Siege at Old Fort Erie Schedule of Events
Welcome to the 27th Annual Siege Weekend at Old Fort Erie. Please see our full schedule of events for this year's Siege Weekend on August 10 and 11, 2013. Be there when the Old Fort is blown up! To register as a participant, please see our registration form.
- 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Fort tours run hourly from the Welcome Centre.
- 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Guided escorted tours to battles will run at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Siege Events - August 11 & 12, 2013
- 10:00 a.m. Fort and camps open to the public.
11:00 a.m. South Field Major Buck's Surrender
On July 3, 1814, the American forces, numbering 4,500 men under General Jacob Brown, crossed the Niagara River at Black Rock. Pushing south, they surrounded the fort. Brown demanded the surrender of Fort Erie, allowing two hours for consideration. The fort, under the command of Major Buck of the King's 8th Regiment, surrendered shortly afterward, and at 6:00 p.m. on July 3, nearly 200 British soldiers marched out, stacked their arms and became prisoners of war. The tenth and final American army to enter Canada during the War of 1812 had scored its first victory.
- 11:00 a.m. South Field 'Stars & Stripes' run up
- 12:00 p.m. Inside the Fort Uniforms of the War of 1812
- 1:00 p.m. South Field British Artillery Demonstration.
2:00 p.m. South Field Battle
Following thier capture of Fort Erie, the U.S. Army marched north and defeated the British Forces at the Battle of Chippawa on July 5. American troops advanced as far as Fort George before withdrawing. The British and Americans engaged each other in a vicious night battle on July 25 at Lundy's Lane, during which each side lost almost 1,000 men.
- 3:00 p.m. Camp displays.
- 4:00 p.m. Inside the Fort U.S. Artillery Demonstration.
- 6:00 p.m. Fort and Camps closed to the public.
8:00 p.m. South Field Battle - Drummond's Night Assault on the Fort
After an unsuccessful attempt to take over the Niagara Peninsula and redezvous with the American naval squadron on Lake Ontario, the battered American forces retreated from Lundy's Lane to Fort Erie. There, they immediately started to expand the area of fortification. Upon completion, the American lines consisted of the fort itself, a gun battery on the river bank, Douglass' Battery and a long fortified line to the south with two batteries, Fanning's and Biddle's. The half-mile-long line ended on the shore of Lake Erie at Snake Hill with Townson's battery.
By August 7, 1814, the main British forces occupied the heights approximately 1.6 km (1 mi.) north of the American position. Here, they built a series of breastworks and siege batteries for guns, rockets and mortars.
The British, greatly encouraged by the capture of two American schooners by the Royal Navy, planned an assault to regain the fort. On August 15 at 3:00 a.m., Lt. General Gordon Drummond launched a four-pronged night attack. One column was to take Townson's Battery on Snake Hill, the second was to take Douglass' Battery on the East Side of the Old Fort, and a column of Native warriors was to act as a distraction near Biddle's Battery. A fourth column was successful and even then for only a short period. The British gained the bastion and turned the artillery around but then disaster struck. The expense magazine located directly under the gun platform exploded.
The surviving British retreated to their siege line. American losses were less than 100. The British losses numbered 1,000, but the siege continued.
9:00 p.m. Inside the Fort 'After the Battle' lantern tours of the Fort.
See the effects of the failed British attack. This is a not-to-be-missed, whirlwind tour of Old Fort Erie. Separate tickets are required, available at the gift shop. Regular admission applies. Tours start at the theatre.
- 10:00 a.m. Fort and camps open to the public.
- 10:30 a.m. Memorial Service at the Monument.
1:00 p.m. South Field Battle - U.S. Sortie
For a month, the bombardment and constant skirmishing inflicted hundreds of casualties on both sides, including American Commander General Gaines. By September 17, General Brown had recovered from his wound at Lundy's Lane, and he planned an attack on the British forces. The American troops succeeded in smashing two of the British siege batteries. Losses for each side during this action exceeded 500 men.
2:00 p.m. Inside the Fort American Evacuation of the Fort
Fort Erie continued to be the base of American operations. General Izard arrived with another division of American troops, and he tried to outflank the British position at Chippawa, but this ended in the Battle of Cook's Mills.
In late October, with winter approaching and the eastern seaboard of the United States under British attack, a decision was made to completely remove all U.S. troops from the Canadian side. On November 5, 1814, in the early morning, all artillery and troops were removed, the buildings burned and the bastions exploded.
Captail James Fitzgibbon of Upper Canada's famed Glengarry Light Infantry was the first British Officer on the site following the American departure and witness to the almost total destruction. To this day, Fort Erie is still Canada's bloodiest battlefield.
- 2:00 p.m. Union Jack run up.
- 4:00 p.m. Camp closed to the public.
- 5:00 p.m Fort closed.
Please note that this schedule is subject to change without notice.