Military History Library

The Battle of St. Charles

The Battle of St. Charles

At 2 P.M. on November 25, 1837, Colonel George Wetherall opened fire on a group of Patriote rebels in Saint-Charles, Lower Canada. A citizen army of political idealists in favour of Canadian self-sovereignty, the Patriotes at Saint-Charles were led by English-Canadian doctor Wolfred Nelson, a man who encouraged his supporters to “melt spoons into bullets.”

However, the undisciplined volunteers would prove to be no match for the experienced British garrison and by the end of the day 150 Patriotes were dead. Two weeks later the Lower Canada Rebellion was definitively crushed when a larger group of Patriotes were defeated at the Battle of St. Eustache. Doctor Nelson was captured and exiled to Bermuda. Today that would not be considered much of a punishment.

 

To read a description of the Battle and a diary entry of one Patriote, see this CBC version.

 

Photo: The Battle of St. Charles by Edward Adams Clark. 1837. Watercolour. National Archives of Canada, Watercolours and Drawings Collection (Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1982-114-1).

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