The memorial commemorating the Battle of Crysler’s Farm towers from its lofty position over the St. Lawrence River, flanked by cannon. The tree lined manmade escarpment upon which it sits was created out of the once blood soaked battlefield soil scooped from the former John Crysler farm prior to the flooding of the St. Lawrence River for the Seaway and Ontario Power Project. Surrounded by farmer’s fields the memorial then stood at road side level on the north side of the highway facing the river…
The 2015 Battle of Crysler’s Farm Weekend was again a resounding success.
The reenactors fought an exciting and suspense-filled battle on each of two successive afternoons with artillery and horses adding to the battle, to the enthusiastic cheers of a good crowd on each day. A steady stream of interested visitors to the encampment gained an increased interest and knowledge of the lives of both soldiers and civilians of the era. The sutlers and civilians added to the military encampment that attracted reenactors and visitors alike. A lively festive addition to the reenactor’s pub night was the introduction of period-appropriate English Country Dancing, just as it might have appeared in front of Cook’s Tavern any summer’s evening in 1813. Upper Canada Village’s Travelling Tiltons show provided added comic relief through song and wit.
A feature of this year’s event, sombre but much appreciated by those attending, was a Sunday morning paying of respect to the memory of the late Robin Morris, who was a leader in bringing the early history of Eastern Ontario to the public through living history. He was an enthusiastic historical reenactor, founding member of The Canadian Fencibles, and devoted friend (and Friend) of the Crysler’s Farm Battlefield Memorial. A brief memorial was led by Robin’s old friend Bob Irvine. The memorial ended, with the aid of Robin’s friends and fellow gunners, with the spreading of his ashes in the most fitting way possible over his beloved Saint Lawrence River.
No account of the weekend would be complete without thanks to the staff of Upper Canada Village and the St. Lawrence Parks commission. The logistic and staff support they provided did much to make the event the success it was.
The 2015 event schedule is now available here.
The Friends of the Crysler’s Farm Battlefield held a fundraising dinner at St. Clare’s Anglican Church in North Dundas on Saturday May 2 which raised approximately 400.00 for the organization.
The delicious roast beef dinner was followed by a short talk by Ron Doering, author of Defending Our Homes, on the importance of ensuring that our local history is preserved and promoted. A silent auction, with items donated by members of the Friends group included a copy of Ron’s book, reproduction 1812 toy soldiers, a print of Adam Sherriff Scott’s painting – The Climax of the Action – Crysler’s Farm, November 11, 1813 – as well as a copy of “In a Lonely Soldier’s Grave” written by Friends Member, Kim McInnis.
The American invading army that landed at Doran Bay near Iroquois in November 1813 were a hungry group of soldiers who needed to complete the march towards the town of Cornwall and its military stores as quickly as possible.
According to reports, the American soldiers were on relatively meagre rations and supplemented their meals with food confiscated from the locals. Croil’s account of the Battle of Crysler’s Farm in his book “Dundas”, speaks of the invaders eating the raw honey found in the many hives kept by the farmers along the front. There are some reports that the soldiers, who gorged themselves on the honey, became quite ill with dysentery and as such their fighting abilities were somewhat less than optimal.
While the actual effect that the consumption of the raw honey had on the invading force, it is a matter of historical record that there numerous compensation claims for destroyed honey bee hives put in by settlers along the St. Lawrence in Dundas County after the War of 1812.
The 1812 Battle Re-Enactment is returning to the Crysler’s Farm Battlefield on July 11TH and 12TH of 2015.
Details to follow later. Any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Bob Irvine — 613-925-5514 — firstname.lastname@example.org