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Battle of Malcolm's Mills

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Title: Battle of Malcolm's Mills  
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Subject: Battles of the War of 1812, Engagements on Lake Huron, Siege of Fort Mackinac, Battle of Fort Dearborn, War of 1812
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Battle of Malcolm's Mills

Battle of Malcolm’s Mills
Part of the War of 1812
Date November 6, 1814
Location Oakland, Brant County, Ontario
Result United States victory
United States United Kingdom
Upper Canada
Commanders and leaders
Brig. Gen. Duncan McArthur Lt. Col. Henry Bostwick
750 550
Casualties and losses
1 killed, 6 wounded 18 killed, 9 wounded, 126 taken prisoner

The Battle of Malcolm's Mills was a battle during the War of 1812 in which a force of American cavalry overran and scattered a force of Canadian and British militia. The battle was fought on November 6, 1814, near the village of Oakland in Brant County, Ontario, and was part of a series of battles fought by American Brigadier General Duncan McArthur on an extended raid into Upper Canada, known variously as McArthur's Raid or Dudley's Raid.

McArthur's Raid

In October 1814, an invading American force of about 700 mounted infantry under Brigadier General Duncan McArthur advanced rapidly as they left Detroit and raided the Thames Valley. The plan was to devastate the Grand River settlements and the region around the head of Lake Ontario which supplied flour to the British forces on the Niagara frontier. The Canadian militia in the region was caught unaware by this swift raid from the west, and McArthur's force continued east at a fairly rapid pace, arriving first at Oxford, on Nov. 4, and finding no defenders, McArthur advanced to Burford, where the entrenched Canadian's and British quickly abandoned their positions and fled into the country-side. The American forces continued on to Brant's Ford on the Grand River on November 5.[1]

Brant's Ford

McArthur reached Brant's Ford on November 5th to find that the higher ground on the east bank of the ford was occupied by Major Adam Muir's 50 militia and 50 Haudenosaunee warriors who were prepared to dispute the passage.

After exchanging fire with the Canadian defenders, McArthur decided he was not willing to risk attempting to force a passage. McArthur turned his force south to raid the settlements along the north shore of Lake Erie along a route that would lead them back to Detroit.[1]

Battle of Malcolm's Mills

On November 6, 1814 McArthur's men encountered a group of 550 combined British and Canadian militia, commanded by Colonels Ryason and Bostwick, at Malcolm's Mills. The Americans arrived early in the day and succeeded in sending a flanking force downstream unseen. When the attack began, the American cavalry easily forded the creek and began careful skirmishing to pin down the defending force while two columns flanked the defender's position on both sides. The flanking maneuver caught the militia by surprise, and the American force quickly drove them from the field. The Americans succeeded in destroying the mills and stores of grain, depriving the British and Canadian forces in Canada of their major source of flour.[1]

In his journals, McArthur stated that his cavalry lost 1 man with 6 wounded. The combined British and Canadian militia suffered 18 dead and 9 wounded, and 126 taken prisoner, the remaining troops escaped in the panic that ensued during the rout.

Battles of Dover and Savareen Mills

McArthur now turned westward towards Dover in pursuit of the recently routed forces. The Americans captured sixty-five Canadians at Savareen Mills and burned the mills and continued on to Dover, where another thirty more surrendered and two more mills were burned. [1]

Retreat of the Americans

Finding himself and his forces over two hundred miles from the American border, and in the midst of hostile country, where the population and militias were seeking them, in addition to hostile Indian tribes, on November 10th McArthur began his retreat. They were pursued by over 1,100 of the combined Canadian forces, on November 17th they reached Sandwich, Canada, across the St. Clair River from Detroit. The next day they crossed the river, and the men were Honorably Discharged, to return to Ohio and Kentucky. [1]

Forces of Battle

The American forces participating in McArthur's Raid


  • Commander - General Duncan McArthur
    • Adjutant General - Major Charles S. Todd
    • Brigade Major - Captain William Bradford, 17th U.S. Infantry
  • Mounted Ohio Infantry (250 men)
  • Battalion - Mounted Kentucky Infantry (550 men)
    • Major Peter Dudley, Kentucky
      • Adjutant - Captain Elisha Berry
    • Kentucky - Companies
      • Captain Thomas P. Moore - Boyle County
      • Captain John Miller - Hardin County
      • Captain Elijah McClung - Montgomery County
      • Captain James Sympson - Clark County
      • Captain Martin H Wickliffe - Nelson County
      • Captain Isaac Watkins - Franklin County
      • Joseph B. Lancaster - Fayette County

The Canadian forces engaged at Malcolm's Mills

  • 1st Regiment of Middlesex Militia, under Major John Eakins
  • 1st Regiment of Oxford Militia, under Lt. Col. Henry Bostwick
  • 1st Regiment of Norfolk Militia, under Lt. Col. Joseph Ryerson and Major William D. Bowen
  • 2nd Regiment of Norfolk Militia, under Major George C. Salmon


The battle at Malcolm's Mill was the last land battle of the War of 1812 fought in Upper Canada. McArthur's force continued to the Lake Erie shore, then headed north and back to the Thames and along the southern shore of Lake St. Clair, arriving back at Detroit on November 17, 1814. Over eleven hundred of the British, including the 19th Light Dragoons, led by Major Peter Chambers, pursued McArthur's force for a large part of their return to Detroit, but they never able to get within seven miles of the American forces.

McArthur's Raid successfully destroyed the mills that the British forces were dependent upon for flour and bread and created a diversion that allowed the American forces at Fort Erie to escape unharmed. Additionally the American's killed, wounded or captured over 450 of their enemy, this was accomplished with only the lost of one killed and six wounded. Because of his command of 550 mounted troops the raid has also been known as "Dudley's Raid".[1]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g


  • Anderson Chenault Quisenberry, Kentucky in the War of 1812, first published 1915, Kentucky State Historical Society, Kentucky, USA. Reissued by Genealogical Publishing Co. 1996
  • Zig Misiak, Western Hooves of Thunder, McArthurs Raid on the Six Nations, 1814, ISBN 978-0-9811880-3-4, Published 2011, Brantford, Ontario, Canada
  • Major R. Cuthbertson Muir, The Early Political and Military History of Burford, La Cie D'Imprimerie Commerciale, 1913.
  • Stuart A. Rammage, The Militia Stood Alone - Malcolm's Mills, 6 November 1814, Valley Publishing, 2000.
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