This weekend we celebrated our country’s 150th by going back two centuries: to the Battle of the Châteauguay National Historic Site.
In the Fall of 1812—while Britain was busy with Napoleon—2000 American soldiers attacked the 300 Canadian Voltigeurs led by commanding officer Charles-Michel de Salaberry, as part of a campaign to capture Montreal and take control of trade routes. They were defeated but the battle marks an important turning point in both nation’s history: the fledgling United States solidifying its independence on the world stage; the future Canadians proving to themselves they could hold their own without the support of British forces. In the end, a battle for identity.
And strangely, for our own family’s identity as well: we discovered, through discussions with the staff and some frenzied research back home, that Charles-Michel de Salaberry is in fact my great-great-great-great-great grandfather. l have handwritten correspondence describing those events, one letter dated just a few weeks after the battle took place. I’ll be in touch with the site’s historians to flesh out the details.
For the kids, this gave the day a whole new meaning...