The Battle of the Windmill
Started conversation Nov 23, 2003
You mention the Battle of the Windmill as another chapter in a long history of warfare between America and Canada. From what I can tell from the website, though, the invasion was part of the Canadian rebellion of 1837, during which Canadian officials actually invaded the United States and killed an American. Although this rebellion apparently raised tensions (I'm getting this out of a textbook) between the USA and Britain, the US never considered invading Canada or splitting it after the War of 1812.
The Battle of the Windmill
Posted Nov 23, 2003
"During a four-day period in November, 1838 British troops and local militia defeated an invasion force of 300 American " Hunters " and Canadian rebels. The Battle of the Windmill victory prevented the invasion force from capturing Fort Wellington, Ontario, and cutting the St. Lawrence communications link, which would have left Upper Canada open to invasion." Seems like an invasion to me. (Perhaps leaving Upper Canada open to invasion may not be seen as "preparatory to a full-scale invasion", but perhaps it may) Granted, it wasn't as big as the Bay of Pigs, which some would argue was part of a Cuban rebellion, but in the 1838 case, American fighters were directly involved, which makes it a bit more of an international thing. When one also considers the somewhat ridiculously democratic structure of American militias in the early part of the 19th century (electing their own officers, voting on whether to go into each particular battle or not, and often being little more than bands of hunters) the Americans who invaded in 1838, whether they were taking advantage of a rather small rebellion in Canada or not, were little different from parts of the invasion force of 1812, except in their size. And the desire of these fighters was a republican one: to "free" Canada from the yoke of the British Monarchy and their expectation was that Canadians would greet them with open arms and fight by their side against the "oppressors". While the American government did not look kindly on attacking Canada while the U. S. and Britain were not at war, one suspects that if Canadians had supported the Hunter invasion and been successful, then the U. S. government would have been content with such an outcome. But that of course is a question of "might have beens" and could be debated forever.(I confess I'm having trouble finding your reference for the Canadian officials invading the United States and killing and American. Is that in the Parks Canada page?)
"the US never considered invading Canada or splitting it after the War of 1812."
Of course, there have been plans drafted by the American military into the Twentieth century for an invasion of Canada with fundamentally the same strategy as was used in 1812. This is not to say that there has ever been since 1812 (apart from Polk's silliness) any firm intention to go ahead with a full scale invasion (There are some who argue that those invasion plans from the early 20th century are still being updated and kept in a state of readiness but I'm not one who argues that), but, by the same token, the world's longest undefended border has not been without its tensions, including military tensions.
I did not meant to imply (and I don't think the Postscript does imply) that there is a "long history of warfare between America and Canada." In fact, what the postscript describes is a winding down from actual war in 1812, to small league invasion in 1838, to political grandstanding by Polk, to trade wars in the 20th century.
I'm certainly interested in discussing this more. I particularly would like to clarify the point of the American killed by the Canadian invasion. It does, in fact, ring a distant bell in my memory, but I can't quite place it.
It's getting late here, however, and I must get some sleep. I hope to hear from you again.