December 30, This day during the War of 1812

December 30, 1813 – The Battle of Buffalo took place during the War of 1812 between British Empire and the United States on December 30, 1813 in the State of New York, near the Niagara River. The British forces drove off the hastily-organized defenders and engaged in considerable plundering and destruction. The operation was conceived as an act of retaliation for the burning by American troops of the Canadian village of Newark (present day Niagara-on-the-Lake). Riall crossed the Niagara around midnight on December 29 and landed with most of his men some 2 miles (3.2 km) downstream of Black Rock in the early hours of December 30. He delegated Lieutenant Colonel John Gordon and the Royal Scots to land at Black Rock itself in order to attack the Americans from a different direction. Major General Amos Hall was first alerted to the British presence when Riall’s advance guard, the light infantry company of the 89th Regiment, drove off the American piquet at Conjunckaty Creek (now known as Scajaquada Creek) and captured the bridge and the battery there. Hall sent the militia under Warren and Churchill to reconnoitre. When they ran off at the first enemy fire, Hall dispatched a second force under Adams and Chapin but exactly the same thing happened. Hall now took personal command of the remainder of his force. He ordered a detachment under Lieutenant Colonel Blakeslee to attack the British left and advanced toward Black Rock with the rest of his men. As dawn broke, Hall directed “a very heavy fire of cannon and musketry” at Gordon’s Royal Scots as they tried to land at Black Rock. Gordon was supported by the fire of a five-gun battery but several of his boats grounded and his regiment took substantial casualties before they could force their way ashore. Riall now advanced with his main body against Hall’s center, sending a detachment from his left wing to hit the American right flank. Although the Americans fought with considerable obstinacy, according to Riall, after half an hour of fighting the American right wing broke into a rout. In order to avoid being outflanked, Hall ordered a general retreat. The British pursued all the way to Buffalo, two miles away. Once in Buffalo, the British and Indians sacked it, burning down all but four of its buildings. The British troops also destroyed the navy yard and three armed schooners (the Chippewa, Ariel, Little Belt) and one sloop (the Trippe). Riall’s force then moved on to Black Rock, where once again, all but one building was razed to the ground, before going back over the Niagara to Canada.

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