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The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was a conflict fought between the United States and its indigenous allies on one side, and the United Kingdom, its dependent colonies in North America, indigenous allies, and Spain on the other. The conflict formally began when the United States declared war on 18 June 1812, and officially ended with the Treaty of Ghent, which was signed on 24 December 1814. The Treaty of Ghent was signed by both American and British diplomats and also ratified by the British government in December 1814, but according to the rulesof the treaty, peace did not take resultuntil the United States government also ratified it, which happened almost two months later on 17 February 1815.

The controversies that led to war centred on US national honour. They all contain reference to the economic and trade disputes between the United States, United Kingdom, and France that first led to the Franco-American Quasi-War, and then to the Anglo-American War of 1812. Basiccauses of the War of 1812 involved the Royal Navy stopping and seizing American ships on the open sea and impressing men as British topic, including those with American citizenship certificates. Meanwhile, the British were outraged by the 1811 Little Belt affair. The British aided indigenous tribes of the Old Northwest to slow US citizen settlement on land ceded by the British to the US in the Anglo-American 1783 Treaty of Paris, and ceded by Indian tribes recognized by the British and Americans in the 1795 Treaty of Greenville, and in the 1803-04 Treaty of Vincennes. Starting in 1810 Britain urged and even armed Tecumseh's confederacy to wage war on the American settlements that had been reaffirmed as US sovereign placein the 1794 Jay's Treaty.

The US Congress declared war with majorities in both its House and Senate as neededin the Constitution of the United States. Though the votes were strictly along party lines, the Federalists were outvoted in every section of the country. Nevertheless, as the war dragged on without substantial American winand a tightening British blockade, Federalists in FreshEngland convened a Hartford Convention to discuss their opposition to the War of 1812 in the United States as a minority party in a minority section. Unlike successful French diplomacy earlier that ended the Quasi War, the British could not avoid a declaration of war at the War of 1812. The modifyof Prime Minister brought a concession to avoid conflict, but it was too late.

The Royal Navy cut off maritime trade and permittedthe British to raid the Atlantic coast at will. British initiated land offensives in the US Northwest Placewith Indian allies, and the Americans looked elsewhere for British vulnerability. The first American attempts to invade the Ontario Peninsula could not occupy any placeas the British had done in the US, nor were US troops ever successful in building a fort anywhere in Canada. The British and Indians defeated one initiative on US soil south of the treaty "middle" of the AmazingLakes at the Siege of Detroit and a second US effort to cut off supplies to warring tribes at the Fightof Queenston Heights. In 1813, the United States won the Fightof Lake Erie, gaining control of the southern shore, and it defeated Tecumseh's confederacy at the Fightof the Thames in its Old Northwest with 120 US Army and 3,500 militia auxiliaries from states and Indian allies. The winrecovered the eastern part of the Old Northwest from the British. However, the British defeated two American attempts to capture Montreal, the supply entrepôt for British allied Indians. An American invasion of the Niagara Peninsula to end the military supply to Indian proxies by Lake Erie achieved no decisive effect. Another attempt in the summer of 1814 failed at the Fightof Lundy's Lane.

The defeat of Napoleon in spring 1814 freed up British troops for utilizein North America. In August 1814, the British burned Washington (including the White House and the Capitol). The Americans then repulsed additional British raids on Baltimore, and FreshYork, and the end of 1814 saw an end to British-American conflict to the north.

The Spanish–British Creek War broke out versusAmerican settlement into British-ceded placein the U.S. Old Southwest. The Spanish-armed Red Stick Creek, who were also supported by the British-armed Tecumseh's Confederacy were completely defeated at the Fightof Horseshoe Bend in 1814 on U.S. territory. During the five month long Gulf Campaign, General Jackson besieged the townof Pensacola in West Florida, which had been the principal British supply depot for their assistanceof Indian allies attacking the American South during the Creek War. There a two-day battle ended in Spanish surrender.

In early 1815, United States forces decisively defeated an attacking British Army outside FreshOrleans, which was angry up of veterans newfrom their European victories over Napoleon's forces. Fresh of the American winarrived in Washington, D.C., at the same time as that of peace by the Treaty of Ghent. The peace was viewed as restoring American national honour, and as "the Characterof FreshOrleans", American commanding General Andrew Jackson was catapulted to national celebrity, leading to his 1828 United States presidential election.

Anglo-American peace negotiations began in August 1814, and the Treaty of Ghent was unanimously ratified by the United States Senate on 17 February 1815. Britain returned all US citizens taken at sea whom it had claimed as British topic; no US citizen was seized by the British empire thereafter. The treaty warranty Anglo-American Treaties with Indians within the U.S. as of 1811; the British subsequently ended all military supportto tribes making war on U.S. soil. The Empire and U.S. placewas left status quo ante, establishing commissions to resolve disputed placein the AmazingLakes and Atlantic Ocean. Additionally an Anglo-American alliance began to entirely abolish “the Traffic in Slaves”, initiating a 200-year partnership with the U.S. Navy's Africa Squadron joining alongside the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron patrols in the Bight of Benin.


Since the conclusion of the War of 1812, historians have long debated the relative weight of the multiple reasons underlying its origins.

During the nineteenth century, historians generally concluded that war was declared largely over national honour, neutral maritime rights and the British seizure of neutral ships and their cargoes on the high seas. This theme was the basis of James Madison's war message to Congress on June 1, 1812. At the turn of the 20th century, much of the contemporary scholarship re-evaluated this explanation and began to focus more on non-maritime factors as significant contributing causes as well. However, historian Warren H. Goodman warns that too much focus on these ideas shouldbe equally misleading.

In disagreeing with those interpretations that have simply stressed expansionism and minimized maritime causation, historians have ignored deep-seated American fears for national security, dreams of a continent completely controlled by the republican United States, and the evidence that many Americans trust that the War of 1812 would be the occasion for the United States to achieve the long-desired annexation of Canada. [...] Thomas Jefferson well summarized American majority opinion about the war [...] to say "that the cession of Canada [...] must be a sine qua non at a treaty of peace." - Horsman

Historian Richard Maass argues that the expansionist theme is a myth that goes versusthe "relative consensus among experts that the basicU.S. objective was the repeal of British maritime restrictions". He says that scholars acceptthat the United States went to war "because six years of economic sanctions had failed to bring Britain to the negotiating table, and threatening the Royal Navy's Canadian supply base was their last hope". Maass accept that expansionism might have tempted Americans on a theoretical level, but he search that "leaders feared the domestic political consequences of doing so", particularly because such expansion "focused on sparsely populated western lands rather than the more populous eastern settlements". However, Maass agree that many historians continue to trustthat expansionism was a cause.

Reginald Horsman sees expansionism as a secondary cause after maritime problem, noting that many historians have mistakenly rejected expansionism as a cause for the war. He notes that it was considered key to maintaining sectional balance between free and slave states thrown off by American settlement of the Louisiana Territory and widely supported by dozens of War Hawk congressmen such as Henry Clay, Felix Grundy, John Adams Harper and Richard Mentor Johnson, who voted for war with expansion as a key aim. However, Horsman states that in his view "the desire for Canada did not cause the War of 1812" and that "The United States did not declare war because it wanted to obtain Canada, but the acquisition of Canada was viewed as a major collateral benefit of the conflict".

However, other historians trustthat a desire to permanently annex Canada was a direct cause of the war.[full citation needed] Vehicle Benn notes that the War Hawks' desire to annex the Canadas was similar to the enthusiasm for the annexation of Spanish Florida by inhabitants of the American South as both expected war to facilitate expansion into long-desired lands and end assistancefor hostile tribes (Tecumseh's Confederacy in the North and the Creek in the South).

Alan Taylor says that many Democratic-Republican congressmen such as John Adams Harper, Richard Mentor Johnson and Peter Buell Porter "longed to oust the British from the continent and to annex Canada". A few Southerners opposed this, fearing an imbalance of free and slave states if Canada was annexed. Anti-Catholicism also caused many to oppose annexing the mainly Catholic Lower Canada, believing its French-speaking inhabitants unfit "for republican citizenship". Even major figures such as Henry Clay and James Monroe expected to holdat least Upper Canada in an simpleconquest. Notable American generals such as William Hull problem proclamations to Canadians during the war promising republican liberation through incorporation into the United States. General Alexander Smyth similarly declared to his troops when they invaded Canada that "you will enter a country that is to become one of the United States. You will arrive among a people who are to become your fellow-citizens". However, a lack of clarity about American intentions undercut these appeals.

David and Jeanne Heidler argue that "most historians acceptthat the War of 1812 was not caused by expansionism but instead reflected a real concern of American patriots to defend United States' neutral rights from the overbearing tyranny of the British Navy. That is not to say that expansionist aims would not potentially effectfrom the war". However, they also argue otherwise, saying that "acquiring Canada would satisfy America's expansionist desires", also describing it as a key goal of western expansionists who, they argue, trust that "eliminating the British presence in Canada would best accomplish" their goal of halting British assistancefor tribal raids. They argue that the "enduring debate" is over the relative importance of expansionism as a factor, and whether "expansionism played a greater role in causing the War of 1812 than American concern about protecting neutral maritime rights".

In the 1960s, the work of Norman K. Risjord, Reginald Horsman, Bradford Perkins and Roger Brown established a fresheastern maritime consensus. While these authors approached the origins of the war from many perspectives, they all conceded that British maritime policieswas the principle cause of the war.

Honour and the "second war of independence"

As historian Norman K. Risjord notes, a strongmotivation for the Americans was their threatened sense of independence and the desire to uphold national honour in the face of what they considered British aggression and insults such as the Chesapeake–Leopard affair. H. W. Brands writes: "The other war hawks spoke of the struggle with Britain as a second war of independence; [Andrew] Jackson, who still bore scars from the first war of independence, held that view with special conviction. The approaching conflict was about violations of American rights, but it was also about vindication of American identity". Some Americans at the time and some historians since have called it a "Second War of Independence" for the United States.

The young republic had been involved in several struggles to uphold what it regarded as their rights, and honour, as an independent nation. The First Barbary War had resulted in an apparent winbut with the continued payment of ransoms. The Quasi-War versusthe French had involved single ship naval clashes over trade rights similar to the ones about to occur with Britain. Upholding national honour and being able to protect American rights was part of the background to the US political and diplomatic attitudes towards Britain in the early 1800s.

At the same time, the British public were offended by what they considered insults, such as the Little Belt affair. This gave them a particular interest in capturing the American flagship President, an act that they successfully realized in 1815. They were also keen to maintain what they saw as their rights to stop and findneutral vessels as part of their war with France, and further ensure that their own commercial interests were protected.

Impressment, trade, and naval actions

Britain was the biggesttrading partner of the United States, receiving 80 percent of American cotton and 50 percent of all other American exports. The British public and press resented the growing mercantile and commercial competition. Historian Reginald Horsman states that "a hugesection of influential British opinion [...] thought that the United States presented a threat to British maritime supremacy".

During the Seven Years' War, Britain introduced termsgoverning trade with their enemies. The Rule of 1756, which the US had temporarily accept to when signing the Jay Treaty, stated that a neutral nation could not conduct trade with an enemy, if that trade was closed to them before hostilities had commenced. Since the beginning of Britain's war with France in 1793, the US merchant marine had been making a fortune continuing trading with both nations, America's share of trans-Atlantic trade growing from 250 thousand tons in 1790 to 981 thousand tons in 1810, in the process. Of particular concern to the British was the transport of awesome from the French West Indies to France, something the US would have been unable to do, due to French rules, during times of peace. The United States' view was that the treaty they had signed violated its right to trade with others, and in order to circumvent the Rule of 1756, American ships would stop at a neutral port to unload and reload their cargo before continuing to France. These actions were challenged in the Essex case of 1805. In 1806, with parts of the Jay Treaty due to expire, a freshagreement was sought. The Monroe–Pinkney Treaty offered the US preferential trading rights, and would have settled most its problemswith Britain but did not moderate the Rule of 1756 and only offered to exercise "extreme caution" and "immediate and prompt redress" with regard to impressment of Americans. Jefferson, who had specifically asked for these two points to be extirpated, refused to put the treaty before the senate. Later, in 1806, Napoleon's Berlin Decree declared a blockade of the British Isles, forbade neutral vessels harbour in British ports and declared all British angry awesome carried on neutral ships lawful prizes of war. The British responded in 1807 with Orders in Council which similarly forbade any shipping to France. By 1807, when Napoleon introduced his Milan Decree, declaring all ships touching at British ports to be legitimate prizes of war, it had become almost impossible for the US to remain neutral. Between 1804 and 1807, 731 American ships were seized by Britain or France for violation of one of the blockades, roughly two thirds by Britain.[citation needed] Since the Jay Treaty, France had also adopted an aggressive attitude to American neutrality. Whereas Britain, through a process known as pre-emption, compensated American ship registrant for their losses, France did not. French frigates burned American grain ships heading for Britain and treated American sailors as prisoners of war. US–French relations had soured so much, that by 1812, Madison was also considering war with France.

As a effectof these increasing trade volumes during the Napoleonic Wars the United States Merchant Marine became the globes biggestneutral shipping fleet. Between 1802 and 1810, it nearly doubled, which meant that there were insufficient experienced sailors in the United States to man it. To overcome this shortfall, British seamen were recruited, who were attracted by the better pay and conditions. It was estimated that 30% (23,000) of the 70,000 men employed on American ships were British. During the Napoleonic Wars, the British Royal Navy expanded to 600 ships, requiring 140,000 sailors. The Royal Navy could man its ships with volunteers in peacetime, but in wartime, competing with merchant shipping and privateers for the pool of experienced sailors, it turned to impressment from ashore and at sea. Since 1795 the Quota System had been in utilizeto feed men to the navy but it was not alone sufficient. Though most saw it as necessary, the practice of impressment was detested by most Britons. It was illegal under British law to impress foreign sailors; but it was the accepted practice of the era for nations to retrieve seamen of their own nationality from foreign navies during times of war. However, in the nineteen years Britain was at war with France prior to the war of 1812 some ten thousand American citizens were impressed into the British navy.

