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The major battle of the War of 1812 - History

The major battle of the War of 1812 - History

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The War of 1812 is one of the forgotten wars of the United States. The war lasted for over two years, and ended in stalemate. It did howerver, once and for all confirm American Independence. The offensive actions of the United States failed to capture Canada. On the other hand, the British army was successfully stopped when it attempted to capture Baltimore and New Orleans. There were a number of American naval victories in which American vessels proved themselves superior to similarly sized British vessels.

Why War

War was declared by the United States


York Captured

Americans forces captured the British base at York


Battle of Lake Erie

In this decisive battle the American fleet defeated the British fleet on Lake Erie


Battle of Balti


The Americans defeated the British in Batlimore. They were unable to capture the city and forced to withdraw


Treaty of Ghent

The United States and Great Brtian signed an agreement ended the war.

Battle of Smolensk (1812)

The Battle of Smolensk was the first major battle of the French invasion of Russia. It took place on 16–18 August 1812 and involved about 45,000 men of the Grande Armée under Emperor Napoleon I against about 30,000 Russian troops under General Barclay de Tolly. [1] [2] Napoleon occupied Smolensk by driving out Prince Pyotr Bagration's Second Army. The French artillery bombardment burned the city to the ground. Of 2,250 buildings, 84% were destroyed with only 350 surviving intact. Of the city's 15,000 inhabitants, about 1,000 were left at the end of the battle inside the smoking ruins. With over 15,000 casualties, it was one of the bloodiest battles of the invasion. [3]

1812 Edit

Beginning of the War Edit

Ohio figured prominently in pre-war discussions about war with Britain and Canada. Should war break out, a three-pronged attack would occur from the west, the center and the east into Canada. William Hull, the governor of the Michigan territory, who had traveled to Washington, D.C. in late 1811 for consultations, was appointed brigadier-general (in addition to his duties as territorial governor) and assigned the responsibilities of leading the North West Army to reinforce Detroit, protect Michigan, and coordinate with other expeditions. Hull's army gathered in April and May 1812, before the United States declared war on Great Britain. It was to consist of the Fourth Regiment, a regular U.S. Army unit based in Vincennes, Indiana, and three regiments of Ohio militia. These were the First Regiment of Ohio Volunteers, under Col. Duncan McArthur the Second Regiment of Ohio Volunteers, under Col. James Findlay and the Third Regiment, under Col. Lewis Cass. The Ohio volunteer units gathered around the small community of Dayton, with Col. McArthur's First Regiment south of Dayton (near the confluence of the Great Miami and Hole's Creek) and the other two regiments slightly north of town along the Mad River. On May 25, 1812, the regiments gathered together and Governor Return J. Meigs Jr. handed over command to Brigadier General Hull. [1]

Ohio militia participating in the war were killed at two early battles of the war, the Battle of Brownstown (August 5, 1812), and the Battle of Maguaga (August 9, 1812).

1813 Edit

In February, construction on Fort Meigs, next to the Maumee River in Perrysburg, Ohio, began. Gen. William Henry Harrison provided these orders. The fort would undergo two sieges. The first was in May. The British assaulted the fort, however, the Americans held the fort. The second siege was in July. Tecumseh, leading the Native American allies to the British, tried to ambush the Americans. However this did not work, and the British and Natives were forced to leave, letting the Americans win again. In September, the Battle of Lake Erie took place, with the Americans led by Oliver Hazard Perry. The British overpowered the Americans in strength and number of guns, but Perry forced the British to surrender by getting closer, as their guns were more powerful up close. [2] [3]


The resilience of the Americans forced the British fleet to withdraw down the Patapsco River, and the garrison flag raised over Fort McHenry was the first indication of the Americans’ breakthrough in the battle. The story was no different on land. In a skirmish that was later termed as the Battle of North Point, the event resulted in the greatest British casualty, their esteemed commander Major General Robert Ross. As a result, the British therefore had no choice but to withdraw. In the overall fighting, the casualties incurred at North Point included between 42 and 46 British killed and between 279 and 295 wounded, while the Americans killed there were 24, American wounded were 139, and those captured were 50. At Fort McHenry, one British was wounded, while 4 Americans were killed and 24 more were wounded.

