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Known as the heroine of Fort Niagara, Betsy Doyle carried hot shot to fend off British Forces during the War of 1812.

Categories: History, NYS History, People, WCNY Vignette

During the War of 1812, it was common practice to heat cannonballs to red hot in order to set fire to enemy buildings and encampments during a barrage. This was a dangerous practice as it could set off the canon prematurely. It was exactly this tactic that was in use in November of 1812 when Betsy Doyle hauled hot shot to the American forces trying to hold the British from crossing the Niagara river. Doyle joined the cannonade after her husband was captured by British forces, and was dubbed “the hero of Fort Niagara” for her fearless efforts. The Fort was eventually overrun in 1813, and Doyle fled 310 miles on foot with her family to escape the British. She continued to assist the military at the Cantonment near Albany, often without pay, until her death in 1819. In 2012, she was named a New York State Woman of Distinction for her bravery.

Video produced by WCNY.