Bloody Battle Near Niagara by Anonymous

Bloody Battle Near Niagara Broadside. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

THE BRITISH, in Canada, proudly display
Their forces, collecting in battle array ;
But when to derange or to strike the Guelphs down,
We wish, or determine,… Scott, Perry and Brown….
‡‡Will prove themselves valiant, and worthy, and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
So Hull, Ransellaer—Burrows, Lawrence and Pike,
On the minds of their chieftains such terror would strike,
As to throw them amaz’d and astonish’d aghast,
With muscles close strain’d… as a shoe to a mast.
‡‡They prov’d themselves valiant, and worthy and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
So Bainbridge and Porter, Decatur and Jones,
And all the brave heroes, America owns,
Rodgers, Harrison, Warrington, each glorious name,
In our annals enroll’d and distinguish’d in fame :
‡‡All prove themselves valiant, and worthy and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
JOHN BULL once believ’d, in the mischance of War,
When Coercion was substitute, render’d for Law ;
Declar’d as our Rights ; — and enforc’d from the Throne,
For all which, their nation’s best blood did atone.
‡‡We prov’d ourselves valiant, and worthy and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
But now BULLy JOHN, in his dotage and dreams,
Believes us a National people, it seems ;
But ranging as Arbiter round the wide world,
He would have us conform, or to ruin be hurl’d.
‡‡We will prove to JOHN BULL, we are valiant and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
So it seems “ giant ” JOHN — with his ships and his arms,
Intends, for us Yankees, a great many harms ;
But the prodigal now, with his fortune all made,
Is out-law’d in Honor, and bankrupt in Trade.
‡‡While the Yankees are valiant, and worthy and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
The British, in triumph, establish their Stakes,
Along the Atlantic, and round the great Lakes ;
But away from their posts, they are sure to retreat,
When with equal force match’d ; ’tis their death and defeat
‡‡We prove ourselves valiant, and worthy and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
Lord Wellington’s armies, the Indians and all,
Nor Frauds, nor Blockades shall our FREEDOM enthral,
Our RIGHTS, as our life-blood, are equally dear,
And as true to our Nation…we’re Brave without Fear.
‡‡We prove ourselves valiant, and worthy and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
How many brave heroes, at Chippewa fell ;
Of their actions hereafter shall history tell ;
Embalm’d in our hearts, shall their memories be,
While our hearts uncorrupted shall love LIBERTY.
‡‡For they proved themselves valiant, and worthy and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
Brave SCOTT, is a Hero, the Soldier, the Man,
He leads as the chief, and directs in the van ;
To glory he leads, — mid war’s clangor and blaze,
He’s the Victor enlaurell’d, — deserving our praise.
‡‡So prove yourselves valiant, and worthy, and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
Soon the heroic BROWN meets the Canada troops
Unmov’d by their threats, or their shouts or yell-hoops
He offers them battle, on terms to contend,
He fights like a Soldier, but treats like a Friend.
‡‡So fight, ye brave boys, as you’re valiant and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
He captures their garrison ; moves on in arms,
And triumphs as victor, amid their alarms ;
He engages, again and again, on the field ;
Compelling the vanquished Britons to yield.
‡‡Thus prove yourselves valiant, and worthy and free,
n battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
On the evening of July, the twenty-fifth day,
Where the moon beams reflect, in Niagara’s spray,
Where the noise of the cataract echoes around,
There Riall and Brown, and their Troops take their ground.
‡‡The Yankees are conq’rors — valiant and free,
‡‡In battles on land, boys, and battles at sea.
Dislodg’d from their strong holds, at ev’ry place,
They fall or surrender, or run with disgrace ;
They attack, they retreat ; — they pant for relief ;
All is lost ! — their best troops — and their ambitious Chief.
‡‡The Yankees are victors…they’re valiant and free,
‡‡In battles on land boys, and battles at sea.
Seven hours rag’d the battle ! — then in silence profound,
The victims and wounded, bestrewing the ground,
Exhibit a scene, which all hearts must deplore,
‘Tis the fate of all WARS ! — but the Battle is o’er !
‡‡We prove ourselves valiant, and worthy and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
Our Heroes, and chiefs, in the Battle, survive ;
Many fall ! — and O ! could brave SPENCER but live !
But in glory, he dies, with his compeers in arms ;
May regret and respect fill the heart as it warms.
‡‡Let us prove ourselves valiant, and worthy and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.
The British are vanquish’d again and again,
On the Lakes, in the field, on each mound, and each plain,
Their DAY-STAR’S bright lustre bedim’d disappears ;
While our glory increases, with th’ increase of years.
‡‡We prove ourselves valiant, and worthy and free,
‡‡In battles on land, boys, and battles at sea.
Drop a tear o’er the scene ; like Leonidas’ band,
Our youth fight and die, at their country’s command :
As “sacred to mem’ry”— triumphantly raise,
Where they fall….monumental inscriptions of Praise.
‡‡They prove themselves valiant, and worthy and free,
‡‡In battles on land, boys, and battles at sea.
Be the chief Gen. BROWN, and the brave Gen. SCOTT,
By the Sons of Columbia never forgot ;
May our hearts all unite, in America’s cause,
In defence of our Honor, Rights, Freedom and Laws.
‡‡Thus prove ourselves valiant, and worthy and free,
‡‡In battles on shore, boys, and battles at sea.

