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Old 11-14-2018, 09:41 AM
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Arrow War of 1812 or the "2nd War of Independence"

War of 1812 or the "2nd War of Independence"

The War of 1812 brought the United States onto the world's stage in a conflict that ranged throughout the American Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast, into Canada, and onto the high seas and Great Lakes.

The United States went to war against Great Britain. The British were already waging a global war against France, one which had been raging since 1793. Canada, then under British rule, became the primary battleground between the young republic and the old empire.

The seeds of war were sown in many places. Since their war had broken out, Britain and France had both tried to restrict international trade. The United States was put in an awkward position, unable to trade with either world power without incurring the wrath of the other. In response, Congress passed a series of non-importation acts and embargos, each time trying to force the European powers to feel the sting of losing access to American markets. Europe was largely unmoved, and the United States fell into an economic depression.

During this time, the British were also doing several other things that Americans considered to be insulting. They rejected America's claim to neutrality in the global war, effectively dismissing the former colony's national legitimacy. They stopped American ships at sea and "impressed" American sailors—forcibly recruiting them into the Royal Navy on the spot. They also armed Native American tribes that preyed on frontier settlers.

From 1783-1812, the British Parliament issued twelve "Orders in Council," which declared that any merchant ship bound for a French port was subject to search and seizure. Because the United States traded regularly with France, the Orders put a heavy strain on Anglo-American relations. The Orders in Council of 1807 led to the ill-conceived Embargo Act, signed by Thomas Jefferson, which closed all American ports to international trade and plunged the American economy into a depression. In many ways the brewing war would be for freedom of the seas. A century later, the United States would once more go to war for the same cause, this time against Imperial Germany.

When James Madison was elected to the presidency in 1808, he instructed Congress to prepare for war with Britain. On June 18, 1812, buoyed by the arrival of "war hawk" representatives, the United States formally declared war for the first time in the nation's history. Citizens in the Northeast opposed the idea, but many others were enthusiastic about the nation's "Second War of Independence" from British oppression.

Ironically, the British Parliament was already planning to repeal their trade restrictions. By the time the ship carrying news of the declaration of war reached Great Britain, almost a month and a half after war had been declared, the restrictions had been repealed. The British, however, after hearing of the declaration, chose to wait and see how the Americans would react to the repeal. The Americans, after hearing of the repeal, were still unsure how Great Britain would react to the declaration of war. Thus, although one of the main causes for war had vanished, fighting began anyway.

The poorly trained U.S. army, numbering roughly 6,700 men, now faced an experienced adversary fielding over 240,000 soldiers spread across the globe. America's military fleet was large, but Britain's was much larger.

The United States entered the war seeking to secure commercial rights and uphold national honor. The American strategy was to quickly bring Great Britain to the negotiating table on these issues by invading Canada. Captured Canadian territory could be used as a powerful bargaining chip against the crown.

The invasion of Canada, which began in the summer of 1812, ended in disaster. By the end of the year 1812, American forces had been routed at the Battle of Queenston Heights on the Niagara River, a thrust into modern day Québec had been turned back after advancing fewer than a dozen miles, and Detroit had been surrendered to the Canadians. Meanwhile, British-allied Native Americans continued their raids in Indiana and Illinois, massacring many settlers.

The Americans performed better at sea. Although the British were able to set a semi-tight blockade along the Atlantic seaboard, American ships won several battles against British warships and captured a number of British trade vessels. The Americans continued to ably combat the formidable Royal Navy throughout the war.

American fortunes fared little better through most of 1813. An attempt to retake Detroit failed near Frenchtown, Michigan, though the resulting massacre of American prisoners at the hands of Native Americans on January 23, 1813 inspired Kentucky soldiers to enlist, heeding the new rally cry "Remember the River Raisin!" Continued attempts at capturing Canada resulted in only temporary footholds at York and Fort George along the Niagara front. The Battles of Chateuaguay and Crysler's Farm again prevented American forces from advancing on Montréal.

