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The War of 1812 Magazine

Issue 9: May 2008


Reviews: Books, Film, Collectables and Ephemera

The Battle of Chippewa July 5th  1814


A New Line of Collectable 54 mm Toy Soldiers

Figures of the Scott’s Brigade Collection by John Jenkins

On July 5th 1814, British and American troops along with their native allies met on the plain at Chippewa, Upper Canada. The battle was to last nearly most of the afternoon, culminating in a three hour action. The battle demonstrated that the young Republic had managed to produce a professional body of troops, capable of holding its own against the world’s best armies.

While a fierce struggle continued in woods to the west, the British deployed onto the plain. The British commander Major-General Sir Phineas Riall, upon seeing the grey-clad Americans, believed he faced nothing more than the “Buffalo militia” he had fought during the winter. The British artillery were ordered to open up on the American lines and despite the heavy fire from the British guns, Brigadier General Winfield Scott’s First Brigade deployed in order. Riall soon realized he had made a mistake in identifying the American force as militia, and is said to have declared to his staff “Those are regulars, by God!”

The British went on to suffer heavy casualties and were forced to retire, leaving the field in American hands.

The American Left Division under Major General Jacob Brown continued their advance along the Niagara peninsula, and after the disappointing collapse of their campaign plan due to difficulties with the navy, fought their next major engagement at Lundy’s Lane on 25thJuly 1814, which proved a draw. The Left Division eventually retired to Fort Erie and remained on Canadian soil until November 1814, when American troops crossed the Niagara River back to Buffalo. The Left Division has been so decimated that is was replaced by the Right Division under Major-General Izard.

Brigadier General Winfield Scott, commanded the First Brigade of the Left Division of the US Army. He had attempted to obtain the correct blue uniform for his men during the spring of 1814, but was forced to accept the grey jackets usually worn as fatigues or undergarments, instead of the regulation short tailed blue coatee. His men would make this humble garment famous, and today the grey uniforms of the West Point Cadets, also forced to wear grey due to a shortage of blue cloth, perpetuate the memory of the Left Division during the 1814 Niagara campaign.

To commemorate the professionalism of the First Brigade, John Jenkins is issuing a number of collectable 54 mm (2 ½ inch) toy soldiers of the War of 1812

Prices, and details on Limited Edition numbers will be available as the sets are released.

Future releases of the War of 1812 range include artillery, and cavalry, as well as several others of the more colourful units that took part in this conflict.

The first set should be available in 2008, with the usual regular monthly releases throughout the year.

A total of 12 sets planned for the “Grey Jacket” collection.

For more information, please visit The Toy Soldiers Club



Reviewed by John Grodzinski