War of 1812

War of 1812

Overview
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and those of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment
Impressment
Impressment, colloquially, "the Press", was the act of taking men into a navy by force and without notice. It was used by the Royal Navy, beginning in 1664 and during the 18th and early 19th centuries, in wartime, as a means of crewing warships, although legal sanction for the practice goes back to...

 of American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, British support of American Indian
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 tribes against American expansion, and over national honour after humiliations on the high seas.
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Timeline

1812   War of 1812: U.S. President James Madison asks the Congress to declare war on the United Kingdom.

1812   War of 1812: The U.S. Congress declares war on the United Kingdom.

1812   War of 1812: Great Britain revokes the restrictions on American commerce, thus eliminating one of the chief reasons for going to war.

1812   War of 1812: the United States invade Canada at Windsor, Ontario.

1812   War of 1812: American General William Hull surrenders Fort Detroit without a fight to the British Army.

1812   War of 1812: American frigate ''USS Constitution'' defeats the British frigate ''HMS Guerriere'' off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada earning her nickname "Old Ironsides".

1812   War of 1812: The Siege of Fort Harrison begins when the fort is set on fire.

1812   War of 1812: The Siege of Fort Wayne begins when Chief Winamac's forces attack two soldiers returning from the fort's outhouses.

1812   War of 1812: A supply wagon sent to relieve Fort Harrison is ambushed in the Attack at the Narrows.

1812   War of 1812: A second supply train sent to relieve Fort Harrison is ambushed in the Attack at the Narrows.

 
Encyclopedia
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and those of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment
Impressment
Impressment, colloquially, "the Press", was the act of taking men into a navy by force and without notice. It was used by the Royal Navy, beginning in 1664 and during the 18th and early 19th centuries, in wartime, as a means of crewing warships, although legal sanction for the practice goes back to...

 of American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, British support of American Indian
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 tribes against American expansion, and over national honour after humiliations on the high seas. Tied down in Europe until 1814, the British at first used defensive strategy, repelling multiple American invasions of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

. However, the Americans gained control over Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

 in 1813, seized parts of western Ontario, and destroyed the dream of an Indian confederacy and an independent Indian state in the Midwest under British sponsorship. In the Southwest
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

 General Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

 destroyed the military strength of the Creek nation
Muscogee (Creek) Nation
The Muscogee Nation is a federally recognized tribe of Muscogee people, also known as the Creek, based in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. They are regarded as one of the historical Five Civilized Tribes and call themselves Este Mvskokvlke...

 at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. With the defeat of Napoleon in 1814
War of the Sixth Coalition
In the War of the Sixth Coalition , a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States finally defeated France and drove Napoleon Bonaparte into exile on Elba. After Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia, the continental powers...

, the British adopted a more aggressive strategy, sending in three large invasion armies. British victory at the Battle of Bladensburg
Battle of Bladensburg
The Battle of Bladensburg took place during the War of 1812. The defeat of the American forces there allowed the British to capture and burn the public buildings of Washington, D.C...

 in August 1814 allowed the British to capture and burn Washington, D.C
Burning of Washington
The Burning of Washington was an armed conflict during the War of 1812 between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the United States of America. On August 24, 1814, led by General Robert Ross, a British force occupied Washington, D.C. and set fire to many public buildings following...

. American victories in September 1814 and January 1815 repulsed all three British invasions in New York
Battle of Plattsburgh
The Battle of Plattsburgh, also known as the Battle of Lake Champlain, ended the final invasion of the northern states during the War of 1812...

, Baltimore
Battle of Baltimore
The Battle of Baltimore was a combined sea/land battle fought between British and American forces in the War of 1812. It was one of the turning points of the war as American forces repulsed sea and land invasions of the busy port city of Baltimore, Maryland, and killed the commander of the invading...

  and New Orleans
Battle of New Orleans
The Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8, 1815 and was the final major battle of the War of 1812. American forces, commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, defeated an invading British Army intent on seizing New Orleans and the vast territory the United States had acquired with the...

.

The war was fought in three theaters: At sea, warships and privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

s of both sides attacked each other's merchant ships. The British blockade
Blockade
A blockade is an effort to cut off food, supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally. A blockade should not be confused with an embargo or sanctions, which are legal barriers to trade, and is distinct from a siege in that a blockade is usually...

d the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and mounted large-scale raids in the later stages of the war. American successes at sea were characterized by single ship duels against British frigates, and combat against British provincial vessels on the Great Lakes, such as at the action on Lake Erie
Battle of Lake Erie
The Battle of Lake Erie, sometimes called the Battle of Put-in-Bay, was fought on 10 September 1813, in Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio during the War of 1812. Nine vessels of the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of Great Britain's Royal Navy...

. Both land and naval battles were fought on the frontier, which ran along the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 and Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River
The Saint Lawrence is a large river flowing approximately from southwest to northeast in the middle latitudes of North America, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It is the primary drainage conveyor of the Great Lakes Basin...

. The South and the Gulf coast
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

 saw major land battles in which the American forces destroyed Britain's Indian allies and repulsed the main British invasion force at New Orleans
Battle of New Orleans
The Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8, 1815 and was the final major battle of the War of 1812. American forces, commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, defeated an invading British Army intent on seizing New Orleans and the vast territory the United States had acquired with the...

. Both sides invaded each other's territory, but these invasions were unsuccessful or temporary. At the end of the war, both sides occupied parts of the other's territory, but these areas were restored by the Treaty of Ghent
Treaty of Ghent
The Treaty of Ghent , signed on 24 December 1814, in Ghent , was the peace treaty that ended the War of 1812 between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

.

In the U.S., battles such as the Battle of New Orleans
Battle of New Orleans
The Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8, 1815 and was the final major battle of the War of 1812. American forces, commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, defeated an invading British Army intent on seizing New Orleans and the vast territory the United States had acquired with the...

 and the earlier successful defense of Baltimore
Battle of Baltimore
The Battle of Baltimore was a combined sea/land battle fought between British and American forces in the War of 1812. It was one of the turning points of the war as American forces repulsed sea and land invasions of the busy port city of Baltimore, Maryland, and killed the commander of the invading...

 (which inspired the lyrics of the U.S. national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner
The Star-Spangled Banner
"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from "Defence of Fort McHenry", a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships...

") produced a sense of euphoria over a "second war of independence" against Britain. It ushered in an "Era of Good Feelings
Era of Good Feelings
The Era of Good Feelings was a period in United States political history in which partisan bitterness abated. It lasted approximately from 1815 to 1825, during the administration of U.S...

" in which the partisan animosity that had once verged on treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 nearly vanished. Canada also emerged from the war with a heightened sense of national feeling and solidarity, having repelled multiple American invasions. Battles such as the Battle of Queenston Heights
Battle of Queenston Heights
The Battle of Queenston Heights was the first major battle in the War of 1812 and resulted in a British victory. It took place on 13 October 1812, near Queenston, in the present-day province of Ontario...

 were used as such examples by Canadians. The war is scarcely remembered in Britain today, as it regarded the war as a sideshow to the much larger war against Napoleon
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 raging in Europe; as such it welcomed an era of peaceful relations and trade with the United States.

Reasons for the war



The United States declared war on Britain for several reasons. As Risjord (1961) notes, an unstated but powerful motivation for the Americans was the desire to uphold national honor in the face of what they considered to be British insults (including the Chesapeake affair).

Trade with France


In 1807, Britain introduced a series of trade restrictions via a series of Orders in Council
Orders in Council (1807)
The Orders in Council were a series of legislative decrees made by the United Kingdom in the course of the wars with Napoleonic France which instituted its policy of commercial warfare. Formally, an "Order in Council" is simply the type of legislation by which the British government decreed these...

 to impede American trade with France
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

, with which Britain was at war. The U.S. contested these restrictions as illegal under international law.

The British wanted to impede American trade with France, regardless of their theoretical right as neutrals to do so. As author Reginald Horsman explains, "a large section of influential British opinion, both in the government and in the country, thought that America presented a threat to British maritime supremacy."

The American merchant marine had come close to doubling between 1802 and 1810, making it by far the largest neutral fleet. Britain was the largest trading partner, receiving 80% U.S. cotton and 50% of other U.S. exports. The British public and press were resentful of the growing mercantile and commercial competition. The United States' view was that Britain's restrictions violated its right to trade with others.

Impressment


During the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 expanded to 175 ships of the line
Ship of the line
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear...

 and 600 ships overall, requiring 140,000 sailors. While the Royal Navy could man its ships with volunteers in peacetime, in war, it competed with merchant shipping and privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

s for a small pool of experienced sailors and turned to impressment
Impressment
Impressment, colloquially, "the Press", was the act of taking men into a navy by force and without notice. It was used by the Royal Navy, beginning in 1664 and during the 18th and early 19th centuries, in wartime, as a means of crewing warships, although legal sanction for the practice goes back to...

 when it could not operate ships with volunteers alone. It was estimated that there were 11,000 naturalized
Naturalization
Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship and nationality by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth....

 sailors on U.S. ships in 1805 and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin
Albert Gallatin
Abraham Alfonse Albert Gallatin was a Swiss-American ethnologist, linguist, politician, diplomat, congressman, and the longest-serving United States Secretary of the Treasury. In 1831, he founded the University of the City of New York...

 stated that 9,000 were born in Britain. The Royal Navy went after them by intercepting and searching U.S. merchant ships for deserters. Actions such as the Leander Affair and especially the ChesapeakeLeopard Affair
Chesapeake–Leopard Affair
The Chesapeake-Leopard Affair was a naval engagement which occurred off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia on June 22, 1807, between the British warship HMS Leopard and the American frigate, the USS Chesapeake, when the crew of the Leopard pursued, attacked and boarded the American frigate looking for...

, incensed the Americans. Americans were outraged by the practice because it infringed on national sovereignty and denied America’s ability to naturalize foreigners.

The United States believed that British deserters had a right to become United States citizens
Citizenship in the United States
Citizenship in the United States is a status given to individuals that entails specific rights, duties, privileges, and benefits between the United States and the individual...

. Britain did not recognize naturalized United States citizenship, so in addition to recovering deserters, it considered United States citizens born British liable for impressment. Aggravating the situation was the widespread use of forged identity papers by sailors. This made it all the more difficult for the Royal Navy to distinguish Americans from non-Americans and led it to impress some Americans who had never been British. (Some gained freedom on appeal.) American anger at impressment grew when British frigates stationed themselves just outside U.S. harbors in U.S. territorial waters and searched ships for contraband and impressed men in view of U.S. shores. "Free trade and sailors' rights" was a rallying cry for the United States throughout the conflict.

British support for Indian raids



The Northwest Territory
Northwest Territory
The Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Northwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 13, 1787, until March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio...

, comprising the modern states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, had been an area of dispute between the Indian Nations and the United States since the passage of the Northwest Ordinance
Northwest Ordinance
The Northwest Ordinance was an act of the Congress of the Confederation of the United States, passed July 13, 1787...

 in 1787. The British Empire had ceded the area to the United States in the Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1783)
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain on the one hand and the United States of America and its allies on the other. The other combatant nations, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic had separate agreements; for details of...

 in 1783. The Indian Nations followed Tenskwatawa
Tenskwatawa
Tenskwatawa, was a Native American religious and political leader of the Shawnee tribe, known as The Prophet or the Shawnee Prophet. He was the brother of Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee...

, the Shawnee Prophet and the brother of Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Tecumseh was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy which opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812...

. Tenskwatawa had a vision of purifying his society by expelling the "children of the Evil Spirit", the American settlers. Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh formed a confederation of numerous tribes to block American expansion. The British saw the Indian nations as valuable allies and a buffer to its Canadian colonies and provided arms. Attacks on American settlers in the Northwest further aggravated tensions between Britain and the United States. The Confederation's raids hindered American expansion into potentially valuable farmlands in the Northwest Territory.

The British had the long-standing goal of creating a large "neutral" Indian state that would cover much of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. They made the demand as late as the fall of 1814 at the peace conference, but lost control of western Ontario at key battles on Lake Erie, thus giving the Americans control of the proposed neutral zone.

United States expansionism


American expansion into the Northwest Territory was being obstructed by indigenous leaders like Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Tecumseh was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy which opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812...

, who were supplied and encouraged by the British. Americans on the western frontier demanded that interference be stopped. Before 1940, some historians held that United States expansionism into Canada was also a reason for the war; however, one subsequent historian wrote,
"Almost all accounts of the 1811–1812 period have stressed the influence of a youthful band, denominated War Hawk
War Hawk
War Hawk is a term originally used to describe members of the Twelfth Congress of the United States who advocated waging war against the British in the War of 1812...

s, on Madison's policy. According to the standard picture, these men were a rather wild and exuberant group enraged by Britain's maritime practices, certain that the British were encouraging the Indians and convinced that Canada would be an easy conquest and a choice addition to the national domain. Like all stereotypes, there is some truth in this tableau; however, inaccuracies predominate. First, Perkins has shown that those favoring war were older than those opposed. Second, the lure of the Canadas has been played down by most recent investigators".

Some Canadian historians proposed the notion in the early 20th century, and it survives in public opinion in Ontario.
According to Stagg (1981) and Stagg (1983), Madison and his advisers believed that conquest of Canada would be easy and that economic coercion would force the British to come to terms by cutting off the food supply for their West Indies colonies. Furthermore, possession of Canada would be a valuable bargaining chip. Settlers demanded the seizure of Canada not because they wanted the land, but because the British were thought to be arming the Indians and thereby blocking US settlement of the West. As Horsman concluded, "The idea of conquering Canada had been present since at least 1807 as a means of forcing England to change her policy at sea. The conquest of Canada was primarily a means of waging war, not a reason for starting it". Hickey flatly stated, "The desire to annex Canada did not bring on the war". Brown (1964) concluded, "The purpose of the Canadian expedition was to serve negotiation, not to annex Canada". Burt, a leading Canadian scholar, agreed, noting that Foster—the British minister to Washington—also rejected the argument that annexation of Canada was a war goal.

Most inhabitants of Upper Canada
Upper Canada
The Province of Upper Canada was a political division in British Canada established in 1791 by the British Empire to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees from the United States of America after the American Revolution...

 (Ontario) were either Revolutionary-era exiles from the United States (United Empire Loyalists) or postwar American immigrants. The Loyalists were hostile to union with the U.S., while the other settlers were uninterested. The Canadian colonies were thinly populated and only lightly defended by the British Army. Americans then believed that many in Upper Canada would rise up and greet a United States invading army as liberators, which did not happen. One reason American forces retreated after one successful battle inside Canada was that they could not obtain supplies from the locals. But the Americans thought that the possibility of local support suggested an easy conquest, as former President Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 believed: "The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us the experience for the attack on Halifax, the next and final expulsion of England from the American continent."

