The Battle of Saint-Charles
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The Battle of Saint-Charles
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The Battle of Saint-Charles

In the autumn of 1837, armed conflict erupted in Lower Canada after decades of political struggle.
British troops killed 150 Patriotes and dealt a severe blow to the Lower Canada rebels at the Battle of Saint Charles in the Richelieu Valley on November 25, 1837. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
British troops killed 150 Patriotes and dealt a severe blow to the Lower Canada rebels at the Battle of Saint Charles in the Richelieu Valley on November 25, 1837. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
In November, at Saint-Denis in the Richelieu Valley, the Patriotes won an unexpected victory. At the same time, encouraged by this news, rebels in Upper Canada decided to march on Toronto. On November 25th, 1837, the British army was determined to crush the Patriote resistance. The fate of the rebellion in Lower Canada would be decided at Saint-Charles, in the Richelieu Valley.

Two hundred and fifty Patriotes took up position behind a barricade they had thrown up around the seigneurial manor house. Colonel Wetherall was prepared for the attack with his 425 soldiers from Fort Chambly.

Jean-Philippe Boucher-Belleville, a journalist and teacher, was one of the rebels. In his Diary of aPatriote, he wrote:

"We were on the defensive, there was no doubt about it, and for us the whole question came down to this: were we to yield up our property, our women and children, to a horde of barbarians, without so much as a struggle? To barbarians who had come, not to obey the law, but to plunder us by fire and sword and fill their own pockets?Much as in St.
Jean-Philippe Boucher-Belleville was one of the 250 Patriote rebels at the Battle of Saint-Charles. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Jean-Philippe Boucher-Belleville was one of the 250 Patriote rebels at the Battle of Saint-Charles. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Denis, most of our brave blue-hatted Patriotes showed a zeal and courage that could only bring us victory. Even the women cast bullets and made cartridges; the elderly and children wanted to share in the dangers of combat."

The painter, Charles Beauclerk, was one of the officers in command of the British soldiers at Saint-Charles.

"Colonel Wetherall hoped that a display of his force would induce some defection among the infatuated people; but, unfortunately for the sake of humanity, it was far otherwise.
This gave rise to an order for the three centre companies, to fix bayonets and charge the works."

Covered by their comrades' fire, the Royal Scots, one of Britain's fiercest regiments, closed ranks and advanced on the barricade.
The opposing forces were not equally matched. Most of the Patriotes, who were badly equipped and inexperienced, surrendered. But others refused to admit defeat.

The Battle of Saint-Charles ended in a bloodbath. One hundred and fifty Patriotes were killed in combat but only seven British soldiers.

Louis-Joseph Papineau, Wolfred Nelson, Jean-Philippe Boucher-Belleville and hundreds of Patriotes fled the Richelieu Valley to seek refuge in the United States.
Some were captured and ended up in the Prison of Montreal

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