War of 1812
Battle of Niagara
aka The Battle of Lundy's Lane
Took place July 25, 1814, and was fought in present-day Niagara Falls, Ontario.
The facts contained in the following article were furnished us by a gentleman who recently visited the battle ground.
During the late war with Great Britain, no action with the enemy added greater reputation to the American arms than this sanguinary conflict, with some of the best disciplined troops of Europe, who were also superior in numbers to the Americans engaged. This battle was fought about half a mile below the cataract of Niagara, on the Canada shore, at a place called Lunday’s lane, and about one mile below the place called Bridgewater, by all which names it has been designated. The Chippeway creek, near which another desperate and bloody battle was fought, is two miles above the Falls.
The British army occupied a position in Lunday’s lane, with their artillery on an eminence commanding the road by which the Americans advanced, and all the adjacent country, within the range of cannon shot. From this position they were driven by the Americans, and their battery taken, at the point of bayonet, by the troops led on by the gallant Colonel Miller. Their battery was several times taken and re-taken during the battle, which continued till near midnight; and in their charges the bayonets repeatedly met before the line fires; and a great number of men were bayoneted at the field pieces; which finally remained undisputed in the hands of the Americans; who were, however, unable to remove them from the field, in consequence of the loss of all the horses and the excessive fatigue of the troops.
On the morning after the battle the American army retreated towards Erie, and having no carriages, were obliged to leave their wounded and dead to the care of the enemy. To the wounded we are willing to believe the necessary attention was paid, but in disposing of the dead, a more expeditious method than usual was adopted. The bodies were stripped and dragged together into an immense pile, intermixed and covered with dry fence rails, and set on fire, which soon reduced them to a heap of ashes. To this mode of funeral no objection is made, as the hot weather and situation of the army would not admit of any other. But, will it be credited, that among Christian people this pile of human bones and ashes should remain uncovered until the present time; and such, we are assured, is the fact.
Col. Robert Carr, of Philadelphia, passing near that place a few days since, visited the field of battle, and observe a number of hogs turning up the loose ashes and bones, on the spot where the field pieces has so gallantly been won; on enquiry, he learned from a person who keeps a school a few rods from the place, and was himself wounded in the battle, that the dead bodies of the soldiers were burned on this very spot, and that they had never been covered. He belonged to the army, and stated that their own dead were collected and buried and that the Americans only were burnt, and that it was said at the time, that it was in retaliation for similar conduct of the Americans at Chippeway. On being asked what became of the officers, he pointed to a place where they were interred, but observed that a number of them must have been burned, as they had been stripped during the night and very early in the morning, and could not be distinguished from their men.
Col. Carr employed a number of the school boys, by permission of the teacher, to collect a quantity of stones lying near the place, and covered the remains of his gallant fellow soldiers at least sufficient to protect them from the hogs.