The Battle of Lundy’s Lane by Lieut.-Col. J. R. Wilkinson

wilkinson lundy

wilkinson lundy
The plaque marking the location of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane

Fought July 26, 1814, American forces 5,000; British and Canadian, 2800

The summer sun down the sky fell low,
And soft, cooling winds more gently did blow,
And the stream swept by with resistless flow
On that July eve of the long ago, —
A lovely landscape as ever was seen,
And nature’s serenity crowned the scene.
A gold light shimmered o’er hill and stream,
And the shadows lengthened softly between.
Thus o’er this beautiful Canadian land
Fell the hush of nature, soothing and bland.

But hark ! on the startled ear there comes
The blaring of trumpets and roll of drums,
And war’s dread panoply bursts on the scene,
With its rumbling roar and thunder between,
As the bannered foe draws proudly nigh,
And the outposts before them quickly fly.
But Drummond draws up on the famous plain,
On the undulations of Lundy’s Lane.
On a rise in the centre his guns he placed,
Deployed his infantry, and sternly faced
The menacing foe in battle-array,
As the shades crept out on the dying day.
Sixteen hundred dauntless, determined souls
The heroic Drummond proudly controls.

In contiguous lines the foe now comes,
To the blare of trumpet and beat of drums,
With supporting columns to reinforce
And cheer the lines on their onward course.
Drummond’s guns open with deafening roar,
Shaking the trembling river and shore ;
And hundreds go down in the deadly storm :
Torn are their ranks, but again they re-form,
Move forward once more with a rush and cry,
Confident that Drummond will turn and fly,
But he stands fast, and his battery flashes,
And his firm infantry volleys and crashes
On the brave advancing lines of the foe
Rushing up from the fire-swept slope below.
Brown’s infantry charged to the battery’s side,
But to capture the guns in vain they tried.
They were met with the steel by Drummond’s men
And hurled confused down the slope again.
They tried it again — rushed forward once more,
But broke like a wave on a rock-bound shore !

Brown’s supports were brought up, and his cannon roared,
All along the lines the infantry poured
A withering, ceaseless and consuming fire :
And the rage of battle grew wilder, higher.
The enemy charged and charged again
Till their life-blood crimsoned the shot-torn plain,
And the awful din and the carnage there
Filled wives’ and mothers’ hearts with despair.

At length the long twilight closed around
The smoking cannon and the death-strewn ground,
And the pitying night drew o’er the scene
Of horror a mournful and sable screen.
Still amid the darkness they fighting fell,
And the surging ranks bore a fire of hell !
Muzzle to muzzle the hot guns stormed,
Rending the ranks that again reformed,
And rushed to the charge again and again
Through the infantry’s fire and batteries’ flame.
The guns were won and retaken again
In the revel of death, at Lundy’s Lane.

Here Riall came up with twelve hundred more,
To the help of Drummond, bleeding and sore :
Twelve hundred Canadians and regulars to stand
To the death for this proud Canadian land.
The brave foe brought up reinforcements, too,
Determined Drummond’s lines to pierce through ;
And they close in a mad, mad rush again,
And the roar of the hot guns shake the plain.
Lurid red flashes illumine the night,
Revealing a moment the dreadful sight
Of the lines struggling there in the gloom,
Where hundreds go down to a gory doom.

But Drummond the foemen foiled everywhere,
And disheartened, on the verge of dispair,
At the midnight hour they fled from the field, —
Broken and beaten, they were forced to yield.
Throwing their baggage in the stream, in fright
They fled away in a desperate plight.

The moon had risen o’er the pitiful scene,
With her lovely face, all mild and serene,
Lighting up the horror of carnage there,
Revealing the ghastly and upward stare
Of pale, dead faces peering out of the gloom,
Just touched by the silvery midnight moon.
Lay them away on the hard-fought field
Where the musketry volleyed and cannon pealed !
War’s tumult shall rouse them again no more,
The heroic dead by the river’s shore.
Slumber on, brave hearts ! ye do battle no more
Near Niagara’s awesome, eternal roar !

Oh, dear land of the Maple Leaf so fair,
Breathe even to-day a fervent prayer
For those intrepid souls, who, fighting, fell
For home and country they loved so well.
Canadians ! tell it — repeat it again —
How our fathers stood there at Lundy’s Lane,
With the regulars fearlessly side by side —
Stood there as heroes, conquered and died.
To rescue this land from the invader’s tread
That field was piled with immortal dead.

