33 Rochesterville Pioneers Defied The British Navy In The Battle of Charlotte

On May 15, 1814 a British fleet of 13 vessels appeared at the mouth of the Genesee River , threatening Charlotte with their cannon. Cut off from outside aid by miles of forest, the little village of Rochesterville was thrown into wild panic. The situation was desperate. There were only 33 able-bodied men to defend the village. Under the command of Isaac W. Stone, and armed with a collection of muskets, scythes, clubs, and two cannons these 33 men marched down to Charlotte to defy the British navy. In the meantime the women of the village had packed their household goods in ox-carts and the boys had driven the livestock far back into the woods in preparation for flight.

A ragtag force of 33 Rochesterville pioneer militiamen led by senior military officer Col. Isaac W. Stone, a distant cousin of Enos and Orringh Stone (Stone-Tolan House on East Avenue), scared off the British (Sir James Yeo) at this Battle of Charlotte. The Rochesterville pioneers pulled off a clever deception by running men into and out of the woods at various locations so as to appear to be a much larger force. Rochesterville militia officer Francis Brown (Brown’s Race) intimidated the British officer, who under a flag of truce demanded that the local militia deliver up provisions and they would be spared. Francis Brown’s response was “Blood knee deep first." The British, who were convinced that a large army had rallied to the defense of Charlotte . Hurriedly the fleet pulled up anchors and sailed away. The British navy had turned tail and run from Rochesterville’s 33 pioneer militiamen.