The only considerable American successes occurred in September, with Oliver Hazard Perry winning a major naval battle on Lake Erie, and in October, when the Tecumseh's Confederacy of northwestern Native American tribes was crushed at the Battle of the Thames.

Towards the end of 1813, a war among the Creek nations erupted in the Southeast between factions influenced by Tecumseh's nativism and those who sought to adopt white culture. The opposition faction, known as the Red Sticks, attacked American outposts including Fort Mims, Alabama.

Andrew Jackson organized a force of militia over the winter of 1813-1814 and defeated the Red Sticks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend on May 24, 1814. Through the Treaty of Fort Jackson, he forced both sides of the Creek Nation, even those allied to him, to cede nearly 23 million acres of what would become Alabama and portions of Georgia.

In 1814, the newly promoted Brigadier General Winfield Scott implemented a plan of strict drill for American troops on the Canadian border. They advanced into Upper Canada and scored a decisive victory at the Battle of Chippawa on July 5, 1814, but were forced to withdraw weeks later after the bloody Battle of Lundy’s Lane near Niagara Falls.

In April, a brief peace broke out in Europe as Napoleon was forced into his first exile. Great Britain was able to shift more resources to the North American theater. The tone of the war changed as Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin described, "We should have to fight hereafter not for 'free Trade and sailors rights,' not for the Conquest of the Canadas, but for our national existence." At the same time, however, the British began the process of repealing their policies of impressment and trade strangulation.

On August 19, 1814, an expeditionary force of 4,500 hardened British veterans under the command of General Robert Ross landed at Benedict, Maryland and began a lightning campaign. After routing Maryland militia at the Battle of Bladensburg, Ross's men captured and burned the public buildings in Washington, D.C., including the White House. That month, peace negotiations began in the European city of Ghent.

On September 12, Ross and his force attempted to take Baltimore with the support of the Royal Navy. Maryland militia held off the land assault at the Battle of North Point, killing Ross. Fort McHenry repulsed the British ships in a 25-hour battle that inspired the American national anthem. The British abandoned their designs on Baltimore, but soon launched another invasion of the Gulf Coast.

On December 24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed and peace was agreed upon. Word was again slow to travel, however, and on January 9, 1815, Andrew Jackson engaged a British force outside of New Orleans, resulting in a stunning but ultimately pointless victory. On February 18, 1815, the Treaty of Ghent was officially ratified by President Madison, and the nation ended the War of 1812 with "less a shout of triumph than a sigh of relief." 15,000 Americans died during the war.

The terms of the peace were status quo ante bellum, "the way things were before the war." All land reverted back to its original owners. British agents stopped supporting Native American raiders. The British trade restrictions and impressment policies had already been repealed. America had fought its old master to an honorable draw, and Britain had avoided disaster in North America while defeating the French in Europe. Canada gained a proud military heritage. The War of 1812 is somewhat paradoxical in that relations between the warring factions generally improved after the war.

The Native Americans, however, were the worst losers of the war. Many of them had fought in the hopes that Great Britain would insist upon a recognized Native nation in North America as part of the peace, but the British quickly abandoned the claim during the peace negotiations. Additionally, without British money and weaponry, the Native Americans lost the ability to defend their lands and attack U.S. settlements, increasing the rate of U.S. expansion.

In America, the war was followed by a half-decade now called the "Era of Good Feelings." The coming of world peace spurred an economic revival, and the collapse of the Federalist Party, which had bitterly opposed the war, removed much of the rancor from American politics. However, this was only an era, not an eternity. Having won its "second independence," the United States would soon have to confront its first sin—slavery.

