Battle of Longwoods

March 4, 1814 Longwoods (near Wardsville in present day Southwest Middlesex, Ontario), Upper Canada

American Forces Commanded by
Capt. Andrew H. Holmes
Strength Killed Wounded Missing/Captured
180 4 3 ??
British Forces Commanded by
James L. Basden
Strength Killed Wounded Missing/Captured
300 14 52 1
Conclusion: American Victory

Lt. Col. Butler was in command of the American forces at Detroit. He ordered Capt. Andrew H. Holmes of the 24th Tennessee Regiment to assemble a force for a raid into the British Western District of Upper Canada. The objective of this mission was to capture 1 of 2 British posts in the area, Port Talbot or Delaware. Holmes force total amount of men in this force was about 180.

The American force, all on horse back, moved quickly. On March 3, they were only 15 miles from Delaware when they learned from a local inhabitant that a British force was on it's way to meet them. The Americans moved back to Twenty Mile Creek and took up a strong position on the far side of the creek.

Capt. James L. Basden was in command of the British force sent to intercept the Americans. His force consisted of light companies from the 89th and Royal Scots Regiments, a company of rangers, a detachment of the Kent militia, and some native warriors. The total amount of men in this force was about 300.

The Longwoods was a heavily forested tract of land that lay between Delaware and the present town of Thamesville.

On March 3, the British Western Rangers came upon the Americans just 15 miles outside of Delaware. After a brief skirmish, the British retreated to wait for reinforcements. The Americans withdrew to Twenty Mile Creek and fortified their position on top of a hill. The Americans had a strong position and made it even stronger by constructing an abatis the night before. They also watered down the sides of the ravine which made them very slippery.

The full British force, led by Basden, arrived at Twenty Mile Creek at 5:00 P.M. the next day.

Basden ordered Capt. Caldwell, commander of the Kent Militia, to try to outflank the Americans to the North, while the Native warriors attempted to outflank the Americans from the South. Basden himself led the British soldiers on a direct assault up the hill into the American position. This plan proved to be a disaster.

The Americans poured a withering fire into the oncoming British, who suffered 67 casualties, with Basden himself taking a fatal blow to the knee. The Americans suffered only mild casualties, 4 deaths and 3 wounded.

After only an hour of fierce fighting, the British retreated, and subsequently abandoned their position at Delaware. Capt. Holmes realized that he couldn't take the British force at Delaware. That same night, Holmes having defended his position on the ravine, withdrew his force to Detroit.

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