10 Facts: The War of 1812

The British burn down Washington, D.C.

Fact #1: The war was fought between Great Britain and the United States from 1812-1815.

The War of 1812 was fought between the United States and Great Britain backed by their Canadian colonies and Native American allies. Only 29 years after the American War for Independence, Great Britain, and the United States again found themselves embroiled in conflict. On June 1, 1812, American President James Madison sent a list of grievances to Congress, and four days later they granted a declaration of war. Madison signed the declaration on June 18, 1812, officially initiating the war. The war spanned two years and eight months, ending in February of 1815

President James Madison

Fact #2: There were many reasons Great Britain and the United States went to war.

The War of 1812 was the result of mounting tensions and global political conflict. The American merchant marine had doubled over the first decade of the 19th century, and British citizens genuinely feared the possibility of being surpassed by American merchant shipping. In 1807, as part of their war with France, Britain introduced trade restrictions prohibiting neutral countries to trade with France. The United States saw this as a blatant violation of international trade law, specifically targeting America’s growing economy. Along with restricting American trade, the British were actively seizing American ships and sailors. For years Britain had been capturing American soldiers and forcing them into serving in the royal navy, this practice was known as impressment. The British government justified this practice by arguing that British citizens could not become naturalized American citizens and therefore took many American ships hostage, seizing British-born American citizens hostage forcing them into the royal navy.

The origins of conflict did not just exist among the maritime practices of both countries it was also a conflict of manifest destiny. The British supported Native American tribes in the Northwest Territory, at the same time many Americans wanted to expand westward. Madison’s predecessor, Thomas Jefferson, had instilled within the American populous that the continent was theirs for the taking.

Fact #3: Neither side was prepared for war.

Although many Americans and Congress had petitioned for war against the British, America was unprepared for conflict. The entirety of the United States military at the time consisted of only around 12,000 men. Despite Congress authorizing the expansion of the military, harsh disciplinary conditions and low pay created a lack of growth within the United States military.

The British were similarly underprepared. The British were already embroiled in a war with Napoleon, with many soldiers fighting in Spain and Portugal. As a result of the war with France, the vast majority of their navy was held up in the blockade of France. While Britain had 6,034 troops stationed in Canada, the British could not spare many more from their war with France.

Fact #4: President James Madison believed the United States could easily capture Canada.

Madison’s first goal in the war was to take Canada. Madison, along with many Americans, assumed capturing Canada would not be difficult. Thomas Jefferson had once remarked, “[The] [a]cquisition of Canada will be a mere matter of marching.” However, the situation Americans found in Canada was not what was expected. The 7,000 American soldiers involved in the invasion were untrained, poorly led, and self-serving. The invasion was a complete failure. Within only a few months, the British pushed the Americans back and taken all of what was then the Michigan territory.

Fact #5: The War of 1812 inspired the Star-Spangled Banner.

While negotiating the exchange of prisoners, Francis Scott Key was held on a British ship for the entirety of the Battle of Baltimore. From his place on the ship, he could see the American Fort McHenry, which became the center of the British’s attacks. Key nervously watched hoping to see the American flag flying at the end of the bombardment, signifying that American troops still held the fort. When the attack concluded, the sight of the large American flag flying above the fort inspired Key, and on the back of a letter, he composed the first draft of a poem titled “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” Following the war, the poem was set to music by John Stafford Smith. In 1931, President Woodrow Wilson officially acknowledged “The Star-Spangled Banner” as America’s national anthem.

Fact #6: Many famous Americans fought and served during the War of 1812.

Many prominent leaders in the war later became prominent Americans. William Henry Harrison, the famous hero of Tippecanoe in 1811, gained more fame from the War of 1812, leading successful campaigns against the British and Native Americans in the Northwest. The Whigs used his reputation as a rugged general and frontiersman, despite actually being from the elite Virginia aristocracy, to secure a presidential bid in 1841, but after only a month in office, he died of pneumonia.

