The Niagara Campaign lives again at Old Fort Erie

British artillery engage the Americans Saturday Aug. 11 at the Siege of Fort Erie War of 1812 reenactment weekend.

American forces have occupied Old Fort Erie, British forces have assembled to block their advance into Canada as history comes alive this weekend.

It’s the 33rd Annual Siege of Fort Erie reenactment weekend, Aug 11 – 12/2018 and hundreds of reenactors have gathered to reenact the famous battles of the Niagara Campaign of the War of 1812.

The Niagara Campaign occurred in 1814, American forces entered into Canada commanded by General Jacob Brown and General Winfield Scott.

The campaign began with the capture of Fort Erie. Next was the Battle of Chippawa, then the Battle of Lundy’s Lane. The American forces retreated to Fort Erie where British troops under Lt. Col William Drummond tried taking the fort in a night assault. The powder magazine at the fort blew up during the assault killing Drummond, combined casualties numbered over 900.

Later, the forces engaged in a minor battle at Cook’s Mills, then the American forces abandoned Fort Erie and returned to the U.S.

American troops fire on the approaching British troops in Saturday’s action at Old Fort Erie.

It’s a passion for history that keeps the reenactors coming back year-after-year for the reenactment weekend. Many of them portray an ancestor who was in the War of 1812. They are eager to talk about the history, the family history.

“For me, this event is about an appreciation for history,” volunteer Daryl Learn of Fort Erie said.

His rich knowledge of the local history put in him in the position to be able to narrate for the audience during Saturday’s action on the battlefield.

“I grew up down the road on the Lakeshore near where they found the famous Snake Hill Cemetery,” he said. “I used to do the tours here and we also had a family connection, some of our ancestors were involved in this situation here, they served in the battle.”

“So it is really interesting to me,” he said.

Over the years, the reenactment weekend has generated a great following as well as attracting new visitors to the fort.

“It’s a great show,” Learn said.

“The Parks Commission understands that people are interested in history,” he said. “It’s also a public thing so keeping the battles free to watch is a great thing for the community.”

“The community returns the thought by supporting this event greatly,” he said. “So many people visit the fort, take the tours, do the after battle tours, their support is fantastic.”

“The event receives no grant money, no tax dollars, we are putting on a show and we are very glad the community comes out and supports it,” he said.

The timetable for Sunday Aug. 12/2018 starts at 10 a.m. with the fort and camps open to the public. At 10:30 a.m. there will be a memorial service to remember the soldiers who perished on the battlefield. There will be a mortar demonstration at 11:30 a.m.

The Drums Crown Forces 1812 will be doing a performance at 12:45, the afternoon battle “The Sortie” happens at 1 p.m.

Mini militia takes place at 2 p.m., an artillery barrage at 2:30 p.m., the American evacuation of the Fort at 3 p.m.

At 3:30 p.m. there will be a musket demonstration followed by a cannon demonstration at 4:30 p.m.

The fort and camps close to the public at 5 p.m.

Information about the event is available on the Niagara Parks website: https://www.niagaraparks.com/events/event/siege/#/ .

British soldiers fire on the approaching Americans in Saturday’s battle reenactment.

 


 

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