Some British officialsand some dissident Americanscharged that the goal of the war was to annex part of Canada, but they did not specify which part. The states nearest Canada strongly opposed the war.

US political conflict


While the British government was largely oblivious to the deteriorating North-American situation, due to its involvement in a continent-wide European War, the US was in a period of significant political conflict between the Federalist Party (based mainly in the Northeast), which favoured a strong central government and closer ties to Britain, and the Democratic-Republican Party (with its greatest power base in the South and West), which favoured a weak central government, preservation of slavery, expansion into Indian land, and a stronger break with Britain. By 1812, the Federalist Party had weakened considerably, and the Democratic-Republicans, with James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 completing his first term of office and control of Congress, was in a very strong position to pursue its more aggressive agenda against Britain and attempt to further weaken its Federalist rivals. Throughout the war, support for the US cause would be weak (or sometimes non-existent) in Federalist areas of the Northeast, though after the war, the self-destruction of the Federalists at the Hartford Convention
Hartford Convention
The Hartford Convention was an event spanning from December 15, 1814–January 4, 1815 in the United States during the War of 1812 in which New England's opposition to the war reached the point where secession from the United States was discussed...

 led to broader, retroactive support from all parts of the country.

Declaration of war


On June 1, 1812, President James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 sent a message to the Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, recounting American grievances against Great Britain, though not specifically calling for a declaration of war. After Madison's message, the House of Representatives quickly voted (79 to 49) a declaration of war
United States declaration of war upon the United Kingdom (1812)
An Act Declaring War between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Dependencies Thereof and the United States of America and Their Territories was passed by the United States Congress on 18 June 1812, thereby beginning the War of 1812....

, and the Senate agreed by 19 to 13. The conflict began formally on June 18, 1812 when Madison signed the measure into law. This was the first time that the United States had declared war on another nation, and the Congressional vote would prove to be the closest vote to declare war in American history. None of the 39 Federalists in Congress voted in favor of the war; critics of war subsequently referred to it as "Mr. Madison's War."
Meanwhile in London on May 11, an assassin killed Prime Minister Spencer Perceval
Spencer Perceval
Spencer Perceval, KC was a British statesman and First Lord of the Treasury, making him de facto Prime Minister. He is the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated...

, which resulted in Lord Liverpool
Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool
Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool KG PC was a British politician and the longest-serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since the Union with Ireland in 1801. He was 42 years old when he became premier in 1812 which made him younger than all of his successors to date...

 coming to power. Liverpool wanted a more practical relationship with the United States. He issued a repeal of the Orders in Council, but the U.S. was unaware of this, as it took three weeks for the news to cross the Atlantic.

Course of the war


Although the outbreak of the war had been preceded by years of angry diplomatic dispute, neither side was ready for war when it came. Britain was heavily engaged in the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, most of the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 was engaged in the Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

 (in Spain), and the Royal Navy was compelled to blockade most of the coast of Europe. The number of British regular troops present in Canada in July 1812 was officially stated to be 6,034, supported by Canadian militia. Throughout the war, the British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
The Secretary of State for War and the Colonies was a British cabinet level position responsible for the army and the British colonies . The Department was created in 1801...

 was the Earl of Bathurst
Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst
Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst KG PC was a British politician.-Background and education:Lord Bathurst was the elder son of Henry Bathurst, 2nd Earl Bathurst, by his wife Tryphena, daughter of Thomas Scawen...

. For the first two years of the war, he could spare few troops to reinforce North America and urged the commander in chief in North America (Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost
George Prevost
Sir George Prévost, 1st Baronet was a British soldier and colonial administrator. Born in Hackensack, New Jersey, the eldest son of Swiss French Augustine Prévost, he joined the British Army as a youth and became a captain in 1784. Prévost served in the West Indies during the French Revolutionary...

) to maintain a defensive strategy. The naturally cautious Prevost followed these instructions, concentrating on defending Lower Canada
Lower Canada
The Province of Lower Canada was a British colony on the lower Saint Lawrence River and the shores of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence...

 at the expense of Upper Canada
Upper Canada
The Province of Upper Canada was a political division in British Canada established in 1791 by the British Empire to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees from the United States of America after the American Revolution...

 (which was more vulnerable to American attacks) and allowing few offensive actions.

The United States was not prepared to prosecute a war, for Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 had assumed that the state militias would easily seize Canada and that negotiations would follow. In 1812, the regular army consisted of fewer than 12,000 men. Congress authorized the expansion of the army to 35,000 men, but the service was voluntary and unpopular; it offered poor pay, and there were few trained and experienced officers, at least initially. The militia objected to serving outside their home states, were not open to discipline, and performed poorly against British forces when outside their home state. American prosecution of the war suffered from its unpopularity, especially in New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

, where anti-war speakers were vocal. "Two of the Massachusetts members [of Congress], Seaver
Ebenezer Seaver
Ebenezer Seaver was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, Seaver graduated from Harvard University in 1784.He engaged in agricultural pursuits....

 and Widgery
William Widgery
William Widgery was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.Born in Devonshire, England, Widgery immigrated to America with his parents, who settled in Philadelphia.He attended the common schools.He engaged in shipbuilding....

, were publicly insulted and hissed on Change in Boston; while another, Charles Turner
Charles Turner, Jr.
Charles Turner, Jr. was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.Born in Duxbury, Massachusetts, Turner received a common-school education at Duxbury and Scituate, Massachusetts. He was commissioned an adjutant in the Massachusetts State Militia in 1787...

, member for the Plymouth district, and Chief-Justice of the Court of Sessions for that county, was seized by a crowd on the evening of August 3, [1812] and kicked through the town." The U.S. had great difficulty financing its war. It had disbanded its national bank
First Bank of the United States
The First Bank of the United States is a National Historic Landmark located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania within Independence National Historical Park.-Banking History:...

, and private bankers in the Northeast were opposed to the war. The failure of New England to provide militia units or financial support was a serious blow. Threats of secession by New England states were loud, as evidenced by the Hartford Convention
Hartford Convention
The Hartford Convention was an event spanning from December 15, 1814–January 4, 1815 in the United States during the War of 1812 in which New England's opposition to the war reached the point where secession from the United States was discussed...

. Britain exploited these divisions, blockading only southern ports for much of the war and encouraging smuggling.

On July 12, 1812, General William Hull
William Hull
William Hull was an American soldier and politician. He fought in the American Revolution, was Governor of Michigan Territory, and was a general in the War of 1812, for which he is best remembered for surrendering Fort Detroit to the British.- Early life and Revolutionary War :He was born in...

 led an invading American force of about 1,000 untrained, poorly equipped militia across the Detroit River
Detroit River
The Detroit River is a strait in the Great Lakes system. The name comes from the French Rivière du Détroit, which translates literally as "River of the Strait". The Detroit River has served an important role in the history of Detroit and is one of the busiest waterways in the world. The river...

 and occupied the Canadian town of Sandwich (now a neighborhood of Windsor, Ontario
Windsor, Ontario
Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada and is located in Southwestern Ontario at the western end of the heavily populated Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. It is within Essex County, Ontario, although administratively separated from the county government. Separated by the Detroit River, Windsor...

). By August, Hull and his troops (numbering 2,500 with the addition of 500 Canadians) retreated to Detroit, where they surrendered to a force of British regulars, Canadian militia and Native Americans, led by British Major General Isaac Brock
Isaac Brock
Major-General Sir Isaac Brock KB was a British Army officer and administrator. Brock was assigned to Canada in 1802. Despite facing desertions and near-mutinies, he commanded his regiment in Upper Canada successfully for many years...

 and Shawnee
Shawnee
The Shawnee, Shaawanwaki, Shaawanooki and Shaawanowi lenaweeki, are an Algonquian-speaking people native to North America. Historically they inhabited the areas of Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Western Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania...

 leader Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Tecumseh was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy which opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812...

. The surrender not only cost the U.S. the village of Detroit, but control over most of the Michigan territory
Michigan Territory
The Territory of Michigan was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from June 30, 1805, until January 26, 1837, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Michigan...

. Several months later, the U.S. launched a second invasion of Canada, this time at the Niagara peninsula
Niagara Peninsula
The Niagara Peninsula is the portion of Southern Ontario, Canada lying between the south shore of Lake Ontario and the north shore of Lake Erie. It stretches from the Niagara River in the east to Hamilton, Ontario in the west. The population of the peninsula is roughly 1,000,000 people...

. On October 13, U.S. forces were again defeated at the Battle of Queenston Heights
Battle of Queenston Heights
The Battle of Queenston Heights was the first major battle in the War of 1812 and resulted in a British victory. It took place on 13 October 1812, near Queenston, in the present-day province of Ontario...

, where General Brock was killed.

Military and civilian leadership remained a critical American weakness until 1814. The early disasters brought about chiefly by American unpreparedness and lack of leadership drove United States Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

 William Eustis
William Eustis
William Eustis was an early American statesman.He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and studied at the Boston Latin School before he entered Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1772. He studied medicine under Dr. Joseph Warren and helped care for the wounded at the Battle of Bunker...

 from office. His successor, John Armstrong, Jr.
John Armstrong, Jr.
John Armstrong, Jr. was an American soldier and statesman who was a delegate to the Continental Congress, U.S. Senator from New York, and Secretary of War.-Early life and Revolutionary War:...

, attempted a coordinated strategy late in 1813 (with 10,000 men) aimed at the capture of Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, but he was thwarted by logistical difficulties, uncooperative and quarrelsome commanders and ill-trained troops. After losing several battles to inferior forces, the Americans retreated in disarray in October 1813.

A decisive use of naval power came on the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 and depended on a contest of building ships. The U.S. started a rapidly expanded program of building warships at Sackets Harbor
Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site
Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site is a historically important location in Jefferson County, New York, USA. The historic site is south of the Village of Sackets Harbor in the Town of Hounsfield...

 on Lake Ontario, where 3,000 men were recruited, many from New York City, to build 11 warships early in the war. In 1813, the Americans won control of Lake Erie in the Battle of Lake Erie
Battle of Lake Erie
The Battle of Lake Erie, sometimes called the Battle of Put-in-Bay, was fought on 10 September 1813, in Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio during the War of 1812. Nine vessels of the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of Great Britain's Royal Navy...

 and cut off British and Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 forces in the west from their supply base; they were decisively defeated by General William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

's forces on their retreat towards Niagara at the Battle of the Thames
Battle of the Thames
The Battle of the Thames, also known as the Battle of Moraviantown, was a decisive American victory in the War of 1812. It took place on October 5, 1813, near present-day Chatham, Ontario in Upper Canada...

 in October 1813. Tecumseh, the leader of the tribal confederation, was killed and his Indian coalition disintegrated. While some Natives continued to fight alongside British troops, they subsequently did so only as individual tribes or groups of warriors, and where they were directly supplied and armed by British agents. The Americans controlled western Ontario, and permanently ended the threat of Indian raids based in Canada into the American Midwest, thus achieving a basic war goal. Control of Lake Ontario changed hands several times, with both sides unable and unwilling to take advantage of the temporary superiority.

At sea, the powerful Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 blockaded much of the coastline, though it was allowing substantial exports from New England, which traded with Canada in defiance of American laws. The blockade devastated American agricultural exports, but it helped stimulate local factories that replaced goods previously imported. The American strategy of using small gunboats to defend ports was a fiasco
Failure
Failure refers to the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success. Product failure ranges from failure to sell the product to fracture of the product, in the worst cases leading to personal injury, the province of forensic...

, as the British raided the coast at will. The most famous episode was a series of British raids on the shores of Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. It lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay's drainage basin covers in the District of Columbia and parts of six states: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West...

, including an attack on Washington that resulted in the British burning of the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

, the Capitol
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

, the Navy Yard
Washington Navy Yard
The Washington Navy Yard is the former shipyard and ordnance plant of the United States Navy in Southeast Washington, D.C. It is the oldest shore establishment of the U.S. Navy...

, and other public buildings, in the "Burning of Washington
Burning of Washington
The Burning of Washington was an armed conflict during the War of 1812 between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the United States of America. On August 24, 1814, led by General Robert Ross, a British force occupied Washington, D.C. and set fire to many public buildings following...

". The embarrassing Burning of Washington led to Armstrong's dismissal as US Secretary of War. The British power at sea was enough to allow the Royal Navy to levy "contributions" on bayside towns in return for not burning them to the ground. The Americans were more successful in ship-to-ship actions. They sent out several hundred privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

s to attack British merchant ships; in the first four months of war they captured 219 British merchant ships. British commercial interests were damaged, especially in the West Indies.

After Napoleon abdicated in 1814, the British could send veteran armies to the U.S., but by then the Americans had learned how to mobilize and fight. British General Prevost launched a major invasion of New York State
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 with these veteran soldiers, but the American fleet under Thomas Macdonough
Thomas MacDonough
Thomas Macdonough was an early-19th-century American naval officer noted for his roles in the first Barbary War, and the War of 1812. He was the son of a revolutionary officer, Thomas Sr. who lived close to Middleton, Delaware. Being the sixth child born, he came from a large family of ten...

 gained control of Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain is a natural, freshwater lake in North America, located mainly within the borders of the United States but partially situated across the Canada—United States border in the Canadian province of Quebec.The New York portion of the Champlain Valley includes the eastern portions of...

 and the British lost the Battle of Plattsburgh
Battle of Plattsburgh
The Battle of Plattsburgh, also known as the Battle of Lake Champlain, ended the final invasion of the northern states during the War of 1812...

 in September 1814. Prevost, blamed for the defeat, sought a court-martial
Court-martial
A court-martial is a military court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment.Most militaries maintain a court-martial system to try cases in which a breach of...

 to clear his name but he died in London awaiting it. A British invasion of Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 (unknowingly launched after the Treaty of Ghent
Treaty of Ghent
The Treaty of Ghent , signed on 24 December 1814, in Ghent , was the peace treaty that ended the War of 1812 between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 was negotiated to end the war) was defeated with very heavy British losses by General Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

 at the Battle of New Orleans
Battle of New Orleans
The Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8, 1815 and was the final major battle of the War of 1812. American forces, commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, defeated an invading British Army intent on seizing New Orleans and the vast territory the United States had acquired with the...

 in January 1815. The victory made Jackson a national hero, restored the American sense of honor, and ruined the Federalist party efforts to condemn the war as a failure. With the ratification of the peace treaty in February 1815, the war ended before the U.S. new Secretary of War James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

 could put his new offensive strategy into effect.