General Winfield Scott would first gain military experience in the War of 1812, fighting in the Niagara frontier. After experiencing the ill-trained citizen militias of the War of 1812, he worked to establish a permanent trained American army. In 1821 Scott wrote General Regulations for the Army, the first American set of systematic military bylaws. He later commanded the campaign to take Mexico City during the Mexican American War, along with designing the Anaconda plan for the Civil War.

Perhaps the American who gained the most fame from the war was Andrew Jackson. Jackson served as a major general of the Tennessee militia during the War of 1812, first fighting in the Creek War. After accepting the Creek surrender in 1814, he was given command of New Orleans and promoted to General. At the Battle of New Orleans in January of 1815, after the Treaty of Ghent had been signed, Jackson decisively stopped the British. This victory made Jackson a national hero he became known as the savior of New Orleans. His national recognition and military record helped him win the contested presidential election of 1828.

The British burn down Washington, D.C.

Fact #7: The United States Capitol, Washington D.C., was burned during the war.

After the Battle of Bladensburg, British General Robert Ross captured the nation’s capital and burned down essential centers of American government. Specifically targeting the Executive Mansion (the White House) and the Capitol Building, British soldiers set the city ablaze. The fires were put out by a massive thunderstorm less than a day later, and the British evacuated the city. The British held D.C. for only 26 hours however, it is the only time a foreign enemy has captured Washington D.C.

Fact #8: The Treaty of Ghent officially ended the war.

The Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814, although not officially ratified until February 17, 1815, officially ending the war. Despite Britain making clear gains during the war, many within the British government and military, including the prime minister and the Duke of Wellington, argued for a peace treaty without demands for territory. The Duke of Wellington argued that while they could gain territory eventually, the current “state of [our] military operations, however creditable, does not entitle [us] to demand any.” The Americans similarly wanted a conclusion to the war, as the conflict had placed America in massive amounts of foreign debt. Both sides agreed to an essentially status quo ante bellum agreement, restoring borders to how they were before the war. While America did not secure its maritime rights, after the British war with Napoleon concluded, the Royal Navy did not require the sheer amount of human resources they did during the war, and the practice of impressment came to an unofficial end.

Fact #9: Nearly every group involved left the war victorious.

In the wake of the war, both American and British officials and civilians were satisfied with the end of the war. Americans had won the final battle of the war, the Battle of New Orleans, and saw it as a decisive defeat cementing America as a truly independent nation. While, many in Great Britain saw this war as a part of the more significant wars with the French, which the British decisively won at Waterloo. Canadians also found a sense of pride in the war. Having survived the American invasion, it created a renewed sense of Canadian pride. The only group who genuinely lost the war was Native Americans, who lost their powerful British allies and would soon be overwhelmed by American settlers.

Fact #10: Many of the battlefields from the War of 1812 still exist today.

The War of 1812 has been called “America’s Forgotten War.” It is studied much less than the American Revolution or the Civil War, as a result, many of its battlefields are ignored for development. In 2007 the National Parks Service identified 214 battlefields and other important sites to the War of 1812. However, development has placed these sites in danger, the National Parks service identified that 50% are destroyed or fragmented and 25% of these sites would be destroyed in the next decade.

US History

Please note: The audio information from the video is included in the text below.

The War of 1812 was fought between the United States and the United Kingdom. It is sometimes called the "Second War of Independence."

President James Madison
(1816) by John Vanderlyn

Causes of the War of 1812

There were several events that led up to the War of 1812. The United Kingdom was engaged in a war against France and the armies of Napoleon. They had placed trade restrictions on the United States, not wanting them to trade with France. The navy of the United Kingdom also captured U.S. trade vessels and forced the sailors to join the Royal Navy. Finally, the United Kingdom supported Native American tribes in an effort to prevent the United States from expanding to the west.

The President of the United States during the war was James Madison. U.S. military leaders included Andrew Jackson, Henry Dearborn, Winfield Scott, and William Henry Harrison. The United Kingdom was led by the Prince Regent (George IV) and Prime Minister Robert Jenkinson. British military leaders included Isaac Brock, Gordon Drummond, and Charles de Salaberry.

