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Battle of La Prairie

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The Battle of La Prairie (August 11, 1691) was an attack made on the settlement of La Prairie, New France, a frontier settlement not far from Montreal. An English and Indian force came north from Albany, New York to attack Montreal, but was repulsed with significant casualties by the French and their Indian allies.


During the summer of 1691 a force led by Major Pieter Schuyler invaded the French settlements along the Richelieu River south of Montreal. Callières, the local French governor, responded by massing 700-800 French and allies at the fort at La Prairie, on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River.

The battle

Schuyler surprised the much larger French force in a rainstorm just before dawn on August 11, inflicting severe casualties before withdrawing towards the Richelieu. Schuyler's force might have remained intact but instead was intercepted by the force of 160 men led by Valrennes that had been detached to block the road to Chambly. The two sides fought in vicious hand-to-hand combat for approximately an hour, before Schuyler's force broke through and escaped.


The French had suffered the most casualties during Schuyler's initial ambush, but the casualties the Albany force suffered after Valrennes' counterattack meant that they had incurred the greater proportion of loss. Instead of continuing his raids, Schuyler was forced to retreat back to Albany.

The battle was also the subject of a 19th-century poem by William Douw Schuyler-Lighthall. In 1921, the site of Valrennes' counterattack was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.[1]


  1. Second Battle of Laprairie. Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada. Retrieved 22 April 2012.


Further reading

  • Chartrand, René; Canadian Military Heritage Vol. 1: 1000 - 1754; 1993, Art Global, ISBN 2-920718-49-5
  • Adams, Arthur G. The Hudson Through the Years Fordham University Press, 1996. ISBN 978-0-8232-1677-2