The Other British “Invasions” of Sodus Bay

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Most people in the Sodus Point area, know the story about the time the British landed in Troupville (later Sodus Point) on June 19th, 1813 during the War of 1812. It did not go well for our village as they fought a skirmish with a group of farmers and militia and ended up burning all but one of the buildings.
Lesser known is the fact that this was not the 1st “incursion” of British Troops into Sodus Bay. Actually it was at least the third!!! Fortunately the other times, it was before our village was founded and their stays were benign.
Here is the story of those other two times:


July 1, 1759 during the French and Indian War


The Great Lake Seaway Trail region was the vital transportation and communication link between France and her colonies.
The struggle for control of this area was essential to the early settlers.
On July 1, 1759,  Gen.  John Prideaux’s army (perhaps as many as 2,300 men which included 700 New York Provincial troops and hundreds of Iroquois warriors that rendezvoused with him at Sodus Bay) camps in Sodus Point on their way to besiege Fort Niagara as part of the overall strategy for dominion of North America. General Prideaux would die 18 days later on July 19th, 1759 during the siege of Fort Niagara when he was decapitated by friendly fire by one of his own mortars.
Twenty years before American colonists declared their independence from Great Britain , another great conflict was fought between 1754 and 1763 for control of North America.
Popularly known as the French & Indian War, the struggle began as a contest for the Ohio River Valley and quickly developed into a multinational struggle fought throughout North America and in Europe, Asia and on the high seas.
The war pitted Britain and her American colonists along the Atlantic seaboard against the French and their colonists in Canada, the Great Lakes Basin and Louisiana. Native peoples supported both sides, but early in the war France had the upper hand in recruiting Native warriors to her cause.
Besides determining that England, not France, would control the American interior, the war had other far-reaching consequences. Many future leaders of America’s revolutionary cause received their early military training in this conflict. American attitudes about Native peoples also hardened during the war’s long years of violent border warfare.
General Prideaux’s army traveled along Lake Ontario using bateaux.


“Bateau” is French for “boat,” but it was also the name for a flat bottomed watercraft, 25 to 40 feet long, that was used on Lake George and the Great Lakes. The vessel was made of pine planks with oak frames, stem, and sternpost. The boats may have been Dutch in origin. Bateaux were also used by the French, British, and later, by Americans. The bateau was pointed at bow and stern and had an oar tied at the stern for steerage. A bateau could be rowed, poled in shallow water, and sometimes a crude mast and sail were used. During the French and Indian War, bateaux were built in Schenectady and Albany boatyards and then transported over water and land to Lake George and Lake Ontario.


May 14, 1764 during Pontiac’s War:


Pontiac’s War (also known as Pontiac’s Conspiracy or Pontiac’s Rebellion) was launched in 1763 by a loose confederation of American Indian tribes, primarily from the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, and Ohio Country who were dissatisfied with British policies in the Great Lakes region following the French and Indian War (1754–1763). Warriors from numerous tribes joined the uprising in an effort to drive British soldiers and settlers out of the region. The war is named after Odawa leader Pontiac, the most prominent of many Indian leaders in the conflict (from Wikipedia).
(the following information thanks to Tom Sawtelle of Clyde, NY)
A body of troops in bateaux, consisting of 5 Canadian companies and some Royal artillery, and  led by British Captain John Montresor, landed at Sodus Bay on May 14, 1764 on their way to Fort Niagara. The troops were part of the Bradstreet Expedition. They “Encamped on the Presque-Isle as being the most defensible.” This, I believe, would be Charles Point. There were 20 bateaux and over 300 men. The small army’s departure was delayed by a gale, and remained at Sodus until the morning of the 17th.  Even when they did depart, the seas were quite rough.

Painting of British Captain John Montresor by Copley

Here is the link to John Montresor’s journal which mentions this:
Here is biographical information about John Montresor:


Here is information about the Bradstreet Expedition:


Here is some additional information about Col. Bradstreet:


The Canadian forces under Montresor’s command were the first such troops raised after the capture of Canada by the British during the French and Indian War.