War of 1812 Timeline


February 1 – France declares war on Great Britain


August 20 – General Anthony Wayne defeats a Native American confederation at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, paving the way for the settlement of present-day Ohio


April 30 – The Louisiana Purchase is finalized, adding more than 800,000 square miles to the western frontier of the United States

December 4 – Napoleon is crowned Emperor of France following a coup d'etat

April 18 – Non-Importation Act passed

November 21 – Napoleon issues the Berlin Decrees


November 11 – Great Britain passes the 1807 Orders in Council, restricting international trade with France

June 22 – HMS Leopard fires on the USS Chesapeake

December 22 – Embargo Act Passed


March 4 – James Madison is sworn in as the 4th President of the United States.


May 16 – The American frigate USS President fires on the British sloop HMS Little Belt

October 9 – Major General Isaac Brock is appointed Administrator of Upper Canada

November 11 – Battle of Tippecanoe


June 18 – The United States declares war on Great Britain

June 22 – A mob in Baltimore destroys the printing offices of an anti-war newspaper

July 12 – General William Hull invades Canada from Detroit

July 17 – Fort Michilimackinac surrenders to British-Canadian forces

August 5 – Skirmish near Brownstown, Michigan

August 8 – General Hull returns to Detroit

August 15 – British forces bombard Detroit

August 16 – General Hull surrenders Detroit

August 19 – The USS Constitution defeats the HMS Guerriere

October 13 – British-Canadians win the Battle of Queenston Heights, Ontario

November 27 – Skirmish at Fort Erie

December 28 – William Henry Harrison formally resigns as Governor of Indiana Territory and takes the rank of Brigadier General.

December 29 – USS Constitution defeats the HMS Java


January 9 – Great Britain declares war on the United States

January 13 – John Armstrong replaces William Eustis as Secretary of War

January 18 – American forces seize Frenchtown, Michigan

January 22 – The Battle of Frenchtown

January 23 – Between 30 and 60 American soldiers are killed in “The River Raisin Massacre”

February 20 – Battle of Ogdensburg

April 27 – Attack on York [modern today Toronto]; General Zebulon Pike is killed

April 29 – Raid on Frenchtown, Maryland by a British flotilla under the command of Admiral George Cockburn

March 4 – James Madison inaugurated for second term as President

March 27 – Oliver Hazard Perry takes command of the flotila at Lake Erie

May 1 – American forces evacuate York; Siege of Fort Meigs near modern day Toledo Ohio begins

May 3 – Royal Marines land and burn Havre de Grace, Maryland

May 27 – Engagement at Fort George

May 29 – Battle at Sackets Harbor

June 1 – USS Chesapeake captured by the British frigate HMS Shannon; Captain James Lawrence dies days later

June 6 – Engagement at Stoney Creek

June 22 – Battle of Craney Island

June 24 – Engagement at Beaver Dams

June 25 – Burning of Hampton, Virginia

August 10 – Battle of St. Michaels

August 30 – Attack on Fort Mims, Alabama

September 10 – Battle of Lake Erie

October 5 – Battle of the Thames; Tecumseh is killed

October 7 – Andrew Jackson establishes camp at Fayetteville, TN to recruit American forces to combat the Creeks in Alabama

October 26 – Engagement at Chateauguay

November 11 – Battle of Crysler’s Farm

November 29 – Battle of Autossee

December 19 – Capture of Fort Niagara


March 19 – Winfield Scott is promoted to Brigadier General at the age of 26

March 27 – Engagement at Horseshoe Bend

April 4 – Napoleon abdicates and is exiled to Elba off the coast of Tuscany; Great Britain now turns its focus to the war in America

July 3 – American troops under Major General Jacob Brown cross the Niagara River and capture Fort Erie

July 5 – Battle of Chippawa

July 22 – Treaty of Greenville

July 25 – Battle of Lundy’s Lane, one of the fiercest battles of the war

August 8 – Peace negotiations begin

August 9 - Treaty of Fort Jackson

August 9 – Stonington, CT raid begins

August 12 – Stonington Raid Ends

August 14 – General Robert Ross in command of a reinforcement consisting of 4,500 veteran
British troops arrive at Chesapeake Bay

August 19 – British troops land at Benedict, Maryland

August 24 – Battle of Bladensburg

August 24 – Burning of Washington, D.C.

