This unassuming strip of Lake Ontario shore was once the scene of a destructive British raid during the War of 1812.
The Battle of Troupville was fought on the evening of June 19, 1813 between a British raiding party and American militia commanded by Captain Elias Hull at Sodus Point, New York during the War of 1812. It was initially a victory for the Americans, but the next day British troops returned and successfully raided and burned the village.
Lake Ontario was a strategic conduit for ships and supplies during the war, and both sides sought to control it. The American government kept military store houses at various points along the lake. On June 15, 1813, the British destroyed one storehouse in the village of Charlotte (today a neighborhood of Rochester), at the mouth of the Genesee River.
Two militia units were called out, and residents of Troupville buried anything they thought the British might steal or destroy. On the morning of June 19, however, since no British ships had appeared, the militia disbursed. As fate would have it, that night under cover of darkness approximately 125 British soldiers came ashore and around 60 men from the village grabbed their rifles to meet them. They initially chose Elder Seba Norton, a preacher and veteran of the Revolutionary War, as their leader, but Captain Elias Hull of the militia soon arrived to take command.
The battle was short. The American militia, hiding in the woods, exchanged fire with the British, but neither side could see how many men they were facing, and both sides retreated after firing a few rounds. Two British soldiers were killed, and two Americans were mortally wounded and three captured. An unknown number were wounded. The next day, British ships fired cannon into the town and landed unopposed. They burned every building but the tavern (where they had left a wounded militiaman the night before) and sailed away.
The War of 1812, fought between the United States and Great Britain between 1812 and 1815, arose from a dispute over maritime trade and U.S. territorial ambitions on British Canada. The war went badly for the U.S., with British troops burning Washington, DC in August 1814. A late victory by Andrew Jackson at New Orleans led to the perception the U.S won the war, despite the Treaty of Ghent establishing peace without any territory changing hands.
The Village of Sodus Point, New York was built over the ruins of Troupville, using the same town square. The Mansion House tavern, the only building spared by the British, burnt down in the 1890s. British soldiers came ashore near the present day intersection of John and Bay streets. Today, a Great Lakes Seaway Trail interpretive sign located near the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum tells the story of the raid.
Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum, at 7606 N. Ontario Street in Sodus Point, New York, is open May 1 to October 31, Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children under 12. A small parking lot is available. Seeing the Troupville Raid interpretive sign is free and the lighthouse grounds are open dawn to dusk.