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Battle of the Windmill - Ontario

Updated: Dec 11, 2021

Unit/ Formation: Royal Marines

Location: Ontario

Period/ Conflict: Patriot War

Year: 1838

Date/s: 12 November 1838

The Battle of the Windmill was a battle fought in November 1838 in the aftermath of the Upper Canada Rebellion. Loyalist forces of the Upper Canadian government and American troops, aided by the Royal Navy and U.S. Navy defeated an invasion attempt by a Hunter Patriot para-military unit based in the United States, which had the intention of using the beachhead as a launchpad for further offensives into Canada.

Contemporary engraving of the Battle of the Windmill as seen from the American shore.

Canadian, British, and American troops thwarted the invasion, successfully defending Canadian soil and forced the invaders to surrender. Others still in the U.S. were captured and arrested by U.S. officials. The Hunters attempted to land at the Prescott waterfront early on the morning of 12 November, 1838. Alert militia sentries spotted the intruders, who hastily attempted to retreat across the St. Lawrence to Ogdensburg, New York.

Several Hunter vessels ran aground on a sand bar off of Ogdensburg, and when they pulled free later in the morning they steered for Windmill Point, a promontory projecting into a narrow point on the St. Lawrence River two miles east of Fort Wellington.

Here they landed and seized the hamlet of Newport, the most prominent landmark of which was a tall, stone windmill with a commanding view of the St. Lawrence.

Over the following days, the Hunters were surrounded by thousands of Upper Canadian militia as well as Royal Marines and British regular soldiers from Montreal and Kingston. The United States' Navy and Royal Navy had also arrived to cooperate in preventing more Hunters from crossing to the aid of the invaders at Newport.

On 16 November, battered by heavy artillery fire, chased from the buildings in the village, and surrounded in the windmill, the Hunters surrendered.

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