Source:  Boston: Printed by N. Coverly, 1814

At head of poem:


Bloody Battle Near Niagara

The United States’ army, commanded by Major JACOB BROWN, victorious over the British Forces, under the command of Major General RIALL ; “The action commenced on the 25th July, at 5 o’clock P.M. and continued without intermission till midnight.” The enemy was driven at every position ; his battery stormed, and all his artillery taken by the Americans ; Gen. RIALL, 20 officers of rank, and near 300 privates were made prisoners. Generals Brown and Scott severely wounded, the brave Capt. Spencer mortally. The loss on both sides in this severe engagement was very great. The U. S. troops under Gen. Ripley, maintained their position several hours after the action, and then fell back upon Fort Erie as a measure of precaution. Success attend the arms of the UNITED STATES, to effect an honorable and lasting PEACE.

Niagara in 1882 by John Macdonald

Queen’s Royal Hotel, Niagara-on-the-Lake, where Macdonald wrote this poem
undated postcard.
Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Suggested by a day of great quiet and beauty.

PEACEFUL is old Ontario,
‡‡Calm does Niagara flow,
Where hostile ships were sailing
‡‡Seventy years ago.

Peaceful the banks of the river
‡‡To-day compared with then,
Now clothed with the coming harvest,
‡‡Then bristling with armed men.

Silent is old Mississagua,
‡‡Niagara’s work is done,
No sound comes from its cannon
‡‡But the peaceful sunset gun.

And silent, too, are the heroes
‡‡Who sleep on either shore,
Who nobly fought for country
‡‡Here in the days of yore.

Here men still read the stories
‡‡Which the mural tablets tell.
Of brave ones who, for England,
‡‡By old Niagara fell.

But the strife is long forgotten,
‡‡And the battles long are o’er;
God grant that these great nations
‡‡May go to war no more.

God grant that these great nations
‡‡In peace may live alway,
As calm and as unruffled
‡‡As river and lake this day.

Macdonald wrote this poem at the Queen’s Royal Hotel, Niagara-on-the-Lake, June 24th, 1882

Source:  The Canadian Methodist Magazine, vol XVI, June to January, 1883

Many thanks to Arden Phair for referring this poem to the NFPP

Composer and conductor Harris Loewen set this poem to music in 2019,  as Peaceful Niagara, published by Cypress Choral Music. Listen to the composition on Soundcloud. Many thanks to Prof. Loewen for permission to post this here.



