The Battle of Lundy’s Lane by Duncan Campbell Scott

Battle of Lundy's Lane by Alonzo Chappel,
Battle of Lundy’s Lane by Alonzo Chappel

Rufus Gale Speaks – 1852

Yes, – in the Lincoln Militia, – in the war of eighteen-twelve;
Many’s the day I’ve had since then to dig and delve –
But those are the years I remember as the brightest years of all,
When we left the plow in the furrow to follow the bugle’s call.
Why, even our son Abner wanted to fight with the men!
“Don’t you go, d’ye hear, sir!” – I was angry with him then.
“Stay with your mother!” I said, and he looked so old and grim –
He was just sixteen that April – I couldn’t believe it was him;
But I didn’t think – I was off – and we met the foe again,
Five thousand strong and ready, at the hill by Lundy’s Lane.
There as the night came on we fought them from six to nine,
Whenever they broke our line we broke their line,
They took our guns and we won them again, and around the levels
Where the hill sloped up – with the Eighty-ninth, – we fought like devils
Around the flag; – and on they came and we drove them back,
Until with its very fierceness the fight grew slack.
Continue reading “The Battle of Lundy’s Lane by Duncan Campbell Scott”

The River None Believe by John B. Lee

 

John B Lee
John B. Lee / theOntariopoetrysociety.ca

I think of the Niagara
and if I say
“the river it seems remembers nothing”
and you might say
“What?” you might say “are you crazy?”
and if I say
“well, the War of 1812 was fought here
from mouth to source
and it was
the worst conflict, the most violent
ever fought by Europeans
right here on Canadian soil…
not as ‘remember the Alamo’
but as ‘remember Lundy’s Lane'”
the heat of battle
to the death–the worst in North America
until the Civil War
yet if you travel now
to the sight
it’s like hardening of the arteries
of history
it’s carnival traffic, tarmac
and the roar of a frothy falls
full of whisky barrel values
like empty thread spools
dangling from a mad tailor
and all you see
is Blondin on his tight rope
over the rapids
not the red wind
of a single crimson night
how many summers ago
and gone
and if I say
“go to the heights above Burlington Bay
and listen for those headless ghosts
of eight men hanged
go to Queenston
and watch the far banks
for the bad boats
go to Newark/Niagara
and look for the conflagration
listen for the hiss of torches
and the crash of blackened rafters
go to little St. David’s
ride there on a dead horse
trample the vineyards
watch for the wine stain
in the blight of fire and ink
and if by
the echo of a wet rock
if by the strangled cry
of some turning eddy
foaming round in eternal rubble
wearing the shape of the flow
perilous enough
to the jarred heel
to spin a man’s craft
and crack his memory loose
as quick as a war club will
and if I look
to this land
and see
how a man is missed
as if he were never there
how his shape might drop away
like a walker in the fog
some phantom colour fading in the mist
with a ragged twin
of someone watching from the other way
what of this
this earth that holds us
this deeper gravity
this float of stones
these stories
dead tongues tell?

 

Source: The Author, 2001.

John B. Lee. From In the Terrible Weather of Guns  [manuscript]

Battle of Lundy’s Lane, 25th July, 1814 by Janet Carnochan

Upon this hill we come to celebrate
That fateful day a century ago,
How saved our heritage with forceful blow
We meet to tell the tale, but not in hate.
We meet their loyal names to consecrate
Who fought and fell, shall we forget?  Oh no,
But high emblaze their names and proudly show
How nobly stood our sires in danger great,
To tell the inspiring tale that so we too
May meet our hill of difficulties well,
For we have problems hard to solve today
And enemies of greed and gold not few.
Heaven grant us grace their forces to repel
And at the call of duty straight obey.

Niagara, 25th July, 1914.

Source: An Account of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, Fought in 1814, Between the British and American Armies From the Best and Most Authorized Sources.   Niagara Falls: Niagara Publishers, 1947.

The Battle of Bridgewater (July 25, 1814) by Anonymous

O'er Huron's wave the sun was low,
The weary soldier watch'd the bow
Fast fading from the cloud below
        The dashing of Niagara.
And while the phantom chain'd his sight,
Ah! little thought he of the fight --
The horrors of the dreamless night,
        That posted on so rapidly.

Soon, soon is fled each softer charm;
The drum and trumpet sound alarm,
And bid each warrior nerve his arm
        For boldest deeds of chivalry;
The burning red-cross, waving high,
Like meteor in the evening sky,
Proclaims the haughty foemen nigh
        To try the strife of rivalry.

Columbia's banner floats as proud,
Her gallant band around it crowd,
And swear to guard or make their shroud
        The starred flag of liberty.
"Haste, haste thee, Scott, to meet the foe,
And let the scornful Briton know,
Well strung the arm and firm the blow
        Of him who strikes for liberty."

Loud, loud the din of battle rings,
Shrill through the ranks the bullet sings,
And onward fierce each foeman springs
        To meet his peer in gallantry.
Behind the hills descends the sun,
The work of death is but begun,
And red through twilight's shadows dun
        Blazes the vollied musketry.

"Charge, Miller, charge the foe once more."
And louder than Niagara's roar
Along the line is heard, encore,
       "On, on to death or victory."
From line to line, with lurid glow,
High arching shoots the rocket's bow,
And lights the mingled scene below
        Of carnage, death, and misery.

The middle watch has now begun,
The horrid battle-fray is done,
No longer beats the furious drum,
        To death, to death or victory.
All, all is still - with silent tread
The watchman steals among the dead,
To guard his comrade's lowly bed,
        Till morning gave him sepulture.

Low in the west, of splendour shorn,
The midnight moon with bloody horn
Sheds her last beam on him, forlorn,
        Who fell in fight so gloriously;
Oh! long her crescent wax and wane
Ere she behold such fray again,
Such dismal night, such heaps of slain,
        Foe mix'd with foe promiscuously.

 

Source: Poems of American History, Collected & Edited by Burton Egbert Stevenson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1936. p. 308-309

n.b. The Battle of Bridgewater is better known as the Battle of Lundy’s Lane.