Once Britain and The Sixth Coalition
War of the Sixth Coalition
In the War of the Sixth Coalition , a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States finally defeated France and drove Napoleon Bonaparte into exile on Elba. After Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia, the continental powers...

 defeated Napoleon in 1814, France and Britain became allies. Britain ended the trade restrictions and the impressment of American sailors, thus removing two more causes of the war. After two years of warfare, the major causes of the war had disappeared. Neither side had a reason to continue or a chance of gaining a decisive success that would compel their opponents to cede territory or advantageous peace terms. As a result of this stalemate
Stalemate
Stalemate is a situation in chess where the player whose turn it is to move is not in check but has no legal moves. A stalemate ends the game in a draw. Stalemate is covered in the rules of chess....

, the two countries signed the Treaty of Ghent
Treaty of Ghent
The Treaty of Ghent , signed on 24 December 1814, in Ghent , was the peace treaty that ended the War of 1812 between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 on December 24, 1814. News of the peace treaty took two months to reach the U.S., during which fighting continued. The war fostered a spirit of national unity and an "Era of Good Feelings
Era of Good Feelings
The Era of Good Feelings was a period in United States political history in which partisan bitterness abated. It lasted approximately from 1815 to 1825, during the administration of U.S...

" in the U.S., as well as in Canada. It opened a long era of peaceful relations between the United States and the British Empire.

Theaters of war


The war was conducted in three theaters:
  1. The Atlantic Ocean
    Atlantic Ocean
    The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

  2. The Great Lakes
    Great Lakes
    The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

     and the Canadian frontier
  3. The Southern States

Single-ship actions



In 1812, Britain's Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 was the world's largest, with over 600 cruisers in commission and some smaller vessels. Although most of these were involved in blockading the French navy and protecting British trade against (usually French) privateers, the Royal Navy nevertheless had 85 vessels in American waters. By contrast, the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 comprised only 8 frigate
Frigate
A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...

s, 14 smaller sloops and brig
Brig
A brig is a sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts. During the Age of Sail, brigs were seen as fast and manoeuvrable and were used as both naval warships and merchant vessels. They were especially popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries...

s, and no ships of the line
Ship of the line
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear...

. However some American frigate
Frigate
A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...

s were exceptionally large and powerful for their class. Whereas the standard British frigate of the time was rated as a 38 gun ship, with its main battery consisting of 18-pounder guns, the , , and were rated as 44-gun ships and carried 56 guns with a main battery
Artillery battery
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped in order to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems...

 of 24-pounders.


The British strategy was to protect their own merchant shipping to and from Halifax
City of Halifax
Halifax is a city in Canada, which was the capital of the province of Nova Scotia and shire town of Halifax County. It was the largest city in Atlantic Canada until it was amalgamated into Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996...

, Canada and the West Indies, and to enforce a blockade of major American ports to restrict American trade. Because of their numerical inferiority, the Americans aimed to cause disruption through hit-and-run tactics, such as the capture of prizes
Prize (law)
Prize is a term used in admiralty law to refer to equipment, vehicles, vessels, and cargo captured during armed conflict. The most common use of prize in this sense is the capture of an enemy ship and its cargo as a prize of war. In the past, it was common that the capturing force would be allotted...

 and engaging Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 vessels only under favorable circumstances. Days after the formal declaration of war, however, two small squadrons sailed, including the frigate USS President and the sloop USS Hornet
USS Hornet (1805, brig)
The third USS Hornet was a brig-rigged sloop-of-war in the United States Navy. Later, however, she was re-rigged as a ship. Hornet was launched on 28 July 1805 in Baltimore and commissioned on 18 October...

 under Commodore John Rodgers
John Rodgers (naval officer, War of 1812)
John Rodgers was a senior naval officer in the United States Navy who served under six Presidents for nearly four decades during its formative years in the 1790s through the late 1830s, committing the greater bulk of his adult life to his country...

, and the frigates USS United States and USS Congress
USS Congress (1799)
USS Congress was a nominally rated 38-gun wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. She was named by George Washington to reflect a principal of the United States Constitution. James Hackett built her in Portsmouth New Hampshire and she was launched on 15 August 1799...

, with the brig USS Argus
USS Argus (1803)
The first USS Argus was a brig in the United States Navy during the First Barbary War and the War of 1812.Argus was laid down as Merrimack on 12 May 1803 at Boston, Massachusetts, by Edmund Hartt; renamed Argus on 4 June 1803; and launched on 21 August 1803.-First Barbary War:Though no document...

 under Captain Stephen Decatur
Stephen Decatur
Stephen Decatur, Jr. , was an American naval officer notable for his many naval victories in the early 19th century. He was born on the eastern shore of Maryland, Worcester county, the son of a U.S. Naval Officer who served during the American Revolution. Shortly after attending college Decatur...

. These were initially concentrated as one unit under Rodgers, and it was his intention to force the Royal Navy to concentrate its own ships to prevent isolated units being captured by his powerful force. Large numbers of American merchant ships were still returning to the United States, and if the Royal Navy was concentrated, it could not watch all the ports on the American seaboard. Rodgers' strategy worked, in that the Royal Navy concentrated most of its frigates off New York Harbor
New York Harbor
New York Harbor refers to the waterways of the estuary near the mouth of the Hudson River that empty into New York Bay. It is one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Although the U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not use the term, New York Harbor has important historical, governmental,...

 under Captain Philip Broke
Philip Broke
Rear Admiral Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke, 1st Baronet KCB was a distinguished officer in the British Royal Navy.-Early life:Broke was born at Broke Hall, Nacton, near Ipswich, the eldest son of Philip Bowes Broke...

 and allowed many American ships to reach home. However, his own cruise captured only five small merchant ships, and the Americans never subsequently concentrated more than two or three ships together as a unit.

Meanwhile, the USS Constitution, commanded by Captain Isaac Hull
Isaac Hull
-External links:* *...

, sailed from Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. It lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay's drainage basin covers in the District of Columbia and parts of six states: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West...

 on July 12. On July 17, Broke's British squadron gave chase off New York, but the Constitution evaded her pursuers after two days. After briefly calling at Boston to replenish water, on August 19, the Constitution engaged the British frigate
USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere
The USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere, was a single ship action between the two ships during the War of 1812. It took place shortly after war had broken out, and would prove to be an important victory for American morale.-Background:...

 HMS Guerriere
HMS Guerriere (1806)
HMS Guerriere was a 38-gun fifth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy, which had previously sailed with the French Navy as the Guerrière. She became famous for her fight against ....

. After a 35-minute battle, Guerriere had been dis-masted and captured and was later burned. Hull returned to Boston with news of this significant victory. On October 25, the USS United States, commanded by Captain Decatur, captured the British frigate HMS Macedonian
HMS Macedonian
HMS Macedonian was a 38-gun fifth rate in the Royal Navy, later captured by the during the War of 1812. She was built at Woolwich Dockyard, England in 1809, launched 2 June 1810 and commissioned the same month. She was commanded by Captain Lord William Fitzroy...

, which he then carried back to port. At the close of the month, the Constitution sailed south, now under the command of Captain William Bainbridge
William Bainbridge
William Bainbridge was a Commodore in the United States Navy, notable for his victory over HMS Java during the War of 1812.-Early life:...

. On December 29, off Bahia
Bahia
Bahia is one of the 26 states of Brazil, and is located in the northeastern part of the country on the Atlantic coast. It is the fourth most populous Brazilian state after São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, and the fifth-largest in size...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, she met the British frigate HMS Java
HMS Java (1811)
HMS Java was a British Royal Navy 38-gun fifth-rate frigate. She was originally launched in 1805 as the Renommée, described as a 40-gun Pallas-class French Navy frigate, but the vessel actually carried 46 guns...

. After a battle lasting three hours, Java struck her colours
Striking the colors
Striking the colors is the universally recognized indication of surrender, particularly for ships at sea. Surrender is dated from the time the ensign is struck.-In international law:# "Colors. A national flag . The colors . ....

 and was burned after being judged unsalvageable. The USS Constitution, however, was undamaged in the battle and earned the name "Old Ironsides."

The successes gained by the three big American frigates forced Britain to construct five 40-gun, 24-pounder heavy frigates and two "spar-decked" frigates (the 60-gun HMS Leander
HMS Leander (1813)
HMS Leander was a 4th rate Ship-of-the-Line of 60 guns of the Royal Navy, launched on 10 November 1813.In the War of 1812 she took part in the battle of Fort McHenry....

 and HMS Newcastle
HMS Newcastle
Eight ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Newcastle, after the English city of Newcastle upon Tyne:*HMS Newcastle was a 50-gun fourth-rate ship launched in 1653. She was rebuilt in 1692 and wrecked in 1703....

) and to razee
Razee
A razee or razée is a sailing ship that has been cut down to reduce the number of decks. The word is derived from the French vaisseau rasé, meaning a razed ship.-Sixteenth century:...

 three old 74-gun ships of the line to convert them to heavy frigates. The Royal Navy acknowledged that there were factors other than greater size and heavier guns. The United States Navy's sloops and brigs had also won several victories over Royal Navy vessels of approximately equal strength. While the American ships had experienced and well-drilled volunteer crews, the enormous size of the overstretched Royal Navy meant that many ships were shorthanded and the average quality of crews suffered, and constant sea duties of those serving in North America interfered with their training and exercises.

The capture of the three British frigates stimulated the British to greater exertions. More vessels were deployed on the American seaboard and the blockade tightened. On June 1, 1813, off Boston Harbor
Boston Harbor
Boston Harbor is a natural harbor and estuary of Massachusetts Bay, and is located adjacent to the city of Boston, Massachusetts. It is home to the Port of Boston, a major shipping facility in the northeast.-History:...

, the frigate USS Chesapeake
USS Chesapeake (1799)
USS Chesapeake was a 38-gun wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. She was one of the original six frigates whose construction was authorized by the Naval Act of 1794. Joshua Humphreys designed these frigates to be the young navy's capital ships...

, commanded by Captain James Lawrence
James Lawrence
James Lawrence was an American naval officer. During the War of 1812, he commanded the USS Chesapeake in a single-ship action against HMS Shannon...

, was captured by the British frigate HMS Shannon
HMS Shannon (1806)
HMS Shannon was a 38-gun Leda-class frigate of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1806 and served in the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812...

 under Captain Sir Philip Broke. Lawrence was mortally wounded and famously cried out, "Don't give up the ship! Hold on, men!" Although the Chesapeake was only of equal strength to the average British frigate and the crew had mustered together only hours before the battle, the British press reacted with almost hysterical relief that the run of American victories had ended. It should be noted that this single victory was by ratio one of the bloodiest contests recorded during this age of sail with more dead and wounded than HMS Victory suffered in 4 hours of combat at Trafalgar. Captain Lawrence was killed and Captain Broke would never again hold a sea command due to wounds.

In January 1813, the American frigate USS Essex
USS Essex (1799)
The first USS Essex of the United States Navy was a 36-gun or 32-gun sailing frigate that participated in the Quasi-War with France, the First Barbary War, and in the War of 1812, during which she was captured by the British in 1814 and served as HMS Essex until sold at public auction on 6 June...

, under the command of Captain David Porter
David Porter (naval officer)
David Porter was an officer in the United States Navy in a rank of commodore and later the commander-in-chief of the Mexican Navy.-Life:...

, sailed into the Pacific in an attempt to harass British shipping. Many British whaling ships carried letters of marque allowing them to prey on American whalers, and nearly destroyed the industry. The Essex challenged this practice. She inflicted considerable damage on British interests before she was captured off Valparaiso, Chile by the British frigate HMS Phoebe
HMS Phoebe (1795)
HMS Phoebe was a 36-gun fifth rate of the British Royal Navy. She had a career of almost twenty years and fought in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812...

 and the sloop HMS Cherub
HMS Cherub (1806)
HMS Cherub was an 18-gun Royal Navy Cormorant-class sloop built in Dover in 1806.-West Indies and Pacific service:Cherub was stationed in the West Indies and took part in the capture of Guadeloupe in 1810 and remained on the Leeward Islands station until 1812. That year she returned to England with...

 on March 28, 1814.

The British 6th-rate Cruizer-class brig-sloop
Cruizer class brig-sloop
The Cruizer class was an 18-gun class of brig-sloops of the Royal Navy. Brig-sloops were the same as ship-sloops except for their rigging...

s did not fare well against the American ship-rigged sloops of war. The USS Hornet and USS Wasp
USS Wasp (1807)
The second USS Wasp of the United States Navy was a sailing sloop of war captured by the British in the early months of the War of 1812. She was constructed in 1806 at the Washington Navy Yard, was commissioned sometime in 1807, Master Commandant John Smith in command. In 1812 she captured , but...

 constructed before the war were notably powerful vessels, and the Frolic class built during the war even more so (although USS Frolic
USS Frolic (1813)
USS Frolic was a sloop-of-war that served in the United States Navy in 1814. The British captured her later that year and she served in the Royal Navy in the Channel and the North Sea until she was broken up in 1819.-Construction:...

 was trapped and captured by a British frigate and a schooner). The British brig-rigged sloops tended to suffer fire to their rigging far worse than the American ship-rigged sloops, while the ship-rigged sloops could back their sails in action, giving them another advantage in maneuvering.

Following their earlier losses, the British Admiralty instituted a new policy that the three American heavy frigates should not be engaged except by a ship of the line or smaller vessels in squadron strength. An example of this was the capture of the USS President
Capture of USS President
The Capture of USS President was the result of a naval action fought at the end of the Anglo-American War of 1812. The frigate President tried to break out of New York Harbor, but was intercepted by a British squadron of four frigates and was forced to surrender.-Prelude:At the time of the battle...

 by a squadron of four British frigates in January 1815. A month later, however, the USS Constitution managed to engage and capture two smaller British warships, HMS Cyane
HMS Cyane (1806)
HMS Cyane was a Royal Navy Banterer-class sixth-rate post ship of nominally 22 guns, built in 1806 at Topsham, near Exeter, England. She was ordered in January 1805 as HMS Columbine but renamed Cyane on 6 December of that year...

 and HMS Levant
HMS Levant (1813)
HMS Levant was a 20-gun Cyrus-class sixth rate of the Royal Navy built by William Courtney, of Chester. She was one of five British warships that were captured or destroyed by in the War of 1812...

, sailing in company.

Blockade


The blockade of American ports later tightened to the extent that most American merchant ships and naval vessels were confined to port. The American frigates USS United States and USS Macedonian ended the war blockaded and hulked
Hulk (ship)
A hulk is a ship that is afloat, but incapable of going to sea. Although sometimes used to describe a ship that has been launched but not completed, the term most often refers to an old ship that has had its rigging or internal equipment removed, retaining only its flotational qualities...

 in New London, Connecticut
New London, Connecticut
New London is a seaport city and a port of entry on the northeast coast of the United States.It is located at the mouth of the Thames River in New London County, southeastern Connecticut....

