The American garrison had ample warning of the British attack. Before dawn, British and Canadian forces had landed on Horse Island and had pushed the American troops back to the opposite shore despite fire coming from Fort Tompkins, the Albany Volunteers, and the militia.
Once ashore, the British formed two wings. One advanced with fixed bayonets moving parallel to the shore toward the navy yard. A second moved to screen their right and to flank the village. Although the British pushed the majority of the militia into flight, other militiamen regrouped in a planned pullback and took up defensive positions behind fallen trees. Here, they stood firm in line with the regulars waiting to counter the British advance.
"The British had a landing strength of 870 men, 37 natives, and 2 cannon supported by 6 ships containing 700 men and 98 cannon. The Americans had 840 U.S. regulars, a 250-member elite unit of Albany Volunteers, and 550 local militia supported by 3 ships and shore batteries totaling 150 men and 13 cannon."
Horse Island, privately owned today, was farmed until the 1930s. Summer homes and farmland now occupy the area across from the island, where the American militia once stood ready to repel the British landing in 1813. The U.S. Lighthouse Service built a lighthouse on the island in 1831. The present brick lighthouse replaced it in 1870.