March 30, This day during the War of 1812

March 30, 1814 – The Second Battle of Lacolle Mills was fought on 30 March 1814 during the War of 1812. The small garrison of a British outpost position, aided by reinforcements, fought off a large American attack. Wilkinson marched northwards from Plattsburgh to attack this outpost on 27 March 1814. His force consisted of 4,000 men organised into three brigades, with 11 pieces of artillery. The march was delayed by deep snow and mud, and he was not able to occupy Odelltown until 30 March, and begin the attack on Lacolle Mill until the early afternoon. The Americans opened fire with two 12-pounder cannon and a 5.5 inch mortar. They could not bring an 18-pounder gun into action because of soft ground around the area. The British garrison fired back with their Congreve rockets. Although the rockets were inaccurate, they caused several American casualties. The American troops had not encountered these weapons before in battle and were unnerved. The flank (i.e. the Light and Grenadier) companies of the 13th had been stationed nearby. They launched a bayonet charge against the American artillery emplacements, but they were far outnumbered and were repulsed. Hearing the firing from some 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) away, a company of the Canadian Voltigeurs and the Grenadier company of the Canadian Fencibles also marched to reinforce the defenders. They waded through icy water to slip through the American lines and opened fire on American artillery, wounding the American artillery commander, his replacement and many of the gun crews. The Americans were also under fire from British gunboats under Commander Daniel Pring of the Royal Navy, who had brought his vessels up the Richelieu River from Ile aux Noix to the mouth of the Lacolle River.  By evening, the Americans had made little impression on the British defences. Rather than launch an all-out assault, Wilkinson ordered a retreat. The Americans returned to Plattsburgh, considerably disheartened. Wilkinson had recklessly exposed himself to British fire throughout the action, though to little purpose.

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