. Some merchant ships were based in Europe or Asia and continued operations. Others, mainly from New England, were issued licenses to trade by Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren
John Borlase Warren
Sir John Borlase Warren, 1st Baronet , was an English admiral, politician and diplomat. Born in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire, he was the son and heir of John Borlase Warren of Stapleford and Little Marlow...

, commander in chief on the American station in 1813. This allowed Wellington's army in Spain to receive American goods and to maintain the New Englanders' opposition to the war. The blockade nevertheless resulted in American exports decreasing from $130 million in 1807 to $7 million in 1814.

The operations of American privateers (some of which belonged to the United States Navy, but most of which were private ventures) were extensive. They continued until the close of the war and were only partially affected by the strict enforcement of convoy
Convoy
A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support, though it may also be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas.-Age of Sail:Naval...

 by the Royal Navy. An example of the audacity of the American cruisers was the depredations in British home waters carried out by the American sloop USS Argus
USS Argus (1803)
The first USS Argus was a brig in the United States Navy during the First Barbary War and the War of 1812.Argus was laid down as Merrimack on 12 May 1803 at Boston, Massachusetts, by Edmund Hartt; renamed Argus on 4 June 1803; and launched on 21 August 1803.-First Barbary War:Though no document...

. It was eventually captured off St. David's Head
St David's
St Davids , is a city and community in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Lying on the River Alun on St David's Peninsula, it is Britain's smallest city in terms of both size and population, the final resting place of Saint David, the country's patron saint, and the de facto ecclesiastical capital of...

 in Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 by the British brig HMS Pelican on August 14, 1813. A total of 1,554 vessels were claimed captured by all American naval and privateer vessels, 1,300 of which were captured by privateers. However, insurer Lloyd's of London
Lloyd's of London
Lloyd's, also known as Lloyd's of London, is a British insurance and reinsurance market. It serves as a partially mutualised marketplace where multiple financial backers, underwriters, or members, whether individuals or corporations, come together to pool and spread risk...

 reported that only 1,175 British ships were taken, 373 of which were recaptured, for a total loss of 802.

As the Royal Navy base that supervised the blockade, Halifax
City of Halifax
Halifax is a city in Canada, which was the capital of the province of Nova Scotia and shire town of Halifax County. It was the largest city in Atlantic Canada until it was amalgamated into Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996...

 profited greatly during the war. From that base British privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

s seized many French and American ships and sold their prizes in Halifax.

The war was the last time the British allowed privateering, since the practice was coming to be seen as politically inexpedient and of diminishing value in maintaining its naval supremacy. It was the swan song of Bermuda's privateers, who had vigorously returned to the practice after American lawsuits had put a stop to it two decades earlier. The nimble Bermuda sloop
Bermuda sloop
The Bermuda sloop is a type of fore-and-aft rigged sailing vessel developed on the islands of Bermuda in the 17th century. In its purest form, it is single-masted, although ships with such rigging were built with as many as three masts, which are then referred to as schooners...

s captured 298 enemy ships. British naval and privateer vessels between the Great Lakes and the West Indies captured 1,593.

Atlantic coast


Preoccupied in their pursuit of American privateers when the war began, the British naval forces had some difficulty in blockading the entire U.S. coast. The British government, having need of American foodstuffs for its army in Spain, benefited from the willingness of the New Englanders to trade with them, so no blockade of New England was at first attempted. The Delaware River
Delaware River
The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States.A Dutch expedition led by Henry Hudson in 1609 first mapped the river. The river was christened the South River in the New Netherland colony that followed, in contrast to the North River, as the Hudson River was then...

 and Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. It lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay's drainage basin covers in the District of Columbia and parts of six states: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West...

 were declared in a state of blockade on December 26, 1812.

This was extended to the coast south of Narragansett
Narragansett, Rhode Island
Narragansett is a town in Washington County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 15,868 at the 2010 census, but there is a greater population in the summer. The nickname for the town is "Gansett". The town of Narragansett occupies a narrow strip of land running along the eastern bank...

 by November 1813 and to the entire American coast on May 31, 1814. In the meantime, illicit trade was carried on by collusive captures arranged between American traders and British officers. American ships were fraudulently transferred to neutral flags. Eventually, the U.S. government was driven to issue orders to stop illicit trading; this put only a further strain on the commerce of the country. The overpowering strength of the British fleet enabled it to occupy the Chesapeake and to attack and destroy numerous docks and harbors.

Additionally, commanders of the blockading fleet, based at the Bermuda dockyard
Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda
HMD Bermuda was the principal base of the Royal Navy in the Western Atlantic between American independence and the Cold War. Bermuda had occupied a useful position astride the homeward leg taken by many European vessels from the New World since before its settlement by England in 1609...

, were given instructions to encourage the defection of American slaves by offering freedom, as they did during the Revolutionary War. Thousands of black slaves went over to the Crown with their families and were recruited into the 3rd (Colonial) Battalion
Corps of Colonial Marines
Corps of Colonial Marines were raised from former slaves as auxiliary units of the Royal Marines for service in the Americas: Two of these units were raised and subsequently disbanded...

 of the Royal Marines
Royal Marines Battalions (Napoleonic Wars)
Three battalions were raised from among the Royal Marines during the Napoleonic Wars; seeing combat in Portugal, Northern Spain, the Netherlands and North America.-The First Battalion:...

 on occupied Tangier Island, in the Chesapeake. A further company of colonial marines was raised at the Bermuda dockyard, where many freed slaves—men, women, and children—had been given refuge and employment. It was kept as a defensive force in case of an attack. These former slaves fought for Britain throughout the Atlantic campaign, including the attack on Washington, D.C. and the Louisiana Campaign, and most were later re-enlisted into British West India regiments or settled in Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

 in August 1816, where seven hundred of these ex-marines were granted land (they reportedly organized in villages along the lines of military companies). Many other freed American slaves were recruited directly into West Indian regiments or newly created British Army units. A few thousand freed slaves were later settled at Nova Scotia by the British.

Maine


Maine, then part of Massachusetts, was a base for smuggling and illegal trade between the U.S. and the British. Until 1813 the region was generally quiet except for privateer actions near the coast. In September, 1813, there was a notable naval action when the U.S. Navy's brig Enterprise
USS Enterprise (1799)
The third USS Enterprise, a schooner, was built by Henry Spencer at Baltimore, Maryland, in 1799, and placed under the command of Lieutenant John Shaw...

fought and captured
Capture of HMS Boxer
The capture of HMS Boxer in 1813 was a naval battle of the War of 1812, in which the United States Navy brig USS Enterprise defeated the Royal Navy brig HMS Boxer. The ship was sold at auction and continued for at least a decade as a merchantman...

 the Royal Navy brig Boxer
HMS Boxer (1812)
HMS Boxer was a 12-gun built and launched in July 1812. The ship had a short service history with the Royal Navy before the 16-gun USS Enterprise captured her near Portland, Maine in September 1813. She then went to have at least a decade-long commercial career.-Design and construction:The Bold...

off Pemaquid Point.
The first British assault came in July, 1814, when Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy took Moose Island (Eastport, Maine
Eastport, Maine
Eastport is a small city in Washington County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,640 at the 2000 census. The principal island is Moose Island, which is connected to the mainland by causeway...

) without a shot, with the entire American garrison of Fort Sullivan surrendering. Next, from his base in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in September 1814, Sir John Coape Sherbrooke
John Coape Sherbrooke
Sir John Coape Sherbrooke was a British soldier and colonial administrator. After serving in the British army in Nova Scotia, the Netherlands, India, the Mediterranean , and Spain, he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia in 1811.His active defense of the colony during the War of 1812...

 led 500 British troops in the "Penobscot Expedition". In 26 days, he raided and looted Hampden, Bangor
Bangor, Maine
Bangor is a city in and the county seat of Penobscot County, Maine, United States, and the major commercial and cultural center for eastern and northern Maine...

, and Machias, destroying or capturing 17 American ships. He won the Battle of Hampden
Battle of Hampden
The Battle of Hampden, though a minor action of the War of 1812, was the last significant clash of arms in New England, in this instance, in the District of Maine . It represented the end of two centuries of violent contest over Maine by surrounding political units...

 (losing two killed while the Americans lost one killed) and occupied the village of Castine
Castine, Maine
Castine is a town in Hancock County, Maine, United States and was once the capital of Acadia . The population was 1,343 at the 2000 census. Castine is the home of Maine Maritime Academy, a four-year institution that graduates officers and engineers for the United States Merchant Marine and marine...

 for the rest of the war. The Treaty of Ghent
Treaty of Ghent
The Treaty of Ghent , signed on 24 December 1814, in Ghent , was the peace treaty that ended the War of 1812 between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 returned this territory to the United States. The British left in April 1815, at which time they took 10,750 pounds obtained from tariff duties at Castine. This money, called the "Castine Fund", was used in the establishment of Dalhousie University
Dalhousie University
Dalhousie University is a public research university located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The university comprises eleven faculties including Schulich School of Law and Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine. It also includes the faculties of architecture, planning and engineering located at...

, in Halifax
City of Halifax
Halifax is a city in Canada, which was the capital of the province of Nova Scotia and shire town of Halifax County. It was the largest city in Atlantic Canada until it was amalgamated into Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996...

, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

.

Chesapeake campaign and "The Star-Spangled Banner"


The strategic location of the Chesapeake Bay near America's capital made it a prime target for the British. Starting in March 1813, a squadron under Rear Admiral George Cockburn
George Cockburn
Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Cockburn, 10th Baronet GCB was a British naval commander of the late 18th through the mid-19th centuries. He held important commands during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 and eventually rose to become Admiral of the Fleet and First Sea Lord.-Naval...

 started a blockade of the bay and raided towns along the bay from Norfolk
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

 to Havre de Grace
Raid on Havre de Grace
The raid on Havre de Grace was a seaborne military operation that took place on 3 May 1813. A squadron of the British Royal Navy under Rear Admiral George Cockburn attacked the town of Havre de Grace, Maryland, at the mouth of the Susquehanna River...

.

On July 4, 1813, Joshua Barney
Joshua Barney
Joshua Barney was a commodore in the United States Navy, born in Baltimore, Maryland, who served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.-Revolutionary War:...

, a Revolutionary War naval hero, convinced the Navy Department to build the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla
Chesapeake Bay Flotilla
For two years the United States had been fighting with Great Britain during War of 1812. The British fleet was marauding the Chesapeake Bay when Joshua Barney, a naval officer of the American Revolutionary War, assembled a motley collection of barges and gunboats known generally as the Chesapeake...

, a squadron of twenty barges to defend the Chesapeake Bay. Launched in April 1814, the squadron was quickly cornered in the Patuxent River
Patuxent River
The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. There are three main river drainages for central Maryland: the Potomac River to the west passing through Washington D.C., the Patapsco River to the northeast passing through Baltimore, and the Patuxent River between...

, and while successful in harassing the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, they were powerless to stop the British campaign that ultimately led to the "Burning of Washington
Burning of Washington
The Burning of Washington was an armed conflict during the War of 1812 between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the United States of America. On August 24, 1814, led by General Robert Ross, a British force occupied Washington, D.C. and set fire to many public buildings following...

". This expedition, led by Cockburn and General Robert Ross
Robert Ross (general)
Robert Ross was an Anglo-Irish British Army officer who participated in the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. He is most well known for the Burning of Washington, including the White House.-Early life:...

, was carried out between August 19 and 29, 1814, as the result of the hardened British policy of 1814 (although British and American commissioners had convened peace negotiations at Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

 in June of that year). As part of this, Admiral Warren had been replaced as commander in chief by Admiral Alexander Cochrane
Alexander Cochrane
Admiral Sir Alexander Forrester Inglis Cochrane GCB RN was a senior Royal Navy commander during the Napoleonic Wars.-Naval career:...

, with reinforcements and orders to coerce the Americans into a favourable peace.


Governor-in-chief
Governor-in-chief
Governor-in-chief was a title used in the British Empire for certain colonial governors, usually where authority was held over more than one colony...

 of British North America Sir George Prevost
George Prevost
Sir George Prévost, 1st Baronet was a British soldier and colonial administrator. Born in Hackensack, New Jersey, the eldest son of Swiss French Augustine Prévost, he joined the British Army as a youth and became a captain in 1784. Prévost served in the West Indies during the French Revolutionary...

  had written to the Admirals in Bermuda, calling for retaliation for the American sacking of York (now Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

). A force of 2,500 soldiers under General Ross—aboard a Royal Navy task force composed of HMS Royal Oak
HMS Royal Oak (1809)
HMS Royal Oak was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 4 March 1809 at Dudman's yard at Deptford Wharf. Her first commanding officer was Captain Pulteney Malcolm.-Napoleonic Wars:...

, three frigates, three sloops, and ten other vessels—had just arrived in Bermuda. Released from the Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

 by British victory, the British intended to use them for diversionary raids along the coasts of Maryland and Virginia. In response to Prevost's request, they decided to employ this force, together with the naval and military units already on the station, to strike at Washington, D.C.

On August 24, U.S. Secretary of War John Armstrong insisted that the British would attack Baltimore rather than Washington, even when the British army was obviously on its way to the capital. The inexperienced American militia, which had congregated at Bladensburg
Bladensburg, Maryland
Bladensburg is a town in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The population was 7,661 at the 2000 census.Bladensburg is from central Washington, DC...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, to protect the capital, was routed in the Battle of Bladensburg
Battle of Bladensburg
The Battle of Bladensburg took place during the War of 1812. The defeat of the American forces there allowed the British to capture and burn the public buildings of Washington, D.C...

, opening the route to Washington. While Dolley Madison
Dolley Madison
Dolley Payne Todd Madison was the spouse of the fourth President of the United States, James Madison, and was First Lady of the United States from 1809 to 1817...

 saved valuables from the Presidential Mansion
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

, President James Madison was forced to flee to Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

.

The British commanders ate the supper that had been prepared for the President before they burned the Presidential Mansion; American morale was reduced to an all-time low. The British viewed their actions as retaliation for destructive American raids into Canada, most notably the Americans' burning of
Battle of York
The Battle of York was a battle of the War of 1812 fought on 27 April 1813, at York, Upper Canada . An American force supported by a naval flotilla landed on the lake shore to the west, defeated the defending British force and captured the town and dockyard...

 York (now Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

) in 1813. Later that same evening, a furious storm swept into Washington, D.C., sending one or more tornadoes into the city that caused more damage but finally extinguished the fires with torrential rains. The naval yards were set afire at the direction of U.S. officials to prevent the capture of naval ships and supplies. The British left Washington, D.C. as soon as the storm subsided. Having destroyed Washington's public buildings
Burning of Washington
The Burning of Washington was an armed conflict during the War of 1812 between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the United States of America. On August 24, 1814, led by General Robert Ross, a British force occupied Washington, D.C. and set fire to many public buildings following...