August 27 – Abandonment of Fort Warburton

August 28 – Alexandria Raid

September 6 – Battle of Plattsburgh

September 11 – Battle of Lake Champlain

September 12 – Battle of North Point; General Ross is killed

September 13 – Bombardment of Fort McHenry

September 14 – Francis Scott Key writes the first lines of the poem which would become “The Star Spangled Banner”

November 6 – Battle of Malcom's Mills

November 9 – Battle of Pensacola

December 1 – Peace delegates reconvene at Ghent

December 14 – Delegates to the Hartford Convention meet in Hartford, Connecticut

December 24 – The Treaty of Ghent is signed

December 28 – The Treaty of Ghent is ratified by the British


January 5 – The Hartford Convention concludes

January 9 – The Battle of New Orleans; death of Edward Packenham

February 16 – The United States Senate ratifies the Treaty of Ghent

February 18 – The Treaty of Ghent is declared; the War of 1812 is over

February 20 – USS Constitution engages the HMS Cyane and HMS Levant, not knowing the war was over

April 6 – Seven American prisoners are killed and 32 wounded in the “Dartmoor Massacre” at Dartmoor Prison in Devon, England

May 24 – Battle of the Sink Hole

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Old 11-14-2018, 09:43 AM
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Arrow War of 1812 — FAQs

War of 1812 — FAQs

The War of 1812 is one of the least studied wars in American history. This page offers answers to frequently asked questions about this formative and dramatic conflict.

How long did the War of 1812 last?

The War of 1812 lasted from June 1812-February 1815, a span of two years and eight months. Peace negotiations began in late 1814, but slow communication across the Atlantic (and indeed across the United States) prolonged the war and also led to numerous tactical errors for both sides.

Where was the War of 1812 fought?

The War of 1812 was fought in many places in the United States, Canada, and on the high seas. Many battles were fought against British, Canadian, and Native American opponents in Michigan and New York and in the Canadian (then still under British rule) provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

Throughout the war, American forces also faced Native American foes in the territories of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. In the war’s final stages, British regulars attempted a seaborne invasion of the Gulf Coast, leading to combat in Louisiana.

The British enforced a blockade of American ports, particularly in the South, along the Atlantic seaboard. Naval engagements flared, especially around the Chesapeake Bay, as this blockade was challenged. Additionally, since the war had a distinct commercial character, pirate-style raids were carried out against trade ships throughout the Atlantic.

The Great Lakes Erie and Ontario played a major role in the War of 1812. Sitting amidst the main theater of operations in the North, they shaped the movements of the contending armies. Large ships were built and put on the Lakes, where they engaged in full-scale battles for supremacy in order to move troops and bombard rival towns.

Why was the War of 1812 fought?

The War of 1812 was part of a larger, global conflict. The empires of England and France spent 1789-1815 locked in an almost constant war for global superiority. That war stretched from Europe to North Africa and to Asia and, when the Americans declared war on England, the war engulfed North America as well.

The United States had a variety of grievances against Britain. Many felt that the British had not yet come to respect the United States as a legitimate country. The British were “impressing,” or forcibly drafting, American sailors at sea as well as blocking American trade with France—both of these were also spillover policies from the British prosecution of the war with France. The British were also unsubtly supporting Native American groups that preyed on American settlers along the frontier.

Who won the War of 1812?

The peace terms that ended the war were those of status quo ante bellum, “the state of things as they were before the war.” So, while the War of 1812 was legally a tie—a wash—in terms of territorial acquisitions, historians now look at its long term effects to judge who won.

