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Many Canadians may not realize it, as the War of 1812 often gets more press, but there was a Patriot War. It wasn’t so much of a war between the United States and Canada, but a movement of individuals in the United States who were sympathetic to the 1837 Rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada. In essence, they wanted to liberate Upper Canada from the British.
It didn’t work.
Overall, the war would involve the death of 30 Canadian and American troops, along with 86 wounded. The Hunter’s Lodge would lose 92 men, have 81 wounded and over 200 captured.
One of the biggest and most important battles of this war, which lasted from 1837 to 1838, was the Battle of Pelee Island.
On Feb. 26, 1838, with Lake Erie frozen, 300 Canadian and American Patriots, commanded by Major Lester Hoadley, took Pelee Island on the western edge of the lake. According to the accounts of one man on the island, the Patriots destroyed property, took houses, killed pigs, cattle and more. In all, it was believed they caused 1,000 Pounds in damage. Much of what was stolen was taken back to Ohio by the troops.
In response, British Colonel John Maitland sent a force to recapture the island and secure it. Sending Major George Browne, along with 126 men that included two companies of the British 32nd Regiment and a detachment of the Canadian St. Thomas Volunteer Calvary, they advanced on the Patriots.
The battle was fought on March 3, with the Patriots intercepted on the ice near the southwestern shore of the island.
A harsh battle was fought, but the British and Canadians would be victorious. The British would lose five men and have 25 wounded. The Patriots suffered much worse, with 14 dead, 18 wounded and 11 captured. One man, on the Patriot side, died when he fell through the ice during the battle.
It is interesting to note that the British won with 126 men, going up against 300 of the enemy.
Along with the Battle of Fighting Island on Feb. 26, this was the second time a force invading Canada was defeated within one week.