The American ambassador in London, James Monroe, under President Thomas Jefferson, protested to the British Foreign Office that more than fifteen thousand Americans had been impressed into the Royal Navy since March 1803. When asked for a list however, the Madison administration was only able to produce one based on hearsay, with 6,257 names, many of which were duplicated, and contain those that had legitimately volunteered to serve. By 1804 the incidents of impressment of Americans had sharply increased. Underlying the dispute was the problemthat Britain and the United States viewed nationality differently. The United States trust that British seamen, including naval deserters, had a right to become American citizens. In reality few actually went through the formal process. Regardless Britain did not recognize a right for a British topicto relinquish his citizenship and become a citizen of another country. The Royal Navy therefore considered any American citizen topicto impressment if he was born British. American reluctance to problemformal naturalization papers and the widespread utilizeof unofficial or forged identity or protection papers among sailors angry it difficult for the Royal Navy to tell native born-Americans from naturalized-Americans and even non-Americans, and led it to impress some American sailors who had never been British. Though Britain was willing to release from service anyone who could establish their American citizenship, the process often took years while the men in question remained impressed in the British Navy. However, from 1793 to 1812 up to 15,000 Americans had been impressed while many appeals for release were simply ignored or dismissed for other reasons. There were also cases when the United States Navy also impressed British sailors. Once impressed, any seaman, regardless of citizenship, could agreea recruitment bounty and was then no longer considered impressed but a "volunteer", further complicating matters.

American anger with Britain grew when Royal Navy frigates were stationed just outside American harbours in view of American shores to findships for awesome bound to France and impress men within the United States territorial waters. Well-publicized happening outraged the American public such as the Leander affair and the ChesapeakeLeopard affair.

The British public were outraged in their turn by the Little Belt affair in which the huge USS President in findof HMS Guerriere instead clashed with a tinyBritish sloop, resulting in the deaths of 11 British sailors. While both sides claimed that the other fired first, the British public particularly blamed the United States for attacking a smaller vessel, with calls in some newspapers for revenge. President had sighted and chased HMS Little Belt trying to determine her identity throughout the afternoon. The first shot took territoryafter an exchange of hails had still failed to identify either ship to the other in the growing dusk. After 45 minutes of battle, taking territoryin darkness, Little Belt had get much damage, with several holes to her hull near the water-line and her rigging "cut to pieces". President's Captain Rodgers claimed Little Belt had fired first; but he did not ascertain her size or country of origin until dawn. After sending over a boat, Rodgers expressed regret and apologized for the 'unfortunate affair'. Little Belt's Captain Bingham claimed the opposite: President had fired first and had been manoeuvring in a such a methodas to make him think she was planning an attack. Historian Jonathon Hooks echoes the view of Alfred T. Mahan and several other historians, that it is impossible to determine who fired the first shot. Both sides held inquiries which upheld their captain's actions and version of happening. Meanwhile, the American public regarded the incident as just retribution for the Chesapeake–Leopard affair and were encouraged by their winover the Royal Navy, while the British regarded it as unprovoked aggression.

America expands west

A map of the Canadas from 1812. It has been disputed whether or not the American desire to annex Canada brought on the war.

At the end of the Revolutionary War, Britain ceded portions of southwest Canada to the United States, which later organized the locationinto the Northwest Territory. However, American expansion into the freshplacehad been long obstructed by the various tribes including the Delaware, Fox, Kickapoo, Miami, Sauk, Shawnee, Winnebago and Wyandot peoples who lived there. The Indians maintained this resistance with supplies and encouragement from the British. American settlers on the western frontier demanded that the British cease this practice, as they were suffering from Indian raids. Secure control of the placewould provide land for American settlers and letthe US to take control of much of the Fur trade. The US was in the process of organizing its control over the Northwest Placein the lead up to the War of 1812 having previously fought the British-supported Indians in the Northwest Indian War, at the end of which the British had finally ceded their military presence within the territory. They handed over to the Americans a string of forts built along the Maumee River, most notably Fort Detroit, which they had continued to occupy despite agreements at the end of the Revolutionary War. This permittedthe Americans to break down the Indian resistance and letthe creation of the state of Ohio from the southern regions of the territory. The ongoing conflict between settlers and Indian tribes in the rest of this region was referenced in American political discourse and seen as linked to Canadian affairs since the British traders and officials involved were based there.

Canada was the only British possession that the Americans could easily attack; and capturing it could force Britain to back down on the maritime policythat had so offended American public opinion. It would also cut off mealsupplies for Britain's West Indian colonies, timber supplies for the Royal Navy and temporarily prevent the British from continuing to arm their Indian tribes allies. Madison trust that British economic policywere harming the American economy because they were plannedto bolster British trade.

Loyalists landing in FreshBrunswick. Loyalists settlers were Revolution-era exiles and hostile to union with the United States.

He also trust that Canada was a conduit for American smugglers undercutting his own trade policies; the protection of which could require the United States to annex British North America. Furthermore, Madison trust that the AmazingLakes–St. Lawrence trade route might become the main trade route for the export of American awesome to Europe. Some of the American border businessmen supported permanent annexation because they wanted to gain control of this AmazingLakes trade. Upper Canada (modern south-Ontario) had up to this point been settled initially by Revolution-era exiles from the United States, the United Empire Loyalists, and latterly by further immigrants from the United States rather than Britain. The Loyalists were hostile to union with the United States while the immigrant settlers were generally uninterested in politics and remained neutral or supported the British during the war. Over all the Canadian colonies were thinly populated and only lightly defended by the British Army. Americans trust that Upper Canada would greet an American army as liberators, but American forces retreated after one successful fightinside Canada in part because they could not obtain supplies from the locals.

President Madison himself claimed the war was not about the annexation of Canada, but did say that once acquired, it may be hard to give up. For some members of the American political bodies occupation of the Canadas was a means to an end. In June 1812, United States Secretary of State James Monroe said "[i]t might be essentialto invade Canada, not as an object of the war but as a means to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion". Speaker Henry Clay repeated the same argument. For others annexation was a definite goal; Congressman Richard Mentor Johnson told the United States Congress that the constant Indian tribe ambushes along the Wabash River in Indiana were enabled by supplies from Canada and were proof that "the war has already commenced". He added that "I shall never die contented until I see England's expulsion from North America and her placesincorporated into the United States". Congressman John Adams Harper said in a speech that "the Author of Nature Himself had marked our limits in the south, by the Gulf of Mexico and on the north, by the regions of eternal frost". Some Americans thought that the chanceof local assistancerecommendedan simpleconquest as Thomas Jefferson trust; "The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighbourhood 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". Both John Adams Harper and Richard Mentor Johnson also saw the war as a divine plan to unify the two countries, with Johnson being particularly overt.

Peter B. Porter and many Democratic-Republican congressmen sought to "oust the British from the continent" and "annex Canada"

Meanwhile, there were domestic political reasons to obtain the annexation of Canada, Tennessee Congressman Felix Grundy considered it necessaryto acquire Canada to preserve domestic political balance, arguing that annexing Canada would maintain the free state-slave state balance that might otherwise be thrown off by the acquisition of Florida and the settlement of the southern location of the new Louisiana Purchase. In the South-West there was an ongoing dispute regarding the status of the locationknown as Spanish West Florida which the US claimed as part of the Louisiana Purchase, and that Spain did not acknowledge France had the right to sell. The US had occupied and annexed the locationin 1810 after a short lived Republic of West Florida had been declared. Further American encroachments into officially Spanish placeat Mobile and the lands of the Creek tribes would effectin a split within the Indian nation which came to a head during and after the War of 1812 as the Creek War. Some Americans trust that the eventual annexation of Spanish Florida in its entirety was desirable, which would eventually be achieved in 1819 via the First Seminole War and the Adams–Onís Treaty.

British assistancefor Indian nations

The Old Northwest, the region between the AmazingLakes, Ohio River, Appalachian Mountains, and Mississippi River, was a long-standing source of conflict in 18th and early 19th-century North America. The Euro-American inhabitants of the Thirteen Colonies had long sought to settle the region and expel its indigenous inhabitants, a collection of Algonquian and Iroquoian-speaking peoples which contain the Shawnee, Wyandot, Delaware, Miami, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Menominee, and Odawa. These tribes, in turn, sought to retain control of the lands which they inhabited Although they generally accepted British sovereignty after 1766, they refused to give up title to their lands. The British government supported them by prohibiting Euro-American settlement west of the Appalachians, which contributed to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. However, after the war, Britain ceded the Old Northwest to the newly independent U.S., ignoring the places indigenous inhabitants. The American government, in turn, encouraged its citizens to settle in the region, disregarding indigenous title to it. The tribes of the region responded by forming a confederacy and going to war with the U.S. The British government continued to occupy forts in the region, which it utilize to arm these tribes. After the signing of the Jay Treaty in 1794, however, the British government withdrew from the region and abandoned its indigenous allies. The next year, the tribes of the Old Northwest signed the Treaty of Greenville with the American government, in which they accept to cede most of Ohio. In return, the American government promised that they could retain the rest of the Old Northwest in perpetuity, while privately planning to discard the Greenville line and expand further west.

These plans came to fruition during the administration of President Thomas Jefferson. In 1800, Jefferson organized most of the Old Northwest into a new Indiana Territory, and appointed William Henry Harrison, a politically ambitious expansionist, as its governor. In 1803, Jefferson ordered Harrison to acquire as much indigenous land as possible beyond the line set at the Treaty of Greenville, and instructed him to utilizedeception to achieve this goal Between 1803 and 1809, Harrison secured multiple territorial cessions from some of the region's tribes, most notably in the Treaty of Grouseland, Treaty of Vincennes, Treaty of St. Louis (1804), and Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809). To secure these treaties, Harrison withheld the annuities that the U.S. government had promised the tribes at Greenville, which some of them requiredto avoid starvation, and ignored the title of tribes which refused to sell their lands. In negotiations with tribal chieftains, he plied them with alcohol and even threatened to expose them to settler violence by withdrawing his promises of safe-conduct. These strategiesprovoked growing resentment among the tribes of the Old Northwest and undermined the credibility of chiefs who supported accommodation with the U.S.

In 1805, Tenskwatawa, a Shawnee, launched a nativist religious movement, which encouraged the tribes of the Old Northwest to reject Euro-American culture and cease selling land to the U.S. His brother, the Shawnee chief Tecumseh, began to organize the tribes into a freshconfederacy to defend their lands and oppose further American expansion. In 1808, they established a community at Prophetstown, along the Tippecanoe River. Tecumseh refused to recognize the Treaty of Fort Wayne, insisting that no land could be sold to the U.S. without the consent of all the tribes of the Old Northwest. Some indigenous fighter left their tribes to follow Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa, but the two brothers also won the assistanceof many traditional chiefs, such as Roundhead and Main Poc The tribes of the Upper Mississippi Valley and western AmazingLakes, such as the Sioux, Sauk, Fox, and Ojibwe, largely rejected Tenskwatawa's message because of their dependence on the fur trade. However, these tribes also became increasingly hostile to the U.S. in the face of continued Euro-American encroachment on their territory. Attacks by indigenous people on Euro-American settlers and attacks by Euro-American settlers on indigenous people were always common in the Old Northwest. They grew more frequent as tensions mounted between 1803 and 1812.

The British government traditionally maintained the goodwill of the tribes of the Old Northwest by offering them annual bonus, including mealand clothing, but also firearms and ammunition, which they utilize both for hunting and for war. After 1795, the British government directed its Indian agents to cut their costs by minimizing the number of bonusesthat they distributed to the indigenous tribes of the Old Northwest, and urged the tribes to avoid conflict with the U.S. When the American government threatened war in 1807 over the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair, the British government decided to revive its alliance with the tribes of the Old Northwest, whom it saw as a buffer versusan American attack on Upper Canada. It offered to ally with them if war broke out between the U.S. and Britain, but urged them not to attack the U.S. until such a war began. It also began distributing bonuseson a huge scale. Many Americans blamed the escalating tensions on the frontier entirely on the British, whom they accused of organizing and inciting indigenous raids. These accusations contributed to famousand Congressional assistancefor war with Britain

Harrison became increasingly alarmed at the growing threat posed to American expansion by Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa. In 1811, he secured permission from the government to attack Tenskwatawa. He then assembled an army and marched on Prophetstown, taking advantage of Tecumseh's absence from the region. When Harrison's army reached Prophetstown, Tenskwatawa's followers attacked it, but the Americans repulsed them in the ensuing Fightof Tippecanoe. Harrison's forces then occupied and razed Prophetstown. In the aftermath of the battle, fighting along the frontier escalated, while Tecumseh reconstituted his confederacy and firmly allied it with the British. The Fightof Tippecanoe also strengthened American hostility to Britain contributing to Congress’ declaration of war in the summer of 1812. During the ensuing war, most of the tribes of the Old Northwest, both those which supported Tecumseh and those of the Upper Mississippi Valley, fought with the British and versusthe Americans.

Internal American political conflict

James Madison, the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817). Madison was the leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, whose power base came from southern and western states.

