Canadian commemorations of the War of 1812 have always bestowed top billing on the battle of Queenston Heights, fought on October 13, 1812. It was at Queenston that Major General Isaac Brock died leading his troops against the American invasion of Canada from across the Niagara River.
Taking nothing away from Queenston, it’s time Canadians turned the spotlight on an earlier battle — the capture of Detroit — whose strategic consequences for the war and for the future of Canada were considerably greater.
The siege of Detroit cemented the alliance between the Shawnee warrior Tecumseh’s native confederacy and the British whose forces in Upper Canada were led by Brock.
Brock was the British commander who best understood how crucial the alliance with native peoples was if an American conquest of Upper Canada was to be blocked.