Red/Cyan 3D glasses are needed to see the photos in this post.
Before you break out the glasses, I think I need to give some background, so picture time is delayed in favour of….History time! Be prepared to read. Or just skip ahead. I won’t know.
In many ways, the War of 1812 seems like a continuation of the American Revolution. Lingering issues between America and Britain resulted in the war. If you were to equate historical events with movies, the American Revolution was a stand alone movie, with some plotlines left dangling for a possible sequel. The War of 1812 was like a second part of a trilogy- It raised the stakes, and set everything up for an epic conclusion. The ultimate conclusion even had a cool name; who could top the ‘Patriot War’ for a title? Like many trilogies, however, the finale didn’t stick the landing, becoming a massive box office flop. It ended up leaving plot-lines unresolved and offering no real sense of a conclusion. I’m pretty sure the writers know it would bomb, as they threw all sorts of things against the wall in hope that one of them would stick: secret societies, double-crosses, and Australia(as you know, everything is better with Australia added). Audiences walked away unsatisfied, feeling sick and bloated from cheap popcorn.
I think I’m losing this metaphor. For the record, I’m talking about history, and not movies… I get those confused sometimes.
Of course, I am talking specifically the USA’s third attempt to annex Canada. Well, I say ‘of course’, but in reality this piece of history is so obscure that I had never heard about it, and I apparently had ancestors involved in the battle. The first time I heard about the Patriot Wars was a three sentence mention in a 110 year old newspaper article. But before that, lets set the scene.
The 1830s were a time of upheaval in Canada; there were some rebellions in what would become Quebec and Ontario; as far as the rebellions go, they were fairly minor events, shut down before they could expand, but they showed some strong dissatisfaction with the government and are a major part of Canadian history taught in schools. I’m not going to get into discussing those… maybe another time.
Some of the Rebel organizers fled to the USA, where they met up with American groups; together they created the Hunter’s Lodge, a widespread secret society dedicated to ‘freeing’ Canada, and removing British influence from North America.
How big were these lodges? I dunno… I’m an idiot who got history and movies confused, remember? Okay, the best guess of actual smart people is that it was somewhere between 15 000 and 200 000 members, although probably on the smaller side of that range. You might have noticed that that is a very big range. Look; it’s a SECRET society, and for some reason, many of the details about secret societies aren’t publicized.
Unfortunately, the US government wasn’t too keen on the idea of invading a British colony at the time, and in fact warned the British about the group. However, these lodges came up with a brilliant plan in 1838: if the US government wasn’t going to rescue Canada from Britain, they’d do it themselves.
…This plan went about as well as a war plan made by angry civilians with guns could be expected to go.
Their war strategy had two primary goals. One: To encourage the Canadian populace to revolt. Two: to push the USA into war with Britain. As mentioned, the US government wasn’t too receptive to this war, but maybe by inflaming border tensions, they could push both sides into a war. A British ship was captured and torched… not a military ship, but a passenger steamer. Still, it was owned by someone British, so it counts, I guess. The crew and passengers were offloaded when the ship was seized, so there were no deaths. The torching might have been their ‘Plan B’, as the attempt to escape with it it was confounded by the fact that none of the Hunters could run the boilers and escape with the ship.
This astounding victory would be the pinnacle of the Hunter Lodges’ success. Such a heroic triumph against the Opressors could not be repeated.
There were a few more border skirmished, but the climatic battle wouldn’t be until November, the mighty Battle of the Windmill. The Hunters’ plan was to invade the town of Prescott. Their stealthy
first second third attempt to land was somehow detected by the British, giving them time to prepare for the invasion. A British ship(in this case, not a civilian ship, but an underpowered converted civilian ship, with an actual weapon or two) managed to defeat the Hunter fleet… all three ships of it. The story is honestly ridiculous enough that I don’t think there is much I can add to it; read it here. The Hunters fled to American waters, and escaped. This wasn’t the battle, though, just the leadup.
The Hunters might have lost the element of surprise, but if they invaded again… right away, in almost the same location… they could still rally the populace and free Canada from the Tyrannical Yoke of Opression, right? Right?
Look, speaking as a Canadian, the Tyrannical Yoke of Oppression feels nice and fashionable. Sure, the British Overlords demand an annual blood sacrifice, we are all forced to work under a feudal warlord and never leave our jobs, and every Canadian’s firstborn must be given over to the Queen for conscription into her secret shadow armies, but we get pictures of her wearing pretty crowns on all our coins. That’s a trade-off we can all live with.
