Battle of La Prairie

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Battle of La Prairie
Part of King William's War and the Beaver Wars
Date August 11, 1691
Location La Prairie, near Montreal, New France
Result English attack repulsed by French
Belligerents
 France  England
Commanders and leaders
Louis-Hector de Callières,
Philippe Clement du Vuault de Valrennes
Major Pieter Schuyler
Strength
700-800 regulars, militia and First Nations allies 120 Albany militia, 146 Mohawk and Mahican allies
Casualties and losses
45 killed
60 wounded
37 dead
31 wounded
Official name: Second Battle of Laprairie National Historic Site of Canada
Designated: 1921

The Battle of La Prairie (August 11, 1691) was an attack made on the settlement of La Prairie, New France, a frontier settlement not far from Montreal. An English and Indian force came north from Albany, New York to attack Montreal, but was repulsed with significant casualties by the French and their Indian allies.

Background[edit]

During the summer of 1691 a force led by Major Pieter Schuyler invaded the French settlements along the Richelieu River south of Montreal. Callières, the local French governor, responded by massing 700-800 French and allies at the fort at La Prairie, on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River.

The battle[edit]

Schuyler surprised the much larger French force in a rainstorm just before dawn on August 11, inflicting severe casualties before withdrawing towards the Richelieu. Schuyler's force might have remained intact but instead was intercepted by the force of 160 men led by Valrennes that had been detached to block the road to Chambly. The two sides fought in vicious hand-to-hand combat for approximately an hour, before Schuyler's force broke through and escaped.

Aftermath[edit]

The French had suffered the most casualties during Schuyler's initial ambush, but the casualties the Albany force suffered after Valrennes' counterattack meant that they had incurred the greater proportion of loss. Instead of continuing his raids, Schuyler was forced to retreat back to Albany.

The battle was also the subject of a 19th-century poem by William Douw Schuyler-Lighthall. In 1921, the site of Valrennes' counterattack was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Second Battle of Laprairie. Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada. Retrieved 22 April 2012.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Chartrand, René; Canadian Military Heritage Vol. 1: 1000 - 1754; 1993, Art Global, ISBN 2-920718-49-5
  • Adams, Arthur G. The Hudson Through the Years Fordham University Press, 1996. ISBN 978-0-8232-1677-2