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War of 1812 event to seek grant funds

The Historical Society of Lewiston plans to apply for a grant of up to $10,000 to commemorate the Battle of Queenston Heights, Ont., as part of this year's bicentennial of the War of 1812.

Lee Simonson, volunteer director of the Lewiston 1812 Bicentennial and past president of the historical society, said Monday that the grant application will be submitted to the state Council for the Humanities.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state legislative leaders have agreed to provide $450,000 to the Council for the Humanities, which plans to use some of the money to provide grants of up to $10,000 each for War of 1812 events to be held in several localities where battles were fought, including Plattsburgh, the Buffalo Niagara region and Sackets Harbor on the eastern end of Lake Ontario.

Previously, the council had announced plans for grants of up to $3,000.

Simonson said the commemoration of the Battle of Queenston Heights, to be held Oct. 12 to 14, will be one of the largest events in the Niagara region in observance of the bicentennial. The increase in grant funds "is great news," he said.

Elsewhere, organizers of upcoming War of 1812 activities said they're pleased to see funding come through.

The Battle of Queenston Heights was one of the first and one of the most widely known military operations along the Niagara Frontier during the War of 1812 between Great Britain and its former colonies in the United States.

State officials previously rejected proposals to create a commemorative commission that would have promoted bicentennial events over the next two years.

About 300 regular U.S. soldiers and 300 members of the local militia crossed the Niagara River between Lewiston and Queenston, Ont., on Oct. 13, 1812, and captured the British position.

British Maj. Gen. Isaac Brock was killed by an American sniper in his attempt to drive the Americans away.

The war ended in 1815 without either side achieving significant advantage.