1873: Picture of the original “Star Spangled Banner” that flew over Fort McHenry.
War of 1812 ( From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )
|War of 1812|
Clockwise from top: damage to the US Capitol after theBurning of Washington; the mortally woundedIsaac Brock spurs on the York Volunteers at the battle of Queenston Heights; USS Constitution vs HMSGuerriere; The death of Tecumseh in 1813 ends the Indian armed struggle in the American Midwest;Andrew Jackson defeats the British assault on New Orleans.
|U.S. and Allies||British Empire and Allies|
|Commanders and leaders|
|James Madison|| George, Prince Regent
|United States||British Empire|
|Casualties and losses|
|2,200 killed in action
||1,600 killed in action
|* Some militias operated in only their own regions.|
The War of 1812 was a military conflict, lasting for two and a half years, fought by the United States of America against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, its North American colonies, and its American Indian allies. Seen by the United States and Canada as a war in its own right, it is frequently seen in Europeas a theatre of the Napoleonic Wars, as it was caused by related issues to that war (especially the Continental System). The war resolved many issues which remained from the American Revolutionary War but involved no boundary changes. The United States declared war on June 18, 1812, for several reasons, including trade restrictions brought about by the British war with France, the impressment of as many as 10,000 American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy,British support for Native American tribes fighting American settlers on the frontier, outrage due to insults to national honor such as the Chesapeake–Leopard Affair, and possible American interest in annexing British territory.
The war was fought in three theatres. First, at sea, warships and privateers of each side attacked the other’s merchant ships, while the British blockaded the Atlantic coast of the United States and mounted large raids in the later stages of the war. Second, land and naval battles were fought on the US–Canadian frontier. Third, large-scale battles were fought in the Southern United States and Gulf Coast. At the end of the war, both sides signed and ratified the Treaty of Ghent and, in accordance with the treaty, returned occupied land, prisoners of war and captured ships (though neither side returned the other’s warships due to frequent re-commissioning upon capture) to its pre-war owner and resumed friendly trade relations without restriction.
With the majority of its land and naval forces tied down in Europe fighting the Napoleonic Wars, the British used a predominately defensive strategy in the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. Early victories over poorly-led US armies, such as in the Battle of Queenston Heights, demonstrated that the conquest of the Canadas would prove more difficult than anticipated. Despite this, the US was able to inflict serious defeats on Britain’s Native American allies, ending the prospect of an Indian confederacy and an independent Native American state in the Midwest under British sponsorship. US forces were also able to make several gains and score victories on the Canadian frontier; taking control of Lake Erie in 1813, seizing western parts of Upper Canada. However, a large-scale US attempt to capture Montreal was repulsed in November 1813. Despite the major US victory at Chippawa on July 5, 1814, serious US attempts to fully conquer Upper Canada were ultimately abandoned following the bloody Battle of Lundy’s Lane on July 25, 1814. The US then fell back roughly 30 km (18 mi) from Lundy’s Lane to Fort Erie, where they were pursued by the same units they engaged at Lundy’s Lane. The intention of the British was to “drive them [the Americans] from the Canadian side of the Niagara.” It turned out to be the final major battle fought on the Canadian side of the Canadian-American border (the last taking place at Malcolm’s Mills), ending in a retreat by both sides – with the British being ordered to move their artillery and troops back to Fort George near Lundy’s Lane in Niagara Falls “as soon as possible” and the Americans abandoning the fort and withdrawing over the Niagara.
In April 1814, with the defeat of Napoleon, the British adopted a more aggressive strategy, sending larger invasion armies and tightening their naval blockade. However, with the end of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, both governments were eager for a return to normality and peace negotiations began in Ghent in August 1814. In the Deep South, General Andrew Jackson destroyed the military strength of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. In September 1814, the British won the Battle of Hampden, allowing them to occupy eastern Maine, and the British victory at the Battle of Bladensburg in August 1814 allowed them to capture and burn Washington, D.C. They were repulsed, however, in an attempt to take Baltimore and Fort Bowyer, and during their assaultat Fayal. An American victory in September 1814 at the Battle of Plattsburgh repulsed the British invasions of New York, which, along with pressure from merchants on the British government, prompted British diplomats to drop their demands at Ghent for an independent native buffer state and territorial claims that London previously sought. Given that it took six weeks for ships to cross the Atlantic, news of the peace treaty did not arrive before the British suffered a major defeat at New Orleans in January 1815.
In the United States, late victories over invading British armies at the battles of Plattsburg, Baltimore (inspiring the United States national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner“) and New Orleans produced a sense of euphoria over a “second war of independence” against Britain. The war ended on a high note for Americans, winning the final engagements of the war and bringing an “Era of Good Feelings” in which partisan animosity nearly vanished in the face of strengthened American nationalism. The war was also a major turning point in the development of the US military. The poor performance of several US militia units, particularly during the 1812–13 invasions of Canada and the 1814 defense of Washington, convinced the US government of the need to move away from its Revolutionary-era reliance on militia and focus on creating a more professional regular force. Spain was involved in fighting in Florida but was not an official belligerent; some Spanish forces fought alongside the British during the Occupation of Pensacola. The US took permanent ownership of Spain’s Mobile District.
In Upper and Lower Canada, British and local Canadian militia victories over invading US armies became iconic and promoted the development of a distinct Canadian identity, which included strong loyalty to Britain. Today, particularly in Ontario, memory of the war retains its significance, because the defeat of the invasions ensured that the Canadas would remain part of the British Empire, rather than be annexed by the United States. In Canada, numerous ceremonies took place in 2012 to commemorate the war, offer historical lessons and celebrate 200 years of peace across the border. The conflict has not been commemorated on nearly the same level in the modern-day United States, though it is still taught as an important part of early American history, and Dolley Madison‘s andAndrew Jackson‘s respective roles in the war are especially emphasized. The war is scarcely remembered in Britain, being heavily overshadowed by the much larger Napoleonic Wars occurring in Europe