As the successful leader of victorious British troops in the Battle of Ogdensburgh, Lt. Col. George R.J. Red George MacDonnell seemed a perfect fit for military life.
An excerpt from a biography says it all in a few short sentences.
As a new lieutenant-colonel, MacDonnell succeeded to the command of Fort Wellington at Prescott (Ontario) and on 22 Feb. 1813, exceeding his orders to make a demonstration of strength, he attacked Ogdensburg, N.Y. His successful assault across the ice with a mixed force of regulars and militia ended the occupation of Ogdensburg by American forces for the remainder of the war.
What a guy. And the Toronto stage actor and St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival regular who will beginning tonight and all weekend portray Mr. MacDonell during the battles 200th anniversary festivities in Prescott, Ontario, couldnt agree more.
He was a stubborn Scot, said Warren S. Bain by telephone on Friday.
When the battles bicentennial committee called Mr. Bain a few months to consider taking on the MacDonnell role, this fan of historic forts didnt have to think about it for too long before answering.
They knew me from the Shakespeare Festival, he said. It was an opportunity that I didnt want to miss.
In doing his customary actors research, Mr. Bain dove in headfirst, never looking back and never once doubting it was worth the effort.
Its so important to our country, he said. I like living history.
And Mr. Bain isnt done learning. Tonight in Prescott in full 1813 military regalia, hell attend a dinner for Mr. MacDonnell. And preside over the waterfront fireworks above the St. Lawrence River.
The learning never stops.
Absolutely, Mr. Bain said. Im still doing my homework.
Events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the battle will take place all weekend on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border.