George Prevost

Sir George Prevost Bt. (* 19. May 1767 in new jersey, North America; † 5. January 1816 in London, England) was a British soldier and diplomat, during the British-American war of 1812 British governor general and commander in chief in Canada.


Sir George Prevost

George Prevost was born 1767 in the today's US Federal State new jersey as an oldest son of Augustin Prévost, a lieutenant colonel of the British army originating from French Switzerland. Georges grandfather mütterlicherseits was enriches banker from Amsterdam, whose money promoted the army career of its grandchild with security. After the attendance of schools in England and on the continent George occurred 1779 as a wo1 the Royal Army . 1782 he became a second lieutenant, 1784 captain and 1790 major. Since it was with Catherine Anne Phipps married 1789, with which it had five children, of which one as a child died.

During the revolution wars with France Prevost served in the Karibik. Starting from 1794 he was commander on pc. Vincent, where it was promoted in the same year to lieutenant colonel and 1796 in the fight with Frenchmen were heavily wounded. After its return to England one appointed it 1798 the Brigadier General and the governor of the Karibikinsel pc. Lucia, where it its liquid French and its attractive nature won the respect of the French Pflanzer. it went to 1802 out of health reasons to England, returned however after the renewed outbreak of the war as a governor von Dominica to the Karibik, where it 1803 a French attack on this island and pc. Lucia to repel had. it received the rank of a major general to 1805 and after its return the Baronetswürde and the rank of a commander of the district from Portsmouth.

1808 one shifted it to Canada and entrusted to him the office of the governor von Nova Scotia . In the background the worsening relations with the USA was located, because of which the British government exchanged the civilian civil servants in the colonies approximately military. Prevost proved as capable administrator, to which it succeeded to diminish tensions with the colonial parliament the defense capability to improve, the rights of the crown to true and the economy of the country to promote. Also it increased its military fame by a participation in a successful campaign for the conquest of Martinique 1808/1809. As skillful chess move the grant of exemption from duty for dealers from the new England states of the USA proved. This trade illegal from US view, which occurred the economic blockade imposed by president Thomas Jefferson against Great Britain, let the economy new facts Scotias blossom and let in new England the dislike against a war with the neighbours grow.

1811 took place the transport to the governor general from Canada and to the commander in chief of the there British armed forces. Its major task was the preparation appearing of the conflict with the USA. Due to entangling the Royal Army into the war in Europe no considerable reinforcement for the troops in Canada could be expected. They covered only 5,600 men, by which about 1,200 was scattered on small garrisons in upper Canada. The militias counted on the paper over 70.000 men, were however badly armed, undizipliniert and in upper Canada, where many immigrants from the USA lived, of doubtful loyalty. Prevost recognized rapidly that it was for the successful defense of Canada against a USA grasp of central importance to win the frankokanadische population. By a set of measures, under it the assignment of posts to prominent representatives of this group, succeeded it to it to win and secure their in relation to for loyalty the British crown the large support of the Frankokanadier including the catholic church too. Prevost made itself thereby however influential Anglokanadier the enemy, which did not want to resign themselves to the loss at power, influence and post.

In relation to the crushing military supremacy of the Americans Provost selected a strictly defensive strategy in conformity with the government in London. A key role therein played Québec, the only considerable fortress in Canada, which should be held with a US invasion also at the price of the task of outguards, until reinforcement from Europe would arrive. Prevost recognized that the rule of the Royal Navy on the large lakes represented a certain reconciliation for the superiority of the USA at land troops. After the outbreak of the war it set 1812 on this defensive strategy. Instead of into the offensive going preferred it it to remove its defense positions to wait for the courses of the opponent fights if possible to avoid and nothing risk.

