Tonawanda News — Two historic forts and nearby communities along the Niagara River will be under siege again this month as part of colorful pageantry to commemorate the War of 1812.
The events also marking the 200th anniversary of peace between the U.S. and Canada are set for Fort Niagara in Youngstown, Buffalo, Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
Major reenactments are designed to ignite interest in two of the most destructive attacks on both sides of the border: the Americans destroying Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.) on Dec. 6, 1813, and the British seeking revenge in capturing Fort Niagara Dec. 19, and then torching homes and villages from Youngstown to Buffalo.
Known as America’s “Second War for Independence,” it started in 1812 and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in December 1814. Among the major issues that caused the conflict: The British taking seamen off U.S. ships and forcing them to serve in the Royal Navy, sailors’ rights, and free trade. Canada at the time was considered a group of British colonies which Americans repeatedly failed to invade.
On Saturday, Buffalo and Fort Erie will again light fires on the shores of the Niagara River to symbolize the treacherous burnings two centuries ago. Buffalo has planned day-long activities including Tea With Dolly Madison, tours of the USS Trippe at the Buffalo Marine Center, a lecture presented by Chris Brown on the War of 1812 and a huge fire at 6 p.m. at Squaw Island. A reception with refreshments will follow at St. John’s Church, 85 Amherst St., in Black Rock.
Fort Erie’s fire will be lit at 6 p.m. at the Old Coal Docks (Jarvis Street and the Niagara Parkway). The night before, on Friday, a camp-out fundraiser will begin with 10 local celebrities braving the cold and spending the night in an encampment to raise money and supplies for area charities.