Poem on the Death of Mr. Job Hoisington…. by Elder A. Turner

POEM ON THE Death of Mr. Job Hoisington, Who fell in the Battle at Black Rock, on the 30th Dec., 1813 

By Elder A . TURNER 

Historical plaque commemorating Job Hoisington in Buffalo, NY


A Melancholy fate,
‡‡To you I will relate,
And give to you a short detail
‡‡Of a poor widow’s fate.


 Twas on the thirtieth day
‡‡Of December, the last,
Alarm was made, and cannons they
‡‡Did roar and play so fast.


 Twas down at the Black Rock,
‡‡The battle first began;
The people they began to flock,
‡‡And to the country ran.


From Buffalo they flee,
‡‡And make a rapid flight;
Male and female we now do see,
‡‡Crying , a horrid sight.


 Twas escape for thy life,
‡‡No time to look behind;
The husband, children and the wife,
‡‡No more can either find.

Reminiscences by James McIntyre

On the laying of the corner stone of the Brock monument at Queenston Heights, and the final interment of the General who had fallen at the battle of Queenston, Oct. 13th, 1812. The remains of his Aide, Col. McDonald, [Lt.-Col. John Macdonell] were also deposited under the new tower.

First Brock’s Monument After the Explosion as it Appeared in 1842
Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

A wail went o’er broad Canada,
When it was known a vile outlaw
Had at midnights awful hour,
With ruffian hand blown up the tower.

‘Neath which had slept the gallant Brock
Who bravely fell on Queenston’s rock,
But graceful column soon shall rise,
Its beauteous shaft will kiss the skies.

For from Queenston’s woody height
You may behold a pleasing sight,
The grim old veterans of the war,
Militiamen with many a scar.

Indian braves from each nation,
Grouped to pay their last ovation,
Round the remains of General Brock,
Who led them oft in battle’s shock.

Old heroes now again do rally,
Feebly they move along the valley,
Not as they rushed in days of yore
When torrent like they onward bore.

And swept away the foeman’s ranks
O’er Niagara’s rugged banks,
So indignant was their grief
On losing of their warrior chief.

Now, with triumphant funeral car,
Adorned with implements of war,
The sad procession slow ascends,
As round the hill its way it wends.

Marching to mournful, solemn note,
While grand old flags around it float,
And now may peace be never broken
‘Mong lands where Saxon tongue is spoken.

“For peace hath victories by far
More glorious than horrid war,”
England doth Longfellow revere,
And America loves Shakespeare.

Note by James McIntyre: The oration on the above interesting occasion was delivered by the late Hon. William H. Merritt, projector of the Welland Canal. He served at the battle when a young man. We witnessed the interesting ceremony and shall never forget it.

Source:  James McIntyre.  Poems of James McIntyre. Ingersoll, Ont.:  The Chronicle, 1889

See J.A. Murphy’s Ode to a Bytown Youth for the story of how the giant flag was affixed to the remains of the first Brock’s monument.

Laura Secord by Agnes Maule Machar

During the so-called war of 1812-14 between England and the United States, Laura Secord, the wife of a crippled British veteran, saved the British forces from surprise and possible destruction by the heroic action narrated in the ballad. Her home lay near the celebrated Queenston Heights, a few miles from the Falls of Niagara.

Laura Secord  Monument
 Drummond Hill Cemetery, Niagara Falls.
Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Softly the spell of moonlight fell
‡‡On the swift river’s flow,
On the gray crags of Queenston Heights,
‡‡And the green waves below.

Alone the whip-poor-will’s sad cry
‡‡Blent with the murmuring pines,
Save where the sentry paced his rounds
‡‡Along th’ invading lines.

But in one lowly cottage home
‡‡Were trouble and dismay ;
Two anxious watchers could not sleep
‡‡For tidings heard that day ;

Brave James Secord, with troubled heart,
‡‡And weary crippled frame,
That bore the scars of Queenston Heights,
‡‡Back to his cottage came ;

For he had learned a dark design
‡‡Fitzgibbon to surprise,
As with a handful of brave men
‡‡At Beaver Dam he lies.

