Secord SignificanceAfter overhearing American soldiers discussing an attack on the British outpost at Decew House, Laura Secord made her way through enemy lines to warn Lieutenant Fitzgibbon and his troops. Her warning helped to prepare the First Nation warriors and Fitzgibbon’s men for the Battle of Beaverdams which happened shortly afterwards.
Battle of Beaverdams Park, located on Sullivan Avenue in Thorold is not the site where the actual Battle of Beaverdams took place. The park was created in 1967, bringing more recognition to the event but also removing some of the significance of the actual site. The battle occurred on June 24, 1813 between American, British and First Nation troops at what is now the intersection of Davis Rd and Old Thorold Stone Road in Thorold.
The battle ground has changed considerably over the years. Several sections of the original battlefield were flooded during the construction of the First Welland Canal. The Third and Forth Welland Canals and the businesses and industries that sprung up around them replaced part of the land. In the 1970s several of the monuments that had been placed to mark the battlefield and commemorate those who had died were moved to the Battle of Beaverdams Park, some 3 km away from the actual site of the Battle of Beaverdams.
1. Head south on QEW toward Niagara/East Hamilton/Fort Erie
2. Take the exit onto ON-406 S toward Thorold/Welland/Port Colborne
3. Drive 10.5 km then take the exit onto ON-58 S toward Thorold/Niagara Falls
12. After 4.9 km turn left onto Davis Rd (signs for Davis Road)
When you reach the interesection of Davis Rd and Old Thorold Stone Rd stop and take a look around. The surrounding land lots are the site of the Battle of Beaverdams. Some parts have been farmed while others became part of the Welland Canal corridor but it is still essentially the area on which the battle took place.
1. Note the QEW exit number you will be taking. Exit numbers ascend as you approach the Toronto area.
2. Take the QEW, getting off at exit 32 for Thorold Stone Road/Regional Road 57 toward Thorold
3. Turn left onto Thorold Stone Road
4. After 5.5 km turn right onto Davis Rd
5. Continue on Davis Rd until you reach the intersection between Davis Rd and Old Thorold Stone Rd.
When you reach this interesection stop and take a look around. The surrounding land lots are the site of the Battle of Beaverdams. Some parts have been farmed while others became part of the Welland Canal corridor but it is still essentially the area on which the battle took place.
The Battle of Beaverdams occurred on June 24,, 1813 near the intersection of Davis Rd and Old Thorold Stone Rd, St. Catharines. A number of events occurred that contributed to the Battle of Beaverdams, beginning in May of 1813. The Americans captured Fort George and the Village of Niagara on May 27, 1813, occupying both areas. They then marched on Stoney Creek however they were defeated.
The British sent small groups of soldiers to the Twenty Mile Creek, the Ten Mile Creek and to Decew House. Lieutenant James Fitzgibbon, stationed at Decew House commanded the 49th Regiment, approximately 50 men, and a band of Mohawk warriors from the Grand River.
The Americans set out in the evening of June 21st with about 600 soldiers under Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Boerstler to take DeCew House. They remained in Queenston overnight. It was here that Laura Secord overheard several soldiers who had occupied her house discussing the upcoming attack. Since her husband James had not gotten over his injuries sustained from the Battle of Queenston Heights Laura left early the next morning to bring the news to Fitzgibbon. Laura's information prepared Fitzgibbon and his troops for the upcoming battle.
The American troops were spotted by a native scout in St. David's alerting Fitzgibbon to their presence. They were ambushed by 450 Mohawk and Caughnawaga Indians near the intersection of what is today Davis Rd and Old Thorold Stone Rd. They had been marching along Mountain Road toward Decew house in long columns and were scattered when the attacks began. The soldiers had scattered both because they were quite fearful of the natives and their tactics and because of the unexpected attack. The battle lasted a little over two hours. Realizing that typical battle tactics would not work in that situation, Lieutenant-Colonel Boerstler made an attempt to withdraw his troops to allow them to regroup.
Lieutenant Fitzgibbon had his troops, known as dragoons, had remained at Decew House to protect the outpost and the cache of supplies. Upon hearing gunfire Fitzgibbon commanded his troops (approximately 50 men) to the battlefield. He arranged his men opposite the Americans, grouping them so that they appeared a large company. Fitzgibbon rode to meet the American forces with a white flag, calling for their surrender. Having (falsely) heard that reinforcements were on their way Fitzgibbon recommended that the Americans surrender because they were badly outnumbered. He also mentioned that he had only limited control over the Indians, playing on the fears of the soldiers.
Ultimately it was the native warriors who brought victory since they did nearly all of the fighting and Fitzgibbon was simply the officer who negotiated the American surrender. Strangely Fitzgibbon is often credited for the victory, although there have been changes to this representation in recent years.
Battleof Beaver Dams - June 24, 1813. See http://www.battleofbeaverdams.com/
Canada's History, The War of 1812: A Video Field-Guide. See http://vimeopro.com/canadashistory/1812/video/47612375
Old Thorold Stone Rd and Davis Rd, Thorold
L0S 1A0 Municipality Thorold