Its demand to omit fighting at all in order to in this way keep splitting the public opinion in the USA upright, could not be held out however. Against these instructions of major general the Sir Isaac break into, to the commander in upper Canada, against the strategically meaning away Mackinac led hand caper brought the Indians under its important leader Tecumseh finally on the side of the British. With its assistance an American invading army under William cladding in the summer could be forced 1812 not only to the retreat, but also to the surrender in Detroit. These successes were war crucial up to a certain degree, since them had substantial psychological effects on the Americans, whose from it resulting, often ängstliches, halfhearted and hesitating procedure the defensive strategy Prevosts facilitated. One of the first actions of the governor general was the conclusion of an armistice contract with the American commander in chief Henry Dearborn, which provided at the main front at the Niagara River first for peace. When the Americans attacked after the refusal of the armistice by president James Madison in September 1812, they suffered a heavy defeat, which was expensively bought however by death Brocks in the battle of Queenston Heights. Despite attempts to achieve a more offensive war guidance Prevost with the support remained Wellingtons with its defensive strategy, which proved until 1814 successful in changeful fights as altogether, since it never succeeded to the Americans to occupy for longer time Canadian territory. The incompetence of most US generals played here just as important role as the combat capability in terms of figures of the British-Canadian troops which were subject most far. Where Prevost held the command, he acted extremely carefully, thus with the attack on the American naval basis Sackets Harbor (New York) to 28. May 1813. Here he hesitated with an attack so long that the defenders under Jacob Brown had sufficiently time to near-get reinforcement and to make an income of the place impossible. The last and most threatening US raid on the Niagara peninsula in the summer 1814 was rejected by the extremely involving heavy losses battle with Lundy's Lane. Prevost was criticized partly sharply however for the fact that he supported the fleet on the Eriesee and the troops under Henry Procter, standing with Detroit, not sufficiently, so that these were struck in September 1813 by superior US armed forces in the battles on the Eriesee and at the Thames River and forced to evacuation of upper Canada up to the Ontariosee. From view Prevosts would have so far weakened the delegation of reinforcement the troops on the main theater on the Niagara peninsula and at the sinking Lorenz stream that the danger then possibly of a war-crucial defeat would have existed here.

Overtaxed the governor general was then however with the task to go even into the offensive when it the end of the war in Europe of the British government permitted to send sufficient reinforcement to Canada. Prevost should drive now the American fleet out of the Eriesee, of the Ontariosee and from the Champlainsee and occupy parts of Michigan, in order to improve the British position with the peace negotiations in Gent. But it received 15,000 men under four of the most capable Brigadier Generals Wellingtons. Prevost planned a combined raid to country and to lake along the Champlainsees. In September 1814 it began the advance with a strong army, stopped it however before the Milizverbänden which were subject from far defended city flat castle. In order to switch the American naval force off on the lake, it forced captain George Downie, the commander of the British sea-fleet to lead with its incomplete ships to an attack on the US fleet lying in the flat castle Bay to which in the large destruction of the British federation in the battle with flat castle and death Downies ended. The governor general was with responsible for since he had promised Downie a simultaneous attack to country. It had however omitted this, until sea-combat was nearly to end. After it had experienced from the defeat of the fleet, Prevost instructed the retreat and jumped over themselves thereby over the advice of its officers, who considered conquest attainable flat castle nevertheless.

Those the governor general of hostilely reflected anglokanadischen circles used the debacle from flat castle to an encircling rubbing against it, which was all the more threatening, since he had tightened himself the enmity of many army and naval officers. However the behavior was also quite doubtful opposite Prevosts some its officers. Thus it brought lieutenant colonel Charles Michel de Salaberry by consciously falsifying reports not only around it which is entitled the honour for the victory in the battle at the Chateauguay River, but tried also, it by a doppelzüngiges play from the army to urge. Doubtful also its handling major general was Sheaffe, the winner of Queenston Heights, it let which replace under dishonorable circumstances, without these something else would have done as Prevosts instructions to implement. Also high functionaries of the colonial administration operated its separation behind Prevosts back. With the choice of the means one was not zimperlich; the governor general showed itself opposite Diffamierungen as helpless, and finally the slandering worked to that extent, when Prevost was replaced and in April 1815 to England returned, in order to justify itself for its behavior with the flat castle campaign, since the Canadian naval commander Sir James Lucas Yeo had raised heavy accusations against him. The government accepted its explanations, but a court-martial of the Royal Navy came in August 1815 to the result that Prevost was responsible for the defeat of flat castle, since he prematurely forced Downie to the fight and him then the promised support did not grant. The health strongly weakened Prevost required a court martial of the army against itself, in order to repair its call, died however one month before its beginning to 5. January 1816 in London.

Since thereby the opportunity was taken to it to justify itself publicly the accusations raised against it coined/shaped its picture in future generations. Until today it represented as a friendly, but weak and overcautious personality and often explained for militarily incompetent. This picture was popularized by the myth created by the angloamerikanischen Oberschicht, therefore Canada by general breaks into and the native militias saved is. The contemporary sources prove however clearly the fact that the successful defense of Canada against an enormous American supremacy to a substantial part and well thought the energetic out measures Prevosts in the apron of the war and during its process was to be owed to its altogether successful strategy. When field commander it proved as less talented, but would see themselves - like „the Dictionary OF Canadian Biography “means - its Reputation than general somewhat better out, would not be it not with Wellington, but it compared opposite standing US generals. To a large extent into oblivion its large earnings/services are guessed/advised with the administration of Canada, in particular in order the integration of the Frankokanadier, which were recognized however by the British government, since its successor Sir John Coape Sherbrooke was expressly instructed, the policy Prevosts to continue. Tragic way was it straight this policy, which exposed it to the hate of influential anglokanadischer circles, whose slandering damaged its call durably.

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