The Americans declared war (for the first time in their nation’s history) to stop British impressment, reopen the trade lanes with France, remove British support from Native American tribes, and to secure their territorial honor and integrity in the face of their old rulers. All four of these goals were achieved by the time peace broke out, although some British measures were scheduled to be repealed before the war had even begun. By establishing a respected footing with Britain and Canada, the United States also experienced a commercial boom in the years after the war. The overall result of the war was probably positive for the nation as a whole.

The British gained little to nothing from the war, save for an honorable friendship with the United States. Valuable resources were diverted from the battlefields of Europe for the War of 1812, which brought no land or treasure to the crown. The British also lost their Native American lodgment against United States expansion, further unleashing the growth of a major global trade competitor. However, the British did ultimately defeat France in their long war while avoiding a fiasco in North America, which is a considerable victory in the context of the global conflict they waged.

Many Native American tribes fought against the United States in the Northwest, united as a Confederacy led by a Shawnee man named Tecumseh. Many of these tribes had allied with the British during the Revolutionary War as well. The Creek tribe in the Southwest battled settlers and soldiers throughout the War of 1812, eventually allying with a column of British regulars. In reaching peace through status quo antebellum, however, the Native Americans all lost their main request of a recognized nation in North America. British support also evaporated in the years after the war, further quickening the loss of Native lands.

Who was the American President during the War of 1812?

James Madison, “the Father of the Constitution,” was the president throughout the war. When the nation was first founded, Madison was closely allied with Thomas Jefferson in seeking a decentralized agrarian democracy. As time wore on, however, the man changed. Throughout the War of 1812, he struggled to motivate northeastern states to contribute men and money to the war effort. By the time the war was over, Madison was a proponent of centralized power and a strong manufacturing economy.

What kinds of weapons were used in the War of 1812?

The most widely used weapon in the War of 1812 was the smoothbore musket, which was carried by most of the infantrymen in the field. These had an effective battlefield range of 50-100 yards, necessitating close assaults and bayonet tactics be employed. There were also some units equipped with rifles, which were used primarily as light or specialized infantry.

Cannons were smoothbore as well, though they could shoot roughly 400 yards accurately. They were used with deadly, decisive effect on the battlefield.

Cavalrymen generally carried pistols and sabers and were used to outmaneuver or charge enemy formations.

Were there any significant technological advancements during the War of 1812?

The War of 1812 was fought in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, in which a variety of technological advancements came together to forever change the way humans lived and worked.

Steamships and steam-powered railroad engines came into profitable use for the first time during the war years. While they had little effect on the North American conflict, these steam machines would become the technological standard in the decades to come.

Machines made with interchangeable parts became more common during the War of 1812, although the practice was not yet applied to military manufacturing. For the common soldier, the most significant advancement may well have been improved food storage through airtight packaging.

What were the political effects of the War of 1812?

Internationally, the war helped codify a fair standing between the United States, Britain, and Canada. This led to an era of mutually beneficial trade and diplomatic partnership.

Domestically, the war exacerbated tensions between northern industrialists and southern planters. Industrialists were reluctant to go to war with Britain, which was then the worldwide model of the Industrial Revolution. Southerners, on the other hand, were quick to remember the French assistance that had helped win the southern campaigns of the American Revolution as well as the ideological similarities between the two revolutionary nations. The American public generally viewed the outcome of the war favorably, causing the anti-war Federalist Party to fade from national prominence.

What were the economic effects of the War of 1812?

In the early years of the 19th century, the United States was a rapidly expanding commercial power. Many historians cite this growth as a key factor in Britain’s desire to contain American expansion. The war helped to secure America’s unfettered access to the sea, which played a large role in a post-war economic boom.

The prosecution of the war cost the United States government 105 million dollars, which equates to roughly 1.5 billion dollars in 2014. The strain of raising this money drove legislators to charter the Second National Bank, taking another step towards centralization.

How many people fought in the War of 1812?

