General Isaac Brock
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General Isaac Brock

Isaac Brock was a British army officer who entered the army in 1785. In 1791 he joined the 49th infantry as a captain, remaining with that unit until his death at Queenston Heights in 1812.

From 1803 until 1805 he was based at York (modern Toronto). During a brief period of leave in 1805-1806 he was promoted to colonel, before returning to Canada in 1806 when a threat of war with the United States developed. In 1810 he was appointed to command all troops in Upper Canada, the area seen as most vulnerable to American attack. On 4 June 1811 he was promoted to major-general. By the start of the War of 1812 he was also the lieutenant-governor of the province. Brock made his main contribution to the British war effort before the outbreak of the fighting, gaining the confidence of Tecumseh and thus ensuring that the British would fight with Indian allies. He also played a part in retaining the 41st and 49th regiments in Canada.

At the outbreak of the War of 1812 Upper Canada came under attack from Detroit and across the Niagara River. The invasion from Detroit, under General Hull, was badly handled. The Americans crossed the Detroit River and briefly threatened the British position, before retreating back across the river. Brock reached Amherstburg, on the Canadian side of the river and soon decided to launch a counterattack. The British and Canadians prepared for an assault on the American fort at Detroit, but before the fighting really began Hull surrendered, giving up Detroit and his entire army. 582 American regular soldiers were captured at Detroit, and one threat to Upper Canada removed.

Brock did not survive long to enjoy his victory, or even to learn of his rewards. On October 10th, 1812 he was promoted but before the news could reach Canada, he had been killed.