Few probably remember there was a maritime component to the Battle of Stoney Creek, but Gill Bibby does.
Following the pivotal battle in the War of 1812 on June 6, 1813 — which many say saved Upper Canada from being conquered — the Americans retreated towards the Niagara River. They camped along Forty Mile Creek, but were bombarded by a British fleet offshore in Lake Ontario commanded by Captain Sir James Yeo.
“They kept them running,” said Bibby, a marine surveyor and boat builder who has been a historical re-enactor since 1982. “They had to get across the (Niagara) river before the fleet cut them off. They did, and they never came back.”
Bibby, also chair of the Hamilton and Scourge Society, was one of a multitude who attended the annual Living History Conference Saturday at Mohawk College’s Starrt Institute. He was dressed in the outfit of an American Naval captain from the early 1800s, which consisted of a black wool coat with tails, white knickers and a small top hat.
The conference, featuring speakers and merchants peddling re-enactment wares such as clothes and guns, had a special buzz of anticipation for the upcoming bicentennial of the War of 1812, which lasted about three years. Events are being planned on both sides of the border and there should be lots for history buffs to see and do.
Bibby himself will take part in ceremonies on Lake Ontario involving square riggers and Canadian and American naval vessels.
Read More at TheSpec – Buzz is building for 1812 bicentennial.
Story by Daniel Nolan