Only 7,000 men served in the United States military when the war broke out. By the end of the war, more than 35,000 American regulars and 458,000 militia—though many of these were only mustered in for local defense—were serving on land and sea.

The global British regular military comprised 243,885 soldiers in 1812. By war’s end, more than 58,000 regulars, 4,000 militia, and 10,000 Native Americans would join the battle for North America.

How many people died in the War of 1812?

Roughly 15,000 Americans died as a result of the War of 1812. Roughly 8,600 British and Canadian soldiers died from battle or disease. The losses among Native American tribes are not known.

Who were some of the important military figures of the War of 1812?

On the American side:

Oliver Hazard Perry was a young naval officer who won the Battle of Lake Erie, capturing an entire British naval squadron and permitting the liberation of Detroit.

Jacob Brown was an infantry officer who built up an impressive service record in the war, culminating in the successful defense of Fort Erie despite a seven-week siege. He was later promoted to Commander General of the U.S. Army.

William Henry Harrison was responsible for the military destruction of Tecumseh’s Confederacy, a dangerous Native American concentration in the northwest. He was later elected President of the United States.

William Hull coordinated the first invasion of Canada. Within weeks, however, he surrendered Detroit and his army to a smaller British force without firing a shot.

Andrew Jackson defeated Native American opposition in the southeast, adding 23 million acres to the United States, and won a stirring victory against British regulars at the Battle of New Orleans. He was later elected President of the United States.

Winfield Scott was a brave fighter who also implemented a training system that greatly improved the battlefield performance of the American army. He would later conceive of the “Anaconda Plan” that shaped Northern strategy in the Civil War.

On the British side:

Isaac Brock was a popular imperial administrator in Canada for many years before the war. He became a hero posthumously for his heroic but fatal defense of Queenston Heights.

Robert Ross led the veteran expeditionary force that burned Washington, D.C. He was killed outside of Baltimore at the Battle of North Point.

James Fitzgibbon practiced guerrilla warfare, using deception, local intelligence, and guts to halt an American invasion of Canada at the Battle of Beaver Dams.

Edward Pakenham was a respected Napoleonic War veteran who led the British column that attacked the Gulf Coast. He was killed at the Battle of New Orleans.

On the Native American side:

Tecumseh was a Shawnee leader who organized Tecumseh’s Confederacy, a resistance group allied with the British in the northwest. He was killed at the Battle of the Thames and his Confederacy fell apart.

Black Hawk was a Sauk chief who fought against American frontiersmen. After the War of 1812, Black Hawk organized a new confederacy, leading to the Black Hawk War of 1832.

On the Canadian side:

Gordon Drummond was a Canadian-born officer in the British Army. He played an important role in the Battle of Lundy’s Lane and the subsequent siege of Fort Erie, later becoming a major politician in Lower Canada.

Robert Livingston was a military courier who had, over the course of his life, been half-blinded by a tomahawk, speared more than twice, and shot in the thigh. He helped lift the siege of Fort Mackinac by smuggling in fresh supplies using camouflaged boats.

Richard Pierpont was a former slave who won freedom by fighting for the British in the Revolutionary War. He organized “The Coloured Corps,” made up primarily of slaves who had escaped to Canada, which fought at the Battles of Queenston Heights and Fort George.

What were the major battles of the War of 1812?

The War of 1812 was shaped by battles on land and sea.

Some notable American victories include:

The capture of the HMS Java, HMS Guerriere, and HMS Macedonian (August-December 1812) – The new US frigates Constitution and United States started the war with a bang, performing well in a series of Atlantic engagements that boosted American morale after a disappointing beginning on land.

The Battle of York (April 27, 1813) – American forces burned York, the capital of Upper Canada, after winning a hard-fought land battle.

The Battle of Lake Erie (September 10, 1813) – Oliver Hazard Perry won fame for his heroic deeds in this victory, which secured Lake Erie for the rest of the war and paved the way for the liberation of Detroit.

