans were opposed by a force of 300 Canadian soldiers, and some Amerindians, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles de Salaberry. These were backed by 1,200 militia and 150 more Amerindians commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonnel.
General Hampton selected a part of his force to travel around the Canadian forces to cut them off from their reserves. The general prepared to attack the fortified positions of his opponent when he would hear the shots indicating that de Salaberry's troops were surrounded. However, the American soldiers became lost in a swamp, and the shots Hampton eventually heard were the one being exchanged with Canadian pickets.
General Hampton attacked, but realized too late that there was no hope of surrounding the Canadian force. The Americans retreated, losing about 50 soldiers. De Salaberry's losses were half of that amount. The Battle of Chateauguay was relatively small, but it halted the American advancement, and possibly saved Montreal from American attack. The battle is interesting in that General Hampton faced a purely Canadian force, with no British soldiers to assist.