Niagara Frontier - Surveyed by United Irishman Nicholas Gray

Letter from Nicholas Gray to General Van Rensselaer, dated August31,1812. A. Conger Goodyear War of 1812 Manuscripts, Mss. BOO-11, Vol. B. Battle of Queenston. Collection of Research Library, Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society]

During the months of July, August, and September of 1812 Nicholas Gray made a survey of the whole Niagara Frontier. " On August 31, 1812 Nicholas Gray notifies General Van Rensselaer about the Combustible telegraph located on the Canadian side of the Niagara river. A system of beacons was established from Lake Erie to Queenston and thence to Pelham Heights by which messages could be sent during the daytime by means of colored balls or flags or at night-time by burning wood in a basket hung on a pole".

Battle of Queenstown, 1812. " The Original Manuscript Report by Nicholas Gray [signed] to Gen. Van Rensselaer describing the Niagara frontier, detailing the positions of the British defences, the places where a crossing would be impossible and where a crossing might be forced, accompanied by a full page pen and ink map with the possible crossings of the Niagara River from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario marked. Dated Lewiston, August 31, 1812. It is evident that the attack was made at Lewiston from the opinions given in this document, as Col. Gray enlarges on the possibility of crossing there, describes the approaches to Queenstown, and notes the distance from there of the British main force. The battle was fought six weeks after the date of the document".

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