Attack on Fort Oswego, Lake Ontario, N. America, May 6th 1814, Noon...

This coloured aquatint is a depiction drawn by a Lieutenant Hewitt of the Royal Marines, depicting the British Attack on Fort Oswego on May 6th 1814 during the War of 1812. Fort Oswego (now Fort Ontario) was a US-held stronghold and key military supply base on the south-eastern shores of Lake Ontario, and was subjected to a British raid commanded by Commodore James Yeo on the aforementioned date.

During this raid the fort was destroyed, abandoned by its defenders, resulting in a British victory. The fort itself is clearly seen in the centre-right of this drawing, still manned by US troops and with the Stars and Stripes flying on a pole above the battlements. The village of Oswego, which the fort protected, can also be seen in the centre-right background.

The most prominent subjects of this painting, however, are the British ships besieging the fort. These included the frigates ‘Princess Charlotte’ and ‘Prince Regent’, 42 and 56-gun warships respectively, designed and built exclusively for service on the Great Lakes. The ‘Prince Regent’ is seen in the left-hand foreground prominently flying the Red Ensign, while the ‘Princess Charlotte’ can be seen astern of the ‘Regent’ and in the lower centre of the drawing, likewise flying the Red Ensign.

Five smaller vessels can be seen in the background from left to right. These include the 16-gun brig ‘Star’, which can be seen through the rigging of the ‘Prince Regent’. The other four vessels in the right-hand background of the drawing include (in order of left to right) the ‘Charwell’, ‘Montreal’, ‘Niagra’ and on the far right edge, the 10-gun brig ‘Magnet’. All of these vessels had different names at the beginning of their launchings on the Great Lakes, which has confused many scholars.

Rowed troop boats can also be seen scattered throughout the scene, as well as the British troops (which included the Glengarry Light Infantry and De Watteville’s Regiment from the regular army, as well as the Royal Marines), landing on the lake-shore and advancing on the fort on land in the left-hand background. The scene of the battle is punctuated by the clouds of gun smoke, from the fort, ships and ground forces ashore.

Object Details

ID: PAH8148
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Hewett, I.; Havell, Robert
Places: Unlinked place
Vessels: Princess Charlotte (1814); Prince Regent (1814) Star (1813) Charwell (1805) Wolfe (1813) Royal George (1809) Magnet (1793)
Date made: 1 May 1815
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Sheet: 567 x 705 mm; Plate: 480 x 610 mm

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