By COL (Ret) David G. Fitz-Enz - Class of 1986
On September 1, 1814, under the command of Lt. Gen. Sir George Prevost, nearly 15,000 veteran British troops, fresh from victory over Napoleon, crossed the Canadian-American borderthe largest foreign army ever to invade the United States.
Opposing the British invasion were Gen. Alexander Macomb and his army of fewer than 5,000 men and the improvised fleet and brilliant strategy of thirty-year-old Lt. Thomas Macdonough. They were on the losing side of a devastating war. By the time the British and Americans clashed on the waters and surrounding shores of Lake Champlain on September 11, 1814, Macomb and Macdonoughs government, pursued by British troops, had fled from a burning Washington.
Yet despite the odds, the Americans managed to thwart the worlds strongest naval power in one of the most decisive battles in American history. The source of the documentary film of the same name, The Final Invasion is based on primary research and original discoveriesincluding previously unknown private diaries and orders, missing since the war. Fair-minded, astute, and passionately engaged with his subject, Col. David G. Fitz-Enz brings to life the immediacy and immensity of the British threat, the bloody reality of naval warfare, and the far-reaching consequences of the American victory against tremendous odds.