Source: Lieut.-Col. J. R. Wilkinson. Canadian Battlefields and Other Poems. 2nd ed. Toronto, William Briggs, 1901

Laura Secord; or, The Battle of Beaver Dams by Lieut.-Col. J. R. Wilkinson

wilkinson laura

wilkinson laura
Laura Secord warns British commander James FitzGibbon of an impending American attack at Beaver Dams. by Lorne Kidd Smith, 1920. Library and Archives Canada reproduction reference number C-011053

Fought June 24th, 1813. British 47 Regulars and 200 Indians. Americans, 570 with 50 cavalry and 3 guns

She knew, and her heart beat faster,
‡‡The foe would march that day !
And resolved, though only a woman,
‡‡To silently steal away
And warn the outpost at Beaver Dams ;
‡‡Alone, and on foot, to go
Through the dim and awesome forest,
‡‡To evade the vigilant foe.

And no one thought of a woman,
‡‡And she gained a path she knew
In the lonesome, stately forest,
‡‡And over the dark way flew.
On and on with a beating heart,
‡‡And never a pause for rest ;
Twenty miles of dim and distance,
‡‡And the sun low down the west.

Startled sometimes to terror
‡‡By the blood-curdling cry
Of wolves from the faint far distance,
‡‡And sometimes nearer by ;
And hollow sounds and weird whispers
‡‡That rose from the forest deep ;
And ghostly and phantom voices
‡‡That caused her nerves to creep.

But she pauses not, nor falters,
‡‡But presses along the way ;
Noiselessly through the dread distance,
‡‡Through the shadows weird and gray.
In time must the warning be given,
‡‡She must not, must not fail ;
Though rough is the path and toilsome,
‡‡Her courage must prevail.

“To arms ! to arms, FitzGibbon !”
‡‡Came a woman’s thrilling cry ;
“Lose not a precious moment —
‡‡The foe ! the foe is nigh !”
And a woman pale and weary
‡‡Burst on the startled sight
Out from the dark, awesome forest,
‡‡Out of the shadowy night.

“They come ! they come six hundred strong,
‡‡Stealing upon you here !
But I, a weak woman, tell you,
‡‡Prepare and have no fear.”
The handful of British heroes
‡‡Resolved the outpost to save,
With the aid of two hundred Indians,
‡‡Allies cunning and brave.

Still as death the line is waiting
‡‡The onset of the foe ;
And the summer winds make whisper
‡‡In the foliage soft and low.
“Ready !” and each heart beats faster ;
‡‡“Fire low, and without fear.”
And they fired a crashing volley,
‡‡And gave a defiant cheer.

Staggered by the deadly missiles,
‡‡That like a mighty blow
Fell swift on the line advancing,
‡‡Fell on the astonished foe.
And for two long, desperate hours
‡‡The furious fight raged there,
Till the foemen, foiled and beaten,
‡‡Surrendered in despair.

Well done, valiant FitzGibbon !
‡‡Thy name shall live in story ;
Thy daring feat of arms that day
‡‡Is wreathed with fadeless glory.
One other name my song would praise,
‡‡A patriot soul so brave,
That dared the forest’s lonely wilds
‡‡FitzGibbon’s post to save.

Noble woman ! heroic soul !
‡‡We would honor thee to-day ;
Thou canst not, shall not be forgot.
‡‡More lustrous is the ray
Time relects upon thy deed.
‡‡Thy talismanic name —
Canadians, sound it through the land,
‡‡Perpetuate her fadeless fame !

Source: Lieut.-Col. J. R. Wilkinson. Canadian Battlefields and Other Poems. 2nd ed. Toronto, William Briggs, 1901

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wilkinson laura

Glen Albert Near DeCew Falls by A Traveller

 

Glen Albert
Decew Falls by Miller’s Photographic Saloon – Possibly Chauncey C Miller, active in St. Catharines c. 1865-1868

Glen Albert ! How lovely thy beautiful scene —
As lovely to me as a nymph of sixteen,
All blushing with health and unconscious of guile,
‘Tis a foretaste of Eden to bask in thy smile ;
To list in suspense to the sound of thy falls —
Hearing nature’s sweet music in nature’s own halls,
While the hue-changing leaves by the zephyr caressed,
Murmur softly and sweetly a sigh of love bless’d.
Though the sun’s glowing rays gild the woods on thy heights,
In thy depths far below there’s a gloom that delights,
Where the wandering traveller, wearied with care,
Can pause in thy Glen and find solitude there —
There alone in thy bosom, from tumult apart,
He can have a fit place to commune with his heart.
Proud Niagara calls him with voice loud and bold,
And lures to her falls, as the siren of old.
But thy sparkling cascades, gushing smiles mixed with tears,
Cause so modern Ulysses to stop up his ears.
Here retired from the haunts of fashion and crime,
Thou art seen in thy loveliness, truly sublime;
E’en in history’s page thou did’st shine long ago
When our heroes stood by thee to ward off their foe,
And a ‘Merritt’ held post after Beaver Dam fight,
Thou did’st bravely assist with a Spartan girl’s might
Let the foreigner share in Niagara’s roar,
That with menacing fury growls “Dieu et mon Droit,”
Yet Glen Albert ! the bird that loves its own nest
For a love — all its own — sure will love thee the best.