On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war on the United Kingdom. The first thing the U.S. did was to attack the British colony of Canada. The invasion did not go well. Inexperienced U.S. troops were easily defeated by the British and the U.S. even lost the city of Detroit.

Things began to turn around for the United States in 1813 with a decisive victory in the Battle of Lake Erie on September 19, 1813. A few weeks later, William Henry Harrison led the U.S. forces as they defeated a large Native American force led by Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames.

The British Fight Back

In 1814, the British began to fight back. They used their superior navy to blockade U.S. trade and to attack U.S. ports along the east coast. On August 24, 1814, British forces attacked Washington, D.C. They took control of Washington and burnt down many buildings including the Capitol and the White House (it was called the Presidential Mansion at the time).

The Battle of New Orleans (1910)
by Edward Percy Moran.

The British were gaining ground in the war until the Battle of Baltimore which lasted three days from September 12-15, 1814. Over several days, British ships bombarded Fort McHenry in an effort to make their way to Baltimore. However, U.S. troops were able to hold off the much larger British force, causing the British to withdraw. This victory proved to be an important turning point in the war.

Battle of New Orleans

The final major battle of the War of 1812 was the Battle of New Orleans which took place on January 8, 1815. The British attacked New Orleans hoping to take control of the port city. They were held off and defeated by U.S. forces led by Andrew Jackson. The U.S. won a decisive victory and forced the British out of Louisiana.

The U.S. and Great Britain signed a peace treaty called the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty on February 17, 1815.

USS Constitution by Ducksters

The USS Constitution was the most famous ship
from the War of 1812. It earned the nickname
"Old Ironsides" after defeating the HMS Guerriere.

The war ended in a stalemate with neither side gaining ground. No borders were changed as a result of the war. However, the end of the war did bring long-term peace between the United States and the United Kingdom. It also brought about an "Era of good feelings" in the United States.

War of 1812 Battles 1813

Dearborn was focused on the central front despite the failure of the earlier attempt to take Queenstown. Instead of the short route from Fort Niagara, his attack was launched further east from Sacket's Harbor, New York (April 25, 1813). This required the long passage over Lake Ontario to strike York (Toronto) and required 2 days for the flotilla to make landfall.

Dearborn ordered Gen. Zebulon Pike to attack York, the capital of Upper Canada. On Aprilꀥ, he orderedਊ bombardment of the town. This target was a substitute for proposed actions to capture Montreal. Dearborn substituted York for Montreal relying on poor intelligence that inflated the strength of the British around Montreal. Later in the fall of the year an attempt to take Montreal from Sackett's Harbor and Plattsburg, New York fizzled.

The American troops attacked York under the cover of cannon fire quickly overcame the resistance of a small mixed force of British and Indian defenders. Misfortune struck theਊmericans when a munitions magazine exploded that caused hundreds of death including Gen. Pike. There was no evidence pointing to a cause, but the Americans were wild with anger. Over a period of 4 days they systematically torched the capital and the anchored British ships. The British now had a "remember" day in the following year as they burned Washington.

The American success at York, emboldened them to attack Fort George (May) on the Niagara River lying upstream from the American Fort Niagara. The British fort's 1,000 men detachment were subjected to a heavy bombardment from ships under the command of Commodore Isaac Chauncey. The American landing was led by Col. Winfield Scott. The out gunned fort was abandoned by the਋ritish who escaped to fight another day. By December, the British regained control of the Lake Ontario area and recaptured Fort George and took Fort Niagara as well. 

In May, General Harrison returned to the American northwest to build a force at Fort Meigs located on the Maumee River in Ohio. General Proctor, heretofore the colonel who had halted Hull's advances in the prior July, attacked Fort Meigs, but after 8 days he retired from the siege. However, they ambushed a troop of Americans on their way to the fort. American casualties were high and਎xacerbated when the Indians began to kill prisoners. Ironically, Tecumseh was enraged with Proctor for failing to stop the massacre. The historian, De Tocqueville, after his study of the American Indian offered this description which was supported by Tecumseh's combination tomahawk and peace pipe:              War of 1812 Battles

"Mild and hospitable when at peace, though merciless in war beyond any known degree of human ferocity". 