I’m not saying basing their entire strategy around getting the population to revolt wouldn’t have worked for the Hunters. Okay, I am saying that, but for the sake of argument, lets pretend I’m not. As I mentioned, there were a lot of people (rightly) angry with the government at the time. Maybe if they had attempted to land at one of the regions where the population was feeling most disenfranchised, they could have rallied some local support. Maybe.
They did not do that. Instead they chose Prescott(Actually, just outside Prescott, as there were a few too many soldiers in the town for some reason). This was an area settled by British Loyalists who fled during the American Revolution; probably some still remembered the revolution first-hand, and most would have been told stories about it with a decidedly anti-Amercan slant. This was an area on the front lines of the War of 1812, and a lot of people still remembered American incursions during that war. Basically, this was an area where the population, faced with a choice, had chosen Britian over America again and again.
Long story short, instead of liberating Canada, the three hundred or so liberators were holed up in a stone windmill for three days, besieged by a thousand British troops. They ended up surrendering, and(spoiler) Canada remained British.
There were some executions, but a lot of the Hunters were instead given a free vacation to Australia.No return trip, probably due to either paperwork or being threatened with execution if they ever came back.
The windmill site is still standing. It’s now a National Historic Site. Now it is time for photos.
Okay, the windmill is one of those windmills with no blades, and with a light on top. You know, one of those windmills that warn ships away from the shore. I think that architects call this style of windmill a ‘Lighthouse’, but don’t quote me on that. This on is the St Lawrence river; The USA is on the other side of the river.
Obviously, the windmill was refurbished a few times since the war. They replaced the ‘wind’ part and ‘mill’ part with a light, but also, a number of windows were covered up with stone. One, just above the bottom door, is visible in the above photos; there are a couple others you might see in the photos.
I took some photos in different spectra, because of course I did. For a change, though, I’m going to show them in 3D (it is Glasses time now). These photos seem to go off the edge of the screen for me; if so for you, just open them as a separate window.
Here’s how the windmill looks to the naked eye. This photo was entirely in the visible spectrum.
Without a filter, the full spectrum(visible, near infrared, and a little bit of ultraviolet) photo shows the usual yellow foliage. The red paint on the top is slightly lighter…
… and it’s white with the UG11 filter(Ultraviolet and Infrared). I took some photos in both the short wave and long wave light ranges. Let’s start with the shorter wavelengths this time.
The light colour of the red paint must be on the infrared side; with the short bandpass filter on(UV, violet, and a bit of blue light), it looks dark. The window on top looks darker too. Glass isn’t as transparent in the UV range, so maybe it would be even darker with a full UV photo.
That would be a firm yes. IN the UV range, the paint is still dark, but the window is too. In fact, you can’t even tell that there is supposed to be a window there.
That’s the UV side out of the way; lets look at the infrared side of the spectrum.
The pain is definitely reflecting the infrared light. The top of the windmill is bright white in this filter. The window reappeared too. Yay!
A bit deeper into the infrared, and things look fairly similar. The foliage is a bit brighter, and the sky a bit darker, but the windmill is more-or-less the same.
Lets go even deeper. Lets go into the thermal infrared range. I can do that now, due to SCIENCE!
With the Seek Compact Pro, the higher resolution means that I can take 3D thermal photos. This is the heat signature of the windmill. I had to remove the temperature bar when I converted the photo to 3D, as it looked wrong, but here it is in glorious 2D if you want specific temperatures. Why do you want a heat signature of a windmill? Especially if the windmill is a lighthouse? I’m not judging, I just want to know.
It looks like there is some heat leakage around the windows and door, as thin glass might be better than thick rock at transferring heat. The side facing the sun is warmer, because the sun is hot.
The Battle of the Windmill wasn’t the final confrontation by the Hunter’s Lodges; in December, an ‘invasion’ of Windsor occurred; the outcome went about as well as the Battle of the Windmill. America and Britain never went to war, Canada stayed British for a while longer, and Australia got some new citizens. The Hunters were gone in the 1840s, although as a Secret Society, they might just be in hiding. In fact, they might be ruling all of us now.
If you compare their planning abilities in 1838 to the state of the world today, that would actually make a lot of sense.
The above photos were taken with a modified Canon Rebel T3i camera.