The Americans crossed the Niagara River at Lewiston early in the morning of October 13th, 1812. Concealed by a storm a force of two hundred men were able to make it to the shore in Canadian shore before sentries raised the alarm. When General Isaac Brock learned of the invasion he sent his second in command, General Roger Hale Sheaffe, off to Fort George where he expected the brunt of the assault to take place. Shaeffe was instructed to commence bombardment of the American Fort Niagara in retaliation. Brock, however, was wrong about the target.
The American’s took possession of a cannon battery located on a terrace overlooking the river, diving Brock and his forces from the 49th light and grenadier companies down into the village of Queenston. Brock sent word to Shaeffe to return with reinforcements, then charged back to retake the cannon. He was slain on the muddy hill.
Sheaffe’s marched back with a force of 380 soldiers from the 41st Regiment, 300 members of the York Militia and a number of Native warriors. They approached on Concession 2, which was a lesser used trail to Queenston at the time. Arriving at Vrooman’s Point at 11:00 AM Shaeffe and his troops learned that Brock had fallen and the Americans had taken the Heights.
Shaeffe decided not to attempt the hill where Brock was killed, instead bringing his troops west through fields and forests towards the village of St. David’s. The path took them more than three kilometers out of Queenston where they could ascend the Niagara Escarpment unopposed. At the point near where Shaeffe’s roadside monument now sits, his troops were joined by forces form Fort Chippawa (including a grenadier company) and a force of 150 Mohawk warriors lead by Chiefs John Norton and John Brant.
By 3 PM on October 13th Shaeffe’s troops reached the Heights unseen by the Americans. The wave of British and Canadian soldiers accompanied by the intimidating Mohawks turned the tide and in the ensuing battle Shaeffe was victorious in retaking Queenston Heights.
Shaeffe’s monument, engraved “Shaeffe’s Path to Victory” sits on York Road between St. David’s and Queenston. It was erected in 1908 by the St. Catharines Women’s Literary Club.