Battle of St. Charles

After Patriot’s victory at the Battle of St – Denis, General Cologne’s second dispatch (he had divided his force forming two divisions), a force of about 430 men under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Wetherall, arrived at the rebel camp outside St-Charles-sur-Richelieu, on 25 November 1837.

More than 200 Patriots were there. It had been a week since they seized the seigniorial manor. The Patriots were placed under the command of Thomas Storrow Brown, who had made few preparations for the arrival of the British regulars.

Though he had knowledge of the Battle of St – Denis, he did nothing to meet the enemy – no ambush was prepared, and the patriots just built poor fortifications at the entry of the village. Yet, as the British troops advanced, the Patriots took positions and begun firing. The commander of the regulars hoped that the show of force would induce defection, but the idea had not come to pass. George Wetherall ordered his three centre companies to fix bayonets and charge.

Covered by fire from the other regulars, the Royals, one of the British most hardened regiments, advanced on the barricade, forcing the rebels back to the freezing waters of the Richelieu River. The unequal contest ended in slaughter.

Three soldiers lost their lives in the battle. It is believed that more than 100 (may be 150), Patriots died, some as they attempted to escape by swimming the cold waters of the river.

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