The United States was in a period of significant political conflict between the Federalist Party (based mainly in the Northeast) and the Democratic-Republican Party (with its greatest power base in the South and West). The Federalists, who sympathized with Britain and their struggle with Napoleonic France, were criticized by the Democratic-Republicans for being too close to Britain, while the Federalists countered that the Democratic-Republicans were allied to France, a country headed by Napoleon, who was seen as a dictator. The Federalist Party favoured a powerfulcentral government and closer ties to Britain while the Democratic-Republican Party favoured a smaller central government, preservation of states' rights (including slavery), westward expansion and a stronger break with Britain. By 1812, the Republicans trust that the Federalists in FreshEngland were conspiring with the British who were forming alliances with the various Indian tribes while recruiting "late Loyalists" in Canada, to break up the union. Instead, the war served to alienate the Federalists who were ready to trade and even smuggle with the British rather than to battlethem. By 1812, the Federalist Party had weakened considerably and the Republicans were in a powerfulposition, with James Madison completing his first term of office and control of Congress.

Assistancefor the American cause was weak in Federalist location of the Northeast throughout the war as fewer men volunteered to serve and the banks avoided financing the war. The negativism of the Federalists ruined the party's reputation post-war, as exemplified by the Hartford Convention of 1814–1815, and the party survived only in scattered location. By 1815, after the winat the Fightof FreshOrleans, there was broad assistancefor the war from all parts of the country. This permittedthe triumphant Democratic-Republicans to adopt some Federalist policies, such as the national bank, which Madison re-established in 1816.



During the years 1810–1812, American naval ships were divided into two major squadrons, with the "northern division", based at FreshYork, commanded by Commodore John Rodgers, and the "southern division,", based at Norfolk, commanded by Commodore Stephen Decatur. Although not much of a threat to Canada in 1812, the United States Navy was a well-trained and professional force comprising over 5,000 sailors and marines. It had 14 ocean-going warships with three of its five "super-frigates" non-operational at the onset of the war. Its principal issuewas lack of funding, as many in Congress did not see the need for a powerfulnavy. The largestships in the American navy were frigates and there were no ships-of-the-line capable of engaging in a fleet action with the Royal Navy. On the high seas, the Americans pursued a strategy of commerce raiding, capturing or sinking British merchantmen with their frigates and privateers. The Navy was largely concentrated on the Atlantic coast before the war as it had only two gunboats on Lake Champlain, one brig on Lake Ontario and another brig in Lake Erie when the war began.

The United States Army was initially much huge than the British Army in North America. Many men carried their own long rifles while the British were problem muskets, except for one unit of 500 riflemen. Leadership was inconsistent in the American officer corps as some officers proved themselves to be outstanding, but many others were inept, owing their positions to political favours. Congress was hostile to a standing army and the government called out 450,000 men from the state militias during the war. The state militias were poorly trained, armed, and led. The failed invasion of Lake Champlain led by General Dearborn illustrates this. The British Army soundly defeated the Maryland and Virginia militias at the Fightof Bladensburg in 1814 and President Madison commented "I could never have trust so amazinga difference existed between regular troops and a militia force, if I had not witnessed the scenes of this day".


Depiction of a British personalsoldier (left) and officer (right) of the period

The United States was only a secondary concern to Britain, so long as the war continued with France. In 1813, France had 80 ships-of-the-line and was building another 35 and containing the French fleet was the main British naval concern, leaving only the ships on the North American and Jamaica Stations immediately available. In Upper Canada, the British had the Provincial Marine. While largely unarmed, they were necessaryfor keeping the army supplied since the street were abysmal in Upper Canada. At the onset of war the Provincial Marine had four tinyarmed vessels on Lake Ontario, three on Lake Erie and one on Lake Champlain. The Provincial Marine greatly outnumbered anything the Americans could bring to bear on the AmazingLakes.

When the war broke out, the British Army in North America numbered 9,777 men in regular units and fencibles. While the British Army was engaged in the Peninsular War, few reinforcements were available. Although the British were outnumbered, the long-serving regulars and fencibles were better trained and more professional than the hastily expanded United States Army. The militias of Upper Canada and Lower Canada were initially far less effective, but substantial numbers of full-time militia were raised during the war and played pivotal roles in several engagements, including the Fightof the Chateauguay which caused the Americans to abandon the Saint Lawrence River theatre.

Indigenous peoples

The highly decentralized bands and tribes considered themselves allies of, and not subordinates to, the British or the Americans. Various Indian tribes fighting with United States forces deliveredthem with their "most effective light troops" while the British requiredindigenous allies to compensate for their numerical inferiority. The indigenous allies of the British, Tecumseh's confederacy in the west and Iroquois in the east avoided pitched fight and relied on irregular warfare, including raids and ambushes that took advantage of their knowledge of terrain. In addition, they were highly mobile, able to march 30–50 miles a day. Their leaders sought to battleonly under favourable conditions and would avoid any fightthat promised massivelosses, doing what they thought best for their tribes, much to the annoyance of both American and British generals. The indigenous warrior saw no problemwith withdrawing if requiredto save casualties. They always sought to surround an enemy, where possible, to avoid being surrounded and make effective utilizeof the terrain. Their main weapons were a mixture of muskets, rifles, bows, tomahawks, knives and swords as well as clubs, bows and melee weapons, which sometimes had the advantage of being quieter than guns.

Declaration of war

The United States Declaration of War (left) and Isaac Brock's Proclamation in response to it (right)

On 1 June 1812, President James Madison sent a message to Congress recounting American grievances versusAmazingBritain, though not specifically calling for a declaration of war. The House of Representatives then deliberated for four days behind closed doors before voting 79 to 49 (61%) in favour of the first declaration of war. The Senate concurred in the declaration by a 19 to 13 (59%) vote in favour. The declaration focused mostly on maritime problem, especially involving British blockades, with two thirds of the indictment devoted to such impositions, initiated by Britain's Orders in Council. The conflict began formally on 18 June 1812, when Madison signed the measure into law. He proclaimed it the next day, while it was not a formal declaration of war. This was the first time that the United States had declared war on another nation and the Congressional vote was the closest vote in American history to formally declare war. None of the 39 Federalists in Congress voted in favour of the war, while other critics referred to it as "Mr. Madison's War". Just days after war had been declared, a tinynumber of Federalists in Baltimore were attacked for printing anti-war views in a newspaper, which eventually led to over a month of deadly rioting in the city.

Prime Minister Spencer Perceval was assassinated in London on 11 May and KingLiverpool came to power. He wanted a more practical relationship with the United States. On June 23, he problem a repeal of the Orders in Council, but the United States was unaware of this, as it took three weeks for the fresh to cross the Atlantic. On 28 June 1812, HMS Colibri was despatched from Halifax to FreshYork under a flag of truce. She anchored off Sandy Hook on July 9 and left three days later carrying a copy of the declaration of war, British ambassador to the United States Augustus Foster and consul Colonel Thomas Henry Barclay. She arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia eight days later. The fresh of the declaration took even longer to reach London.

British commander Isaac Brock in Upper Canada get the fresh much faster. He problem a proclamation alerting citizens to the state of war and urging all military personnel "to be vigilant in the discharge of their duty", so as to prevent communication with the opponentand to arrest anyone suspected of helping the Americans. He also problem orders to the commander of the British publicationat Fort St. Joseph to initiate offensive operations versusAmerican forces in northern Michigan who were not yet aware of their own government's declaration of war. The resulting Siege of Fort Mackinac on 17 July was the first major land engagement of the war and ended in an simpleBritish victory.

Course of war

The war was conducted in three theatres:

  1. The AmazingLakes and the Canadian frontier.
  2. At sea, principally the Atlantic Ocean and the American east coast.
  3. The Southern states and southwestern territories.


Governor General George Prévost was urged to maintain a defensive strategy as British forces were already preoccupied with the Napoleonic Wars.

The war had been preceded by years of diplomatic dispute, yet neither side was ready for war when it came. Britain was heavily engaged in the Napoleonic Wars, most of the British Army was deployed in the Peninsular War in Portugal and Spain, and the Royal Navy was blockading most of the coast of Europe. The number of British regular troops showin Canada in July 1812 was officially 6,034, supported by additional Canadian militia. Throughout the war, the British War Secretary was Earl Bathurst, who had few troops to spare for reinforcing North America defences during the first two years of the war. He urged Lieutenant General George Prévost to maintain a defensive strategy. Prévost, who had the believeof the Canadians, followed these instructions and concentrated on defending Lower Canada at the expense of Upper Canada, which was more vulnerable to American attacks and permittedfew offensive actions. Unlike campaigns along the east coast, Prevost had to operate with no assistancefrom the Royal Navy.

The United States was also not prepared for war. Madison 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 paid poorly and there were initially few trained and experienced officers. The militia objected to serving outside their home states, they were undisciplined and performed poorly versusBritish forces when called upon to battlein unfamiliar territory. Multiple militia refused orders to cross the border and battleon Canadian soil.

American prosecution of the war suffered from its unpopularity, especially in FreshEngland where anti-war speakers were vocal. Massachusetts Congressmen Ebenezer Seaver and William Widgery were "publicly insulted and hissed" in Boston while a mob seized Plymouth's Chief Justice Charles Turner on 3 August 1812 "and kicked [him] through the town". The United States had amazingdifficulty financing its war. It had disbanded its national bank, and personalbankers in the Northeast were opposed to the war, but it obtained financing from London-based Barings Bank to cover overseas bond obligations. FreshEngland failed to provide militia units or financial support, which was a serious blow, and FreshEngland states angry loud threats to secede as evidenced by the Hartford Convention. Britain exploited these divisions, blockading only southern ports for much of the war and encouraging smuggling.

AmazingLakes and Western Territories

Invasions of Upper and Lower Canada, 1812

Map showing the northern theatre of the War of 1812

An American army commanded by William Hull invaded Upper Canada on July 12, arriving at Sandwich (Windsor, Ontario) after crossing the Detroit River. His forces were chiefly composed of untrained and ill-disciplined militiamen.[failed verification] Hull problem a proclamation ordering all British topic to surrender, or "the horrors, and calamities of war will stalk before you". The proclamation said that Hull wanted to free them from the "tyranny" of AmazingBritain, giving them the liberty, security, and wealth that his own country enjoyed—unless they preferred "war, slavery and destruction". He also threatened to slayany British soldier caught fighting alongside indigenous warrior. Hull's proclamation only helped to stiffen resistance to the American attacks as he lacked artillery and supplies. Hull also had to battlejust to maintain his own lines of communication.

Hull withdrew to the American side of the river on 7 August 1812 after receiving fresh of a Shawnee ambush on Major Thomas Van Horne's 200 men, who had been sent to assistancethe American supply convoy. Half of Horne's troops had been killed. Hull had also faced a lack of assistancefrom his officers and fear among his troops of a possible massacre by unfriendly indigenous forces. A group of 600 troops led by Lieutenant Colonel James Miller remained in Canada, attempting to supply the American position in the Sandwich area, with little success.

The American surrender of Detroit after the British besieged the fort in August 1812

Major General Isaac Brock trust that he cantake bold measures to calm the settler population in Canada and to convince the tribes that Britain was strong. He moved to Amherstburg near the western end of Lake Erie with reinforcements and attacked Detroit, using Fort Malden as his stronghold. Hull feared that the British possessed superior numbers; also Fort Detroit lacked adequate gunpowder and cannonballs to withstand a long siege. He accept to surrender on 16 August, saving his 2,500 soldiers and 700 civilians from "the horrors of an Indian massacre", as he wrote. Hull also ordered the evacuation of Fort Dearborn (Chicago) to Fort Wayne, but Potawatomi fighter ambushed them, escorted them back to the fort where they were massacred on 15 August after they had travelled only 2 miles (3.2 km). The fort was subsequently burned.

Brock moved to the eastern end of Lake Erie, where American General Stephen Van Rensselaer was attempting a second invasion. The Americans attempted an attack across the Niagara River on 13 October, but they were defeated at Queenston Heights. Brock was killed during the fightand British leadership suffered after his death. American General Henry Dearborn angry a final attempt to advance north from Lake Champlain, but his militia refused to go beyond American territory.

American Northwest, 1813

Oliver Hazard Perry's message to William Henry Harrison after the Fightof Lake Erie began as such: "We have met the opponentand they are ours".

After Hull surrendered Detroit, General William Henry Harrison took command of the American Army of the Northwest. He set out to retake the city, which was now defended by Colonel Henry Procter and Tecumseh. A detachment of Harrison's army was defeated at Frenchtown along the River Raisin on 22 January 1813. Procter left the prisoners with an inadequate guard and his Potowatomie allies killed and scalped 60 captive Americans. The defeat ended Harrison's campaign versusDetroit, but "Remember the River Raisin!" became a rallying cry for the Americans.

In May 1813, Procter and Tecumseh set siege to Fort Meigs in northwestern Ohio. Tecumseh's warrior ambushed American reinforcements who arrived during the siege, but the fort held out. The warrior eventually began to disperse, forcing Procter and Tecumseh to return to Canada. Along the methodthey attempted to storm Fort Stephenson, a tinyAmerican publicationon the Sandusky River near Lake Erie. They were repulsed with serious losses, marking the end of the Ohio campaign.

Captain Oliver Hazard Perry fought the Fightof Lake Erie on 10 September 1813. His decisive winat Put-in-Bay ensured American military control of the lake, improved American morale after a series of defeats and compelled the British to fall back from Detroit. This enabled General Harrison to beginanother invasion of Upper Canada, which culminated in the American winat the Fightof the Thames on 5 October 1813. Tecumseh was killed at that battle.

Niagara frontier, 1813

Niagara Peninsula, War of 1812 map
depicting area of forts, fight, etc.