Iroquois Battle Fellow Iroquois on the Niagara Frontier During the War of 1812

When a force of Iroquois warriors under Seneca leader Red Jacket fought in the Battle of Chippewa, attacking snipers under Mohawk chief John Norton late on the afternoon of July 5, 1813, they violated a venerated centuries-old tradition of peaceful coexistence among the Six Nations of the Iroquois League. The Chippewa battle, in which dozens of Iroquois killed each other, was the sharpest in a series of skirmishes on the Niagara Frontier, the U.S. border with Canada that lay in the heart of Iroquois country.

Initially, the Iroquois Nations took a neutral stance in the War of 1812, though individual warriors were free to fight for either side as scouts or reserves. After the United States declared war on Great Britain on June 19, 1812, the Six Nations in Canada and the U.S. — Seneca, Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga and Tuscarora – negotiated an agreement among themselves to remain neutral in this white man’s war. The most important provision of the agreement was that no Iroquois warrior would meet his brothers in battle.

But fatefully, there were Iroquois living on both sides of the border, and once war was declared, both the U.S. and British military leaders sought the support of the Iroquois Nations. Three important leaders stood out among the Nations: John Norton of the Mohawks, who fought for the British and Red Jacket and Farmers Brother of the Senecas, both of whom fought for the United States.

Norton was the son of a Cherokee father and a Scottish mother and he was educated in Scotland. At a very young age Norton joined the British army, and in 1785 he was stationed in Quebec, where he became involved with the Six Nations of the Grand River. Inspired by the Mohawk chief Thayendanega (Joseph Brant), Norton learned the Mohawk language and culture. Adopted into the Mohawk community, he acquired the status of chief, with the Mohawk name of Teyoninhokarawen. Though he had been living with and had become part of the Mohawk Nation, Norton had maintained close contact with the British, who considered him a useful ally. Once the war began, he led many of the bands of Iroquois warriors in most of the battles that raged in the Niagara region.

Sagoyewatha, or Red Jacket, was born around 1758, the son of Ahweyneyonh, of the Seneca Wolf clan. Red Jacket got his English name because of the red coat that was presented to him during the American Revolution, when he had worked for the British army as a messenger. Although Red Jacket was a great warrior and had proved himself in battle, it was at the council fire where he achieved his position of prominence. In many meetings with the British and later the Americans, Red Jacket fought with words, eloquently stressing the importance of keeping the peace and defending Seneca values. When the War of 1812 broke out, Red Jacket was in his 60s, but nevertheless he led Seneca and other Iroquois warriors allied to the United States at the Battles of Fort George and Chippewa.

Farmers Brother, or Ho-na-ye-was, was another Seneca chief who rose to distinction primarily as a great warrior. In his History of Buffalo, written in 1864, William Ketchum quoted elders who remembered Farmers Brother as “a man of high character and commanding influence.” They said, “He was pre-eminent in all the characteristics that could give him influence over his people.” The elders remembered him as “brave and skillful in war and wise and eloquent in council.” In 1813, when the Iroquois in the United States joined the war, Farmers Brother would have been in his 80s. Nevertheless, he took the field as a leader and fought with all the spirit and vigor of a young warrior.

Given the understanding among the Iroquois that individual warriors were free to take up arms in the War of 1812, some Canadian Iroquois quickly sided with the British, and John Norton led them into battle. Warriors from Grand River, numbering only about 40 or 50, joined other native allies of the British in their first action of the war at the Battle of Detroit on August 16, 1812. Defeated at Detroit, the Americans decided to try another thrust into Canada, this time along the Niagara Frontier.

At Queenston Heights, the U.S. Army had its first serious encounter with the warriors of the Six Nations of Canada in a major battle. Early in October 1812, American Maj. Gen. Stephen Van Rensselaer had put together 2,500 New York militiamen and 450 regulars from Fort Niagara. The plan was to drive the British forces from the fort and village of Queenston Heights in order to give the Americans a strong foothold on Canadian soil. American troops, both regulars and militia, crossed the river in the early morning hours of October 13 and quickly overwhelmed the small British garrison that was ordered to defend the heights. The American forces soon gained control of both the heights and the surrounding village. The question then was, could they hold it?

