Friday, 26 April 2013
Meanwhile, back at the War of 1812
Major-General Sir Roger Hale Sheaffe was a poor schmuck who couldn't catch a break. He had essentially saved Upper Canada by winning the Battle of Queenston Heights after Sir Isaac Brock was killed early in the battle, but did that make Sheaffe a hero? Noooooo. Everyone was too broken up about the loss of Brock to lionize Sheaffe. Brock got all the glory out of that victory, then and now.
Sheaffe succeeded to Brock's position as Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and commander of British Forces in the Niagara region. This sounds pretty grand but remember that Upper Canada was small and rural. Its capital was a colonial backwater of 800 people on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Then known as "muddy York," today it is called Toronto.
In April 1813, the Americans decided to try to invade Upper Canada again with a plan to sail across Lake Ontario and capture York. This time, would Sheaffe finally get his due as a hero by driving them off once more?
Tomorrow: The Battle of York
[Portrait of Roger Hale Sheaffe by Mather Brown, 1778; Map of York from the Ontario Archives]