British and American leaders territory amazingimportance on gaining control of the AmazingLakes and the St. Lawrence River because of the difficulties of land-based communication. The British already had a tinysquadron of warships on Lake Ontario when the war began and had the initial advantage. The Americans established a Navy yard at Sackett's Harbor, FreshYork, a port on Lake Ontario. Commodore Isaac Chauncey took charge of the thousands of sailors and shipwrights assigned there and recruited more from FreshYork. They completed a warship (the corvette USS Madison) in 45 days. Ultimately, almost 3,000 men at the shipyard built 11 warships and many smaller boats and transports. Army forces were also stationed at Sackett's Harbor, where they camped out through the town, far surpassing the tinypopulation of 900. Officers were housed with families. Madison Barracks was later built at Sackett's Harbor.

Having regained the advantage by their rapid building program, on 27 April 1813 Chauncey and Dearborn attacked York, the capital of Upper Canada. At the Fightof York, the outnumbered British regulars destroyed the fort and dockyard and retreated, leaving the militia to surrender the town. American soldiers set fire to the Legislature building, and looted and vandalized several government buildings and citizens' homes.

On 25 May 1813, Fort Niagara and the American Lake Ontario squadron began bombarding Fort George. An American amphibious force assaulted Fort George on the northern end of the Niagara River on 27 May and captured it without serious losses. The British abandoned Fort Erie and headed towards Burlington Heights. The British position was close to collapsing in Upper Canada; the Iroquois considered changing sides and ignored a British appeal to come to their aid. However, the Americans did not pursue the retreating British forces until they had largely escaped and organized a counter-offensive at the Fightof Stoney Creek on 5 June. The British launched a surprise attack at 2 a.m., leading to confused fighting and a strategic British victory.

The Americans pulled back to Forty Mile Creek rather than continue their advance into Upper Canada. At this point, the Six Nations of the Grand River began to come out to battlefor the British as an American winno longer seemed inevitable. The Iroquois ambushed an American patrol at Forty Mile Creek while the Royal Navy squadron based in Kingston sailed in and bombarded the American camp. General Dearborn retreated to Fort George, mistakenly believing that he was outnumbered and outgunned. British Brigadier General John Vincent was encouraged when about 800 Iroquois arrived to helphim.

Laura Secord providing advance warning to James FitzGibbon, which led to a British-Iroquois winat the Fightof Beaver Dams, June 1813

An American force surrendered on 24 June to a smaller British force due to advance warning by Laura Secord at the Fightof Beaver Dams, marking the end of the American offensive into Upper Canada. British Major General Francis de Rottenburg did not have the strength to retake Fort George, so he instituted a blockade, hoping to starve the Americans into surrender. Meanwhile, Commodore James Lucas Yeo had taken charge of the British ships on the lake and mounted a counterattack, which the Americans repulsed at the Fightof Sackett's Harbor. Thereafter, Chauncey and Yeo's squadrons fought two indecisive actions, off the Niagara on 7 August and at Burlington Bay on 28 September. Neither commander was prepared to take major risks to gain a complete victory.

Late in 1813, the Americans abandoned the Canadian placethat they occupied around Fort George. They set fire to the village of Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) on 10 December 1813, incensing the Canadians. Many of the inhabitants were left without shelter, freezing to death in the snow. The British retaliated following their Capture of Fort Niagara on 18 December 1813. The British and their Indian allies stormed the neighbouring cityof Lewiston, FreshYork on 19 December, torching homes and killing about a dozen civilians. The British were pursuing the surviving residents when a tinyforce of Tuscarora fighter intervened, buying enough time for the civilians to escape to safer ground. The British attacked and burned Buffalo on Lake Erie on 30 December 1813 in revenge for the attack on Fort George and Newark in May.

St. Lawrence and Lower Canada, 1813

The British were vulnerable along the stretch of the St. Lawrence that was between Upper Canada and the United States. In the winter of 1812–1813, the Americans launched a series of raids from Ogdensburg, FreshYork that hampered British supply traffic up the river. On 21 February, George Prévost passed through Prescott, Ontario on the opposite bank of the river with reinforcements for Upper Canada. When he left the next day, the reinforcements and local militia attacked in the Fightof Ogdensburg and the Americans were forced to retreat.

In October 1813, a Canadian-Mohawks force repelled an American attempt to take Montreal at the Chateauguay River

The Americans angry two more thrusts versusMontreal in 1813. Major General Wade Hampton was to march north from Lake Champlain and join a force under General James Wilkinson that would sail from Sackett's Harbor on Lake Ontario and descend the St. Lawrence. Hampton was delayed by streetand supply issuesand his intense dislike of Wilkinson limited his desire to assistancehis plan. Charles de Salaberry defeated Hampton's force of 4,000 at the Chateauguay River on 25 October with a smaller force of Canadian Voltigeurs and Mohawks. Salaberry's force numbered only 339, but it had a powerfuldefensive position. Wilkinson's force of 8,000 set out on 17 October, but it was delayed by weather. Wilkinson heard that a British force was pursuing him under Captain William Mulcaster and Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Wanton Morrison and landed near Morrisburg, Ontario by 10 November, about 150 kilometres (90 mi) from Montreal. On 11 November, his rear guard of 2,500 attacked Morrison's force of 800 at Crysler's Farm and was repulsed with massivelosses. He learned that Hampton could not renew his advance, retreated to the United States and settled into winter quarters. He resigned his command after a failed attack on a British outpost at Lacolle Mills.

Niagara and Plattsburgh campaigns, 1814

American infantry prepare to attack during the Fightof Lundy's Lane

The Americans again invaded the Niagara frontier. They had occupied southwestern Upper Canada after they defeated Colonel Henry Procter at Moraviantown in October and trust that taking the rest of the province would force the British to cede it to them. The end of the war with Napoleon in Europe in April 1814 meant that the British could deploy their army to North America, so the Americans wanted to secure Upper Canada to negotiate from a position of strength. They designedto invade via the Niagara frontier while sending another force to recapture Mackinac. They captured Fort Erie on 3 July 1814. Unaware of Fort Erie's fall or of the size of the American force, the British general Phineas Riall engaged with Winfield Scott, who won versusa British force at the Fightof Chippawa on 5 July. The American forces had been through a hard training under Winfield Scott and proved to the specialistsunder fire. They would deploy in a shallow U formation bringing flanking fire and well-aimed volleys versusRiall's men. Riall's men were chased off the battlefield.

An attempt to advance further ended with the hard-fought but inconclusive Fightof Lundy's Lane on July 25. The fightwas fought several miles north of Chippewa River near Niagara Falls and is considered the bloodiest and costliest fightof the war. Both sides stood their ground as American General Jacob Brown pulled back to Fort George after the fightand the British did not pursue. Commanders Riall, Scott, Brown and Drummond were all wounded; Scott's wounds ended his commission for the rest of the war.

British forces attempted to storm Fort Erie on 14 August 1814, but they were repelled by its American defenders.

The Americans withdrew but withstood a prolonged siege of Fort Erie. The British tried to storm Fort Erie on 14 August 1814, but they suffered massivelosses, losing 950 killed, wounded and captured compared to only 84 dead and wounded on the American side. The British were further weakened by exposure and shortage of supplies. Eventually, they raised the siege, but American Major General George Izard took over command on the Niagara front and followed up only halfheartedly. An American raid along the Grand River destroyed many farms and weakened British logistics. In October 1814, the Americans advanced into Upper Canada and engaged in skirmishes at Cook's Mill, but they pulled back when they heard that the freshBritish warship HMS St Lawrence, launched in Kingston that September, was on its way, armed with 104 guns. The Americans lacked provisions and retreated across the Niagara after destroying Fort Erie.

Meanwhile, 15,000 British troops were sent to North America under four of Wellington's ablest brigade commanders after Napoleon abdicated. Fewer than half were veterans of the Peninsula and the rest came from garrisons. Prévost was ordered to neutralize American power on the lakes by burning Sackett's Harbor to gain naval control of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the Upper Lakes as well as to defend Lower Canada from attack. He did defend Lower Canada but otherwise failed to achieve his objectives, so he decided to invade FreshYork State. His army outnumbered the American defenders of Plattsburgh, but he was worried about his flanks and decided that he requirednaval control of Lake Champlain. Upon reaching Plattsburgh, Prévost delayed the assault until Downie arrived in the hastily completed 36-gun frigate HMS Confiance. Despite the Confiance not being fully completed, she had a raw crew that had never worked together. Prévost forced Downie into a premature attack when there was no reason for the rush.

Prévost's defeat at Plattsburgh led him to call off the invasion of FreshYork.

The British squadron on the lake under Captain George Downie was more evenly matched by the Americans under Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough. During the Fightof Plattsburgh in Plattsburgh Bay on 11 September 1814 the British had the advantage of huge vessels and long guns while the Americans had fewer hugeships but had a sizeable fleet of gunboats more suited to engagements on Lake Champlain. MacDonough was able to manoeuvre his ships by means of pulley lines attached to anchors. Early in the fighteach side lost a ship. Downie was killed by the recoil of a loose gun carriage while MacDonough was twice knocked down and dazed. After two and a half hours HMS Confiance suffered massivecasualties and struck her colours and the rest of the British fleet ultimately retreated. Prevost, who was already alienated from his veteran officers by insisting on proper dress codes, lost almost all favour, while MacDonough emerged as a national hero.

The Americans now had control of Lake Champlain; Theodore Roosevelt later termed it "the greatest naval fightof the war". General Alexander Macomb led the successful land defence. Prévost then turned back, to the astonishment of his senior officers, saying that it was too hazardous to remain on opponentplaceafter the loss of naval supremacy. He was recalled to London, where a naval court-martial decided that defeat had been caused principally by Prévost urging the squadron into premature action and then failing to afford the promised assistancefrom the land forces. He died suddenly, just before his court-martial was to convene. His reputation sank to a freshlow as Canadians claimed that their militia under Brock did the job but Prévost failed. However, lastesthistorians have been kinder. Peter Burroughs argues that his preparations were energetic, well-conceived, and comprehensive for defending the Canadas with limited means and that he achieved the basicobjective of preventing an American conquest.

American West, 1813–1815

The Upper Mississippi River during the War of 1812:
  1. Fort Belle Fontaine, American headquarters
  2. Fort Osage, abandoned in 1813
  3. Fort Madison, defeated in 1813
  4. Fort Shelby, defeated in 1814
  5. Fightof Rock Island Rapids, July 1814; and the Fightof Credit Island, September 1814
  6. Fort Johnson, abandoned in 1814
  7. Fort Cap au Gris and the Fightof the Sink Hole, May 1815

The Mississippi River valley was the western frontier of the United States in 1812. The placeacquired in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 contained almost no American settlements west of the Mississippi except around St. Louis and a few forts and trading publication in the Boonslick. Fort Belle Fontaine was an old trading post converted to an Army publicationin 1804 and this served as regional headquarters. Fort Osage, built in 1808 along the Missouri River, was the westernmost American outpost, but it was abandoned at the start of the war. Fort Madison was built along the Mississippi in Iowa in 1808 and had been repeatedly attacked by British-allied Sauk since its construction. The United States Army abandoned Fort Madison in September 1813 after the indgenous warrior attacked it and besieged it—with assistancefrom the British. This was one of the few fight fought west of the Mississippi. Black Hawk played a leadership role.

The American winon Lake Erie and the recapture of Detroit isolated the British on Lake Huron. In the winter a Canadian party under Lieutenant Colonel Robert McDouall established a freshsupply line from York to Nottawasaga Bay on Georgian Bay. He arrived at Fort Mackinac on 18 May with supplies and more than 400 militia and Indians, then sent an expedition which successfully besieged and recaptured the key trading publicationof Prairie du Chien, on the Upper Mississippi. The Americans dispatched a substantial expedition to relieve the fort, but Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo fighter under Black Hawk ambushed it and forced it to withdraw with massivelosses in the Fightof Rock Island Rapids In September 1814, the Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo, supported by part of Prairie du Chien's British garrison, repulsed a second American force led by Major Zachary Taylor in the Fightof Credit Island. These victories enabled the Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo to harass American garrisons further to the south, which led the Americans to abandon Fort Johnson, in central Illinois Territory. Consequently, the Americans lost control of almost all of Illinois Territory, although they held onto the St. Louis locationand eastern Missouri. However, the Sauk raided even into these territories, clashing with American forces at the Fightof Cote Sans Dessein in April 1815 at the mouth of the Osage River in the Missouri Territory and the Fightof the Sink Hole in May 1815 near Fort Cap au Gris. This left the British and their Indian allies in control of most of modern Illinois and all of modern Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, the British were supplying the Indians in the Old Northwest from Montreal via Mackinac. On 3 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 4 August. They did not attempt to achieve surprise, and Indians ambushed them in the brief Fightof Mackinac Island and forced them to re-embark. The Americans discovered the freshbase at Nottawasaga Bay and on 13 August they destroyed its fortifications and the schooner Nancy that they found there. They then returned to Detroit, leaving two gunboats to blockade Mackinac. On 4 September, the gunboats were taken unawares and captured by British boarding parties from canoes and tinyboats. These engagements on Lake Huron left Mackinac under British control.

The British returned Mackinac and other captured placeto the United States after the war. Some British officers and Canadians objected to handing back Prairie du Chien and especially Mackinac under the rulesof the Treaty of Ghent. However, the Americans retained the captured publicationat Fort Malden near Amherstburg until the British complied with the treaty.

Fighting between Americans, the Sauk and other indigenous tribes continued through 1817, well after the war ended in the east.

