Military Subjects:  War of 1812


 

The War of 1812 Magazine

Issue 3: June 2006

Miscellaneous

Lieutenant-Colonel Cecil Bisshopp

Photographs and Text by John R. Grodzinski

Cecil Bisshopp (Bishop, Bishoppe, Bishopp) was born in West Sussex, England in 1783 and joined the 1st Foot Guards as an Ensign in March 1799; the following year, he was promoted to lieutenant in his regiment, equivalent to captain in the Army. During 1802 and 1803, he was on half-pay and by 1811, he was a brevet major and served briefly with the 98th Foot. In 1802 he served as private secretary to Rear-Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren at St Petersburg and during 1809 participated in the expeditions to La Coruña, Spain, and Walcheren, Netherlands.

In April 1812, Bisshopp was appointed Inspecting Field Officer of Militia in British North America as a brevet lieutenant-colonel. During 1812, Bisshopp commanded the regular troops in the Niagara between Chippawa and Fort Erie. That November, he commanded the British troops at Frenchman’s Creek. Following the American capture of Fort George, Bisshopp withdrew his forces to Burlington Heights in accordance with Brigadier-General Vincent’s plan, where he commanded the reserve. Following the American withdrawal back to Fort George, Bisshopp played a nominal role in the British victory at Beaver Dam.

On 11 July 1813, Bisshopp led a large raid against Black Rock, New York, during which the regular and militia forces under his command stormed the fort, overran the batteries, and burned the blockhouses, barracks, naval yard and a large schooner. A considerable quantity of public stores and ordnance, including eight pieces of artillery, were taken. Bisshopp delayed returning to the Canadian shore in order to secure a large number of barrels of salt, a commodity that was scarce in Upper Canada at the time. This allowed the defenders time to regroup and they soon counterattacked, wounding Bisshopp in the left thigh, left wrist and upper right arm. Although expected to recover fully, the popular Lieutenant-Colonel Bisshopp died a lingering death on 15 or 16 (the sources are not clear on this) July 1813 at Stamford, Upper Canada. He was buried on 17 July 1813.

The image depicts the grave of Lieutenant-Colonel Cecil Bisshopp, which is at Plot 325, Drummond Hill Cemetery, site of Lundy’s Lane, the great battle fought there on 25 July 1814. Bisshopp’s grave is near the centre of the British position from that battle. In the far distance is a portion of the area where Winfield Scott’s brigade deployed. The stone atop the crypt bears an account of Bisshopp’s life and military service. While the stone was intact when this photo was taken, it has since been damaged by vandalism. It’s text reads:

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF LIEUT COL THE HON CECIL BISHOPP [Note spelling] 1 FOOT GUARDS AND INSPECTING FIELD OFFICER IN UPPER CANADA. ELDEST AND ONLY SURVIVING SON OF SIR CECIL BISHOPP BART BARON DE LA BOUCHE IN ENGLAND. AFTER HAVING SERVED WITH DISTINCTION WITH THE BRITISH ARMY IN HOLLAND, SPAIN AND PORTUGAL, HE DIED ON THE 16TH JULY 1813 AGED 30 IN CONSEQUENCE OF WOUNDS RECEIVED IN ACTION WITH THE ENEMY AT BLACK ROCK ON THE 13TH OF THE SAME MONTH TO THE GREAT GRIEF OF HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND IS BURIED HERE, THIS STONE ERECTED AT THE TIME BY HIS BROTHER OFFICERS BECOMING MUCH DILAPIDATED [?] IS NOW SURVIVED BY HIS AFFECTIONATE SISTERS, THE BARONESS DE LA BOUCHE AND THE HON M. PECHELE IN MEMORIAL OF AN EXCELLENT MAN AND BELOVED BROTHER.

There is also a second marker at the foot of the crypt that is largely illegible now.

Sources: Stuart Sutherland, “His Majesty’s Gentlemen: A Directory of British Regular Army Officers,” 2000, p. 65-66. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, Entry for Cecil Bisshopp. J. Mackay Hitsman, “The Incredible War of 1812: A Military History,” Toronto, 1999, pp. 101, 146, 163.

 

 



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