, including the President's Mansion and the Treasury, the British army next moved to capture Baltimore, a busy port and a key base for American privateers. The subsequent Battle of Baltimore
Battle of Baltimore
The Battle of Baltimore was a combined sea/land battle fought between British and American forces in the War of 1812. It was one of the turning points of the war as American forces repulsed sea and land invasions of the busy port city of Baltimore, Maryland, and killed the commander of the invading...

 began with the British landing at North Point, where they were met by American militia. An exchange of fire began, with casualties on both sides. General Ross was killed by an American sniper as he attempted to rally his troops. The sniper himself was killed moments later, and the British withdrew. The British also attempted to attack Baltimore by sea on September 13 but were unable to reduce Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, Maryland, is a star-shaped fort best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy in Chesapeake Bay...

, at the entrance to Baltimore Harbor.


The Battle of Fort McHenry was no battle at all. British guns had range on American cannon, and stood off out of U.S. range, bombarding the fort, which returned no fire. Their plan was to coordinate with a land force, but from that distance coordination proved impossible, so the British called off the attack and left. All the lights were extinguished in Baltimore the night of the attack, and the fort was bombarded for 25 hours. The only light was given off by the exploding shells over Fort McHenry, illuminating the flag that was still flying over the fort. The defence of the fort inspired the American lawyer Francis Scott Key
Francis Scott Key
Francis Scott Key was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, who wrote the lyrics to the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner".-Life:...

 to write a poem that would eventually supply the lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner
The Star-Spangled Banner
"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from "Defence of Fort McHenry", a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships...

".

None of the actions of the Chesapeake campaign were deemed worthy of a British army medal clasp (Fort Detroit, Chateauguay, Chrysler's Farm being the three clasps for the war), but participants in the attack in Washington were paid prize money by the War Office. In addition, prize-money arising from the booty captured by the expedition in the River Patuxent, at Fort Washington, and Alexandria, between 22 and 29 August 1814 was paid in November 1817. Three companies of Corps of Colonial Marines
Corps of Colonial Marines
Corps of Colonial Marines were raised from former slaves as auxiliary units of the Royal Marines for service in the Americas: Two of these units were raised and subsequently disbanded...

 were among the recipients. A first-class share was worth ₤183 9s
Shilling
The shilling is a unit of currency used in some current and former British Commonwealth countries. The word shilling comes from scilling, an accounting term that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times where it was deemed to be the value of a cow in Kent or a sheep elsewhere. The word is thought to derive...

 1¾d; a sixth-class share, which was what probably an ordinary marine would receive, was worth ₤1 9s 3½d. A second and final payment came in May 1819. A first-class share was worth ₤42 13s 10¾d; a sixth-class share was worth 9s 1¾d.

Invasions of Upper and Lower Canada, 1812



American leaders assumed that Canada could be easily overrun. Former President Jefferson optimistically referred to the conquest of Canada as "a matter of marching." Many Loyalist Americans had migrated to Upper Canada after the Revolutionary War, and the US assumed they would favor the American cause, but they did not. In prewar Upper Canada, General Prevost was in the unusual position of having to purchase many provisions for his troops from the American side. This peculiar trade persisted throughout the war in spite of an abortive attempt by the US government to curtail it. In Lower Canada, which was much more populous, support for Britain came from the English elite with strong loyalty to the Empire, and from the French elite, who feared American conquest would destroy the old order by introducing Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

, Anglicization, republican democracy, and commercial capitalism; and weakening the Catholic Church. The French inhabitants feared the loss of a shrinking area of good lands to potential American immigrants.

In 1812–13, British military experience prevailed over inexperienced American commanders. Geography dictated that operations would take place in the west: principally around Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

, near the Niagara River
Niagara River
The Niagara River flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. It forms part of the border between the Province of Ontario in Canada and New York State in the United States. There are differing theories as to the origin of the name of the river...

 between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south by the American state of New York. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. In the Wyandot language, ontarío means...

, and near the Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River
The Saint Lawrence is a large river flowing approximately from southwest to northeast in the middle latitudes of North America, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It is the primary drainage conveyor of the Great Lakes Basin...

 area and Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain is a natural, freshwater lake in North America, located mainly within the borders of the United States but partially situated across the Canada—United States border in the Canadian province of Quebec.The New York portion of the Champlain Valley includes the eastern portions of...

. This was the focus of the three-pronged attacks by the Americans in 1812. Although cutting the St. Lawrence River through the capture of Montreal and Quebec would have made Britain's hold in North America unsustainable, the United States began operations first in the western frontier because of the general popularity there of a war with the British, who had sold arms to the Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

s' opposing the settlers.

The British scored an important early success when their detachment at St. Joseph Island
St. Joseph Island
St. Joseph Island is a Canadian island in Lake Huron, near the mouth of the St. Marys River which connects Lake Huron with Lake Superior. It is the second largest island in Lake Huron and the third largest in the Great Lakes overall, trailing Manitoulin and Lake Superior's Isle Royale.St...

, on Lake Huron
Lake Huron
Lake Huron is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Hydrologically, it comprises the larger portion of Lake Michigan-Huron. It is bounded on the east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the west by the state of Michigan in the United States...

, learned of the declaration of war before the nearby American garrison at the important trading post at Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island is an island and resort area covering in land area, part of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located in Lake Huron, at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac, between the state's Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The island was home to a Native American settlement before European...

 in Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

. A scratch force landed on the island on July 17, 1812 and mounted a gun overlooking Fort Mackinac
Fort Mackinac
Fort Mackinac is a former American military outpost garrisoned from the late 18th century to the late 19th century near Michilimackinac, Michigan, on Mackinac Island...

. After the British fired one shot from their gun, the Americans, taken by surprise, surrendered. This early victory encouraged the natives, and large numbers moved to help the British at Amherstburg
Amherstburg, Ontario
Amherstburg is a Canadian town near the mouth of the Detroit River in Essex County, Ontario. It is approximately south of the U.S...

.

An American army under the command of William Hull
William Hull
William Hull was an American soldier and politician. He fought in the American Revolution, was Governor of Michigan Territory, and was a general in the War of 1812, for which he is best remembered for surrendering Fort Detroit to the British.- Early life and Revolutionary War :He was born in...

 invaded Canada on July 12, with his forces chiefly composed of untrained and ill-disciplined militiamen. Once on Canadian soil, Hull issued a proclamation ordering all British subjects to surrender, or "the horrors, and calamities of war will stalk before you." He also threatened to kill any British prisoner caught fighting alongside a native. The proclamation helped stiffen resistance to the American attacks. Hull's army was too weak in artillery and badly supplied to achieve its objectives, and had to fight just to maintain its own lines of communication.

The senior British officer in Upper Canada, Major General Isaac Brock
Isaac Brock
Major-General Sir Isaac Brock KB was a British Army officer and administrator. Brock was assigned to Canada in 1802. Despite facing desertions and near-mutinies, he commanded his regiment in Upper Canada successfully for many years...

, felt that he should take bold measures to calm the settler population in Canada, and to convince the aboriginals who were needed to defend the region that Britain was strong. He moved rapidly to Amherstburg
Amherstburg, Ontario
Amherstburg is a Canadian town near the mouth of the Detroit River in Essex County, Ontario. It is approximately south of the U.S...

 near the western end of Lake Erie with reinforcements and immediately decided to attack Detroit
Siege of Detroit
The Siege of Detroit, also known as the Surrender of Detroit, or the Battle of Fort Detroit, was an early engagement in the Anglo-American War of 1812...

. Hull, fearing that the British possessed superior numbers and that the Indians attached to Brock's force would commit massacres if fighting began, surrendered Detroit without a fight on August 16. Knowing of British-instigated indigenous attacks on other locations, Hull ordered the evacuation of the inhabitants of Fort Dearborn
Fort Dearborn
Fort Dearborn was a United States fort built in 1803 beside the Chicago River in what is now Chicago, Illinois. It was constructed by troops under Captain John Whistler and named in honor of Henry Dearborn, then United States Secretary of War. The original fort was destroyed following the Battle of...

 (Chicago) to Fort Wayne. After initially being granted safe passage, the inhabitants (soldiers and civilians) were attacked by Potowatomis on August 15 after traveling only 2 miles (3.2 km) in what is known as the Battle of Fort Dearborn. The fort was subsequently burned.

Brock promptly transferred himself to the eastern end of Lake Erie, where American General Stephen Van Rensselaer
Stephen Van Rensselaer III
Stephen Van Rensselaer III was Lieutenant Governor of New York as well as a statesman, soldier, and land-owner, the heir to one of the largest estates in the New York region at the time, which made him the tenth richest American of all time, based on the ratio of his fortune to contemporary GDP...

 was attempting a second invasion. An armistice (arranged by Prevost in the hope the British renunciation of the Orders in Council to which the United States objected might lead to peace) prevented Brock from invading American territory. When the armistice ended, the Americans attempted an attack across the Niagara River
Niagara River
The Niagara River flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. It forms part of the border between the Province of Ontario in Canada and New York State in the United States. There are differing theories as to the origin of the name of the river...

 on October 13, but suffered a crushing defeat at Queenston Heights
Battle of Queenston Heights
The Battle of Queenston Heights was the first major battle in the War of 1812 and resulted in a British victory. It took place on 13 October 1812, near Queenston, in the present-day province of Ontario...

. Brock was killed during the battle. While the professionalism of the American forces would improve by the war's end, British leadership suffered after Brock's death. A final attempt in 1812 by American General Henry Dearborn
Henry Dearborn
Henry Dearborn was an American physician, a statesman and a veteran of both the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Born to Simon Dearborn and Sarah Marston in North Hampton, New Hampshire, he spent much of his youth in Epping, where he attended public schools...

 to advance north from Lake Champlain failed when his militia refused to advance beyond American territory.

In contrast to the American militia, the Canadian militia performed well. French Canadian
French Canadian
French Canadian or Francophone Canadian, , generally refers to the descendents of French colonists who arrived in New France in the 17th and 18th centuries...

s, who found the anti-Catholic stance of most of the United States troublesome, and United Empire Loyalists, who had fought for the Crown during the American Revolutionary War, strongly opposed the American invasion. However, many in Upper Canada were recent settlers from the United States who had no obvious loyalties to the Crown. Nevertheless, while there were some who sympathised with the invaders, the American forces found strong opposition from men loyal to the Empire.

American Northwest, 1813


After Hull's surrender of Detroit, General William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

 was given command of the U.S. Army of the Northwest. He set out to retake the city, which was now defended by Colonel Henry Procter in conjunction with Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Tecumseh was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy which opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812...

. A detachment of Harrison's army was defeated at Frenchtown
Battle of Frenchtown
The Battle of Frenchtown, also known as the Battle of the River Raisin or the River Raisin Massacre, was a series of conflicts that took place from January 18–23, 1813 during the War of 1812...

 along the River Raisin
River Raisin
The River Raisin is a river in southeastern Michigan, United States that flows through glacial sediments into Lake Erie. The area today is an agricultural and industrial center of Michigan. The river flows for almost , draining an area of in the Michigan counties of Lenawee, Monroe, Washtenaw,...

 on January 22, 1813. Procter left the prisoners with an inadequate guard, who could not prevent some of his North American aboriginal allies from attacking and killing perhaps as many as sixty Americans, many of whom were Kentucky militiamen. The incident became known as the River Raisin Massacre. The defeat ended Harrison's campaign against Detroit, and the phrase "Remember the River Raisin!" became a rallying cry for the Americans.

In May 1813, Procter and Tecumseh set siege to Fort Meigs
Siege of Fort Meigs
The Siege of Fort Meigs took place during the War of 1812, in northwestern Ohio. A small British army with support from Indians attempted to capture the recently-constructed fort to forestall an American offensive against Detroit, which the British had captured the previous year...

 in northern Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

. American reinforcements arriving during the siege were defeated by the natives, but the fort held out. The Indians eventually began to disperse, forcing Procter and Tecumseh to return to Canada. A second offensive against Fort Meigs also failed in July. In an attempt to improve Indian morale, Procter and Tecumseh attempted to storm Fort Stephenson
Battle of Fort Stephenson
The Battle of Fort Stephenson was an American victory during the War of 1812.-Background:After failing to defeat American forces in the siege of Fort Meigs, the British under Henry Procter withdrew. Procter attempted to take Fort Meigs again in July by staging a mock battle to lure the defenders...

, a small American post on the Sandusky River
Sandusky River
The Sandusky River is a tributary to Lake Erie in north-central Ohio in the United States. It is about long and flows into Lake Erie at Sandusky Bay.-Course:...

, only to be repulsed with serious losses, marking the end of the Ohio campaign.

On Lake Erie, American commander Captain Oliver Hazard Perry
Oliver Hazard Perry
United States Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island , the son of USN Captain Christopher Raymond Perry and Sarah Wallace Alexander, a direct descendant of William Wallace...

 fought the Battle of Lake Erie
Battle of Lake Erie
The Battle of Lake Erie, sometimes called the Battle of Put-in-Bay, was fought on 10 September 1813, in Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio during the War of 1812. Nine vessels of the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of Great Britain's Royal Navy...

 on September 10, 1813. His decisive victory ensured American control of the lake, improved American morale after a series of defeats, and compelled the British to fall back from Detroit. This paved the way for General Harrison to launch another invasion of Upper Canada, which culminated in the U.S. victory at the Battle of the Thames
Battle of the Thames
The Battle of the Thames, also known as the Battle of Moraviantown, was a decisive American victory in the War of 1812. It took place on October 5, 1813, near present-day Chatham, Ontario in Upper Canada...

 on October 5, 1813, in which Tecumseh was killed. Tecumseh's death effectively ended the North American indigenous alliance with the British in the Detroit region. American control of Lake Erie meant the British could no longer provide essential military supplies to their aboriginal allies, who therefore dropped out of the war. The Americans controlled the area during the conflict.

Niagara frontier, 1813


Because of the difficulties of land communications, control of the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 and the St. Lawrence River corridor was crucial. When the war began, the British already had a small squadron of warships on Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south by the American state of New York. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. In the Wyandot language, ontarío means...

 and had the initial advantage. To redress the situation, the Americans established a Navy yard at Sackett's Harbor, New York. Commodore Isaac Chauncey
Isaac Chauncey
Isaac Chauncey was an officer in the United States Navy.-Biography:Chauncey, born in Black Rock, Connecticut, 20 February 1779, was appointed a Lieutenant in the Navy from 17 September 1798...

 took charge of the large number of sailors and shipwrights sent there from New York; they completed the second warship built there in a mere 45 days. Ultimately, 3,000 men worked at the shipyard, building eleven warships and many smaller boats and transports. Having regained the advantage by their rapid building program, Chauncey and Dearborn attacked York
York, Upper Canada
York was the name of Old Toronto between 1793 and 1834. It was the second capital of Upper Canada.- History :The town was established in 1793 by Governor John Graves Simcoe, with a new 'Fort York' on the site of the last French 'Fort Toronto'...

