Q: What is the significance and influences of the Battle of Crysler’s Farm?-a story
We were vastly outnumbered, I swallowed hard and knew that it was the final battle, there was no way back. It was pouring rain, I hurried over to check the 6-pounder guns and made sure they were all loaded. Then, I heard a gunshot from the American troops, without thinking much further, I spoke to my soldiers, “let the battle begin.”
It wasn’t until 1800 when I finally became a captain, the battle of 1812 had sparked my eagerness to take control and fight of our country. I’ve learned about the America Revolution and knew dealing with them was not going to be a simple task at all. This was also our advantage because America thought they can conquer Canada without an effort as the revolution had made them so proud of their military advantages. I heard the former American president Thomas Jefferson stated that “The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching.” America was very confident about the battle but however this time, I was going to prove them wrong that taking Canada wasn’t only a “matter of marching”.
During 1813, my battalion was stationed principally at Kingston, Upper Canada, and on 7 November I received command of a “corps of observation.” I realized that the command was to shadow the movements of Major General James Wilkinson’s army as it moved down the St. Lawrence River to Montréal. I knew simultaneously that it was time to act, if the American troops reached Montréal, Canada would certainly be in danger. Although it was very necessary to confront the America troops, our side had a lot of disadvantages against our opponent. First being the battle loss at Lake Erie on September 10, 1813, as the victory of America prevented our British troops to keep penetrating the middle of United States. The Battle of Lake Erie was an extremely important event because it boosted the morale of the American troops and gave them security from an invasion from the North. It made them even stronger and more confident and the Americans’ decisive victory in the battle nearly crushed our naval strength and elevated the martial reputation of the U.S. Navy. Moreover, our loss in the battle also gave the Americans a valuable opportunity to retake much of the Michigan Territory we conquered earlier in the war. Things were definitely going downhill for our side as we still needed a big part of military power to deal with the French. The Americans were ready to invade Canada now and with the military force, we acquired at that time, defending our opponent would for sure become a struggle. But little did I know, that wasn’t the end.
On October 5th, 1813, Tecumseh lost the battle of Thames and was killed on the battlefield. I used to admire this great warrior, of how he fearlessly fought in the battle against the Americans to protect our land and I knew his spirit would never disappear from our nation. The loss of British’s one of the biggest ally had made our job even harder as at first, the Americans feared the indigenous power. Secondly, our army still had to deal with Napoleon and Tecumseh’s death reduced our military force that was dealing with the Americans even more. I was indeed worried, worried about the battle, my nation and my reputation, which left me sleepless for a couple of nights before the battle. I knew the battle was the moment in my career and I had to do my best to protect our nation.
Sooner after I received the command, I sailed down St Lawrence to fight against Wilkinson’s army. They were coming in strong, along with two armies, one under Major General Wade Hampton who already advanced from Lake Champlain. My duty was to fight the second army, under the commandment of Major General James Wilkinson, as they sailed down to St Lawrence to join Hampton with the invasion. Compared to America’s over 7000 troops, I had merely over a thousand. We arrived on the tenth of November, I quickly decided to check out the terrain to gain as much advantage as possible. After setting our camps on the mud fields of Crysler’s Farm, I sat down and thought about the tactics.
It would be impossible to end this battle quickly, I thought, the only way was to go cheeky. I soon ordered my snipers to take aim at the American’s supply boats and built up our defense. My strategy was to defend until the Americans lost their high morality. On the 11th of November, the battle officially began as Wilkinson decided to attack my force of 1169 regulars, Canadian militias, and Mohawks. Without any hesitation, I gained the quick advantage of the battlefield by deploying the Canadian militia and Mohawk warriors in the woods on either side of John Crysler’s field and formed the British regulars in 2 lines. From my past knowledge, the Americans were disorganized while our troop was able to maintain a well-disciplined formation. I prepared myself as the America troops marched closer and closer, blowing up dusk behind them.
We were vastly outnumbered, I swallowed hard and knew that it was the final battle, there was no way back. It was pouring rain, I hurried over to check the 6-pounder guns and made sure they were all loaded. Then, I heard a gunshot from the American troops, without thinking much further, I spoke to my soldiers, “let the battle begin.” With our terrain advantage, my troops were able to keep the formation and fire volleys at the Americansat close range. “To our country!” I heard a man shout as he took aim, I was greatly touched by how committed my troops were. The battle ended after several attacks on Morrison’s line were repulsed. The Americans were forced to retreat from the field as we gained a temporary victory.
Good news came from Canada as Hampton’s troops, who were supposed to join Wilkinson, was defeated earlier at Châteauguay, therefore would no longer be able to march further. I let out a relief because I knew it was over, although Wilkinson still obtained enough people for another attack, he wouldn’t have enough troops to reach Montreal by himself. Plus, the American numbers had been reduced by illness and travel fatigue while our force was more rested and more engaged. Crysler’s Farm was saved, Montreal was saved, our whole nation was saved. Even so, I still had a feeling in my stomach that the Americans would still try again because of their ambition to expand their land and fortify their new nation. But my job was done here, as Wilkinson ended the campaign and led his men back to the United States.
The battle was so important to me and my nation because if we lost the battle of Crysler’s Farm, the merging Canada will be cut in half. Without my soldiers’ courage and sacrifices, there might not have been a Canada to fight for in the future. Despite the great disadvantages of the previous events, we still managed to pull through and defend our land at last, and it was also my great honor to lead such a courageous group of troops. This battle not only saved Canada from getting invaded by the Americans, it also acted as a moral support to out armies. The consequences were also significant to me as British regained its original tactical power. Later on, the British forces captured Washington, D.C. The White House, the Capitol, and executive department offices are burned. Secretary of War John Armstrong, blamed for the poor planning and intelligence that left America’s capital poorly defended, is forced to resign. This was one of the main consequences of the battle I won because without the victory, British wouldn’t be able to have the morality to fight against and even invade America. The final battle was the most painful battle to endure, it was the bloodiest and most brutal battle ever. I didn’t witness it but I knew both sides’ great loss, I was sure that both sides would settle after this bloody battle at Lundy’s Lane, 1814.
And fortunately, I was right, the peace treaty was eventually ratified, and President Madison declared the war was over. Nobody had gain or loss any land, but British had gained an arguably tactical victory for fewer deaths. I was indeed proud of our country, of troops and our ambition. Although many did remind me how this battle was literally “pointless” as neither side gained any land, I was still honored to win the decisive battle at Crysler’s Farm. Years after the battle, I was awarded an Army Gold Medal for my action at Crysler’s Farm.
The gold medal would eventually become my legacy, the one thing people would remember about Joseph Wanton Morrison, a man who saved the whole Canada with one decisive victory at Crysler’s Farm.