De Salaberry divided his force of 1500 Canadian regulars, militia and indians, between 5 lines of defence, constructed out of wood, known as Abatis. Using the river to cover his left flank, and the forest to cover his right, de Salaberry awaited the inivitable American attack. As an added precaution, he also destroyed the bridges leading to the defenses, which would make it impossible for the American Artillery to join in battle later.
The Americans were aware of his position, and made plans to flank it. One brigade, with 1500 soldiers, crossed the Chateauguay river and proceeded through the wilderness without a road or usefull guide. It wound up spending the entire night on the march.
When the fighting commenced, the Americans engaging the first abatis were unable to scatter its defenders (although a skirmish line before the defenses withdrew at the opening of the battle). Meanwhile the other brigade across the river found itself assailed by two companies of Canadian militia, and under fire from more soldiers across the river.
Despite being horribly outnumbered, (out of a force of 1500, only about 320 actually participated in the fighting), the Canadians convinced the Americans that they, in fact, were the ones outnumbered. Using the force's trumpets, the Americans were made to believe more soldiers were advancing unseen through the woods.
This, plus the Canadians' feisty defense, compelled Hampton to withdraw his army. In the process, he also abandoned the bridade which had crossed the river the previous day, forcing them to construct a bridge to escape later.
In a rather embarrassing event, a number of American officers were seen asking for assistance to cross the river, having abandoned their troops in the woods. These officers were ignored.
After the battle, Hampton revealed that his force had taken some 50 casualties. Other estimates probe far higher, but the Canadians themselves offer the best guess at America's loss, documenting that they buried more than 40 American dead. Canadian losses were officially 2 dead, 17 wounded, and a number missing. However, other documents place dead ranging from 4-5, wounded from 17-22, and up to 5 missing.
According to legend, the Canadians who formed the skirmish line before the abatis, camouflaged themselves with cloaks woven from fallen red maple leaves.
guy: "A disaster for the Americans; a forgotten triumph for Canadians."