The Battle of Lacolle Mills, 1814
In the War of 1812, the United States had suffered a significant defeat at the hands of the British at the Battle of Chrysler’s Farm. Following the defeat, U.S. Major General James Wilkinson retreated to winter quarters in French Mills, New York. Wilkinson’s failure was likely to lead to his removal from a position of command, so he made a plan to gain some victories and repair his reputation.
Near the border between Canada and the United States, along the Lacolle River, British forces maintained a small garrison at Lacolle Mill. Wilkinson attacked the outpost on March 27, 1814 with a large force of American troops, made up of 4,000 soldiers and artillery. The weather and conditions proved troubling, as artillery could not be moved near Lacolle Mill.
Wilkinson attacked the outpost, but the British successfully responded, using Congreve rockets. Additional British and Canadian troops heard the gunfire and responded. Wilkinson and his troops retreated that evening, having failed to defeat the small garrison of troops at Lacolle Mill. American losses totaled 154 men. The British and Canadians lost only 60 men to the battle.