Historical Overview of the 21st Infantry Regiment (Gimlet)
Historical Overview of the 21st Infantry Regiment (Gimlet)

The Early Years: War of 1812

The origins of the 21st Infantry Regiment can be traced back 200 years to the War of 1812. Since its genesis the 21st Infantry Regiment has faithfully executed all missions task upon it by the United States of America and United States Army. The 21st Infantry Regiment has undergone many changes throughout its long and distinguished history to our country, and always remains faithful to its motto – DUTY. During the past 200 years the regiment has fought or served all over the world. During this time the regiment has amassed over 50 Battle Campaign Streamers as well as numerous individual and unit decorations for valor, domestic and foreign – BORE BROTHER BORE!

The 21st Infantry was created 26 June 1812 and fought with distinction during the War of 1812; however, the regiment’s honorable history was short lived when during May through October 1815 the 21st Infantry Regiment was consolidated with the 4th, 9th, 13th, 40th and 46th Infantry Regiments to form the 5th Infantry Regiment.
The 21st Infantry Regiment achieved major recognition in 1814, during the battle of Lundy’s Lane (also known as the Battle of Niagara). The battle was one of the bloodiest battles of the war and deadliest battle fought on Canadian soil. The regiment under the command of COL James Miller fought against overwhelming odds repulsing numerous counter attacks to take up a key position within the British Lines. For COL Miller’s decisive role at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, President Madison awarded James Miller with a brevet promotion to the rank of Brigadier General. Congress also recognized COL Miller with a gold coin struck in his honor for his outstanding contributions to the Niagara campaign of 1814.

Army lore suggests that Major General Jacob Brown presented the regiment with a bronze British cannon for gallantry during the engagement, which is supposed to be on display in the halls of history at the Army War College located at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. However, after much research no such cannon appears to exist.
According to author Richard V. Barbuto, Niagara 1814: America Invades Canada (University Press of Kansas, 2000) he discusses the battle of Lundy’s Lane 1814 in his book. The Battle of Lundy’s Lane was fought in Upper Canada July 1814 close to the falls.  There was no settlement known as Niagara Falls at that time, either in the province of Upper Canada or in the state of New York.  One British gun was recovered from the battlefield after the fight and one American gun was mistakenly left behind when the American Left Division returned to its camp south of the Chipawa River to get water and ammunition.

According to Dr. Barbuto while researching for his book he never found any evidence that General Brown gave any cannon to anyone: captured guns reverted to the artillery commander and were incorporated into the artillery park for use.  The guns were government property and not Brown’s of which to dispose.  By the time Jacob Brown became Commanding General of the US Army, the 21st Infantry Regiment was no longer on active Army roles.
Do you want to learn more about the history of the 21st Infantry Regiment? Click on the PDF icon to open the PDF file and give the document a read. The document starts from the earliest history to present at the end. If you spot any errors or omissions contact the association with corrections.