Several years ago I pleaded for anyone who could find me the tale of an English soldier searching for his lady love that I had heard as a young boy. Sadly, no one replied.
But, I picked up an moderately old book to re-read off my shelf (honestly, to be read for the first time by myself,) entitled "Haunted Heartland" (Copyright 1985 by Beth Scott and Michael Norman from Dorset Press 1991) which I had not previously read because of it's strictly American content. Imagine my surprise and delight when I got to the "Michigan" chapter of the book and the story "The Lady and the Soldier" presented itself.
Intrigued, it seemed to be truly based out of Windsor, Ontario which made me very happy that I had found the right tale.
The story revolved around a "British redcoat" falling in love with a lady of some means. Finally, one night, he proposes only to be not turned down but simply not answered. Later that night, he appears to her to say that his "blood has not been shed in vain. England's flag will float again over Detroit."
The spectre goes on to tell his lady that his body is hidden in a thicket and would she kindly go and bury it. She (of course) does this but the ghostly "redcoat" still wandered the area with sabre raised.
Now, here are the issues I have had...
Now, I could wax poetic about how the Americans still claim that THEY won this war*, but this soldier of this particular story must have been the result of a self inflicted wound.
- Despite our neighbor's claim of a glorious victory in this war, Detroit was taken in the beginning of the war by Isaac Brock and Tecumseh and it was a "bloodless" victory as the American General, Hull, surrendered without firing a shot on the fear of the "savage" Indians and a misconception of being greatly outnumbered.
- General Hull also took the time to surrender the advancing American troops coming to the "rescue" of the besieged fort. In other words, they arrived in time to turn over their arms to the British.
* - The American's won the last battle (fought in New Orleans two weeks after peace had already been reached) and the British agreed to return to pre-war status. Please keep in mind that it was the American's who declared war, attempted invasion and who's goals were the invasion and conquest of the Canadas (Upper and Lower) in retaliation of British "impressment" (kidnaping) of sailors from American ships. Happily, they didn't succeed but impressment was ceased after the defeat of Napolean which, had President Madison known the French would be defeated, he openly said he would not have declared war on England and therefore not invaded the Canadas. If you are interested in the history of this conflict, I would strongly recommend touring the forts along Lake Ontario and reading Pierre Burton's "Flames Across the Border" and "The Invasion of Canada" (Penguin Books, 1988 Copyright Pierre Burton Enterprises 1981). Another source for information on the capture of Detroit is "The Guinness Book of Military Blunders" by Geoffery Regan (Guinness Publishing Ltd., Great Britain 1991 Copyright Geoffery Regan 1991)