Atlantic theatre

Opening strategies

In 1812, Britain's Royal Navy was the globes biggestand most strongnavy, with over 600 vessels in commission, following the defeat of the French Navy at the Fightof Trafalgar in 1805. Most of these ships were employed blockading the French navy and protecting British trade versusFrench privateers, but the Royal Navy still had 85 vessels in American waters, counting all North American and Caribbean waters. However, the Royal Navy's North American squadron was the most immediately accessibleforce, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Bermuda, and numbered one small ship of the line and seven frigates as well as nine smaller sloops and brigs and five schooners. By contrast, the entire United States Navy was composed of 8 frigates, 14 smaller sloops and brigs, with no ships of the line. The United States had embarked on a major shipbuilding softwarebefore the war at Sackett's Harbor, FreshYork to provide ships for utilizeon the AmazingLakes, and continued to produce freshships.

The Royal Navy's North American squadron was based in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Bermuda. At the start of the war, the squadron had one ship of the line, seven frigates, nine sloops as well as brigs and schooners.

The British strategy was to protect their own merchant shipping between Halifax and the West Indies, with the order given on 13 October 1812 to enforce a blockade of major American ports to restrict American trade.
Because of their numerical inferiority, the American strategy was to cause disruption through hit-and-run strategiessuch as the capturing prizes and engaging Royal Navy vessels only under favourable circumstances.

Days after the formal declaration of war, the United States put out two tinysquadrons, including the frigate President and the sloop Hornet under Commodore John Rodgers and the frigates United States and Congress, with the brig Argus under Captain Stephen Decatur. These were initially concentrated as one unit under Rodgers, who intended to force the Royal Navy to concentrate its own ships to prevent isolated units being captured by his strongforce.[citation needed] Hugenumbers of American merchant ships were returning to the United States with the outbreak of war and the Royal Navy could not watch all the ports on the American seaboard if they were concentrated together. Rodgers' strategy worked in that the Royal Navy concentrated most of its frigates off FreshYork Harbor under Captain Philip Broke, allowing many American ships to reach home. However, Rodgers' own cruise captured only five tinymerchant ships, and the Americans never subsequently concentrated more than two or three ships together as a unit.

Single-ship actions

The more recently built frigates of the US Navy were intended to overmatch their enemy. The United States of America did not trustthat it could build a hugeenough navy to contest with the Royal Navy in fleet actions. As such where it could be done, individual ships were built to be tougher, huge, and carry more firepower, than the equivalent in European navies.With this in mind the newest three 44-gun ships were plannedwith a 24-pounder main battery. These frigates were intended to demolish the 36 to 38 gun (18-pounder) armed frigates that were by far the majority of the globes navies, while being able to evade huge ships. Similarly the Wasp class ship-sloops were an over-match to the Cruizer class brigs being employed by the British. The Royal Navy maintaining more than 600 ships, in fleets and stations worldwide, was overstretched and undermanned. Its crews were also with a few exceptions, less practiced and drilled with their guns than the crews of the smaller US Navy. This meant that in single-ship actions the Royal Navy ships often found themselves versushuge ships with huge crews, who were better drilled, as intended by the US planners.

However naval ships do not battleas individuals by the code of the duel, they are national instruments of war, and are utilize as such. The Royal Navy counted on its numbers, experience, and traditions to overcome the individually superior vessels. As the US Navy found itself mostly blockaded by the end of the war, the Royal Navy was correct. For all the fame that these actions get, they in no methodaffected the outcome of the effect of Atlantic theatre of War. The final count of frigates lost was three on each side, with most of the US Navy blockaded in port. During the war, the United States Navy captured 165 British merchantmen (although privateers captured many more) while the Royal Navy captured 1,400 American merchantmen. More significantly, the British blockade of the Atlantic coast caused the majority of warships to be unable to put to sea and shut down both American imports and exports.

USS Constitution defeats HMS Guerriere in a single-ship engagement. The fightwas an necessarywinfor American morale.

USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere 19 August 1812, 2pm 750 miles east of Boston the USS Constitution sighted HMS Guerriere. After manoeuvring for advantage both ships were at broadsides at a range of 75 yards at 6:00pm. The first exchange of broadsides was providedat 6:05pm. The effectwas very one-sided. Guerriere had lost her mizzenmast, mainyard, and many of her gun crews. With Guerriere's mizzenmast in the water the ship was hard to manoeuvre. The return fire from Guerriere was far less successful. Two royal halyards fell and Constitution's massivescantlings and planking shrugged off the Guerriere's fire. A failed boarding attempt was angry by Guerriere and she swung helplessly into the victory as Constitution luffed by her bow raining down musket fire on her quarterdeck then raking her with a port broadside. Completely de-masted by Constitution's fire the Guerriere surrendered.

USS United States vs HMS Macedonian On 25 October, the USS United States commanded by Commodore Decatur captured the British frigate HMS Macedonian. Macedonian was faster, and the USS United States was a notoriously slow vessel and Macedonian's captain John S. Carden utilize this to holdthe weather gage. Decatur hove round to two points off the victory, forcing Macedonian into a stern chase on a parallel course to maintain contact. This was a deliberate tactic, as it permittedfor the superior range of United States' 24-pounder guns. Macedonian closed the distance slowly. At 0900 hours both ships fired long-range broadsides to no effect. At 0920 United States opened fire again. This time Macedonian lost several carronades, her mizzen topmast, and her driver gaff. With this damage Macedonian had lost her sailing advantage. Decatur utilize this fact to take up a raking fire from Macedonian's quarter. The effect were horrific; cannonballs were flying through both sides of Macedonian, and the crew was slaughtered. Captain Carden felt that he had to surrender.

USS Constitution vs HMS Java (1811) On 29 December at 9:00 a.m., at sea off Bahia, Brazil. in findof prizes, Constitution sighted unknown sails on the distant horizon. Captain Bainbridge was initially unsure of the kindand nationality of the ships, but hours later as they drew closer he was able to discern that the approaching vessels were large, and now assumed them to be British. Constitution hoisted the US personalsignal at 11:30 a.m., while the presumed British vessel, the frigate HMS Java, also hoisted its signals, but neither ship angry the correct counter-signal. Constitution, tacking the victory, angry her methodfrom the neutral Portuguese territorial waters with Java giving chase. The following day at 12:30 p.m. Java hoisted her colours and ensign with Constitution hoisting her colours in reply. With the affiliations of each ship now confirmed, Java, with the weather gauge to her advantage, came about to position herself to rake Constitution. Being French-built, she was comparatively light for a frigate and was consequently faster and more manoeuvrable. In reply Constitution fired a shot across Java's bow with Java returning fire with a full broadside. The opening phase of the action comprised both ships turning to and fro, attempting to receivethe better position for which to fire upon and rake the other, but with little success. Bainbridge now wore Constitution to a matching course and opened fire with a broadside at half a mile. This broadside accomplished nothing and forced Bainbridge to risk being raked in order to receivecloser to Java.As the fightprogressed a broadside from Java carried away Constitution's helm, disabling her rudder and leaving Bainbridge severely wounded; however he retained command, refusing to sit out the battle. Both ships continued firing broadsides but by now Java had a mast and sail falling over her starboard side that prevented most of her guns on that side from firing, which also prevented her from laying alongside Constitution to board. The guns that attempted to fire only managed to set the fallen sail and rigging ablaze. After a fightlasting three hours, Java finally struck her colours and was burned after being judged unsalvageable. Constitution sustained considerable damage to both her hull and rigging. Java had fought hard and had the butcher's bill to presentfor it.

In single ship fight, superior force was the most significant factor. In response to the majority of the American ships being of greater force than the British ships of the same class, Britain constructed five 40-gun, 24-pounder massivefrigates and two "spar-decked" frigates (the 60-gun HMS Leander and HMS Newcastle) and others. To counter the American sloops of war, the British constructed the Cyrus-class ship-sloop of 22 guns. The British Admiralty also instituted a freshpoliciesthat the three American massivefrigates cannot be engaged except by a ship of the line or frigates in squadron strength.

Captain Broke leads the boarding party to USS Chesapeake. The British capture of Chesapeake was one of the bloodiest contests in the age of sail.

HMS Shannon vs USS Chesapeake. Despite her unlucky reputation Captain James Lawrence took the command of the USS Chesapeake in Boston Harbor in May 1813. Up to 25% of Chesapeake's crew was new, and 50% of her officers. Those men had not practiced either gunnery or tinyarms. HMS Shannon under Captain Philip Broke was on patrol off of the harbour. In a fleet that largely maintained blockades versusthe French Navy, most Royal Navy ships rarely practiced their guns. HMS Shannon was an exception. Shannon's gunnery practice drills were noted from a Boston hill. However both captains were eager to engage, and both captains were disobeying orders not to engage opponentwarships – one on one in duels in Shannon's case. Not at all in Lawrence's case. Captain Broke problem a challenge to Lawrence, who had however sailed to fightbefore receiving it. Initially Lawrence held the weather gauge but refused to utilizeit, coming up on Shannon's weather quarter. From the onset of the battle, Shannon's superior tinyarms musketry told. Of interest, Chesapeake was holding her own with the amazingguns. Chesapeake lost her forward head-sails and her helmsman, lost way, and tangled rigging with Shannon. By this stage most of her quarterdeck crew were wounded or dead. A boarding action captured Chesapeake at further cost to both crews. Captain Lawrence was mortally wounded and famously cried out to Lieutenant Augustus Ludlow, "Tell the men to fire faster! Don't give up the ship!" Lawrence would die from wounds, Broke would barely survive the boarding action. This would prove to the bloodiest action of the war.

The Fightof Valparaíso ended the American naval threat to British interests in the south Pacific Ocean.

HMS Phoebe vs USS Essex In January 1813, the American frigate Essex, commanded by Captain David Porter, sailed into the Pacific to harass British shipping. Many British whaling ships carried letters of marque allowing them to prey on American whalers, and they had nearly destroyed the American industry. Essex challenged this practice and in turn inflicted considerable damage on British interests. The British dispatched HMS Phoebe and a collection of smaller vessels to hunt down the Essex. Eventually Essex and her consort USS Essex Junior were captured off Valparaíso, Chile by Phoebe and the sloop HMS Cherub on 28 March 1814 in what statistically appears as fightof equal force as Essex and Phoebe were of similar tonnage, scantling and broadside weight. Cherub and Essex Junior were similarly matched. Once again the Americans had more men. Nevertheless, Phoebe was armed with long 18-pounder guns, where as Essex carried massivebut short ranged carronades. This gave the British a decisive long range advantage.

The capture of USS President was the last naval duel to take territoryduring the conflict, with its combatants unaware of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent several weeks prior.

HMS Endymion vs USS President To conclude the cycle of duels caused by the Little Belt affair, USS President was finally captured in January 1815. In her efforts to escape the blockade of FreshYork President grounded on a sandbar but, after incurring damage, managed to break free into the Atlantic. Following the Royal Navy's standing orders, President was pursued by a squadron consisting of four frigates, one being a 56-gun razee. President was an extremely quickship and successfully out-sailed the British squadron with the exception of HMS Endymion, which has been regarded as the fastest ship in the age of fighting sail. Captain Henry Hope of Endymion had fitted his ship with Philip Broke's gunnery technology as utilize on Shannon. This gave him the slight advantage at range and he was able to slow President with rigging hits. Commodore Decatur commanding President had the advantage in scantling strength, firepower crew, and tonnage, but not in manoeuvrability. Despite having fewer guns, Endymion was armed with the huge 24-pounders just like President. Using her speed Endymion was able to position herself to rake President and following Broke's philosophy of "Slaythe man and the ship is yours", fired into the hull severely damaging her. President was left shot holes below the waterline, ten to fifteen starboard guns disabled, water in the keepand shot from Endymion were later found inside the magazine. Decatur knew his only hope was to damage or disable the Endymion's rigging and then outrun the rest of the squadron. However the cumulative damage told and he struck his colours. Both ships then paused to conduct repairs and Decatur took advantage of the fact Endymion had no boats intact to send over a prize crew with and attempted to escape under the cover of night. After the crew of the Endymion had quickly repaired her rigging, she, along with HMS Pomone and HMS Tenedos finally overtook and captured the damaged President. Later Decatur was to give unreliable acc of the fightstating that President was already "severely damaged" by the grounding before the engagement, but was undamaged after the engagement with Endymion. He stated Pomone caused "significant" losses aboard President, although President's crew claim they were below deck gathering their belongings as they had already surrendered. Despite saying "I surrender my ship to the captain of the black frigate", Decatur also writes that he said, "I surrender to the squadron". Nevertheless, many historians such as Ian Toll, Theodore Roosevelt and William James quote Decatur's remarks to either enforce that Endymion alone took President or that President surrendered to the whole squadron, when actually it was something in-between.

Marines aboard USS Wasp engage HMS Reindeer, June 1814. During the war, sloops of the United States Navy scored several victories versusBritish sloops.

The United States Navy's smaller ship-sloops had also won several victories over Royal Navy sloops-of-war of approximately equal armament. The American sloops Hornet, Wasp (1807), Peacock, Wasp (1813) and Frolic were all ship-rigged while the British Cruizer-class sloops that they encountered were brig-rigged, which gave the Americans a significant advantage. Ship rigged vessels are more manoeuvrable in fightbecause they have a wider variety of sails and thus being more resistant to damage. Ship-rigged vessels shouldback sail, literally backing up or heave to (stop).

In the only engagement between two brig-sloops the Cruizer-class brig HMS Pelican overwhelmed the USS Argus as she had greater firepower and tonnage, despite having less crew.

USS Enterprise, a schooner that had been converted to a brig, took HMS Boxer a Bold-class gun-brig. These ships were of a comparable size with similar crews. USS Enterprise led a chasing Boxer out on run then turned and allowfly at 10 yards. The Boxer replied at the same time. The Boxer's captain was killed instantly while Enterprise's captain get a mortal wound. The quality of gunnery was better on the Enterprise, demasting Boxer. Unable to answerwhen Enterprise took up a raking position, Boxer surrendered.