‘And Boerstler, with eight hundred men,
‡‡Is moving from the shore
To steal upon our outpost there,
‡‡Guarded by scarce two score !

‘Then, wiping out, as well he may,
‡‡That gallant little band,
The foe will sweep his onward way
‡‡O’er the defenceless land.

‘Then noble Brock had died in vain—
‡‡If but Fitzgibbon knew !’—
And the poor cripple’s heart is fain
‡‡To press the journey through.

But Laura, bending o’er her babes,
‡‡Said, smiling through her tears :
‘These are not times for brave men’s wives
‡‡To yield to craven fears.

You cannot go to warn our men,
‡‡Or slip the outposts through ;
But if perchance they let me pass,
‡‡This errand I will do.’

She soothed his anxious doubts and fears :
‡‡She knew the forest way ;
She put her trust in Him who hears
‡‡His children when they pray !

Soon as the rosy flush of dawn
‡‡Glowed through the purple air,
She rose to household tasks—and kissed
‡‡Her babes with whispered prayer.

To milk her grazing cow she went ;
‡‡The sentry at the lines
Forgot to watch, as both were lost
‡‡Amid the sheltering pines.

The rising sun’s first golden rays
‡‡Gleamed through the forest dim,
And through its leafy arches rang
‡‡The birds’ sweet morning hymn.

The fragrant odour of the pines,
‡‡The carols gay and sweet,
Gave courage to the fluttering heart,
‡‡And strength to faltering feet.

And on she pressed, with steadfast tread,
‡‡Her solitary way,
O’er tangled brake and sodden swamp
‡‡Through all the sultry day.

Though, for the morning songs of birds
‡‡She heard the wolf’s hoarse cry,
And saw the rattlesnake glide forth,
‡‡As swift she hurried by.

Nor dark morass nor rushing stream
‡‡Could balk the steadfast will,
Nor pleading voice of anxious friends
‡‡Where stood St. David’s Mill.

The British sentry heard her tale,
‡‡And cheered her on her way ;
But bade her ‘ware the Indian scouts
‡‡Who in the covert lay.

Anon, as cracked a rotten bough
‡‡Beneath her wary feet,
She heard their war-whoop through the gloom,
‡‡Their steps advancing fleet ;

But quickly to the questioning chief
‡‡She told her errand grave
How she had walked the livelong day
‡‡Fitzgibbon’s men to save !

The redskin heard, and kindly gazed
‡‡Upon the pale-faced squaw ;
Her faithful courage touched his heart,
‡‡Her weary look he saw.

‘Me go with you’ was all he said,
‡‡And through the forest gray
He led her safe to Beaver Dam,
‡‡Where brave Fitzgibbon lay.

With throbbing heart she told her tale ;
‡‡They heard with anxious heed,
Who knew how grave the crisis was.
‡‡How urgent was the need !

Then there was riding far and near,
‡‡And mustering to and fro
Of troops and Indians from the rear
‡‡To meet the coming foe ;

And such the bold, determined stand
‡‡Those few brave soldiers made—
So fiercely fought the Indian band
‡‡From forest ambuscade,—

That Boerstler in the first surprise
‡‡Surrendered in despair,
To force so small it scarce could serve
‡‡To keep the prisoners there !

While the brave weary messenger
‡‡In dreamless slumber lay,
And woke to find her gallant friends
‡‡Were masters of the fray.

∗                   ∗               ∗             ∗             ∗

If e’er Canadian courage fail,
‡‡Or loyalty grow cold,
Or nerveless grow Canadian hearts,
‡‡Then be the story told—

How British gallantry and skill
‡‡There played their noblest part,
Yet scarce had won if there had failed
‡‡One woman’s dauntless heart !

Source:  Agnes Maule Machar.  Lays of the ‘True North’ and Other Canadian Poems.  2nd enlarged ed. London: E. Stock, 1902

Read about the life of Machar

Read about the Battle of Beaverdams