Battle of the Longwoods, March 4, 1814
Another story by W.A. Edwards, local story teller and poet of the 1930s. Written in 1931.
Vivid Story of Real Scrap In The War of 1812 That Did Not Find Its Way Into The History Books.
This is the story of “Battle Hill” an episode of the war of 1812 and sequel to the Battle of Moraviantown, where the gallant Tecumseh laid down his life for the young colony of Canada, and Col Proctor met such ignominious. Why history has failed to chronicle this thrilling and desperate encounter has always been a mystery. Today, few if any, realize the significance of the name, for with the passing of the pioneer, has gone all vivid recollection of the struggle and its gruesome aftermath. Among the sleepy hollows echo the rattle of the farmers wagons. And so may they rest in peace.
The Americans carried thousands of pails of water and dashed it down the slopes, where it froze, almost instantly, to glaring ice. Hardly was their work finished when shots from the East proclaimed their scouts were being driven by the oncoming British. Presently scarlet coats appeared on the opposite slopes, just as the sun was setting for the day and the last time for not a few among friend and foe.
On March 4, 1814, the sun rose clear and cold, throwing long, gaunt shadows into the valley as if enshrouding in funeral pall the British and their allies, while yonder in front, touching the ice-capped cascades in labyrinths of limpid light, the scintillating sunbeams turned tall, now gossamer now gold.
Like General Braddeck at For Du Qresene, the British commander would command his militia to return to the Niagara frontier. On the following morning, some of the settlers from the Big Bend visited the scene of conflict. A ghastly sight they beheld. Strewn about in all the awful contortions of battle the dead, numbering 42, lay frozen. Several had been partially devoured by prowling indian dogs and the famished timber wolves. And, thus for a time they lay until the militia returning gathered together into a pitiful heap, friend and foe and as the frozen ground rendered burial inconvenient,they burned them there. Another awful sacrifice to the god of war.
This is why no graves and few bones were ever found, for all that was mortal was whisked up by the whispering winds.
Later, many military buttons, some old coins and a few musket barrels were found. Also, some bullets were found in firewood that then stood grim witnesses of this lonely struggle among the monarchs of the forests. This is ample evidence that “Battle Hill” is no misnomer. Evidence that here on March 4, 1814, was fought a fight for freedom that should not be forgotten. Why history failed here cannot be told. Perhaps nothing more of this episode will ever be known. Already, few living near this fatal spot realize the significance of the locality.