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Battle of Chippewa
Part of The War of 1812
Date July 5, 1814
Location Chippawa Upper Canada (present-day Ontario)
Result American victory
Belligerents
Britain United States
Commanders and leaders
Phineas Riall Jacob Brown
Winfield Scott
Peter Porter
The Battle of Chippewa (also spelled "Chippawa") was a substantial military victory for the United States over the British during the War of 1812. American regular troops, led primarily by Winfield Scott, were able to rout General Phineas Riall after Riall mistook the Americans for militia.

Battle of Chippewa in Trail of GloryEdit

The Battle of Chippewa was one of the first instances of an American army of regulars meeting and defeating a comparable British army during the War of 1812. In hindsight, it was also an important stepping-stone on the road to the creation of the Confederacy of the Arkansas.

Before the battleEdit

With word that Napoleon had abdicated in April, 1814, American General Jacob Brown decided to engage British forces before reinforcements could be brought from Europe. In June, he outlined the creation of three brigades. The first brigade was built around the already existing Army of the Niagara, was commanded by Winfield Scott. In the weeks prior, Scott had instituted a training regiment that rebuilt the Army of the Niagara into one of the most professional military units in the U.S. The second brigade was commanded by General Eleazer Ripley, and was also composed of largely regular army regiments. The third was commanded Peter Porter, and was composed primarily of militia and Indian allies.

The advance began on July 3, 1814. All three brigades successfully linked up near Fort Erie, and then proceeded to take the fort after a brief siege. On the morning of the 4th of July, Scott moved on towards Fort George.

However, word of the fall of Fort Erie had made its way to Fort George, and British General Phineas Riall rode out to meet the Americans. Riall established positions along Chippewa Creek, and sent small detachements to engage and slow down Scott's advance.

The BattleEdit

Scott and his men had outpaced the other two brigades, and crossed Street's Creek when they were fired upon by the British. Scott, realizing his vulnerable position, ordered his men to fall back to Street's Creek. Scott consulted with Sgt. Patrick Driscol, who offered the observation that the uniforms worn by the brigade were so covered with dust that they looked more like militia uniforms than regular army. However, Driscol thought it was too much to hope that Riall would sincerely believe he faced militia.

The other brigades arrived shortly after midnight, and were in position by the pre-dawn hours of July 5. After dawn, Porter's Third Brigade encountered skirmishers in the nearby forest. By the afternoon, the Third Brigade began to falter, and Riall concluded that was indeed facing militia. He ordered an advance across the Chippewa.

General Brown realized that Porter was having difficulty. He also saw Riall's advance. After leaving men to shore Porter up, Brown rode back to Scott, ordered him fight without even slowing his horse, and then on back to Ripley, who was still behind the lines.

The two armies met within half an hour. Scott allowed Riall the first volley, which in turn allowed Scott to demonstrate that Riall was indeed facing regulars, not militia. Four volleys were quickly exchanged. While the complete fall of Porter's Third Brigade briefly endangered his left flank, Scott successfully moved Thomas Jesup's Twenty-Fifth Regiment to shore the left up. Concurrently, Scott ordered artillery commander Nathan Towson to take out the British battery, which Towson was able to do.

Realizing that the British right flank was exposed, Scott ordered Jesup to immediately wheel around and start enfilding it. Riall's forces were soon caught in a vice. Riall ordered a retreat.

AftermathEdit

Sgt. Patrick Driscol was shot in the left arm. The wound destroyed the left elbow, and was subsequently amputated. Scott transferred Driscol to Washington to be looked after by a proper doctor. Driscol took Private Anthony McParland (who'd been under Driscol's tutelage since June and acquitted himself well at the battle), and both were present to help Sam Houston protect the capital in August.

Scott and Brown's respective stars continued to rise.


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