Skirmish at Fanshawe Village

The Village of Fanshawe represents a small farming settlement located near the north shore of Lake Erie somewhere between Port Talbot and Dover.

The city of London does not yet exist. Notable communities in the area are Sandwhich (Windsor), Amherstburg, Port Talbot, Simcoe, Port Dover, Burlington Heights (Burlington / Hamilton), Delaware. Moraviantown, on route to Amherstburg has been burned to the ground.

The Battle of Lake Erie Sept. of 1813 has left the Americans in virtual control of the area. The Battle of the Thames is not quite a year past (October 5th 1813). Tecumseh is dead. The battle of Longwoods happened just this previous March (March 4th). An entrenched American force commanded by Captain Andrew Hunter Holmes defeated the British Force under command of Captain James Lewis Basden. The Americans retreated back to Detroit, and the British retreated back as far as Burlington Heights leaving Western Upper Canada (Southwestern Ontario) undefended and open to American raiding parties.

The date is August 16th, 1814. Rumours abound. American ships have been spotted in the area off Port Talbot and on either side of Long Point. Americans have been raiding towns, burning and looting buildings along their way, trying to supply their own needs and deny the British forces of their own.

The mood is not good. Townspeople are nervous. Last years defeat at the Battle of the Thames and the recent losses at Chippawa and Fort Erie, and the burnings of Newark and St. Davids have everyone worried. The Americans wander much of the area unfettered by British forces which have been pulled back to Burlington heights.

Travelers through the village report American troops very close. The small British force encamped in the area is away on maneuvers. An American sympathizer (village staff or reenactor) hands out leaflets (see attached example) to any interested villager (tourist / guest ) trying to organize support for American occupation. The small school which is in session, is entered by a small force of American Regulars. The shoolmaster is ordered to suspend classes, send the children home. Tempers fly and the Americans shout, get out now, go to your homes, stay there!

Late in the afternoon, the village lies quiet under the summer sun. Villagers lounging in the village square see approaching troops. They run screaming, sounding the alarm. Troops enter the village and ransack the weeving shed. At the Miller house the occupants are forced to flee. The women head toward the British camp, the children flee west out of town. The pottery shed is smashed, the Blacksmith shop, the mainstay of business and a lifeline for the community and the British force is set afire.

The women not finding the British force have alerted Militia leaders who rally and with the aide of nearby Natives enter to give the Americans a fight. A battle develops, many of the invaders are wounded and pull back. The Americans rally and push off the small force.

Alerted by the fleeing children, the small British force arrives to drive out the raiding party.