Major-General Sir Isaac Brock Life of a Canadian Hero
Life in the Beginning • Isaac Brock was born in St Peter Port on The Channel island of Guernsey. • Brock was the 8th son of a middle class family. • He excelled in his education, boxing and swimming. • At the age of ten he was sent to Southampton but spent one year in Rotterdam learning French. • As an adult, Brock loved to read in order to further his education. Some of his most read topics include military tactics and sciences.
Early Career • At the age of 15, Brock joined the 8th Regiment of Foot on March 8th 1785 with the rank of ensign. • On January 16th 1790 he bought the rank of lieutenant. He was later promoted to captain on January 27th 1791, and was transferred to the 49th Regiment of Foot. • Brock rose quickly through the ranks, which made many find him lucky, and just goes to show that he was a great and accomplished man. • The fact that the promotions happened during a time of peace was quite remarkable. Especially considering the fact that he had no political connections.
Brock Takes a Small Stand • At some point in 1791 Brock was challenged to a match by duellist who was know as a bully to the troops. • The duellist was an expert marksman, but Brock insisted that they use pistols at close range. • The duellist wouldn’t accept the challenge at close range so he left and Brock won a small feat for his men. • This is just an example of one of the acts of leadership performed by Brock.
His First Command • On October 28th 1797 Brock purchased the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and became acting commanding officer of the regiment. • Brock saw his first combat in the Netherlands on September 10th 1799.
The Battle of Copenhagen • In 1801 he also saw combat once again, he lead his troops into an assault on the forts of Copenhagen. • After the battle, Brock came out victorious and had won his first battle while in command, next he and the 49th Foot were ordered to Canada.
Pre-War Preparations • On October 29th 1805 Brock was promoted to Colonel, and took command of the entire British army that was located in Canada. • Canada was on the bridge of war so Brock started to make preparations, such as building walls, batteries, and defensive positions. • In 1807 he was promoted to Brigadier General and was to take command of all of upper Canada.
Continuation.... • In June of 1811, Brock was promoted to Major General, and took command of military and civil authority because of the fact that he was a great leader.
The War of 1812 • The united states declared war on Britain on June 18th 1812, but Brock’s preparations meant that Canada was ready. • On July 12th an American army invaded Sandwich (Windsor*) , but the invasion quickly halted and the Americans withdrew. • On July 17th the American garrison was taken by surprise by troops under Brock's command.
Continuation.... • On August 13th Brock arrived in Amherstburg on Lake Erie, facing the Americans position in Detroit. Here he met Tecumseh. • At this point Brock was outnumbered approximately two to one. • On august 16th, Brock hammered the fort in Detroit with cannons and caused General William Hull to surrender his garrison.
Continuation.... • The capture of Detroit led to British domination over most Michigan territory, and meant another victory for Brock. • Brock was stopped from continuing into the U.S. when he found out that the Americans were regrouping and were planning to invade Canada.
The Battle of Queenston Heights • Early in the morning of October 13th 1812, American General, Stephen Van Rensselaer, attempted to cross the Niagara river, leading to the battle of Queenston Heights. • Despite heavy gunfire from the British, the first wave of Americans managed to land. • Brock had just arrived from Fort George minutes before the attack started.
The battle continues.... • The British artillery had to retreat, and now the Americans could move the rest of their troops across the river. • Brock led a charge on foot at the Americans and was almost successful. • Being a very large man and wearing a very obvious General’s uniform. Brock was an easy target for American sharpshooters. First he was hit in the hand then in the chest.
Death and Victory • Without any last words, Major General Sir Isaac Brock died almost instantly. Yet some like to believe that before he died he yelled “ Push on, brave York Volunteers”. • So at the age of 43 Brock sacrificed his life for his nation. • Following his death, reinforcements arrived and charged into battle yelling “Revenge the general!” as their battle cry. • The charge proved successful, leading to a total victory over the Americans, none of which could have happened without the great leadership of Brock.
Legacy • Brock is widely known as a great leader and a hero. • Brocks death was a great loss to British military leadership, his direct successor General Sheaffe was never able to live up to his reputation. • There are many monuments, memorials and buildings built for Brock all throughout Britain and Canada. • So for the reasons I have shown you, I think Isaac Brock is a top candidate for being the greatest Canadian. This great man gave his all to Canada and ultimately sacrificed his life to become the hero of Upper Canada.
The End “I will never order men where I will not lead them.” Isaac Brock