Father's Day in 1814 (Part Two)
Three schooners loaded with American soldiers landed on the beach at Port Dover in May 1814 before laying the town to waste.
They burned mills, stores, a distillery and homes, killing cattle and carrying away as much property as they could.
Deserted by all but a few women, according to some accounts, no military force was present to defend Port Dover from the advancing U. S. force.
Although the local women and children were allowed to remove their personal possessions from their houses
before they were set on fire,they were able to remove only small items, so this was an empty gesture.
The Americans re-embarked,then landed again the next day to burn two more mills. During the entire raid, the only opposition had been some scattered Canadian militia, and a troop of the 19th Light Dragoons.
Port Dover may not have a dramatic and large scale battle but it certainly was a key particpant in the War of 1812!
ORDER FOR RETALIATION
By the Honorable (sic) Alexander Cochrane, K.B. &c, &c, &c.
Whereas… it appears that the American troops in Upper Canada have committed the most wanton and unjustifiable outrages on the unoffending inhabitants by burning their mills and houses, and by a general devastation of private
You are hereby required and directed to destroy and lay waste such towns and districts as you may find assailable. You will hold strictly in view the conduct of the American army towards His Majesty's unoffending Canadian subjects and you will spare merely the lives of the unarmed inhabitants of the United States.
To some degree, the Burning of Washington by the British later in the year was influenced by the American actions at Port Dover.
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