 (now called Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

), the capital of Upper Canada, on April 27, 1813. The Battle of York
Battle of York
The Battle of York was a battle of the War of 1812 fought on 27 April 1813, at York, Upper Canada . An American force supported by a naval flotilla landed on the lake shore to the west, defeated the defending British force and captured the town and dockyard...

 was an American victory, marred by looting and the burning of the Parliament buildings and a library. However, Kingston
Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario is a Canadian city located in Eastern Ontario where the St. Lawrence River flows out of Lake Ontario. Originally a First Nations settlement called "Katarowki," , growing European exploration in the 17th Century made it an important trading post...

 was strategically more valuable to British supply and communications along the St. Lawrence. Without control of Kingston, the U.S. navy could not effectively control Lake Ontario or sever the British supply line from Lower Canada
Lower Canada
The Province of Lower Canada was a British colony on the lower Saint Lawrence River and the shores of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence...

.

On May 27, 1813, an American amphibious force from Lake Ontario assaulted Fort George
Fort George, Ontario
Fort George National Historic Site is a historic military structure at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, that was the scene of several battles during the War of 1812...

 on the northern end of the Niagara River and captured it without serious losses. The retreating British forces were not pursued, however, until they had largely escaped and organised a counteroffensive against the advancing Americans at the Battle of Stoney Creek
Battle of Stoney Creek
The Battle of Stoney Creek was fought on 6 June 1813 during the War of 1812 near present day Stoney Creek, Ontario. British units made a night attack on an American encampment...

 on June 5. On June 24, with the help of advance warning by Loyalist
United Empire Loyalists
The name United Empire Loyalists is an honorific given after the fact to those American Loyalists who resettled in British North America and other British Colonies as an act of fealty to King George III after the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War and prior to the Treaty of Paris...

 Laura Secord
Laura Secord
Laura Ingersoll Secord was a Canadian heroine of the War of 1812. She is known for warning British forces of an impending American attack that led to the British victory at the Battle of Beaver Dams.-Early life:...

, another American force was forced to surrender by a much smaller British and native force at the Battle of Beaver Dams
Battle of Beaver Dams
The Battle of Beaver Dams took place on 24 June 1813, during the War of 1812. An American column marched from Fort George and attempted to surprise a British outpost at Beaver Dams, billeting themselves overnight in the village of Queenston, Ontario...

, marking the end of the American offensive into Upper Canada. Meanwhile, Commodore James Lucas Yeo
James Lucas Yeo
Sir James Lucas Yeo KCB was a British naval commander who served in the War of 1812.Yeo was born in Southampton on 7 October 1782, and joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman at the age of 10. He first saw action as a lieutenant aboard a brig in the Adriatic Sea, and distinguished himself during the...

 had taken charge of the British ships on the lake and mounted a counterattack, which was nevertheless repulsed at the Battle of Sackett's Harbor
Battle of Sackett's Harbor
The Second Battle of Sacket's Harbor or simply the Battle of Sacket's Harbor, took place on 29 May 1813, during the War of 1812. A British force was transported across Lake Ontario and attempted to capture the town, which was the principal dockyard and base for the American naval squadron on the lake...

. Thereafter, Chauncey and Yeo's squadrons fought two indecisive actions, neither commander seeking a fight to the finish.

Late in 1813, the Americans abandoned the Canadian territory they occupied around Fort George. They set fire to the village of Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a Canadian town located in Southern Ontario where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario in the Niagara Region of the southern part of the province of Ontario. It is located across the Niagara river from Youngstown, New York, USA...

) on December 15, 1813, incensing the Canadians and politicians in control. Many of the inhabitants were left without shelter, freezing to death in the snow. This led to British retaliation following the Capture of Fort Niagara
Capture of Fort Niagara
The Capture of Fort Niagara took place late in 1813, during the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States. The understrength American garrison was taken by surprise, and the fort was captured in a night assault by a select force of British regular infantry.-Background:Fort Niagara was...

 on December 18, 1813. Early the next morning on December 19, the British and their native allies stormed the neighboring town of Lewiston, New York, torching homes and buildings and killing about a dozen civilians. As the British were chasing the surviving residents out of town, a small force of Tuscarora natives intervened and stopped the pursuit, buying enough time for the locals to escape to safer ground. It is notable in that the Tuscaroras defended the Americans against their own Iroquois brothers, the Mohawks, who sided with the British. Later, the British attacked and burned Buffalo
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

 on December 30, 1813.

In 1814, the contest for Lake Ontario turned into a building race. Eventually, by the end of the year, Yeo had constructed HMS St. Lawrence
HMS St. Lawrence (1814)
HMS St Lawrence was a 112-gun first-rate wooden warship of the Royal Navy that served on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. She was the only Royal Navy ship of the line ever to be launched and operated entirely in fresh water.-Career:...

, a first-rate
First-rate
First rate was the designation used by the Royal Navy for its largest ships of the line. While the size and establishment of guns and men changed over the 250 years that the rating system held sway, from the early years of the eighteenth century the first rates comprised those ships mounting 100...

 ship of the line
Ship of the line
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear...

 of 112 guns that gave him superiority, but the Engagements on Lake Ontario
Engagements on Lake Ontario
The Engagements on Lake Ontario encompass the prolonged naval contest for control of the lake during the War of 1812. Few actions were fought, none of which had decisive results, and the contest essentially became a naval building race, sometimes referred to sarcastically as the "Battle of the...

 were an indecisive draw.

St. Lawrence and Lower Canada, 1813


The British were potentially most vulnerable over the stretch of the St. Lawrence where it formed the frontier between Upper Canada and the United States. During the early days of the war, there was illicit commerce across the river. Over the winter of 1812 and 1813, the Americans launched a series of raids from Ogdensburg
Ogdensburg, New York
Ogdensburg is a city in St. Lawrence County, New York, United States. The population was 11,128 at the 2010 census. In the late 18th century, European-American settlers named the community after American land owner and developer Samuel Ogden....

 on the American side of the river, which hampered British supply traffic up the river. On February 21, Sir George Prevost passed through Prescott
Prescott, Ontario
Prescott is a town of approximately 4,180 people on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Leeds and Grenville United Counties, Ontario, Canada. The Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge, 5 km east of Prescott in Johnstown, connects it with Ogdensburg, New York...

 on the opposite bank of the river with reinforcements for Upper Canada. When he left the next day, the reinforcements and local militia attacked. At the Battle of Ogdensburg
Battle of Ogdensburg
The Battle of Ogdensburg was a battle of the War of 1812. The British gained a victory over the Americans and captured the village of Ogdensburg, New York...

, the Americans were forced to retire.

For the rest of the year, Ogdensburg had no American garrison, and many residents of Ogdensburg resumed visits and trade with Prescott. This British victory removed the last American regular troops from the Upper St. Lawrence frontier and helped secure British communications with Montreal. Late in 1813, after much argument, the Americans made two thrusts against Montreal. The plan eventually agreed upon was for Major General Wade Hampton
Wade Hampton I
Wade Hampton was a South Carolina soldier, politician, two-term U.S. Congressman, and wealthy plantation owner. He was the scion of the politically important Hampton family, which was influential in state politics almost into the 20th century...

 to march north from Lake Champlain and join a force under General James Wilkinson
James Wilkinson
James Wilkinson was an American soldier and statesman, who was associated with several scandals and controversies. He served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, but was twice compelled to resign...

 that would embark in boats and sail from Sackett's Harbor
Sackets Harbor, New York
Sackets Harbor is a village in Jefferson County, New York, United States. The population was 1,386 at the 2000 census. The village was named after land developer and owner Augustus Sackett, who founded it in the early 19th century.The Village of Sackets Harbor is within the western part of the...

 on Lake Ontario and descend the St. Lawrence. Hampton was delayed by bad roads and supply problems and also had an intense dislike of Wilkinson, which limited his desire to support his plan. On October 25, his 4,000-strong force was defeated at the Chateauguay River by Charles de Salaberry's
Charles de Salaberry
Lieutenant Colonel Charles-Michel d'Irumberry de Salaberry was a French-Canadian of the seigneurial class who served as an officer of the British army in Lower Canada and won distinction for repelling the American advance on Montreal during the War of 1812.-Early years:Born at the manor house of...

 smaller force of French-Canadian Voltigeurs
Canadian Voltigeurs
The Canadian Voltigeurs were a light infantry unit, raised in Lower Canada in 1812, that fought in the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States.-Formation:...

 and Mohawks. Wilkinson's force of 8,000 set out on October 17, but was also delayed by bad weather. After learning that Hampton had been checked, Wilkinson heard that a British force under Captain William Mulcaster
William Mulcaster
Capt Sir William Howe Mulcaster KCH was an officer in the British Royal Navy who played a distinguished part in the Anglo-American War of 1812, in particular in the Engagements on Lake Ontario....

 and Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Wanton Morrison
Joseph Wanton Morrison
Joseph Wanton Morrison was a British soldier, best known for commanding the British troops at the Battle of Crysler's Farm during the War of 1812.-Early career:...

 was pursuing him, and by November 10, he was forced to land near Morrisburg, about 150 kilometers (90 mi.) from Montreal. On November 11, Wilkinson's rear guard, numbering 2,500, attacked Morrison's force of 800 at Crysler's Farm
Battle of Crysler's Farm
The Battle of Crysler's Farm, also known as the Battle of Crysler's Field, was fought on 11 November 1813, during the Anglo-American War of 1812. A British and Canadian force won a victory over an American force which greatly outnumbered them...

 and was repulsed with heavy losses. After learning that Hampton could not renew his advance, Wilkinson retreated to the U.S. and settled into winter quarters. He resigned his command after a failed attack on a British outpost at Lacolle Mills
Battle of Lacolle Mills (1814)
The Second Battle of Lacolle Mills was fought on 30 March 1814 during the War of 1812. The small garrison of a British outpost position, aided by reinforcements, fought off a large American attack.-Background:After the St...

.

Niagara and Plattsburgh Campaigns, 1814


By the middle of 1814, American generals, including Major Generals Jacob Brown
Jacob Brown
Jacob Jennings Brown was an American army officer in the War of 1812. His successes on the northern border during that war made him a hero. In 1821 he was appointed commanding general of the U.S. Army and held that post until his death.-Early life:Born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Jacob Jennings...

 and Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

, had drastically improved the fighting abilities and discipline of the army. Their renewed attack on the Niagara peninsula quickly captured Fort Erie
Fort Erie
Fort Erie was the first British fort to be constructed as part of a network developed after the Seven Years' War was concluded by the Treaty of Paris at which time all of New France had been ceded to Great Britain...

. Winfield Scott then gained a victory over an inferior British force at the Battle of Chippawa
Battle of Chippawa
The Battle of Chippawa was a victory for the United States Army in the War of 1812, during an invasion of Upper Canada along the Niagara River on July 5, 1814.-Background:...

 on July 5. An attempt to advance further ended with a hard-fought but inconclusive battle at Lundy's Lane
Battle of Lundy's Lane
The Battle of Lundy's Lane was a battle of the Anglo-American War of 1812, which took place on 25 July 1814, in present-day Niagara Falls, Ontario...

 on July 25.

The outnumbered Americans withdrew but withstood a prolonged Siege of Fort Erie
Siege of Fort Erie
The Siege of Fort Erie was one of the last and most protracted engagements between British and American forces during the Niagara campaign of the American War of 1812...

. The British suffered heavy casualties in a failed assault and were weakened by exposure and shortage of supplies in their siege lines. Eventually the British raised the siege, but American Major General George Izard took over command on the Niagara front and followed up only halfheartedly. The Americans lacked provisions, and eventually destroyed the fort and retreated across the Niagara.

Meanwhile, following the abdication of Napoleon, 15,000 British troops were sent to North America under four of Wellington’s ablest brigade commanders. Fewer than half were veterans of the Peninsula and the rest came from garrisons. Prevost was ordered to neutralize American power on the lakes by burning Sackets Harbor, gain naval control of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the Upper Lakes, and defend Lower Canada from attack. He did defend Lower Canada but otherwise failed to achieve his objectives. Given the late season he decided to invade New York State. His army outnumbered the American defenders of Plattsburgh, but he was worried about his flanks so he decided he needed naval control of Lake Champlain. On the lake, the British squadron under Captain George Downie
George Downie
George Downie was a British Royal Navy officer during the War of 1812. He commanded the British squadron which attacked the American fleet anchored at Plattsburgh Bay in Lake Champlain during the Battle of Plattsburgh on September 11, 1814...

 and the Americans under Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough
Thomas MacDonough
Thomas Macdonough was an early-19th-century American naval officer noted for his roles in the first Barbary War, and the War of 1812. He was the son of a revolutionary officer, Thomas Sr. who lived close to Middleton, Delaware. Being the sixth child born, he came from a large family of ten...

 were more evenly matched.

On reaching Plattsburgh, Prevost delayed the assault until the arrival of Downie in the hastily completed 36-gun frigate HMS Confiance. Prevost forced Downie into a premature attack, but then unaccountably failed to provide the promised military backing. Downie was killed and his naval force defeated at the naval Battle of Plattsburgh
Battle of Plattsburgh
The Battle of Plattsburgh, also known as the Battle of Lake Champlain, ended the final invasion of the northern states during the War of 1812...

 in Plattsburgh Bay on September 11, 1814. The Americans now had control of Lake Champlain; Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 later termed it "the greatest naval battle of the war." The successful land defence was led by Alexander Macomb. To the astonishment of his senior officers, Prevost then turned back, saying it would be too hazardous to remain on enemy territory after the loss of naval supremacy. Prevost was recalled and in London, a naval court-martial decided that defeat had been caused principally by Prevost’s urging the squadron into premature action and then failing to afford the promised support from the land forces. Prevost died suddenly, just before his own court-martial was to convene. Prevost's reputation sank to a new low, as Canadians claimed that their militia under Brock did the job and he failed. Recently, however, historians have been more kindly, measuring him not against Wellington but against his American foes. They judge Prevost’s preparations for defending the Canadas with limited means to be energetic, well-conceived, and comprehensive; and against the odds, he had achieved the primary objective of preventing an American conquest.

