Grand River Branch

United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada





Selected Reprints from the

Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches

"The Burning of Dover Mills :

An American Viewpoint"

Doris Ann Lemon, June 1991, Vol.3 No.2, Page 9


 Private Alexander McMullen, a member of the American Dragoon Force that brought about the Burning of Dover, under orders by Captain Campbell, wrote this account to his mother following the May 14, 1814 destruction:

" The situation of this village was pleasant, the houses generally frame near a beautiful creek with a fine, large fulling-mill, grist mill and saw mill.  The inhabitants (male) had principally left town at our approach.  We were placed in line of battle, the artillery in the centre, the regulars on the right, a reserve in the rear, and a company, I suppose of observation, some distance off.  An order from Campbell to set fire to the houses was now executed by men detailed from all the companies.  A scene of destruction and plunder now ensued which beggars all description.  In a short time the houses, mills and barns were all consumed and a beautiful village, which the sun shone on in splendour that morning, was, before two o'clock a heap of ruins.  The women and children had remained in the village and were permitted to carry out the valuable part of their moveable property.  A party of sailors appointed to man the artillery killed the hogs in the streets, and severing them in the middle, carried off the hind parts while the shoulders and head were left in the street.  The sun was setting as the troops re-embarked and shortly after dark we set sail.  The fleet sailed for Erie, where we arrived next evening at dark, generally disgusted with the conduct of Campbell. "

  Later, Campbell's ruthless tactics on an unprotected village were deplore by his superiors.  He faced a very biased Court of Equity.  Their findings, while ambiguous, gave Campbell the right to return to his post, having suffered a mild reprimand.  he was fatally wounded later at the Battle of Chippawa.  He left behind a name forever tarnished by the ruthless destruction of a defenseless village.