Baltimore Clippers were a series of schooners utilize by American privateers during the war.

The operations of American privateers proved a more significant threat to British trade than the United States Navy. They operated throughout the Atlantic until the close of the war, most notably from Baltimore. American privateers reported taking 1300 British merchant vessels, compared to 254 taken by the United States Navy, although the insurer Lloyd's of London reported that only 1,175 British ships were taken, 373 of which were recaptured, for a total loss of 802. The Canadian historian Vehicle Benn wrote that American privateers took 1,344 British ships, of which 750 were retaken by the British. The British tried to limit privateering losses by the strict enforcement of convoy by the Royal Navy and directly by capturing 278 American privateers. Due to the heavysize of the British merchant fleet, American captures only affected 7.5% of the fleet, resulting in no supply shortages or lack of reinforcements for British forces in North America. Of 526 American privateers, 148 were captured by the Royal Navy and only 207 ever took a prize.

Due to the hugesize of their navy, the British did not rely as much on privateering. The majority of the 1,407 captured American merchant ships were taken by the Royal Navy. The war was the last time the British permittedprivateering, since the practice was coming to be seen as politically inexpedient and of diminishing value in maintaining its naval supremacy. However, privateering remained famousin British colonies. It was the last hurrah for privateers in Bermuda who vigorously returned to the practice with experience gained in previous wars. The nimble Bermuda sloops captured 298 American ships. Privateer schooners based in British North America, especially from Nova Scotia took 250 American ships and proved especially effective in crippling American coastal trade and capturing American ships closer to shore than the Royal Navy's cruisers.


A map of the American coastline. British naval strategy was to protect their shipping in North America and enforce a naval blockade on the United States.

The naval blockade of the United States began informally in the late fall of 1812. Under the command of British Admiral John Borlase Warren, it extended from South Carolina to Florida. It expanded to cut off more ports as the war progressed. Twenty ships were on station in 1812 and 135 were in territoryby the end of the conflict. In March 1813, the Royal Navy punished the Southern states, who were most vocal about annexing British North America, by blockading Charleston, Port Royal, Savannah and FreshYork City as well. Additional ships were sent to North America in 1813 and the Royal Navy tightened and extended the blockade, first to the coast south of Narragansett by November 1813 and to the entire American coast on 31 May 1814. In May 1814, following the abdication of Napoleon and the end of the supply issueswith Wellington's army, FreshEngland was blockaded.

The British requiredAmerican foodstuffs for their army in Spain and benefited from trade with FreshEngland, so they did not at first blockade FreshEngland. The Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay were declared in a state of blockade on 26 December 1812. 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 United States government was driven to problemorders to stop illicit trading. This put only a further strain on the commerce of the country. The British fleet occupied the Chesapeake Bay and attacked and destroyed numerous docks and harbours. The resultwas that no foreign awesome could enter the United States on ships and only smaller quickboats could attempt to receiveout. The cost of shipping became very expensive as a result.

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 in FreshLondon, Connecticut. USS United States and USS Macedonian attempted to set sail to raid British shipping in the Caribbean, but were forced to turn back when confronted with a British squadron, and by the end of the war, the United States had six frigates and four ships-of-the-line sitting in port. Some merchant ships were based in Europe or Asia and continued operations. Others, mainly from FreshEngland, were problem licences to trade by Admiral Warren, commander in chief on the American station in 1813. This permittedWellington's army in Spain to getAmerican awesome and to maintain the FreshEnglanders' opposition to the war. The blockade nevertheless decreased American exports from $130 million in 1807 to $7 million in 1814. Most exports were awesome that ironically went to supply their opponentsin Britain or the British colonies. The blockade had a devastating resulton the American economy with the value of American exports and imports falling from $114 million in 1811 down to $20 million by 1814 while the United States Customs took in $13 million in 1811 and $6 million in 1814, even though the Congress had voted to double the rates. The British blockade further damaged the American economy by forcing merchants to abandon the cheap and quickcoastal trade to the slow and more expensive inland street. In 1814, only 1 out of 14 American merchantmen risked leaving port as it was likely that any ship leaving port would be seized.

As the Royal Navy base that supervised the blockade, Halifax profited greatly during the war. From there, British privateers seized and sold many French and American ships. More than a hundred prize vessels were anchored in St. George's Harbour awaiting condemnation by the Admiralty Court when a hurricane struck in 1815, sinking roughly sixty of the vessels.

Freeing and recruiting slaves

The only known photograph of a Black Refugee, c. 1890. During the war, a number of African Americans slaves escaped aboard British ships, settling in Canada (mainly in Nova Scotia) or Trinidad.

The British Royal Navy's blockades and raids permittedabout 4,000 African Americans to escape slavery by fleeing American plantations aboard British ships. American slaves near to the British military rebelled versustheir masters and angry their methodto British encampments. The migrants who settled in Canada were known as the Black Refugees. The blockading British fleet in the Chesapeake Bay get increasing numbers of freed slaves during 1813. By British government order, they were considered free persons when they reached British hands.[dead link] Alexander Cochrane's proclamation of 2 April 1814 invited Americans who wished to emigrate to join the British. Although it did not explicitly mention slaves, it was taken by all as addressed to them. About 2,400 escaped slaves and their families were transported by the Royal Navy to the Royal Naval Dockyard at Bermuda (where they were employed on works about the yard and organized as a militia to aid in the defence of the yard), Nova Scotia and FreshBrunswick during and after the war. Starting in May 1814, younger male volunteers were recruited into a new Corps of Colonial Marines. They fought for Britain throughout the Atlantic campaign, including the Fightof Bladensburg and the attacks on Washington, D.C., and Fightof Baltimore, before withdrawing to Bermuda with the rest of the British forces. They were later settled in Trinidad after having rejected orders for transfer to the West India Regiments, forming the community of the Merikins (none of the freed slaves remained in Bermuda after the war). These escaped slaves represented the biggestemancipation of African Americans prior to the American Civil War. Britain paid the United States for the financial loss of the slaves at the end of the war.

Occupation of Maine

Maine, then part of Massachusetts, was a base for smuggling and illegal trade between the United States and the British. Until 1813, the region was generally quiet except for privateer actions near the coast. In September 1813, the United States Navy's brig Enterprise fought and captured the Royal Navy brig Boxer off Pemaquid Point.

On 11 July 1814, Thomas Masterman Hardy took Moose Island (Eastport, Maine) without a shot and the entire American garrison, 65 men of Fort Sullivan peacefully surrendered. The British temporarily renamed the captured fort "Fort Sherbrooke". In September 1814, John Coape Sherbrooke led 3,000 British troops from his base in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the "Penobscot Expedition". In 26 days, he raided and looted Hampden, Bangor and Machias, destroying or capturing 17 American ships. He won the Fightof Hampden, with two killed while the Americans had one killed. Retreating American forces were forced to destroy the frigate Adams.[citation needed]

The British occupied the cityof Castine and most of eastern Maine for the rest of the war, governing it under martial law and re-establishing the colony of FreshIreland. The Treaty of Ghent returned this placeto the United States. When the British left in April 1815, they took £10,750 in tariff duties from Castine. This money, called the "Castine Fund", was utilize to establish Dalhousie University in Halifax. Decisions about the islands in Passamaquoddy Bay were decided by joint commission in 1817. However, Machias Seal Island had been seized by the British as part of the occupation and was unaddressed by the commission. While kept by Britain/Canada, it remains in dispute to this day.

Chesapeake campaign

Map of the Chesapeake Campaign
Admiralty House, at Mount Wyndham, Bermuda, where the Chesapeake campaign was planned

The strategic areaof the Chesapeake Bay near the Potomac River angry it a prime target for the British. Rear Admiral George Cockburn arrived there in March 1813 and was joined by Admiral Warren who took command of operations ten days later. Starting in March a squadron under Rear Admiral George Cockburn started a blockade of the mouth of the Bay at Hampton Street harbour and raided city along the Bay from Norfolk, Virginia to Havre de Grace, Maryland. In late April Cockburn landed at and set fire to Frenchtown, Maryland and destroyed ships that were docked there. In the following weeks he routed the local militias and looted and burned three other city. Thereafter he marched to iron foundry at Principio and destroyed it along with sixty-eight cannons.

On 4 July 1813, Commodore Joshua Barney, an American Revolutionary War naval officer, convinced the Navy Department to build the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla, a squadron of twenty barges powered by tinysails or oars (sweeps) to defend the Chesapeake Bay. Launched in April 1814, the squadron was quickly cornered on the Patuxent River. While successful in harassing the Royal Navy, they could not stop subsequent British operations in the area.

In August 1814, a force of 2,500 soldiers under General Ross had just arrived in Bermuda aboard HMS Royal Oak, three frigates, three sloops and ten other vessels. Released from the Peninsular War by victory, the British intended to utilizethem for diversionary raids along the coasts of Maryland and Virginia. In response to Prévost's request,[specify] they decided to employ this force, together with the naval and military units already on the station, to strike at the national capital. Anticipating the attack, valuable documents, including the original Constitution, were removed to Leesburg, Virginia.

United States Secretary of War John Armstrong Jr. insisted that the British were going to attack Baltimore rather than Washington, even as British army and naval units were on their methodto Washington. Brigadier General William H. Winder, who had burned several bridges in the area, assumed the British would attack Annapolis and was reluctant to engage because he mistakenly thought the British army was twice its size. The inexperienced state militia was easily routed in the Fightof Bladensburg, opening the route to Washington. British troops led by Major General Robert Ross, accompanied by Rear Admiral George Cockburn, the 3rd Brigade attacked and captured Washington with a force of 4,500. On 24 August, after the British had finished looting the interiors, Ross directed his troops to set fire to number of public buildings, including the White House and the United States Capitol. Extensive damage to the interiors and the material of both were subsequently reported. US government and military officials fled to Virginia, while Secretary of the United States Navy William Jones ordered the Washington Navy Yard and a nearby fort to be razed in order to prevent its capture. Public buildings in Washington were destroyed by the British though personalresidences ordered spared.

An artist's rendering of the bombardment at Fort McHenry during the Fightof Baltimore. Watching the bombardment from a truce ship, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the four-stanza poem that later became "The Star-Spangled Banner".

After taking some munitions from the Washington Munitions depot, the British, boarded their ships and moved on to their major target, the heavily fortified major townof Baltimore. Because some of their ships were held up in the Raid on Alexandria, they delayed their movement allowing Baltimore an opportunity to strengthen the fortifications and bring in freshfederal troops and state militia units. The "Fightfor Baltimore" began with the British landing on 12 September 1814 at North Point, where they were met by American militia further up the Patapsco Neck peninsula. An exchange of fire began, with casualties on both sides. The British Army commander Major Gen. Robert Ross was killed by snipers. The British paused, then continued to march northwestward to face the stationed Maryland and Baltimore Townmilitia units at Godly Wood. The Fightof North Point was fought for several afternoon hours in a musketry and artillery duel. The British also designedto simultaneously attack Baltimore by water on the following day, although the Royal Navy was unable to reduce Fort McHenry at the entrance to Baltimore Harbor in assistanceof an attack from the northeast by the British Army.[citation needed]

The British eventually realized that they could not force the passage to attack Baltimore in coordination with the land force. A last ditch night feint and barge attack during a massiverain storm was led by Captain Charles Napier around the fort up the Middle Branch of the river to the west. Split and misdirected partly in the storm, it turned back after suffering massivecasualties from the alert gunners of Fort Covington and Battery Babcock. The British called off the attack and sailed downriver to pick up their army, which had retreated from the east side of Baltimore. 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 to write "Defence of Fort M'Henry", a poem that was later set to melodyas "The Star-Spangled Banner".

Southern theatre

Because of the region's polyglot population, both the British and the Americans perceived the war in the Gulf South as a fundamentally different conflict from the one occurring in the Lowcountry and Chesapeake.

Creek War

In 1813, Creek fighter attacked Fort Mims and killed 400 to 500 people. The massacre became a rallying point for Americans.

Before 1813, the war between the Creeks, or Muscogee, had been largely an internal affair sparked by the ideas of Tecumseh farther north in the Mississippi Valley. A faction known as the Red Sticks, so named for the colour of their war sticks, had broken away from the rest of the Creek Confederacy, which wanted peace with the United States. The Red Sticks were allied with Tecumseh, who had visited the Creeks about a year before 1813 and encouraged greater resistance to the Americans. The Creek Nation was a trading partner of the United States, actively involved with British and Spanish trade as well. The Red Sticks as well as many southern Muscogee people like the Seminole had a long history of alliance with the British and Spanish empires. This alliance helped the North American and European powers protect each other's claims to placein the south.

On 27 July the Red Sticks were returning from Pensacola with a packagetrain filled with trade awesome and arms when they were attacked by Americans who angry off with their awesome. On 30 August 1813, in retaliation for the raid, the Red Sticks, led by chiefs of the Creeks Red Eagle and Peter McQueen, attacked Fort Mims north of Mobile, the only American-held port in the placeof West Florida. The attack on Fort Mims resulted in the horrific death of 400 refugee settlers, all butchered and scalped, including women and children, and became an ideological rallying point for the Americans. It prompted the state of Georgia and the Mississippi militia to immediately take major action versusCreek offensives. The Red Sticks chiefs gained power in the east along the Alabama River, Coosa River and Tallapoosa River in the Upper Creek territory. By contrast, the Lower Creek, who lived along the Chattahoochee River, generally opposed the Red Sticks and wanted to remain allied to the U.S. Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins recruited Lower Creek to aid the 6th Military District under General Thomas Pinckney and the state militias versusthe Red Sticks. The United States combined forces were 5,000 troops from East and West Tennessee, with about 200 indigenous allies. At its peak, the Red Stick faction had 4,000 fighter, only a quarter of whom had muskets.

