35th Annual Siege of Fort Erie
Reenactment at Old Fort Erie
August 8 & 9, 2020 • 10 a.m. • Free admission
Explore the camps filled with inspirational re-enactors, then watch the full battle re-enactment on Saturday and Sunday!/
Get a glimpse into the battle that unfolded during the Niagara campaign of the War of 1812 when American soldiers successfully defended Fort Erie against the British army. Explore the grounds of Old Fort Erie as hundreds of reenactors from across Ontario and the United States demonstrate why the site is known as Canada’s bloodiest battlefield.
All camp and battle reenactments at Old Fort Erie are free to the public and begin at 10 a.m. at the Welcome Centre. Admission to Old Fort Erie and the Saturday Night Lantern Tour is separate. Free parking is available in front of the Old Fort Erie Welcome Centre.
Old Fort Erie Admission: Adult $13.27 +HST, Child $8.41 +HST
Saturday Night Lantern Tour: Adult $13.27 +HST, Child $8.41 +HST
Reenactment participants: Please submit your unit registration by July 29, 2020 by clicking here. One registration per unit is necessary and updates are allowed – please indicate any updates.
Saturday Night Lantern Tour
Following the dramatic Drummond’s night assault on Saturday evening, watch Old Fort Erie come to life on a guided lantern tour. This exhilarating, fast-paced tour takes place during the aftermath of the battle. You’ll see fighting, witness doctors and nurses performing surgery and hear stories about the victories and struggles during this time of war. Tour begins at 9 p.m.
Separate admission is required for the Saturday Night Lantern Tour. Admission to Old Fort Erie is free for Season Pass holders.
Admission: Adult $13.27 +HST, Child $8.41 +HST
Historic Merchants & Sutlers
Dressed in period costumes, see merchants and sutlers carry on business like they did in the 1800s. During the war, sutlers would sell their goods and provisions to an army or soldiers, while merchants were tradespeople who provided essential services to armies.
Be sure to stop by merchants and sutler’s row to see unique historical pieces available for purchase.
Let your children experience what it was like to become a soldier during the 1800s. They’ll learn about a soldier’s life in battle, take part in simple arms drills, marching and even charge bayonets.
Artillery Barrage & Demonstrations
Get up close and personal with some of the British and American artillery used during the war. Learn about different types of shots that were used during the Siege of Fort Erie as you watch the heart- pounding artillery barrage.
American Evacuation of the Fort
The Siege of Fort Erie reenactment will conclude with a short ceremony and sign of peace as the American flag is replaced with the British flag. After the war concluded, this ceremony became a symbol of ties the countries now share.
Major Buck’s Surrender
Aug 3, 11:00 A.M.
In 1812, two attempts were made by Americans to capture Fort Erie but failed due to poor weather and administration. On July 3rd, 1814, more than four thousand American forces under the direction of General Jacob Brown crossed the Niagara River. It wasn’t long before the Fort, under command of Major Buck, surrendered and at 6PM nearly 150 British soldiers became prisoners of war. General Brown’s success along the northern border during the war made him a hero.
Chippawa and Lundy’s Lane
Aug 3, 2:00 P.M.
Following the American capture of Fort Erie, on July 5, 1814, US soldiers marched north and defeated the British in the Battle of Chippawa. The armies met again during a vicious battle on the night of July 25 at Lundy’s Lane. This was one of the bloodiest and deadliest battles ever fought in Canada. In the end, each side lost almost 1000 men.
Drummond’s Night Assault
Aug 3, 8:00 P.M.
Battered American forces retreated from Lundy’s Lane to Fort Erie and by August 7, 1814, the main British forces began to prepare their siege line and plan the next attack. Early morning on August 15, Lt. General Gordon Drummond launched a 4-pronged night assault to retake the Fort. Four columns were set up on each side, but disaster struck when 600 pounds of black powder stored in a magazine directly under the gun platform, exploded. Surviving British troops were forced to retreat. Their losses were significant and outnumbered American casualties.
Aug 4, 1:00 P.M.
Hundreds of lives were lost between August 4 and September 21, 1814. On September 17, an attack was launched by General Jacob Brown on British forces. American troops stormed the British siege lines and succeeded in smashing two of the British batteries before a counter attack pushed them back into the Fort. On the night of September 21, prompted by the Sortie, constant rain, poor supply lines and disease, the British broke camp and retired to Chippawa. General Drummond’s Siege of Fort Erie was over, and the Fort remained in American hands.