The Invasion of Upper Canada

In Upper Canada, meanwhile, the invasion attempt was going forward more resolutely than ever. To the east of Upper Canada on November 11 a powerful contingent of some 400 American Patriots and volunteers swept into an area near Prescott. They were relatively well armed and under the command of a Finnish adventurer who claimed to be Polish, Nils von Schoultz. About 140 volunteers and militiamen from the area were then at Fort Wellington at Prescott. The general alarm was sounded as soon as the Patriots entered Canada. Realizing that he would be unable to take Fort Wellington, where they were resolutely waiting for him, von Schoultz withdrew with his men to a large stone windmill near the St. Lawrence one kilometre to the east of the fort. On November 13 it was surrounded by some 500 soldiers and militiamen who attacked by land while two steamboats, the Queen Victoria and the Coburg, shelled it. Many Patriots and American volunteers were able to escape and return to the United States, but 131 were taken prisoner the evening of the 16th. Some 20 British and loyal volunteers were killed in this engagement, against about 30 rebels.

On December 4 some 250 Patriots and American volunteers left from Detroit and took the city of Windsor. Their victory was short-lived, however, because a contingent of approximately 130 Essex County militiamen attacked them and drove them back almost immediately. Four militiamen were killed and the Patriots lost approximately 27. Infuriated by the insurgents' raids and shaken by the death of his friend, Dr. John James Hume, Colonel John Prince, who commanded the militiamen, had five prisoners executed on the spot, an act that caused a scandal. 103 When the British troops and Amerindians sent from Fort Malden arrived, the rout of the rebels was complete.