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The Lake Erie Campaign 1813

The Royal Newfoundland Regiment found itself ordered from Kingston to Fort Erie to support the garrison there. Fort Erie gave the British strategic control over the upper Great Lakes. An American attempt to take Fort Erie on 1 December failed as the garrison refused to surrender to the numerically superior American force. The onset of winter and the stubborn resistance by the garrison which included The Royal Newfoundland Regiment convinced the Americans to end the winter campaign and go home.

The campaign in the Fort Erie area continued. Two companies of The Royal Newfoundland Regiment participated in the recapture of Frenchtown from the Americans under General James Winchester in January 1813. The Newfoundlanders organized the sleigh group that dragged the British cannons across the frozen Lake Erie. Those Americans who were able to retreat across the Raisin River survived. Those who resisted were hunted down and slaughtered by the Indians, due to the reluctance of the British General Procter to restrain the Indians. Sixty eight Americans who had surrendered after the battle were promised safety by Procter. Many were wounded. All were killed by the Indians the next day.

The successful action by a company of The Royal Newfoundland Regiment, led by Lt Rolette who was killed by a musket ball to the head, in assaulting the American guns was perhaps a defining point in the heated engagement.