British Artillery & Engineers, Upper Canada
If Holcroft's Battery was the only Royal Artillery unit in Upper Canada in
1813/14 (which I can easily believe), it might have been parcelled out over
a very wide area indeed.
Procter's Right Division had a small number of RA under a junior officer at
the batteries at Fort Meigs in May 1813, for example. The main batteries
were on the north bank of the Maumee River, and that's where the officer
perforce stayed. A small secondary battery was put on the south shore in
an attempt to create a cross-fire, but American records show that most
rounds fired from this battery entirely missed the Fort. This is amazing,
as it's a BIG fort and the battery position was not that far from it! The
Americans even speculated that the person in charge was secretly an
American sympathizer, deliberately sabotaging the battery's fire. But the
true explanation appears to be that the officer put in charge of this
battery was an enthusiastic amateur and not a trained gunner!
The ranks of the Artillery and Engineers were filled out with militiamen
and regular infantrymen. Officers from the regular infantry were appointed
to command batteries etc. The few RA and RE officers who *were* in Upper
Canada were all very junior. A heavy responsibility was put on them, which
they discharged to the best of their ability. A heavy responsibility was
also put on NCO's of the RA, who could find themselves put in charge of ad
hoc gun crews, etc.
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