Author Archives: Matthew Boire

Battle of Plattsburgh: Countdown to Invasion (Sept 11)


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On September 11, 1814, the American and British naval squadrons on Lake Champlain engage in a long awaited duel to the death, culminating in a decisive American victory.

Owing to the masterful strategic planning of Commodore Thomas Macdonough, the American fleet is able to defend Plattsburgh Bay and defeat the Royal Navy following a fierce 2 1/2 hour battle, the largest of the entire War.

On land, the British commander, General Sir George Prevost makes a monumental blunder when he allows his troops to wait for an hour before commencing the land attack while they finish breakfast. What should have been a simultaneous naval and land assault became delayed and although Prevost’s ground forces succeed in crossing the Saranac River at Pike’s Cantonment, a mile and a half above Plattsburgh, by this time, the naval battle had been decided.

Believing his forces could not hold Plattsburgh without naval superiority on the Lake, Prevost quickly issued orders to his commanders to withdraw. This order was met with shock and frustration by his veteran Generals, who clearly knew a land victory over the meager American Army and Militia was easily within their grasp…The grand British master plan of invasion from the north had been halted at Plattsburgh.

This Battle of Plattsburgh Countdown to Invasion fact is brought to you by the Greater Adirondack Ghost and Tour Company. If you enjoyed this fascinating snippet of North Country history, find them on Facebook

Battle of Plattsburgh: Countdown to Invasion (Sept 6)


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On September 6, 1814, British and American forces finally collided with deadly effect just north of Plattsburgh, New York.

First contact between a party of New York State Militia and the advance of the British right wing took place in Beekmantown with the Militia withdrawing in great disarray towards Culver Hill.

At the Hill, U.S. Regulars under Major John E. Wool were able to rally some of these men and made a short but heated fight before retiring in the face of the steadily advancing column.

Another stand was made at Halsey’s Corners with the aid of two six pound field guns brought up by Captain Leonard, but after firing only three rounds at the head of the British line, again the Americans were pushed back. On the “State Road” (Route 9 North) the left wing of the British advance had been hampered by obstructions and swampy terrain, but in short order they gained the crossing at the Dead Creek Bridge (Scomotion Creek) and were on their way into town.

Greatly outnumbered, the American units retreated across the Saranac River while the British took up positions in buildings throughout the town. The American Commander, General Alexander Macomb ordered hot shot to be fired into many of these structures and by nightfall, 15 buildings were burning brightly, including the Clinton County courthouse. It was the deadliest day of the entire siege, with 45 American and between 200 and 300 British killed or wounded…

This Battle of Plattsburgh Countdown to Invasion fact is brought to you by the Greater Adirondack Ghost and Tour Company. If you enjoyed this fascinating snippet of North Country history, find them on Facebook

Battle of Plattsburgh: Countdown to Invasion (Sept 5)


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On September 5, 1814, the massive British Army advancing on Plattsbugh again continued its march south after strategically splitting into two large groups, known as the left and right wing. The right wing of the British Army marched on a route through West Chazy before encamping about two miles north of Beekmantown Corners.

The left wing took the “State Road” (present day Route 9 North) and advanced as far as Sampson’s Tavern (Ingraham) where they made camp. The American forces awaiting the enemy’s arrival on the Beekmantown Road was steadily being increased by the arrival of New York State Militia, streaming in from Clinton and Essex Counties, and 250 U.S. Regulars under Major John E. Wool

The photograph shows Major Wool in 1850, by which time he was a Brigadier General. He went on to serve in the American Civil War and at 77 years of age, was the oldest active duty General on either side. He died in 1869 and is buried in Troy, New York.

This Battle of Plattsburgh Countdown to Invasion fact is brought to you by the Greater Adirondack Ghost and Tour Company. If you enjoyed this fascinating snippet of North Country history, find them on Facebook

Battle of Plattsburgh: Countdown to Invasion (Sept 4)


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On September 4, 1814 General Sir George Prevost, commander of the British Army at Champlain, New York, detached a reserve force and his heavy artillery, and marched southward with between 8 and 10,000 men and occupied the town of Chazy.

Prevost and his staff set up his headquarters in the Alexander Scott house, which stands along present day Route 9. A group of 110 American riflemen under the command of Lt. Col. Daniel Appling who were stationed in the Chazy area fell back towards Plattsburgh along the roadway, destroying bridges and blockading the road as they went, anything that would hamper and delay the British forces.

They eventually met up with a group of about 200 U.S. Regulars under Captain John Sproul on the “State Road” (Route 9) and proceeded to tear up the “Dead Creek Bridge” (Scomotion Creek) near the present day City Beach. There they built a fortified position using planks from the bridge and awaited the enemy. The photo show’s what Col. Appling’s Riflemen would have looked like, distinctive in their green frock coats, proceeding through the woods as they withdraw towards Plattsburgh.

This Battle of Plattsburgh Countdown to Invasion fact is brought to you by the Greater Adirondack Ghost and Tour Company. If you enjoyed this fascinating snippet of North Country history, find them on Facebook

Battle of Plattsburgh: Countdown to Invasion (Sept 1)


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On September 1, 1814, with an invading force of 11 – 15,000 British troops massing just south of the Canadian frontier at tiny Champlain, New York, the residents of Plattsburgh, just 21 miles away, begin to flee for their lives. Many of the 3000 residents seek safety to the south, some removing themselves as far away as Albany, leaving much of the town deserted.

The owner of this house, Plattsburgh businessman Henri Delord, sought refuge at the Quaker Union in Peru after sending his wife Betsey and baby daughter south toward the State Capital. Before leaving the house, however, legend has it that Betsey buried the family’s silver tea service out in the garden.

Today’s Battle of Plattsburgh – “Countdown to Invasion” fact is brought to you by the Greater Adirondack Ghost & Tour Company. If you enjoyed this fascinating snippet of North Country history, find them on: Facebook

Battle of Plattsburgh: Countdown to Invasion (Aug 31)


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On this date in 1814, invading British troops, numbering some 11 – 15,000 men, began their march in earnest across the Canadian frontier and into the United States, massing at the small village of Champlain, New York. Under the overall command of Sir George Prevost, the Governor General of Canada, the ranks of this massive army had been recently swelled by the British victory over Napoleon in Europe.

This fact had allowed battle hardened veterans of Wellington’s Army to be shipped directly to North America to bolster Prevost’s forces and these forces were now just 21 miles from Plattsburgh. The British quickly set to work commandeering any local teams of horses and wagons they could find, pressing them into service hauling the massive quantities of heavy baggage and supplies needed by the advancing Army…

Today’s Battle of Plattsburgh – “Countdown to Invasion” fact is brought to you by the Greater Adirondack Ghost & Tour Company. If you enjoyed this fascinating snippet of North Country history, find them on Facebook.