Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

The Siege of Fort Erie August 4 - September 21, 1814

This battle was fought near where present day Fort Erie, Ontario is situated. Almost one month earlier, the whites had attempted to recapture Fort Erie and the rest of the Niagara peninsula region, but were soundly defeated by the brave Anishinabe soldiers. After losing the Battle of Chippawa, the whites once again sent large numbers of reinforcements to the Niagara Falls region. Their movements were learned of by Anishinabe scouts of course, and after alerting their commanders of the new large force of white soldiers squatting once again in the Fort Erie region, their military commanders instructed their brave soldiers to attempt to stop the whites from hiding themselves in that region. Anishinabe ogimak were still in sorrow after the many casualties their brave soldiers endured at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, which occurred just eleven days earlier. However, they still continued to pursue their policy of defending their land.

Numbering over 5,500 soldiers, the larger white military force in the Fort Erie region commenced to building defensive works, and on August 4, 1814 were soon attacked by the nearby Anishinabe soldiers. In an effort to get more weapons and ammunition, Anishinabe military commanders ordered scores of their brave soldiers to reach the nearby Buffalo region to attempt to capture the towns weapons and ammunition supplies. However, the bridge crossing the Conguichity Creek was destroyed and several hundred white soldiers were patrolling that region. In that battle that followed, the Anishinabek inflicted 38 casualties on the white soldiers but they were incapable of capturing those weapons and ammunition they badly needed. As the siege progressed, the whites attempted to send more supplies to the besieged fort by sailing Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. On one occasion the Anishinabek captured two white boats (schooners) on the Niagara river. By August 13, 1814, Anishinabe military commanders ordered their soldiers to increase the bombardments on the white soldiers hiding in Fort Erie and around Fort Erie. It had little effect.

In a last ditch effort to recapture the fort, the Anishinabe soldiers put forth an extremely gallant effort to enter the fort. They singled out the defensive structures (the batteries of the white soldiers) the whites had situated around the fort, to attempt to destroy those positions, and to use a frontal assault on the fort. What followed was not pretty. The weather was not good (it was raining heavily) and their equipment to climb into the fort was too small. Two contingents of brave Anishinabe soldiers attacked the sections of the forts batteries their commanders ordered them to, but they met with much resistance from the white soldiers. A large group of brave Anishinabe soldiers actually forced their way into the fort where a horrific battle ensued which inflicted a great many casualties on both parties. A large supply of gunpowder in the fort blew up after Anishinabe soldiers shot off one of the captured cannons of their white enemies. It inflicted many casualties on the Anishinabe soldiers and the white soldiers. After the horrible failure to recapture Fort Erie, Anishinabe military commanders had no choice but to call for more reinforcements which arrived late in August.

By mid September the white soldiers agreed to attack the Anishinabe soldiers who had built defensive structures around the fort to protect themselves and the big guns they had either made or captured, earlier in the war. The white soldiers caught the Anishinabek off guard at two of the locations where they built defensive works. However, at the third defensive structure the white soldiers were completely routed and endured over 500 hundred casualties. On September 21, 1814, Anishinabe military commanders had tired of their white enemies great will to use fortification warfare, then ordered their brave soldiers to lift the siege. White casualties in the long battle were staggering. In all, 2,136 white soldiers were either killed, wounded, or captured by the Anishinabek then either killed later on or enslaved. Anishinabe casualties must have been staggering as well.

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