Colonel Christopher Myers CB
Christopher John Myers was born c 1774 in County Dublin, Ireland. In August 1799, as a captain in the 40th Regiment of Foot, Myers was wounded at the Battle of Bergen in what is now Holland. Isaac Brock, then a Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the 49th Regiment of Foot, participated in the same battle.
By 1804, Myers was in the West Indies. Christopher’s first wife, brother and uncle all died of disease in the West Indies. Christopher survived and, in 1806, was appointed as Deputy Quartermaster-General to the Forces in Jamaica. On September 17, 1811, Lt-Col. Christopher Myers was appointed to be Deputy Quartermaster-General to the Forces serving in both the Canadas. However, two weeks later he was on leave of absence for the recovery of his health. Ill health was to be a factor for the rest of his life.
The Quartermaster-General’s Department was responsible for the procurement of materiel, accommodation and transportation for the troops; in modern terminology, logistics. On June 13, 1812, Myers arrived in Quebec to be the new DQMG but was immediately ordered to York under Major-General Brock. War with the United States was imminent and Myers had combat experience. In August, Myers was temporarily appointed to the command in Niagara while Brock was away attacking Fort Detroit. Brock wrote: “The high sense I entertain of the abilities and judgment of Lieutenant-Colonel Myers induced me to appoint him to the important command at Niagara”.
On October 13, the Battle of Queenston Heights took place, but Myers was not there. Maj.-Gen. Sheaffe reported: “Lieutenant-Colonel Myers, Deputy Quartermaster-General, was stationed in charge of Fort Erie, and succeeded in completely silencing the fire of the enemy, drove a detachment from the escarpment near the Black Rock, and destroyed a barrack in which was a considerable depot of ammunition. Its explosion must have killed many.” On October 16, the funeral procession of Maj.-Gen. Isaac Brock proceeded to his burial place at Fort George. Lt.-Col. Myers was in the procession. On October 20, Myers was put in command of the line from Fort George to Chippawa.
In early 1813, Brig.-Gen. John Vincent organized his forces in Niagara into three divisions, with one under Myers. At the Battle of Fort George, on May 27, the British were defeated. Edward Baynes, Adjutant-General, afterwards wrote: “Regardless of the immense superiority of the enemy, his advance was gallantly and obstinately disputed — a judicious position was occupied by Lieutenant-Colonel Myers, and… that zealous and meritorious officer was obliged to quit the field, having received three wounds”.
Other reports said Myers had his horse shot from under him. The American Colonel George McFeeley wrote: “We… entered the church which was occupied as a hospital; a number of wounded had been brought from the field of battle to this place, several British surgeons were employed in dressing their wounds. A British Colonel Myers was just then under the hands of the doctors, they had him bolstered up in bed and were wrapping a bandage around his body. He was wounded in four different places, he looked very pale and sick. We drank some wine and water at the invitation of the colonel. A guard was left to protect the hospital and we took our leave and marched off.”
Initially, Myers was listed in British reports under Wounded as “severely, not dangerously”. Although the Americans generally released prisoners who had been maimed or badly wounded, they declined to release Myers, who was imprisoned at Pittsfield Prison, Massachusetts.
On November 9, Lt.-Col. Myers arrived in Montreal, after being released on parole in exchange for an American colonel. Myers returned to Quebec and, on April 16, 1814, married Lydia Amelia Head, from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
On May 14, Myers was released from his parole and resumed his duties as Deputy Quartermaster-General. A month later he was promoted to Colonel In The Army. On August 15, in his DQMG role, he was present at the unsuccessful attack on Fort Erie but was forced to retreat to avoid being captured. On September 17, he was present when the Americans attacked the British camp. After both events, Lt.-Gen. Drummond wrote of the valuable assistance provided by Col. Myers.
On October 19, Myers led a force of about 750 troops at the Battle of Cook’s Mills. Lt.-Gen. Drummond wrote afterwards: “…the judgement and ability displayed by Colonel Myers in the execution of my instructions entitle him to my best acknowledgements.”
Immediately after the war’s end, Myers spent several months in England. On June 4, 1815, Colonel Myers was appointed as a Companion of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath. He returned to Quebec in September 1816 to resume his duties as DQMG.
In October 1816, Colonel Myers was sent from Quebec to the new military settlement of Perth, in what is now Lanark County, Ontario, to investigate the condition of the first settlers. His report stated: “I am of the opinion that none of the settlers at Perth and in its immediate neighbourhood are in a state to provide for themselves during the winter, the earliest of them only commencing on clearing their land in April last. I would therefore beg to recommend that rations & provisions be issued to them until next June.”
His recommendation was accepted and it was probably this action that resulted in the centre block in the town being named Mount Myers.
Myers was known to have had a liver complaint which probably originated from his time in the West Indies. His health deteriorated and, on November 3, 1817, he died at Montcalm House, Quebec. Five days later, Colonel Myers was buried in Quebec City with military honours. The following obituary appeared in the Quebec Mercury: “On Friday were interred, with the military honors due to the rank of the deceased, the remains of the late Colonel Myers, 99th regiment, Deputy Quarter Master General to the Forces in the Canadas. The funeral was most respectably and numerously attended. In addition to the different regiments in the Garrison that escorted the body, it was followed by His Excellency the Governor in Chief and Staff, the members of His Majesty’s Council, the Judges, the Officers of the different departments of Government, the Staff of the Garrison, the officers off duty, the officers of the 3rd battalion of Militia, and many other gentlemen. The firing party was from the 76th regt. under the command of Major Skerrit. The whole was solemn, and of the most impressive character.”
Christopher Myers is buried in St. Matthew’s Cemetery, 755 Rue St. Jean, Quebec, along with one of his two daughters. The inscription on his gravestone reads:
Colonel Christopher Myers CB
Deputy Quarter Master General
Forces in the Canadas
the 3rd of November 1817
Aged 43 years
Myers is buried in a plot near the fence along Rue St. Jean, next to the plot of Capt. George Fowler. His second wife and his other daughter are buried in England. His son, Col. William James Myers, is buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Myers Island, in the St. Lawrence River, near Brockville, was named after Christopher Myers. It is in the Brock Group, where several islands commemorate officers who served with Sir Isaac Brock in the War of 1812. In the Town of Perth, Lanark County, the block that contains the historic courthouse was named as Mount Myers.
More information on Christopher Myers is available at Archives Lanark
Veteran SummaryChristopher Myers
Colonel in The Army and Deputy Quarter-Master-General, Quartermaster General's Department
Place of Birth
, County Dublin, Ireland
Place of Death
Quebec City, QC, CAN
Died on: 03 NOV 1817
Reason: Probably liver disease resulting from his earlier service in the West Indies.
Location of Grave
St. Matthew's Cemetery, 755 rue St. Jean
Quebec City, QC, CAN
Latitude: 46.81112N Longitude: -71.217668