1913 - French-Canadians, At Chateauguay, "Spanked" Americans, Centry Ago
(From "The Scrap Book for Today.")
Chateauguay - to the people of the Dominion that name stands for the valor and patriotism of French-Canadians, for the triumph of the principle of "One people, one flag". On the memorable field of Chateauguay, just a century ago, all doubt as to the devotion of Canadian Frenchmen to the land of their birth was swept away on the tide of victory. To the American, on the contrary, Chateauguay is a synonym for disgraceful defeat. It marked the beginning of the end of the Canadian occupation, the blasting of high hopes that the occupation might remain permanent.
It was just one hundred years ago today, October 25, 1813, that General Wade Hampton, the South Caroline soldier who had distinguished himself in the revolution, arrived at the Chateauguay with his 7,000 men. At that point, on the night of the 25th, he was met by Col. De Salaberry, in command of 300 French-Canadians and a small party of Indians. De Salsberry was there joined by Col. McDonnell with another body of French-Canadians, 600 in number, who had made one of the most rapid forced marches in the history of warfare. The total Canadian force number only about a thousand, while the Americans numbered 7,000.
Upon this little army of Frenchmen depended, to a certain extent, the fate of Canada. The Upper Province had already been "annexed" to the United States by Gen. William Henry Harrison, after his victory in the battle of the Thames, which followed close upon Perry's victory on Lake Erie. Gen. Hampton had marched from Lake Champlain ,expecting to join his force to an army of 8,000 Americans under Generals Wilkinson and Boyd, and march upon Montreal and Lower Canada. Between Montreal and an American occupation was but the"thin red line" of a thousand French-Canadians.
At night, amid the neutral difficulties of forest surrounding, Hampton's men charged upon the first line and forced it back by overwhelming numbers. Col d Salaberry ordered the bugler to sound the advance for Col McDonell, in command of the second line of Canadian Troops, and this served as a signal for a strategm that was responsible for the defeat of the Americans. Buglers had been placed at long distances apart around the battlefield, and the sounding of their instruments, together with the fierce cries of the Indians, caused Hampton to believe that he was surrounded by a greatly superior force.
De Salaberry and McDonnell were each decorated with a C. B. and were honored as the heroes of the battle, despite Prevost's attempt, in his despatches, to take the entire credit for the victorious campaign to himself. Gen. Wade Hampton's whole career as commander of the United States Army of the north was marked by disobedience to the order of his superiors. He was the grandfather of that Gen. Wade Hampton who became the greatest slave-holder in the South, and who was a gallant an able commander in the Confederate army throughout the Civil War.
Trenton Evening Times
Trenton, New Jersey
October 25, 1913
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