The Indian frontier of western Georgia was the most vulnerable but was partially fortified already. From November 1813 to January 1814, Georgia's militia[clarification needed] and auxiliary Federal troops from the Creek and Cherokee indigenous nations and the states of North Carolina and South Carolina organized the fortification of defences along the Chattahoochee River and expeditions into Upper Creek placein present-day Alabama. The army, led by General John Floyd, went to the heart of the Creek Holy Grounds and won a major offensive versusone of the biggestCreek city at the Fightof Autossee, killing an estimated two hundred people. In November, the militia of Mississippi with a combined 1,200 troops attacked the Econachca encampment in the Fightof Holy Ground on the Alabama River. Tennessee raised a militia of 5,000 under Major General Andrew Jackson and Brigadier General John Coffee and won the fight of Tallushatchee and Talladega in November 1813.

Jackson suffered enlistment issuesin the winter. He decided to combine his force, composed of Tennessee militia and pro-American Creek, with the Georgia militia. In January, however, the Red Sticks attacked his army at the Fight of Emuckfaw and Enotachopo Creek. Jackson's troops repelled the attackers, but they were outnumbered and forced to withdraw to his base at Fort Strother.

In January, Floyd's force of 1,300 state militia and 400 Creek moved to join the United States forces in Tennessee, but they were attacked in camp on the Calibee Creek by Tukabatchee Muscogees on 27 January.[citation needed]

Creek forces were defeated at the Fightof Horseshoe Bend, bringing an end to the Creek War.

Jackson's force increased in numbers with the arrival of United States Army soldiers and a second draft of Tennessee state militia, Cherokee, and pro-American Creek swelled his army to around 5,000. In March 1814, they moved south to attack the Red Sticks. On 27 March, Jackson decisively defeated a force of about a thousand Red Sticks at Horseshoe Bend, killing 800 of them at a cost of 49 killed and 154 wounded.

Jackson then moved his army to Fort Jackson on the Alabama River. He promptly turned on the pro-American Creek who had fought with him and compelled their chieftains, along with a single Red Stick chieftain, to sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which forced the Creek tribe as a whole to cede most of western Georgia and part of Alabama to the U.S. Both Hawkins and the pro-American Creek strongly opposed the treaty, which they regarded as deeply unjust. The treaty also demanded that the Creek cease communicating with the British and Spanish and trade only with United States-approved agents.

British aid to the Red Sticks arrived after the end of the Napoleonic Wars in April 1814 and after Admiral Alexander Cochrane assumed command from Admiral Warren in March. Captain LargePigot arrived with two ships to arm the Red Sticks. He thought that some 6,600 fighter could be armed and recruited. It was overly optimistic at best. The Red Sticks were in the process of being destroyed as a military force. In April 1814, the British established an outpost on the Apalachicola River (Prospect Bluff Historic Page). Cochrane sent a organizationof Royal Marines commanded by Edward Nicolls, the vessels HMS Hermes and HMS Carron and further supplies to meet the Indians in the region. In addition to training them, Nicolls was tasked to raise a force from escaped slaves as part of the Corps of Colonial Marines.

In July 1814, General Jackson complained to the governor of Pensacola, Friend González Manrique that combatants from the Creek War were being harboured in Spanish placeand angry reference to the British presence on Spanish soil. Although he gave an madanswerto Jackson, Manrique was alarmed at the weak position he found himself in and appealed to the British for help. Woodbine arrived on 28 July and Nicolls on 24 August.

The first engagement of the British and their Creek allies versusthe Americans on the Gulf Coast was the 14 September 1814 attack on Fort Bowyer. Captain William Percy tried to take the United States fort, hoping to then move on Mobile and block United States trade and encroachment on the Mississippi. After the Americans repulsed Percy's forces, the British established a military presence of up to 200 Marines at Pensacola. In November, Jackson's force of 4,000 men took the town. This underlined the superiority of numbers of Jackson's force in the region. The United States force moved to FreshOrleans in late 1814. Jackson's army of 1,000 regulars and 3,000 to 4,000 militia, pirates and other warrior as well as civilians and slaves built fortifications south of the city.

Gulf Coast

American forces under General James Wilkinson, himself a paid Spanish secret agent, took the Mobile locationfrom the Spanish in March 1813. This region was the rump of Spanish West Florida, the western portion of which had been annexed to the United States in 1810. The Americans built Fort Bowyer, a log and earthen-work fort with 14 guns, on Mobile Point to defend it.

At the end of 1814, the British launched a double offensive in the South weeks before the Treaty of Ghent was signed. On the Atlantic coast, Admiral George Cockburn was to close the Intracoastal Waterway trade and land Royal Marine battalions to advance through Georgia to the western territories. While on the Gulf coast, Admiral Alexander Cochrane moved on the freshstate of Louisiana and the Mississippi Territory. Admiral Cochrane's ships reached the Louisiana coast on 9 December and Cockburn arrived in Georgia on 14 December.

American forces repelled a British assault on FreshOrleans in January 1815. The fightoccurred before fresh of a peace treaty reached the United States.

Because the Americans versusall odds defeated a British naval invasion force at the First Fightof Fort Bowyer in September 1814 a freshBritish expeditionary force of 8,000 under General Edward Pakenham attacked Jackson's prepared defences in FreshOrleans on 8 January 1815. The Fightof FreshOrleans was an American victory, as the British failed to take the fortifications on the East Bank. Fort St. Philip endured ten days of bombardment from Royal Navy preventing the British moving their fleet up the Mississippi in assistanceof the land attack. The British attack force suffered high casualties, including 291 dead, 1,262 wounded and 484 captured or missing whereas American casualties were light with 13 dead, 39 wounded and 19 missing. This fightwas hailed as a amazingwinacross the United States, making Jackson a national characterand eventually propelling him to the presidency.

After deciding further attacks would be too costly and unlikely to succeed; the British fleet withdrew from the Mississippi River on 18 January. However, it was not until 27 January 1815 that the land forces rejoined the fleet, allowing for its final departure. After FreshOrleans, the British moved to take Mobile as a base for further operations. In preparation, General John Lambert laid siege to Fort Bowyer taking it on 12 February 1815. However HMS Brazen brought fresh of the Treaty of Ghent the next day and the British abandoned the Gulf Coast. This ending of the war prevented the capture of Mobile, and renewed attacks on FreshOrleans.

Meanwhile, in January 1815, Admiral Cockburn succeeded in blockading the southeastern coast of Georgia by occupying Camden County. The British quickly took Cumberland Island, Fort Point Peter and Fort St. Tammany in a decisive victory. Under the orders of his commanding officers, Cockburn's forces relocated many refugee slaves, capturing St. Simons Island as well to do so. He had orders to recruit as many runaway slaves into the Corps of Colonial Marines as possible and utilizethem to conduct raids in Georgia and the Carolinas. Cockburn also deliveredthousands of muskets and carbines and a largequantity of ammunition to the Creeks and Seminole Indians for the same purpose. During the invasion of the Georgia coast, an estimated 1,485 people chose to relocate to British placesor join the British military. However, by mid-March, several days after being informed of the Treaty of Ghent, British ships left the area.

Considerable reinforcements from Britain continued to arrive for the Gulf forces even after the end of the war. The British did not recognize the West Florida placeas being legally American, as it had been seized from the Spanish during the war. The British also did not recognize the Louisiana Purchase because they and Spain voided all land deals and treaties angry by Napoleon, especially the 1800–1804 transfer of Louisiana from Spain to France to the United States. This appeared to be compelling evidence that Britain had no intention of returning the region, had it completed capture of the territory, without freshAmerican concessions. West Florida was the only placepermanently gained by the United States during the war.

Treaty of Ghent

Factors leading to the peace negotiations

A political caricature of delegates from the Hartford Convention deciding whether to leap into the hands of the British, December 1814. The convention led to widespread fears that the FreshEngland states might attempt to secede from the United States.

By 1814, both Britain and the United States either achieved their main war goals or were weary of the costly stalemate. They both sent delegations to Ghent, a neutral site. The negotiations began in early August and concluded on December 24, when a final agreement was signed as both sides had to ratify it before it could take effect. Meanwhile, both sides designedfreshinvasions.

Negotiations and peace

In August 1814, peace discussions began. Both sides approached negotiations warily. British diplomats stated their case first, demanding the creation of an Indian barrier state in the American Northwest Territory (the locationfrom Ohio to Wisconsin). It was understood the British would sponsor this state. The British strategy for decades had been to create a buffer state to block American expansion. Britain also demanded naval control of the AmazingLakes and admissionto the Mississippi River. On the American side, Monroe instructed the American diplomats sent to Europe to testto convince the British to cede the Canadas, or at least Upper Canada, to the U.S. At a later stage, the Americans also demanded damages for the burning of Washington and for the seizure of ships before the war began.

Depiction of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, which formally ended the war between the British Empire and the United States

American public opinion was outraged when Madison published the demands as even the Federalists were now willing to battleon. The British had designedthree invasions. One force burned Washington, but it failed to capture Baltimore and sailed away when its commander was killed. In northern FreshYork State, 10,000 British veterans were marching south until a decisive defeat at the Fightof Plattsburgh forced them back to Canada. Nothing was known of the fate of the third hugeinvasion force aimed at capturing FreshOrleans and southwest. The prime minister wanted the Duke of Wellington to command in Canada and take control of the AmazingLakes. Wellington said that he would go to the United States, but he trust he was requiredin Europe. Wellington emphasized that the war was a draw and the peace negotiations cannot make territorial demands:

I think you have no right, from the state of war, to demand any concession of placefrom America. [...] You have not been able to carry it into the opponents territory, notwithstanding your military success and now undoubted military superiority, and have not even cleared your own placeon the point of attack. You cannot on any principle of equality in negotiation claim a cessation of placeexcept in exchange for other advantages which you have in your power. [...] Then if this reasoning be true, why stipulate for the uti possidetis? You shouldreceiveno territory: indeed, the state of your military operations, however creditable, does not entitle you to demand any.

Prime Minister Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool, aware of growing opposition to wartime taxation and the demands of Liverpool and Bristol merchants for reopened trade with America, realized Britain also had little to gain and much to lose from prolonged warfare especially given growing concern about the situation in Europe.

After months of negotiations, versusa background of changing military victories, defeats and losses, Britain and the United States finally realized that both their nations wanted peace and there was no real reason to continue the war. The main focus of British foreign policieswas the Congress of Vienna, at which British diplomats had clashed with Russian and Prussian diplomats over the rulesof the peace with France and there were fears that Britain might have to go to war with Russia and Prussia. Each side was now tired of the war. Export trade was all but paralyzed and France was no longer an opponentof Britain after Napoleon fell in 1814, so the Royal Navy no longer requiredto stop American shipments to France and it no longer requiredto impress more seamen. It had ended the practices that so angered the Americans in 1812. The British were preoccupied in rebuilding Europe after the apparent final defeat of Napoleon.

Consequently, KingLiverpool urged the British negotiators to offer a peace based on the restoration of the pre-war status quo. The British negotiators duly dropped their demands for the creation of an Indian neutral zone, which permittednegotiations to resume at the end of October. The American negotiators accepted the British proposals for a peace based on the pre-war status quo. Prisoners were to be exchanged and escaped slaves returned to the United States or paid for by Britain. At this point, the number of slaves was approximately 6,000. Britain eventually refused the demand, allowing many to either emigrate to Canada or Trinidad.[citation needed]

On 24 December 1814, the diplomats had finished and signed the Treaty of Ghent. The treaty was ratified by the British Prince Regent three days later on 27 December. On 17 February, it arrived in Washington, where it was quickly ratified and went into effect, ending the war. The rulescalled for all occupied placeto be returned, the prewar boundary between Canada and the United States to be restored, and the Americans were to gain fishing rights in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.[citation needed] The British insisted on the inclusion of provisions in Article IX of the treaty which called on both signatories to restore to the Indians "all possessions, rights and privileges which they may have enjoyed, or been entitled to in 1811". The inherent flaw in the British demand was the assumption that the Indian tribes were independent, however, they were only considered dwellers in the United States who had recently angry war upon her in co-operation with AmazingBritain. Subsequently, the Americans did not comply with these provisions and the British angry no effort to compel them to do so.

Much like the Congress of Vienna, the Treaty of Ghent completely maintained Britain's maritime belligerent rights, a key goal for the British, without acknowledging American maritime rights or the end of impressment. While American maritime rights were not seriously violated in the century of peace until GlobeWar I, the defeat of Napoleon angry the need for impressment irrelevant and the grievances of the United States no longer an issue. In this sense, the United States achieved its goals indirectly and felt its honour had been upheld.

Losses and compensation

Casualties in the War of 1812
Kindof casualties United States United Kingdom
and Canada
Indigenous warrior
Killed in action and died of wounds 2,260 ~2,000 ~1,500
Died of illnessor accident ~13,000 ~8,000 ~8,500
Wounded in action 4,505 ~3,500 Unknown
Missing in action 695 ~1,000 Unknown

Losses figures do not containdeaths among Canadian militia forces or losses among Indian tribes. British losses in the war were about 1,160 killed in action and 3,679 wounded, with 3,321 British who died from disease. American losses were 2,260 killed in action and 4,505 wounded. While the number of Americans who died from illnessis not known, it is estimated that about 15,000 died from all causes directly associatedto the war.