American West, 1813–14




The Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 valley was the western frontier of the United States in 1812. The territory acquired in the Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S...

 of 1803 contained almost no U.S. settlements west of the Mississippi except around Saint Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 and a few forts and trading posts. Fort Bellefontaine
Fort Bellefontaine
Fort Bellefontaine was the first United States military installation in the Louisiana Territory.Located on the south bank of the Missouri River, in Missouri, Fort Bellefontaine was first a Spanish military post. Later, by a treaty made between the United States Government, signed by William H...

, an old trading post converted to a U.S. Army post in 1804, served as regional headquarters. Fort Osage
Fort Osage
Fort Osage was part of the United States factory trading post system for the Osage Nation in the early 19th century near Sibley, Missouri....

, built in 1808 along the Missouri was the western-most U.S. outpost, it was abandoned at the start of the war. Fort Madison, built along the Mississippi in what is now Iowa, was also built in 1808, and had been repeatedly attacked by British-allied Sauk since its construction. In September 1813 Fort Madison was abandoned after it was attacked and besieged by natives, who had support from the British. This was one of the few battles fought west of the Mississippi. Black Hawk
Black Hawk (chief)
Black Hawk was a leader and warrior of the Sauk American Indian tribe in what is now the United States. Although he had inherited an important historic medicine bundle, he was not one of the Sauk's hereditary civil chiefs...

 played a leadership role.

Little of note took place on Lake Huron in 1813, but the American victory on Lake Erie and the recapture of Detroit isolated the British there. During the ensuing winter, a Canadian party under Lieutenant Colonel Robert McDouall
Robert McDouall
Major-General Robert McDouall was a Scottish-born officer in the British Army, who saw much action during the Napoleonic Wars and the Anglo-American War of 1812...

 established a new supply line from York to Nottawasaga Bay
Nottawasaga Bay
Nottawasaga Bay is a bay of Lake Huron in Ontario, at the southernmost end of Georgian Bay. Communities on Nottawasaga Bay include Meaford, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach....

 on Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay is a large bay of Lake Huron, located entirely within Ontario, Canada...

. When he arrived at Fort Mackinac with supplies and reinforcements, he sent an expedition to recapture the trading post of Prairie du Chien
Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
Prairie du Chien is a city in and the county seat of Crawford County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 5,911 at the 2010 census. Its Zip Code is 53821....

 in the far west. The Siege of Prairie du Chien ended in a British victory on July 20, 1814.

Earlier in July, the Americans sent a force of five vessels from Detroit to recapture Mackinac. A mixed force of regulars and volunteers from the militia landed on the island on August 4. They did not attempt to achieve surprise, and at the brief Battle of Mackinac Island
Battle of Mackinac Island
The Battle of Mackinac Island was a British victory in the War of 1812. Before the war, Fort Mackinac had been an important American trading post in the straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron...

, they were ambushed by natives and forced to re-embark. The Americans discovered the new base at Nottawasaga Bay, and on August 13, they destroyed its fortifications and a schooner that they found there. They then returned to Detroit, leaving two gunboats to blockade Mackinac. On September 4, these gunboats were taken unawares and captured by enemy boarding parties from canoes and small boats. This Engagement on Lake Huron
Engagement on Lake Huron
The series of minor Engagements on Lake Huron left the British in control of the lake and thus of the Old Northwest for the latter stages of the War of 1812.-Background:...

 left Mackinac under British control.

The British garrison at Prairie du Chien also fought off another attack by Major Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States and an American military leader. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor nonetheless ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass...

. In this distant theatre, the British retained the upper hand until the end of the war, through the allegiance of several indigenous tribes that received British gifts and arms. In 1814 U.S. troops retreating from the Battle of Credit Island on the upper Mississippi attempted to make a stand at Fort Johnson
Fort Johnson
This article is about the War of 1812 fortification:*For the community in New York, see Fort Johnson, New York*For the Revolutionary War British garrison named Fort Johnson see Wilmington, North Carolina...

, but the fort was soon abandoned, along with most of the upper Mississippi valley.

After the U.S. was pushed out of the Upper Mississippi region, they held on to eastern Missouri and the St. Louis area. Two notable battles fought against the Sauk were the Battle of Cote Sans Dessein, in April 1815, at the mouth of the Osage River in the Missouri Territory, and the Battle of the Sink Hole
Battle of the Sink Hole
The Battle of the Sink Hole was fought on May 24, 1815, after the official end of the War of 1812, between Missouri Rangers and Sauk Indians led by Black Hawk. The Sauk were unaware, or did not care, that their British patrons had signed the Treaty of Ghent with the U.S...

, in May 1815, near Fort Cap au Gris
Fort Cap au Gris
Fort Cap au Gris, also called Capo Gray, was a temporary fort built in September 1814 near Troy, Missouri during the War of 1812 by Missouri Rangers under the direction of Nathan Boone, son of Daniel Boone. After the defeat of Fort Johnson, U.S...

.

At the conclusion of peace, Mackinac and other captured territory was returned to the United States. Fighting between Americans, the Sauk, and other indigenous tribes continued through 1817, well after the war ended in the east.

Creek War



In March 1814, Jackson led a force of Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 militia, Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

, Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

 warriors, and U.S. regulars southward to attack the Creek tribes, led by Chief Menawa
Menawa
Menawa , was a Muscogee chief and military leader, known as Great Warrior. Like many of the Creek leaders of his era, his mother was Creek and his father was mostly Scots ancestry, a fur trader...

. The British were attempting to send supplies to their allies but they arrived too late. On March 26, Jackson and General John Coffee
John Coffee
John Coffee was an American planter and military leader. He was considered the most even-tempered and least selfish of Andrew Jackson's lifelong friends...

 decisively defeated the Creek at Horseshoe Bend, killing 800 of 1,000 Creeks at a cost of 49 killed and 154 wounded out of approximately 2,000 American and Cherokee forces. Jackson pursued the surviving Creek until they surrendered. Most historians consider the Creek War as part of the War of 1812, because the British supported them.

New Orleans



Andrew Jackson heard reports that the British were organizing ships and armies for a large-scale invasion. The British set up a base at Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,255 and as of 2009, the estimated population was 53,752...

 in August 1814; Jackson with 4,000 men took the town in November. Unaware of the Ghent treaty, Andrew Jackson's force moved to New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

, Louisiana, in late 1814. Using 1,000 regulars and 3,000 to 4,000 militia, pirates and other fighters, as well as civilians and slaves sent to work on the fortifications, he built strong defenses just south of the city, which was 150 miles (241.4 km) north of the Gulf. The 8,000 British regulars under General Edward Pakenham
Edward Pakenham
Sir Edward Michael Pakenham GCB , styled The Honourable from his birth until 1813, was an Irish British Army Officer and Politician. He was the brother-in law of the Duke of Wellington, with whom he served in the Peninsular War...

 attacked on January 8, 1815. The Battle of New Orleans
Battle of New Orleans
The Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8, 1815 and was the final major battle of the War of 1812. American forces, commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, defeated an invading British Army intent on seizing New Orleans and the vast territory the United States had acquired with the...

 was a smashing American victory, as the British suffered 2,000 casualties: 291 dead (including Pakenham and his second and third in command); 1262 wounded, and 484 captured or missing. The Americans had 71 casualties: 13 dead, 39 wounded, and 19 missing. It was hailed as a great victory for the U.S., making Jackson a national hero and eventually propelling him to the presidency.

Alabama


James Wilkinson
James Wilkinson
James Wilkinson was an American soldier and statesman, who was associated with several scandals and controversies. He served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, but was twice compelled to resign...

 captured Mobile, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the third most populous city in the Southern US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Mobile County. It is located on the Mobile River and the central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest...

 from the Spanish in March 1813, and built fortifications.

In early 1815 the British gave up on New Orleans but moved to attack Mobile. In one of the last military actions of the war, 1,000 British troops won the Battle of Fort Bowyer on February 12, 1815. When news of peace arrived the next day, they abandoned the fort and sailed home.

Postwar fighting


In May 1815, a band of British-allied Sauk, unaware that the war had ended months before, attacked a small band of U.S. soldiers northwest of St. Louis. Intermittent fighting, primarily with the Sauk, continued in the Missouri Territory well into 1817, although it is unknown if the Sauk were acting on their own or on behalf of British agents. Several uncontacted isolated warships continued fighting well into 1815 and were the last American forces to take offensive action against the British.

Factors leading to the peace negotiations


By 1814, both sides had achieved their main war goals and were weary of a costly war that offered little but stalemate. They both sent delegations to a neutral site in Ghent, Belgium. The negotiations began in early August and concluded on December 24, when a final agreement was signed; both sides had to ratify it before it could take effect. Meanwhile both sides planned new invasions.

In 1814 the British began blockading New England ports, reducing American foreign trade to a trickle, but hurting British interests in the West Indies and Canada that had depended on that trade. New England was considering secession. But although American privateers found chances of success much reduced, with most British merchantmen now sailing in convoy, privateering continued to prove troublesome to the British, as shown by high insurance rates. British landowners grew weary of high taxes, and colonial interests and merchants called on the government to reopen trade with the U.S. by ending the war.

Negotiations and peace


Britain, which had forces in uninhabited areas near Lake Superior
Lake Superior
Lake Superior is the largest of the five traditionally-demarcated Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is the largest freshwater lake in the...

 and Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

 and two towns in Maine, demanded the cession of large areas, plus turning most of the Midwest into a neutral zone for Indians. American public opinion was outraged when Madison published the demands; even the Federalists were now willing to fight on. The British were planning three invasions. One force burned Washington but failed to capture Baltimore, and sailed away when its commander was killed. In New York State, 10,000 British veterans were marching south until a decisive defeat at the Battle of Plattsburgh
Battle of Plattsburgh
The Battle of Plattsburgh, also known as the Battle of Lake Champlain, ended the final invasion of the northern states during the War of 1812...

 forced them back to Canada.The British were unsure whether the attack on Baltimore was a failure, but Plattsburg was a humiliation that called for court martial . Nothing was known of the fate of the third large invasion force aimed at capturing New Orleans and southwest. The Prime Minister wanted the Duke of Wellington to command in Canada and finally win the war; Wellington said that he would go to America but he believed he was needed in Europe. He also stated:
The Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool, aware of growing opposition to wartime taxation and the demands of Liverpool and Bristol merchants to reopen trade with America, realized Britain had little to gain and much to lose from prolonged warfare.

On December 24, 1814 the diplomats in Ghent signed the Treaty of Ghent
Treaty of Ghent
The Treaty of Ghent , signed on 24 December 1814, in Ghent , was the peace treaty that ended the War of 1812 between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

. The treaty was ratified by the British three days later on December 27 and arrived in Washington on February 17 where it was quickly ratified and went into effect, thus finally ending the war. The terms called for all occupied territory was to be returned, the prewar boundary between Canada and the United States would be restored, and the Americans were to gain fishing rights in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
The Gulf of Saint Lawrence , the world's largest estuary, is the outlet of North America's Great Lakes via the Saint Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean...

.

The treaty ignored the grievances that led to war. American complaints of Indian raids, impressment and blockades had ended when Britain's war with France ended in 1814, and were not mentioned in the treaty. Mobile and parts of western Florida were not mentioned in the treaty but remained permanently in American possession, despite objections by Spain. Thus, the war ended with no significant territorial losses for either side.

Impressment could have become an issue during Napoleon's reappearance for the Hundred Days
Hundred Days
The Hundred Days, sometimes known as the Hundred Days of Napoleon or Napoleon's Hundred Days for specificity, marked the period between Emperor Napoleon I of France's return from exile on Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815...

, for which Britain remanned her fleet; however, the British did not search American ships for British sailors at Liverpool (even the American official position conceded that they had the right to do in British ports), and when William Eustis
William Eustis
William Eustis was an early American statesman.He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and studied at the Boston Latin School before he entered Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1772. He studied medicine under Dr. Joseph Warren and helped care for the wounded at the Battle of Bunker...

, American minister to the Netherlands, complained of the impressment of a seaman off an American ship, the captain responsible was recalled to explain his actions. After the second fall of Napoleon, impressment was largely abandoned.

Losses and compensation


British losses in the war were about 1,600 killed in action and 3,679 wounded; 3,321 British died from disease. American losses were 2,260 killed in action and 4,505 wounded. While the number of Americans who died from disease is not known, it is estimated that about 15,000 died from all causes directly related to the war. These figures do not include deaths among Canadian militia forces or losses among native tribes.

There have been no estimates of the cost of the American war to Britain, but it did add some £25 million to the national debt. In the U.S., the cost was $105 million, about the same as the cost to Britain. The national debt rose from $45 million in 1812 to $127 million by the end of 1815, although by selling bonds and treasury notes at deep discounts—and often for irredeemable paper money due to the suspension of specie payment in 1814—the government received only $34 million worth of specie.

In addition, at least 3,000 American slaves escaped to the British because of their offer of freedom, the same as they had made in the American Revolution. Many other slaves simply escaped in the chaos of war and achieved their freedom on their own. The British settled some of the newly freed slaves in Nova Scotia. Four hundred freedmen were settled in New Brunswick. The Americans protested that Britain's failure to return the slaves violated the Treaty of Ghent. After arbitration by the Tsar of Russia the British paid $1,204,960 in damages to Washington, which reimbursed the slaveowners.

Popular views


During the 19th century the popular image of the war in the United States was of an American victory, and in Canada, of a Canadian victory. Each young country saw her self-perceived victory as an important foundation of her growing nationhood. The British, on the other hand, who had been preoccupied by Napoleon's challenge in Europe, paid little attention to what was to them a peripheral and secondary dispute.

Canadian


In British North America
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

 (which formed the Dominion of Canada in 1867), the War of 1812 was seen by Loyalists as a victory, as they had successfully defended their borders from an American takeover. The outcome gave Empire-oriented Canadians confidence and, together with the postwar "militia myth" that the civilian militia had been primarily responsible rather than the British regulars, was used to stimulate a new sense of Canadian nationalism.

A long-term implication of the militia myth—which was false, but remained popular in the Canadian public at least until World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

—was that Canada did not need a regular professional army. The U.S. Army had done poorly, on the whole, in several attempts to invade Canada, and the Canadians had shown that they would fight bravely to defend their country. But the British did not doubt that the thinly populated territory would be vulnerable in a third war. "We cannot keep Canada if the Americans declare war against us again," Admiral Sir David Milne wrote to a correspondent in 1817.

By the 21st century it was a forgotten war in Britain and Quebec, although still remembered in the rest of Canada, especially Ontario. In a 2009 poll, 37% of Canadians said the war was a Canadian victory, 9% said the U.S. won, 15% called it a draw, and 39%—mainly younger Canadians—said they knew too little to comment.

