My book is about Captain Benjamin Forsyth of the 1st U.S. Regiment of Rifles during the War of 1812. Recognized by his peers as the "ultimate partisan soldier" by his peers, he gained fame for his audacious sallies into Canada.
The list of battles that Forsyth and his men fought include the battles of Gananoque, York (now Toronto), Ogdensburg, Fort George and Newark (now Niagara on the Lake), Stony Creek, Hooples Creek and Odelltown. There were countless small skirmishes as well.
Some say that Forsyth was a brute, an eccentric, and that he and his men lusted after glory and plunder, but I don't believe it. The naysaying of your enemies can hardly be accepted as gospel. Nevertheless, to the enemy they were the "Redoubtable Riflemen" and they feared to meet them in battle.
I also want to say that I like your writing style. It should appeal to those that like historical novels.
Doug Grant, historian, Brockville, Ontario, Canada
“We in the Forsyths Rifles appreciate all the time and effort you put into bringing more information to light!"
Dana Denhoff, President, Forsyths Rifles Inc.
"It is an informative and engaging read that follows the leadership of the indomitable Benjamin Forsyth in different exploits…"
The Insolent Enemy recounts the expeditions of Benjamin Forsyth, commander of an elite Rifle Regiment, along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in the war of 1812. Well researched and filled with impressive detail, the book portrays events and people not well known to most Americans and makes a worthy read.
Will Mcilroy - Shelfari (Amazon)
In the years since we have had a number of authors who have a personal connection to the region or are seeing it for the first time. This year provides a head-scratching story of one author's circuitous route to the festival and the area. Brockville historian Doug Grant contacted the festival with news of a new book on Benjamin Forsythe, the American officer who led the raid on Gananoque in 1812 and the attack on Brockville (then Elizabethtown) in 1813. The author's name is Dr. David Butters and Doug provided us with contact information. This is where the story becomes somewhat strange.
We began correspondence with Dr. Butters expecting that he lived somewhere in the immediate area. Also, since the book was about an American historical figure we expected that he was an American author. We couldn't have been more wrong. Dr. Butters is Canadian and at the moment lives in Missouri! What's the expression about never assuming?
It turns out that Dr. Butters is a Canadian physician who immigrated to the United States to practice. In 2011 he lived in Clayton, N.Y. and, having an interest in the history of the War of 1812, was drawn to the story of America's first hero of the War, Benjamin Chaffey. Then an opportunity in Missouri arose and he moved there.
The book is The Insolent Enemy Captain Benjamin Forsythe 1st U.S. Regiment of Rifles and is an important addition to the area's history. Dr. Butters wrote it as a work of historical fiction, which allowed him a certain leeway in fleshing out the story. Captain Forsythe was involved in many of the major battles of the War. In addition to the aforementioned raids he also fought at the attack on York (present day Toronto), the battle at Fort George in the Niagara region, Hoople Creek, Chrysler Farm and on Lake Champlain. Those with interest in the War of 1812 will find it full of little known facts and incredible detail.
However, it is some of the interludes that are the most fascinating. There are descriptions of Forsythe's time spent at Sackett's Harbour and Clayton. My favourite section is about a fishing trip with Pirate Bill Johnston in the Thousand Islands. Butters describes Johnston's newly acquired state of the art metal reel and Forsythe's astonishment at this latest technology. The piece ends up providing a discussion of what fishing was like in the Thousand Islands in 1813, the equipment used and how anglers made their own lines and reels. As the skiff drifts between the islands we are granted a view of the everyday life of the times.
Dr. Butters' journey to Brockville and the Festival began in the area and then took a detour through Missouri! I suspect that other visitors to the Festival will have other interesting stories tell. I in turn, will take advantage of the four days by meeting as many participants as possible.
By Russ Disotell