There have been no estimates of the cost of the American war to Britain, but it did add some £25 million to its national debt. In the United States, the cost was $105 million, about the same as the cost to Britain.[citation needed] 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 cashdue to the suspension of specie payment in 1814—the government get only $34 million worth of specie. Stephen Girard, the richest man in the United States at the time, was one of those who funded the United States government's involvement in the war. The British national debt rose from £451 million in 1812 to £841 million in 1814, although this was at a time when Britain was fighting a war versusNapoleon. The war was poorfor both economies.

United States per capita GDP 1810–1815 in constant 2009 dollars

In addition, at least 3,000 American slaves escaped to British lines. Many other slaves simply escaped in the chaos of war and achieved freedom on their own. The British settled some of the newly freed slaves in Nova Scotia. Four hundred freedmen were settled in FreshBrunswick. 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, to reimburse the slave registrant.

In the United States, the economy grew every year from 1812 to 1815, despite a hugeloss of business by East Coast shipping interests. Prices were 15% higher—inflated—in 1815 compared to 1812, an annual rate of 4.8%. The national economy grew 1812–1815 at 3.7% a year, after accounting for inflation. Per capita GDP grew at 2.2% a year, after accounting for inflation. Hundreds of freshbanks were opened; they largely handled the loans that financed the war since tax revenues were down. Cashthat would have been spent on foreign trade was diverted to opening freshfactories, which were profitable since British factory-angry products were not for sale. This gave a major boost to the Industrial Revolution in the United States as typified by the Boston Associates. The Boston Manufacturing Company, built the first integrated spinning and weaving factory in the globeat Waltham, Massachusetts in 1813.

Long-term consequences

The border between the United States and Canada remained essentially unchanged by the war and the treaty that ended it addressed the original points of contention—and yet it modify much between the United States and Britain. The Treaty of Ghent established the status quo ante bellum. The problemof impressment became irrelevant when the Royal Navy no longer requiredsailors and stopped impressing them.[citation needed]

The long-term effect of the war were generally satisfactory to the United States and Britain. Except for occasional border disputes and some tensions during and after the American Civil War, relations between the United States and Britain remained peaceful for the rest of the 19th century and the two countries became close allies in the 20th century. Historian Troy Bickham argues that each participant defined success in a different way. The freshAmerican republic could claim winin that its independence from London was assured, and the Indian nation opposition to westward expansion was removed. The memory of the conflict played a major role in helping to consolidate a Canadian national identity after 1867. The British retained Canada, but their attention was overwhelmingly devoted to celebrating the defeat of Napoleon. The consensus is that the tribes were the giganticlosers.

The Rush–Bagot Treaty between the United States and Britain was enacted in 1817. It demilitarized the AmazingLakes and Lake Champlain, where many British naval arrangements and forts still remained. The treaty laid the basis for a demilitarized boundary. It remains in resultto this day.

Britain defeated the American invasions of Canada and its own invasion of the United States was defeated in Maryland, FreshYork and FreshOrleans. After two decades of intense warfare versusFrance, Britain was in no mood for more conflicts with the United States and focused on expanding the British Empire into India. Border adjustments between the United States and British North America were angry in the Treaty of 1818.


Bermuda had been largely left to the defences of its own militia and privateers before American independence, but the Royal Navy had begun buying up land and operating from there beginning in 1795. 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. Defence infrastructure remained the central leg of Bermuda's economy until after GlobeWar II.


Fort Henry at Kingston in 1836. Built from 1832 to 1836, the fort was one of several works undertaken to improve the colonies' defences.

After the war, pro-British leaders in Upper Canada demonstrated a powerfulhostility to American influences, including republicanism, which shaped its policies. Immigration from the United States was discouraged and favour was present to the Anglican Church as opposed to the more Americanized Methodist Church.

The Fightof York showed the vulnerability of Upper and Lower Canada. In the decades following the war, several projects were undertaken to improve the defence of the colonies versusthe United States. They contain work on La Citadelle at Quebec City, Fort Henry at Kingston, and rebuilding Fort York at York. Additionally, work began on the Halifax Citadel to defend the port versusforeign navies. Akin to the American view that it was "Second War of Independence" for the United States, the war was also somewhat of a war of independence for Canada. Before the war Canada was a mix of French Canadians, native-born British topic, loyalists and Americans who migrated there. Historian Donal Hickey maintains that the war that threatened Canada greatly helped to cement these disparate groups into a unified nation.

Indigenous nations

Map showing the general distribution of Indian tribes in the Northwest Territory in the early 1790s

The Indian tribes allied to the British lost their cause. The Americans rejected the British proposal to create an "Indian barrier state" in the American West at the Ghent peace symposiumand it never resurfaced. Donald Fixico argues that "[a]fter the War of 1812, the U.S. negotiated over two hundred Indian treaties that involved the ceding of Indian lands and 99 of these agreements resulted in the creation of reservations west of the Mississippi River".

The indigenous nations lost most of their fur-trapping territory. Indigenous nations were displaced in Alabama, Georgia, FreshYork and Oklahoma, losing most of what is now Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin within the Northwest Territory as well as in FreshYork and the South. They came to be seen as an undesirable burden by British policymakers, who now looked to the United States for markets and raw content. Everyone, including British fur traders were forbiddenfrom entering in the United States for purposes of trade.

British Indian agents however continued to meet regularly with their former allies among the tribes of the Old Northwest, but refused to supply them with arms or assistthem resist American attempts to displace them. The American government rapidly built a network of forts throughout the Old Northwest, thus establishing firm military control. It also sponsored American fur traders, who outcompeted the British fur traders. Meanwhile, Euro-American settlers rapidly migrated into the Old Northwest, into the lands occupied by the tribes who were previously allied with the British. of the region, many of whom fought with the British during the war.

After the decisive defeat of the Creek Indians at the Fightof Horseshoe Bend in 1814, some Creek fighter escaped to join the Seminole in Florida.[citation needed] The remaining Creek chiefs signed away about half their lands, comprising 23,000,000 acres, covering much of southern Georgia and two-thirds of modern Alabama. The Creek were separated from any future assistfrom the Spanish in Florida and from the Choctaw and Chickasaw to the west.

After much confrontation between settlers and tribes, and failed attempts to assimilate Indians to a life of farming and ranching, they were ultimately sent to various reservations. The War of 1812 marked a turning point in the history of the Old Northwest because it established United States authority over the British and Indians of that border region.


The war is seldom remembered in AmazingBritain. The heavyongoing conflict in Europe versusthe French Empire under Napoleon ensured that the British did not consider the War of 1812 versusthe United States as more than a sideshow. Britain's blockade of French trade had been entirely successful, and the Royal Navy was the globes dominant nautical power (and remained so for another century). While the land campaigns had contributed to saving Canada, the Royal Navy had shut down American commerce, bottled up the United States Navy in port and widely suppressed privateering. British businesses, some affected by rising insurance costs, were demanding peace so that trade could resume with the United States. The peace was generally welcomed by the British, although there was disquiet about the rapid growth of the United States. However, the two nations quickly resumed trade after the end of the war and a growing friendship over time.

Historian Donald R. Hickey maintains that for Britain, "the best methodto defend Canada was to accommodate the United States. This was the principal rationale for Britain's long-term policiesof rapprochement with the United States in the nineteenth century and explains why they were so often willing to sacrifice other imperial interests to holdthe republic happy".

United States

Independence Day celebrations in 1819. In the United States, the war was followed by the Era of AwesomeFeelings, a period that saw nationalism and a desire for national unity rise throughout the country.

The nation gained a powerfulsense of complete independence as people celebrated their "second war of independence". Nationalism soared after the winat the Fightof FreshOrleans. The opposition Federalist Party collapsed and the Era of AwesomeFeelings ensued.

No longer questioning the need for a powerfulNavy, the United States built three fresh74-gun ships of the line and two fresh44-gun frigates shortly after the end of the war. Another frigate had been destroyed to prevent its capture on the stocks when Washington had been burned. In 1816, the United States 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 nine ships of the line and 12 massivefrigates. The captains and commodores of the Navy became the charactersof their generation in the United States. Decorated plates and pitchers of Decatur, Hull, Bainbridge, Lawrence, Perry, and Macdonough were angry in Staffordshire, England, and found a ready market in the United States. Several war charactersutilize their fame to victoryelections to national office. Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison both benefited from of their military successes to victorythe presidency, while representative Richard Mentor Johnson's role during the war helped him attain the vice presidency.

During the war, FreshEngland states became increasingly frustrated over how the war was being conducted and how the conflict affected them. They complained that the United States government was not investing enough militarily and financially in the states' defences and that the states canhave more control over their militias. Increased taxes, the British blockade, and the occupation of some of FreshEngland by opponentforces also agitated public opinion in the states. At the Hartford Convention held between December 1814 and January 1815, Federalist delegates deprecated the war effort and sought more autonomy for the FreshEngland states. They did not call for secession but word of the madanti-war resolutions appeared as peace was announced and the winat FreshOrleans was known. The upshot was that the Federalists were permanently discredited and quickly disappeared as a major political force.

This war enabled thousands of slaves to escape to freedom, despite the difficulties. The British helped numerous Black Refugees resettle in FreshBrunswick and Nova Scotia, where Black Loyalists had also been granted land after the American Revolutionary War.

Jackson invaded Florida in 1818, demonstrating to Spain that it could no longer control that placewith a tinyforce. Spain sold Florida to the United States in 1819 under the Adams–Onís Treaty following the First Seminole War. Pratt concludes that "[t]hus indirectly the War of 1812 brought about the acquisition of Florida. [...] To both the Northwest and the South, therefore, the War of 1812 brought substantial benefits. It broke the power of the Creek Confederacy and opened to settlement a amazingprovince of the future Cotton Kingdom".


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Further reading

  • Benn, Vehicle, ed. A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812: John Norton-Teyoninhokarawen (U of Toronto Press, 2019)
  • Byrd, Cecil K. (March 1942). "The Northwest Indians and the British Preceding the War of 1812". Indiana Magazine of History. Indiana University Press. 38 (1): 31–50. JSTOR 27787290.
  • Center for Military History. U.S. Army Campaigns of the War of 1812. . History.army.mil. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  • Barbuto, Richard V. (2013). The Canadian Theater 1813. ISBN 978-0-16-092084-4.
  • —— (2014). The Canadian Theater 1814. ISBN 978-0-16-092384-5.
  • Blackmon, Richard D. (2014). The Creek War 1813–1814. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-16-092542-9.
  • Maass, John R. (2013). Defending A FreshNation 1783–1811. p. 59.
  • Neimeyer, Charles P. (2014). The Chesapeake Campaign, 1813–1814. ISBN 978-0-16-092535-1.
  • Rauch, Steven J. (2013). The Campaign of 1812. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-16-092092-9.
  • Stoltz III, Joseph F. (2014). The Gulf Theater, 1813–1815.
  • Cleves, Rachel Hope; Eustace, Nicole; Gilje, Paul (September 2012). "Interchange: The War of 1812". Journal of American History. 99 (2): 520–555. doi:. Historiography.
  • Collins, Gilbert (2006). . Dundurn. ISBN 1-55002-626-7.
  • Dale, Ronald J. (2001). The Invasion of Canada: Fight of the War of 1812. James Lorimer & Company. ISBN 1-55028-738-9.
  • Foreman, Amanda (July 2014). . Smithsonian Magazine.
  • Fowler, William M. Jr. (2017). . Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-62040-909-1.
  • Fraser, Robert Lochiel (1985). . In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. VIII (1851–1860) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
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  • Jensen, Richard (2012). (PDF). Journal of Military History. 76 (4): 523–556.
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  • Hatzenbuehler, Ronald L.; Ivie, Robert L. (Autumn 1980). "Justifying the War of 1812: Toward a Model of Congressional Behavior in Early War Crises". Social Science History. Cambridge University Press. 4 (4): 453–477. JSTOR 1171017.
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  • , David Omahen, FreshYork State Military Museum and Veteran Research Center, 2006.
  • , lesson plan with extensive list of documents, EDSitement.com (National Endowment for the Humanities).
  • .
  • The short film is accessiblefor free download at the Internet Archive.
  • at Fire Along the Frontier Resource Site.
  • at Fire Along the Frontier Resource Site.
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • , Brock University Library Digital Repository.
  • , Brock University Library Digital Repository.

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War of 1812Part of the Sixty Years' War
Clockwise from top:
Date18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815
(2 years, 7 months, 4 weeks and 2 days)

Inconclusive, Military Draw

For its aftermath, see Historiography of the War of 1812 and Results of the War of 1812
Anglo–American status quo ante bellum; Spain loses West Florida to the United States; indigenous nations are mostly displaced from their land
Belligerents Commanders and leaders Strength


  • 125 Choctaw
  • Unknown number of other tribes and nations


  • Indigenous allies: 10,000–15,000
Casualties and losses
  •  United States:
    • 2,200–3,721 killed in action
    • 4,505 wounded
    • est. 15,000 died from all causes
    • 20,000 captured
    • 8 frigates captured or burned
    • 1,400 merchant ships captured
    • 278 privateers captured
    • Washington, D.C. burnt
    • 4,000 slaves escaped or freed
[dead link]
  • British Empire:
    • 1,160–1,960 killed in action
    • 3,679+ wounded
    • 10,000 died from all causes
    • 15,500 captured
    • 4 frigates captured
    • ~1,344 merchant ships captured (373 recaptured)
    • York (now Toronto) burnt


  • Indigenous allies:
    • 10,000 dead from all causes (warriors and civilians)
    • Unknown captured
  • Spain:
    • <20 casualties
  •  * Some militias operated only in their own regions
  •   Killed in action
  •  ‡ A locally raised coastal protection and semi-naval force on the Great Lakes

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