The Battle of the Thames, Ontario (October 5, 1813) – William Henry Harrison crushed a combined force of British and Native Americans in this battle, killing the Shawnee leader Tecumseh and thus removing the most dangerous threat to American settlers in the northwest.

The Battle of Horseshoe Bend (March 27, 1814) – Andrew Jackson defeated the Red Stick Creeks and then forced the tribe to cede their claim to 23 million acres of what is now Alabama and Georgia.

The Battle of Plattsburgh (September 11, 1814) – The British launched a poorly coordinated joint operation against the shipyard at Plattsburgh, but were decisively repulsed in one of the war’s largest naval engagements.

The Battle of North Point and the Defense of Fort McHenry (September 12-13, 1814) – After burning Washington, D.C., British forces advanced on Baltimore. Stubborn resistance at North Point and Fort McHenry saved the city, compelled the British to suspend their campaign, and inspired the American national anthem.

The Battle of New Orleans (January 8, 1815) – Andrew Jackson inflicted 2,000 casualties on attacking British troops while suffering only 71 in return. The battle became a touchstone of American pride.

Notable British-Canadian victories include:

The capture of Detroit (August 16, 1812) – Only weeks after the war began, American General William Hull surrendered Detroit, along with a sizable army, without resistance to a smaller British force.

The Battle of Bladensburg (August 24, 1814) – British regulars routed Maryland militia in this battle, opening the road to Washington, D.C., which they burned.

The Battle of Queenston Heights (October 13, 1812) – In a dramatic battle, British and Canadian troops turned back an American incursion into Canada. British General Isaac Brock was killed.

The Battles of Stoney Creek and Beaver Dams (June 6-24, 1813) – Another invasion of Canada was repulsed in these battles.

The Battle of Lundy’s Lane (July 25, 1814) – In one of the bloodiest battles of the war, one marked by extensive hand-to-hand fighting, the Americans were forced out of Canada for good.

How advanced was medicine during the War of 1812?

Disease was the primary cause of death during the War of 1812, not battlefield wounds. When men were wounded, they had little to look forward to in the hospital. Although sanitation was recognized as being medically important, advancements such as anesthesia and ambulatory care were still decades away. A British surgeon (who, along with one assistant, would generally be responsible for 1,000 men) remembered this:

“There is hardly on the face of the earth a less enviable situation than that of an Army Surgeon after a battle – worn out and fatigued in body and mind, surrounded by suffering, pain, and misery, much of which he knows it is not in his power to heal…. I never underwent such fatigue as I did the first week at Butler's Barracks. The weather was intensely hot, the flies in myriads, and lighting on the wounds, deposited their eggs, so that maggots were bred in a few hours.” – Tiger Dunlop, 89th Regiment of Foot

What roles did African-Americans play in the War of 1812?

African Americans were not officially allowed to join the U.S. Army during the War of 1812, although they served extensively in the U.S. Navy. Approximately one-quarter of the U.S. sailors at the Battle of Lake Erie were African American. Roughly 350 men of the “Battalion of Free Men of Color” fought at the Battle of New Orleans.

A company of mostly escaped slaves served with the British in Canada, participating in the Battle of Queenston Heights and the Siege of Fort Erie.

During the Royal Navy’s blockade of the Atlantic seaboard, roughly 4,000 slaves escaped onto British ships, where they were welcomed and freed. Many of them joined the British military, participating in the Battle of Bladensburg and the burning of Washington, D.C.

What are some of the best sources of information on the War of 1812?

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History is a treasure trove of information and artifacts, including the original Star-Spangled Banner.

Are War of 1812 battlefields preserved?

Many battlefields from the War of 1812 are preserved in part or in full, but many are not. The United States federal government compiled a study in 2007 that identified development threats to many battlefields and described more than half as already being "destroyed or fragmented."

See the ways you can Take Action to preserve these battlefields.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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