Battle for Fort William – Day 1

It’s 1814 and the Northwest Company has endured the loss of several cargo schooners. Supplies and warehouses at Sault Ste Marie have been burned and now the Americans, camped just outside the palisade at Fort William are planning to attack.

British Camp

The partners must decide what to do – do they fight for their lives and property or do they order their employees to stand down in an effort to avoid bloodshed. This of course is a scenario that we can only speculate about, as no battle at Fort William with the Americans ever did take place historically.

Spotting the Americans

However, Fort William Historical Park has portrayed this event in an effort to celebrate the War of 1812 Bi-centennial and to illustrate period military tactics to visitors.  Corps members were just happy to show up and shoot at Americans – or should we say, to shoot at each other as CCV members were needed to provide re-enactors on both sides of the battle field.

British take cover as skirmish begins

Day 1 began with the spotting of the Americans camped outside the Fort. British forces within the Fort mustered quickly and before they knew it, were drawn into a skirmish with the Americans, who were determined to test their resolve.

Americans attempt to advance, then fall back

British watch while Americans fall back

With the initial skirmish over, each side returns to their respective camp.

American camp

Later, an American boat is seen on the river, bringing reinforcements. British Credit union order and Canadian Corps of Voyageurs assemble on the warf. The Americans initiate another skirmish and both sides continue to return fire until the American boat passes by completely.

American reinforcements on their way

Marching to the warf

One last volley

The Native leaders have already pledged their assistance in fending off the Americans. The partners meet in the Great Hall and have a heated discussion regarding the events of the day and the pending battle. At last they decide to fight – British regulars and militia are mustered to defend the Fort, whatever the cost.

Americans prepare to advance

British return fire

Each side closes in fully and casualties increase. Eventually, the commanding officers meet and discuss a truce. The Americans believe they have taken the field and issue an ultimatum – the Fort must surrender by the next day or the Americans will return and complete their task of taking the Fort by force.

Both sides close in despite their casualties (photo courtesy FWHP)

A truce is discussed (photo courtesy FWHP)

Both sides collect their dead and wounded and retire from the battle field.

Removing the casualties (photo courtesy FWHP)


Want to see more pictures? See the Day 1 Gallery post.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *