- James FitzGibbon
James FitzGibbon (
November 23 1782– December 10 1863) was a British soldier and hero of the War of 1812.
He enlisted in the
Knight of Glin’s Yeomanry Corps at age 15. Three years later, he joined the Tarbert Infantry Fencibles, an Irish home service regiment, from which he was recruited into the British Army's 49th Regiment of Footas a private soldier. He first fought in battle in 1799 at Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands. He later served as a marine in the Battle of Copenhagen, for which he received the Naval General Service Medal.
He went to
Canadain 1802, by which time he was a sergeant. He played a key role in the suppression of a near- mutinyat Fort George, Ontario. In 1806, when he was the regiment's Sergeant-Major, his commanding officer, Isaac Brock, made him an officer. This was extremely unusual at the time as most officers' commissions were bought. Later the same year he was appointed regimental adjutant. In 1809, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.
FitzGibbon fought at the
Battle of Stoney Creekin June 6, 1813. Three weeks later, he led 50 soldiers in guerrilla-style raids on a large American force that had captured Fort George on the Niagara Peninsula. It was he who was warned by Laura Secordon June 22about an impending surprise attack by 500 American troops. This led to the Battle of Beaver Damsnear present day Thorold, Ontario, where FitzGibbon's force, together with about 400 Mohawk and Odawa warriors, defeated the Americans and took 462 prisoners. The victory made FitzGibbon a popular hero and he was promoted to Captainin the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles.
In 1814 he fought at the
Battle of Lundy's Lane. After the war, he remained in Upper Canadaand became a public servantand a colonelin the militia.
Upper Canada Rebellionof 1837, FitzGibbon was appointed Acting Adjutant-General of Militia. He organised and led the forces that defended Torontofrom William Lyon Mackenzie's rebel force.
He was a
Freemason. From 1822 to 1826, he was deputy provincial grand master, the highest office in Upper Canada.
He moved to
Englandin 1847 after the death of his wife Mary Haley, with whom he had four sons and a daughter. In 1850 he was appointed a Military Knight of Windsor. He died at Windsor Castlein 1863 and is buried there in the crypt of St. George's Chapel.
In 2003 his descendants donated some of his personal effects, including a
signet ringand a ceremonial sword, to the Canadian War Museumin Ottawa.
* [http://www.glengarrylightinfantry.ca The Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles]
* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=4426 Biography at the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]
* [http://www.histori.ca/minutes/minute.do?id=10118 Historica’s Heritage Minute video docudrama about “Laura Secord.”] [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash_Player (Adobe Flash Player.)]
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