British Maj. Gen. Isaac Brock ordered reinforcements to be hurried from Fort George, located about seven miles farther up the river. Indian warriors led by John Norton and John Brant, son of the great war chief Joseph Brant, quickly outdistanced the other reinforcements. Upon arriving at Queenston Heights, they climbed the escarpment and attacked the American troops. Norton took a path through the forest that led almost directly behind the American position. Expecting an attack from the front, Lt. Col. Winfield Scott, who had taken overall command of the American forces when other senior officers had been either wounded or killed, posted only a thin line of men to guard the rear. When Norton’s warriors burst from the woods, it was not an advanced guard they encountered but the rear guard, which they pushed back into the main body of the American troops.

Though heavily outnumbered — Norton had only about 150 warriors at the time of the attack — the Iroquois kept the Americans off balance for many hours. Using the tree line for cover, the Iroquois quickly attacked and then disappeared again. Their constant movement gave the American troops the impression that the enemy had far greater numbers than they actually had. When in the open, Norton’s men stayed low to the ground, leaving the Americans no open shots. To make matters worse for the Americans, Norton’s Iroquois were reinforced by some 80 Cayuga warriors from Fort George.

Norton’s flanking movement prevented the Americans from fully securing their position on the heights. The constant harassment by the Iroquois allowed British Maj. Gen. Robert Sheaffe’s reinforcements from Fort George and Chippewa to retake the heights from the Americans. Once the British regulars were engaged in the battle, it took less than an hour for them to defeat the Americans, who suffered about 500 casualties and had more than 900 men captured.

Shortly after Queenston Heights, the majority of Indian warriors fighting for the British were moved to Fort Erie, across the Niagara River from Buffalo, N.Y. The American forces in the area appeared ready to launch another assault on Canada, and on May 27, 1813, the invasion got underway, this time against Fort George. Crossing the Niagara River, the Americans landed at Two Mile Creek, where they were met by 100 Canadian Iroquois camped nearby. British Brig. Gen. John Vincent later wrote of the engagement, “The party of troops and Indians positioned at this point, after opposing the enemy and annoying him as much as possible, were obliged to fall back.” During the fight at Two Mile Creek a number of Mohawks were killed and wounded.

The American forces had found themselves bottled up in the Fort George area throughout the summer and fall of 1812, unable to gain ground. Desperately in need of light infantry troops, the U.S. Army called on the Iroquois Nations for help to control the area around its entrenched forces. Oneida, Seneca and other Iroquois warriors finally answered the call and gathered along the Niagara in June and July of 1813.

In late June, 1813, American forces locked horns once again with the warriors of the Six Nations of Canada. At the Battle of Beaver Dams, about 17 miles from Fort George, American Lt. Col. Charles G. Boerstler led the 14th and elements of the 4th, 6th and 23rd Infantry regiments, plus 20 light dragoons, into an ambush — not by British regulars nor even militia, but by Iroquois: about 200 warriors from Grand River under the command of Captain William Kerr and Ah’You’wa’eghs (John Brant), and 180 Mohawks from Caughnawaga and St. Regis under the command of J.B. de Lorimier and French Canadian Captain Dominique Ducharme. Though greatly outnumbered by the American force, the Iroquois controlled the fight from the very beginning. The Battle of Beaver Dams lasted only about two hours. In the end Boerstler — wounded in the thigh — was approached under a white flag by the local British commander, Lieutenant James Fitzgibbon, who bluffed him into believing that he was within minutes of being surrounded by 1,500 British regulars and 700 Indians. Unwilling to abandon his many wounded troops to the Indians, Boerstler accepted Fitzgibbon’s terms and surrendered 484 troops to a force less than half their number.

In July 1813, the British made a move that would break the agreement made by the Six Nations in the United States to remain neutral. Taking the offensive, the British crossed the Niagara River, threatening Black Rock, which was the headquarters of the U.S. Navy and had the task of defending Lake Erie and the Buffalo area. The Seneca and other Iroquois in the United States responded by joining forces with the Americans in their war against Britain.

