Ceremony honours 199th anniversary of Battle of Chippawa
Photos by James Culic
The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) and the Chippawa Branch 396 of the Royal Canadian Legion honoured soldiers who fought at the Chippawa Battlefield.
The ceremony took place on Friday, which marked the 199th anniversary of the Battle of Chippawa.
“This battlefield is home to one of the largest collections of War of 1812 artifacts,” said NPC chair Janice Thompson.
“These lands have remained virtually unchanged from that fateful day in 1814 when more than 200 soldiers lost their lives,” she added.
Fought on July 5, 1814, the Battle of Chippawa was the opening engagement of the Niagara campaign, the longest and bloodiest military operation of the War of 1812.
A memorial service is held on July 5 each year to commemorate those who fell in service of their nation – this pivotal battle cost the lives of 200 American, British, Canadian and Native warriors allied to both sides, most of whom are thought to be buried at the site.
The battle also marked the first time American regulars faced British regulars in a stand-up military action fought in the open and many historians cite Chippawa as the birthplace of the modern American army.
A focal point of the Battlefield Park is the memorial cairn, dedicated to the memory of the regiments and First Nations warriors who fought in this battle. The cairn is also meant to commemorate and celebrate the peace that has prevailed between Canada and the United States since that time.
The memorial cairn is constructed of dolomite limestone donated by Fort Niagara in Youngstown, New York, and topped with cannon balls from Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake; both key sites in the War of 1812.
The NPC acquired the site of the Battle of Chippawa in 1995 and has preserved 121 hectares of this last remaining War of 1812 battlefield.
Located on the Niagara Parkway, south of the Village of Chippawa, interpretive panels along the self-guided walking tour help visitors to understand the events of this important battle.