Source: Courtesy Dennis Gannon.

Poem clipped from an unknown and undated newspaper,  pasted to the back of the photograph above.

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Lundy’s Lane by James Alexander Tucker

tucker lundys lane

tucker lundys lane
Reinterment Services Held at Drummond Hill Cemetery, October 17, 1891. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

(Suggested by the burial, October 17th, 1891, of the remains of
some of the British forces who fought in this memorable battle.)

Three-quarters of a century
Have passed away like snow,
Since Drummond and Riall stood firm
And fought the furious foe;
When round our gallant fellows
The bullets hissed like rain,
And heaped with dead and dying men
The field of Lundys Lane.

The twilight of the summer eve
Was hovering in the sky,
When rose upon the listening air
The British battle-cry;
Then through the trembling heavens surged
The roar of giant strife,
For thrice two thousand armed men
Were battling there for life.
Yet still above that fearful din
Of battles mad career
Was heard from throbbing British throats
The British battle cheer.

All through that night till midnights hour
Was on Times trembling lip,
Our gallant fellows at the cup
Of bitter death did sip.
They cared not if each moment drained
The drops of faltering life,
They fought for home and native land,
For mother, child and wife.
Not theirs the fight for conquest,
Not theirs the fight for gold,
But theirs the fight for freedoms right
Their fathers gained of old.

Thus with stern hearts and steady hands
They marched into the fray,
And there our bloodiest battle
Was fought and won that day.
Bloodiest! aye, six thousand men
At dusk stood on the field:
Two thousand dead or dying fell
Before the day was sealed.
Yes, oer their grave let banners wave,
Let trumpets moan their funeral note;
God in His might looked down that night —
Looked, and the wrong he smote.

They fought for home and native land,
For mother, child and wife,
And recked not if each moment drained
The dregs of faltering life.
They fought for home and native land,
They held the foe at bay;
They fell, but though they fell, they stand
In honors ranks today.
They gave their blood to save the flag,
To keep the land from shame;
To God be praise for victory,
To them eternal fame!

And though we hope that neer again
Such strife may shake our land,
But pray these sister nations may
Give each a friendly hand;
Yet while one drop of British blood
Swells a Canadian vein,
Our hearts must thrill when we recall
The fight of Lundys Lane.

Source: Kevin McCabe, ed. The Poetry of Old Niagara. St. Catharines, Ont.: Blarney Stone Books, 1999.

Originally published: James Alexander Tucker. Poems. Toronto: Briggs, 1904.

Biographical notes on James Alexander Tucker by Arthur Stringer, published in Tucker’s Poems.

Click to see more poems about the Battle of Lundy’s Lane and other Poems of the War of 1812 in Niagara

Lundy’s Lane — 1814-1914 (July 25) by T. E. Moberly

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Battle of Lundy’s Lane Centennial – Main & Lundy’s Lane (Ferry St.), July 25, 1914. Photo Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

moberly
In Lundys Lane the robins sing,
‡‡And blackbirds pipe their merry lay,
The sparrow flits on restless wing,
‡‡The air is sweet with new mown hay.

Oer the grassy mound by the old church wall
‡‡The summer breezes gently stray,
They stir the leaves of the maples tall,
‡‡And mingle with the sunbeams play.

Tis a scene of peace and beauty fair,
‡‡That greets the happy passer-by,
As he breathes the balmy summer air,
‡‡And gladly looks on earth and sky.

But oer this fair and peaceful scene
‡‡One hundred years have come and gone,
And where the grass grows rich and green
‡‡The dead lay thick with faces wan.

Up from the mighty rivers gorge
‡‡In serried ranks the foeman came,
The air grew murky as a forge,
‡‡With cannon smoke and musket flame.

Outnumbered nearly two to one,
‡‡The gallant Drummond stood at bay,
Undaunted he — and with him none —
‡‡Unworthy of that glorious day.

For loyal sons of loyal sires,
‡‡They fought for home and motherland;
No purer love the heart inspires
‡‡Than glowd within that patriot band.

Now hastning up the river bank,
‡‡Cheered on by Scott at Browns command,
The foemen form, and rank on rank,
‡‡A threatening army they expand.

The word is given — then, on they rush,
‡‡Mid cannon roar and musket flame,
Like avalanches fearful crush,
‡‡Ah! What can balk their deadly aim?

But hark! a rousing British cheer!
‡‡Cheer such as thrilld at Waterloo —
The cheer of men who know no fear
‡‡Save to be recreant or untrue. Continue reading “Lundy’s Lane — 1814-1914 (July 25) by T. E. Moberly”