American


Today, American popular memory includes the British capture and the burning of Washington
Burning of Washington
The Burning of Washington was an armed conflict during the War of 1812 between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the United States of America. On August 24, 1814, led by General Robert Ross, a British force occupied Washington, D.C. and set fire to many public buildings following...

 in August 1814, which necessitated its extensive renovation. Another memory is the successful American defence of Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, Maryland, is a star-shaped fort best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy in Chesapeake Bay...

 in September 1814, which inspired the lyrics of the U.S. national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner
The Star-Spangled Banner
"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from "Defence of Fort McHenry", a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships...

. The successful Captains of the U.S. Navy became popular heroes with plates with the likeness of Decatur, Steward, Hull, and others, becoming popular items. Ironically, many were made in England. The Navy became a cherished institution beloved for the victories that it gave against all odds.

The war remained in the American popular consciousness as late as the later 20th century due to the song The Battle of New Orleans
The Battle of New Orleans
"The Battle of New Orleans" is the title of a song written by Jimmy Driftwood. The song describes the 1815 Battle of New Orleans from the perspective of an American soldier; the lyrics are evidently intended to be comical. It has been recorded by many artists, but the singer most often associated...

.

Historians' views


Historians have differing and more complex interpretations. They are in full agreement that the native Indians were the war's clear losers, losing land, power and any hope of keeping their semi-autonomous status. Historians also agree that ending the war with neither side gaining or losing territory allowed for the peaceful settlement of boundary disputes and for the opening of a permanent era of good will and friendly relations between the U.S. and Canada.

In recent decades the view of the majority of historians has been that the war ended in stalemate, with the Treaty of Ghent closing a war that had become militarily inconclusive. Neither side wanted to continue fighting since the main causes had disappeared and since there were no large lost territories for one side or the other to reclaim by force. Insofar as they see the war's untriumphant resolution as allowing two centuries of peaceful and mutually beneficial intercourse between the U.S., Britain and Canada, these historians often conclude that all three nations were the "real winners" of the War of 1812. These writers often add that the war could have been avoided in the first place by better diplomacy. It is seen as a mistake for everyone concerned because it was badly planned and marked by multiple fiascoes and failures on both sides, as shown especially by the repeated American failure to seize parts of Canada, and the failed British invasions of New Orleans and upstate New York.

However, other scholars hold that the war constituted a British victory and an American defeat. They argue that the British achieved their military objectives in 1812 (by stopping the repeated American invasions of Canada) and that Canada retained her independence of the United States. By contrast, they say, the Americans suffered a defeat when their armies failed to achieve their war goal of seizing part or all of Canada. Additionally, they argue the US lost as it failed to stop impressment, which the British refused to repeal until the end of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, and the US actions had no effect on the orders in council, which were rescinded before the war started.

A second minority view is that both the US and Britain won the warthat is, both achieved their main objectives, while the Indians were the losing party. The British won by losing no territories and achieving their great war goal, the total defeat of Napoleon. U.S. won by (1) securing her honour and successfully resisting a powerful empire once again,As Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 concluded, "The lessons of the war were taken to heart. Anti-American feeling in Great Britain ran high for several years, but the United States were never again refused proper treatment as an independent power".
thus winning a "second war of independence"; (2) ending the threat of Indian raids and the British plan for a semi-independent Indian sanctuary—thereby opening an unimpeded path for the United States' westward expansion—and (3) stopping the Royal Navy from restricting American trade and impressing American sailors.

Long-term consequences


Neither side lost territory in the war,Spain, a British ally, lost control of the Mobile, Alabama, area to the Americans. nor did the treaty that ended it address the original points of contention—and yet it changed much between the United States of America and Britain.

The Rush–Bagot Treaty was a treaty between the United States and Britain enacted in 1817 that provided for the demilitarization of the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 and Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain is a natural, freshwater lake in North America, located mainly within the borders of the United States but partially situated across the Canada—United States border in the Canadian province of Quebec.The New York portion of the Champlain Valley includes the eastern portions of...

, where many British naval arrangements and forts still remained. The treaty laid the basis for a demilitarized boundary and was indicative of improving relations between the United States and Great Britain in the period following the War of 1812. It remains in effect to this day.

The Treaty of Ghent established the status quo ante bellum; that is, there were no territorial losses by either side. The issue of impressment was made moot when the Royal Navy, no longer needing sailors, stopped impressment after the defeat of Napoleon. Except for occasional border disputes and the circumstances of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, relations between the U.S. and Britain remained generally peaceful for the rest of the 19th century, and the two countries became close allies
Special relationship
The Special Relationship is a phrase used to describe the exceptionally close political, diplomatic, cultural, economic, military and historical relations between the United Kingdom and the United States, following its use in a 1946 speech by British statesman Winston Churchill...

 in the 20th century.

Border adjustments between the U.S. and British North America were made in the Treaty of 1818
Treaty of 1818
The Convention respecting fisheries, boundary and the restoration of slaves between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, also known as the London Convention, Anglo-American Convention of 1818, Convention of 1818, or simply the Treaty of 1818, was a...

. A border dispute along the Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

 border was settled by the 1842 Webster–Ashburton Treaty after the bloodless Aroostook War
Aroostook War
The Aroostook War was an undeclared nonviolent confrontation in 1838/1839 between the United States and Great Britain over the international boundary between British North America and Maine. The compromise resolution win a mutually accepted border between the state of Maine and the provinces of...

, and the border in the Oregon Territory
Oregon Territory
The Territory of Oregon was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from August 14, 1848, until February 14, 1859, when the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Oregon. Originally claimed by several countries , the region was...

 was settled by splitting the disputed area in half by the 1846 Oregon Treaty
Oregon Treaty
The Oregon Treaty is a treaty between the United Kingdom and the United States that was signed on June 15, 1846, in Washington, D.C. The treaty brought an end to the Oregon boundary dispute by settling competing American and British claims to the Oregon Country, which had been jointly occupied by...

.

United States


The U.S. suppressed the native American resistance on its western and southern borders. The nation also gained a psychological sense of complete independence as people celebrated their "second war of independence." Nationalism soared after the victory at the Battle of New Orleans. The opposition Federalist Party collapsed, and the Era of Good Feelings
Era of Good Feelings
The Era of Good Feelings was a period in United States political history in which partisan bitterness abated. It lasted approximately from 1815 to 1825, during the administration of U.S...

 ensued.

No longer questioning the need for a strong Navy, the U.S. built three new 74-gun ships of the line and two new 44-gun frigates shortly after the end of the war. (Another frigate had been destroyed to prevent it being captured on the stocks.) In 1816, the U.S. Congress passed into law an "Act for the gradual increase of the Navy" at a cost of $1,000,000 a year for eight years, authorizing 9 ships of the line and 12 heavy frigates. The Captains and Commodores of the U.S. Navy became the heroes of their generation in the U.S. Decorated plates and pitchers of Decatur, Hull, Bainbridge, Lawrence, Perry, and Macdonough were made in Staffordshire, England, and found a ready market in the United States. Three of the war heroes used their celebrity to win national office: Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

 (elected President in 1828 and 1832
United States presidential election, 1828
The United States presidential election of 1828 featured a rematch between John Quincy Adams, now incumbent President, and Andrew Jackson, the runner-up in the 1824 election. With no other major candidates, Jackson and his chief ally Martin Van Buren consolidated their bases in the South and New...

), Richard Mentor Johnson
Richard Mentor Johnson
Richard Mentor Johnson was the ninth Vice President of the United States, serving in the administration of Martin Van Buren . He was the only vice-president ever elected by the United States Senate under the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment. Johnson also represented Kentucky in the U.S...

 (elected Vice President in 1836
United States presidential election, 1836
The United States presidential election of 1836 ushered Martin Van Buren into the White House. It is predominantly remembered for three reasons:...

), and William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

 (elected President in 1840
United States presidential election, 1840
The United States presidential election of 1840 saw President Martin Van Buren fight for re-election against an economic depression and a Whig Party unified for the first time behind war hero William Henry Harrison and his "log cabin campaign"...

).

New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 states became increasingly frustrated over how the war was being conducted and how the conflict was affecting them. They complained that the U.S. government was not investing enough in the states' defenses militarily and financially, and that the states should have more control over their militia. The increased taxes, the British blockade, and the occupation of some of New England by enemy forces also agitated public opinion in the states. As a result, at the Hartford Convention
Hartford Convention
The Hartford Convention was an event spanning from December 15, 1814–January 4, 1815 in the United States during the War of 1812 in which New England's opposition to the war reached the point where secession from the United States was discussed...

 (December 1814–January 1815) held in Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, New England representatives asked New England to have its states' powers fully restored. Nevertheless, a common misconception propagated by newspapers of the time was that the New England representatives wanted to secede from the Union and make a separate peace with the British. This view is not supported by what happened at the Convention.

This war enabled thousands of slaves to escape to British lines or ships for freedom, despite the difficulties. The planters' complacency about slave contentment was shocked by their seeing slaves who would risk so much to be free.

British North America (Canada)


The Battle of York
Battle of York
The Battle of York was a battle of the War of 1812 fought on 27 April 1813, at York, Upper Canada . An American force supported by a naval flotilla landed on the lake shore to the west, defeated the defending British force and captured the town and dockyard...

 showed the vulnerability of Upper and Lower Canada. In the 1820s, work began on La Citadelle at Quebec City
Quebec City
Quebec , also Québec, Quebec City or Québec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in Quebec after Montreal, which is about to the southwest...

 as a defence against the United States; the fort remains an operational base of the Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

. Additionally, work began on the Halifax citadel
Halifax Citadel
Halifax Citadel is a provincial electoral district in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, that elects one member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.Its current Member of the Legislative Assembly is Leonard Preyra of the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party....

 to defend the port against American attacks. This fort remained in operation through World War II.

From 1826 to 1832, the Rideau Canal
Rideau Canal
The Rideau Canal , also known as the Rideau Waterway, connects the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on the Ottawa River to the city of Kingston, Ontario on Lake Ontario. The canal was opened in 1832 as a precaution in case of war with the United States and is still in use today, with most of its...

 was built to provide a secure waterway from Bytown (now Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

) to Kingston
Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario is a Canadian city located in Eastern Ontario where the St. Lawrence River flows out of Lake Ontario. Originally a First Nations settlement called "Katarowki," , growing European exploration in the 17th Century made it an important trading post...

 via the Rideau River then southwest via the canal to Lake Ontario, avoiding the narrows of the St. Lawrence River, where ships could be vulnerable to American cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

 fire. To defend the western end of the canal, the British also built Fort Henry
Fort Henry, Ontario
Fort Henry is located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada on Point Henry, a strategic point located near the mouth of the Cataraqui River where it flows into the St. Lawrence River, at the upper end of the Thousand Islands...

 at Kingston, including four Martello tower
Martello tower
Martello towers are small defensive forts built in several countries of the British Empire during the 19th century, from the time of the Napoleonic Wars onwards....

s, which remained operational until 1891.

Indigenous nations


The Native Americans allied to the British lost their cause. The British proposal to create a "neutral" Indian zone in the American West was rejected at the Ghent peace conference and never resurfaced. After 1814 the natives, who lost most of their fur gathering territory, became an undesirable burden to British policymakers who now looked to the United States for markets and raw materials. British agents in the field continued to meet regularly with their former native partners, but they did not supply arms or encouragement and there were no Indian campaigns to stop U.S. expansionism in the Midwest. Abandoned by their powerful sponsor, Great Lakes-area natives ultimately migrated or reached accommodations with the American authorities and settlers. In the Southeast, Indian resistance had been crushed by General Andrew Jackson; as President (1829–37), Jackson systematically removed the major tribes to reservations west of the Mississippi.

Bermuda


Bermuda
Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

 had been largely left to the defences of its own militia and privateers prior to U.S. independence, but the Royal Navy had begun buying up land and operating from there in 1795, as its location was a useful substitute for the lost U.S. ports. It originally was intended to be the winter headquarters of the North American Squadron, but the war saw it rise to a new prominence. As construction work progressed through the first half of the 19th century, Bermuda became the permanent naval headquarters in Western waters, housing the Admiralty and serving as a base and dockyard
Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda
HMD Bermuda was the principal base of the Royal Navy in the Western Atlantic between American independence and the Cold War. Bermuda had occupied a useful position astride the homeward leg taken by many European vessels from the New World since before its settlement by England in 1609...

. The military garrison was built up to protect the naval establishment, heavily fortifying the archipelago that came to be described as the "Gibraltar of the West." Defence infrastructure would remain the central leg of Bermuda's economy until after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Britain


The massive ongoing conflict against the French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 under Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 ensured that the War of 1812 was never seen as more than a sideshow to the main event by the British public. Britain's blockade of French trade had been entirely successful and the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 was the world's dominant nautical power (and would remain so for another century). While the land campaigns had contributed little, the Royal Navy had destroyed American commerce, bottled up the U.S. Navy in port and heavily suppressed privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

ing. The peace was generally welcomed by the British though both newspaper articles and official letters expressed dismay at the assumed unchecked growth of the United States of America. However, the governments of the two nations quickly resumed trade after the end of the war and over time, a growing friendship and repeated military alliances have remained to the present day.

See also


  • History of Canada
    History of Canada
    The history of Canada covers the period from the arrival of Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago to the present day. Canada has been inhabited for millennia by distinctive groups of Aboriginal peoples, among whom evolved trade networks, spiritual beliefs, and social hierarchies...

  • Indiana in the War of 1812
    Indiana in the War of 1812
    During the War of 1812, Indiana Territory was home to several conflicts between the United States territorial government and partisan Native American forces backed by the British in Canada. The Battle of Tippecanoe, which had occurred just months before the war began, was one of the catalysts that...

  • Kentucky in the War of 1812
    Kentucky in the War of 1812
    During the War of 1812, Kentucky supplied numerous troops and supplies to the war effort.Because Kentucky did not have to commit manpower to defending fortifications, most Kentucky troops campaigned actively against the enemy...

  • Opposition to the War of 1812 in the United States
  • Timeline of the War of 1812
  • War of 1812 Campaigns
    War of 1812 Campaigns
    The following is a synopsis of the Land Campaigns of the War of 1812. The source is the United States Army Center of Military History-Canada, 18 June 1812 — 17 February 1815:...

  • War of 1812 Bicentennial
    War of 1812 Bicentennial
    The War of 1812 Bicentennial is a series of planned events to commemorate the War of 1812 in the United States and Canada during the war's bicentenary, 2012-2015. Included here is a list of planned commemorations and organizations.-Canada:...


Further reading



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  • Malcomson, Robert. Historical Dictionary of the War of 1812 (Land ham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2006). ISBN 0-8108-5499-6 699pp}}


External links