Gun Batteries Used in the War of 1812 in Black Rock
Batteries are fortifications used to protect the men and cannons as they take up positions in battle. The Niagara River had a number of these located on both sides of the river during the War of 1812. Made largely of wood and having two levels to allow for viewing and cannon placement, they served to make the Niagara River a treacherous place for ships to travel. As you stand here, imagine yourself as a soldier defending your country with cannon at your side and the British on the other side. Any ship on the river at this point was well within range for attack. Canadian Gun Batteries. Battery 1. 10° to northwest - Red House - (1) 24 pounder gun.* Battery 2. Directly across the river from Broderick Park. Temporary - (1) 24 pounder. Battery 3. 23° to southwest. Bryson's Artillery - (1) 6 pounder, (2) 3 pounder guns.* Battery 4. 45° to southwest - Kirby's Artillery - armed with 3 guns captured from the HMS Detroit
. Second Lincoln Artillery of Canadian militia + 49th Regiment of Foot.* Batteries 5,6,7,8. 52° to southwest - on one sight line - just to the north of Fort Erie, seized by the Americans in July, 1814, who set up a (3) gun battery + one already there, later used in support of the British seige of Fort Erie in August, also using rockets.* Batteries 9 & 10. 60° to southwest - American for the
defense of Fort Erie in August, 1814. Built by Lt. David B. Douglass - (2) guns on a stonework wall, mounted en barbette on top without embrasures on right near Lake Erie plus Towson's Battery at Snake Hill.* Battery 11. 73° to southwest - (1) gun led by Lt. King on Fort Erie's Battery Road. Battery 12. (temporary) on the southwest shore of Squaw Island - (2) 24 pounder guns used by British to reinforce Riall's invasion of Black Rock in 1813. *= batteries suggested as most important to locate from the sign. The gun batteries themselves would have mostly been one or two levels built maily on mud embankments, sometimes reinforced with logs cut from the surrounding woods, having revetments capable of holding one to three guns, with a plank platform for the gunners to stand when aiming and firing the guns. In the background would be stacked supplies of grape shot, cannon balls, rockets, etc., needed to feed to the gunnery mates to keep the cannons in operation during a seige or artillery assault. A direct hit on the ammunition would wipe out the position, as happened in the seige of Fort Erie. In the permanent gun batteries of Fort George and Fort Niagara, the seige guns were mounter on rollered gun carriages moved on a turntable with wide angle wall openings to fire through, giving such weapons a completely flexible firing range and direction. This was possible
with the smaller shore installations only by manual maneuverings on unstable and uneven ground. Range was largely determined by th ecalliber of the gun, the weight of the ammunition, and the direct line up distance to target. American Gun Batteries. Battery 1. One mile up Scajaquada Creek on the south bank guarding the bridge one-half mile more upstram (near present day Dart Street extension) contained (2) 12 pounders and (1) 18 pounder from the HMS Detroit.
Battery 2. Morgan's Battery - on the south shore of the Scajaquada Creek Bridge, in possessing (2) 6 pounders. Existed three days from August 3-6, 1814, to serve the battle. Battery 3. Sailor's Battery - one-half mile to the south of the mouth of Scajaquada Creek where it meets the Niagara River behind the eastern shore of Squaw Island, having (3) 32 pounder long guns - near Forest & Niagara Streets today. Battery 4. Swift's Battery - another one-half mile to the south along the Niagaar River, featuring 24, 18, 12, and 6 pounders each. - near Lafayette & Niagara Streets today. Battery 5. Dudley's Battery - another one-half mile to the south. (3) guns - near the intersection of Breckenridge & Niagara Streets. Battery 6. Gibson's Battery - another one-half mile to the south. (3) guns - near Ferry & Niagara Streets. Battery 7. Fort Thompkins Battery - another one-half mile to the south.
August, 1812-1814. It was an earthworks gun emplacement of (7) 12 pounders, Attacked by British in December, 1813, who then carried off all guns. Plaque at 1010 Niagara Street today. Battery 8. Guskin's Battery - one-quater mile further to the southeast. (1) gun. Battery 9. Old Sow Battery - one-quarter mile south in a ravine with four foot high earthworks; (1) mortar above - near where Rhode Island & Niagara Streets are today. Battery 10. Terrace Battery - one mile to the southeast inland - (2) gun earthenwork. Many of these batteries were temporary, mounted on mud embankments to meet the needs of a particular battle, then quickly dismantled before enemy artillery could fix on their position. Some were set up hastily on portable horsedrawn gun carriages to provide additional backup where warranted, then quickly moved. Others were more permanent with three forward walls but were open at the rear for supplies and ammunition to be brought in. Some had long roofs and a second level to keep weather and shot off gunners inside. Temporary batteries needed a crew of four, two to drive the horses and assist in preparing the cannon to fire and the other two to fire the gun, with all needed to move the heavy cannon (up to 600 pounds) into position. Permanent cannons may often have crews up tp six men to man multiple guns; sleeping on the firing platforms or on a mud floor
using bed clothes to keep dry, eating provisions it was hoped would last as long as the battle. Officers may be equiped with monocular telescopes to call out enemy gun range and direction.