In early July, rumors spread of a pending British attack on Black Rock increased, and as it turned out, the rumors were well founded. Shortly after 2 a.m. on the morning of July 11, a British raiding party of about 400 men crossed the river from Canada. Commanded by Lt. Col. Cecil Bisshopp, the force comprised members of the Royal Artillery and the 8th, 41st and 49th regiments. Members of the Lincoln Militia and other volunteers joined Colonel Bisshopp at Chippewa. They quickly captured the lightly defended Black Rock. It seemed that Maj. Gen. Henry Dearborn, the commander of Buffalo and Black Rock, had withdrawn most of the regulars days earlier, leaving an immense amount of public stores defended by only 200 militia and 10 artillerymen.

Soon after sunrise Major William King rode the two miles from Black Rock to the home of Erastus Granger, the American Indian agent. At Granger’s home were Farmers Brother and 37 Seneca warriors. Hearing the news of the British action, Farmers Brother led his warriors through the woods toward Black Rock, while in Buffalo Maj. Gen. Peter Porter mustered militia and regulars. He combined his forces with volunteers from the Plains and Cold Springs who had gathered under Captain William Hull. Taking command of the joint force, Porter led them toward Black Rock to join up with Farmers Brother’s warriors. The combined American forces met the British in a conflict that lasted about 15 minutes before Bisshopp ordered a retreat and his troops rushed back to their boats, all but the last of which succeeded in escaping.

After the attack on Black Rock, the Six Nations of the United States officially declared war on the British. Several days earlier, Farmers Brother had said that “the country was invaded, that they had one common interest with the people of the United States, that they had every thing dear at stake, that the time had arrived for them to show their friendship for their brethren of the United States not only in words but in deeds.”

On July 3, 1814, the largest and best American army yet assembled on the Niagara Frontier crossed the Niagara River from Buffalo, led by Maj. Gen. Jacob Brown. Included in that force were 500 Iroquois, including Seneca, Onondaga, Tuscarora and Oneida warriors under the command of General Porter and Seneca war chief Red Jacket. The Americans quickly took possession of Fort Erie and then turned in the direction of Chippewa and Fort George.

Two days later, on July 5, opposing armies once again met, this time for probably the bloodiest battle of the campaign on the Niagara Frontier, the Battle of Chippewa. And it was there that Iroquois warriors found themselves facing brother Iroquois in a major battle for the first and last time.

The Americans made contact with the British army, under the command of Maj. Gen. Phineas Riall, early in the afternoon. What followed was an intense battle, with heavy losses on both sides. Riall had about 300 Indians under his command, 200 of them Iroquois warriors led by John Norton. Iroquois snipers were the first to engage the Americans, antagonizing them throughout the morning. At about 3 p.m., Norton led a brigade of warriors, British light infantry and militia into the woods below the village of Chippewa. Once in the woods they divided into three groups and began moving south through the forest for the purpose of engaging the Americans’ left flank.

Red Jacket’s Iroquois entered the woods south of the American position and out of their view. Their mission was to surround and eliminate the snipers on the British side. That move also put the American Iroquois on a collision course with the Canadian Iroquois. Red Jacket’s warriors soon located the snipers, at which point they spread out and approached within firing range.

“The Iroquois rushed forward with a deafening chorus of war cries and pursued the snipers,” Porter later recalled of the battle. “For more than a mile through scenes of indescribable horror, few only of the fugitives surrendering themselves as prisoners, while others believing that no quarter was to be given, suffered themselves to be overtaken and cut down with the tomahawk, or turned upon their pursuers and fought to the last.”

Red Jacket’s warriors chased the remaining snipers who were still able to flee, only to run straight into one of Norton’s lines of Grand River Iroquois and British light infantry. Red Jacket’s warriors, believing that they were outnumbered, then retreated toward the American lines.

While pursuing the retreating American Iroquois, Norton and his men came upon dozens of their slaughtered kinsmen, but they were too late to take revenge as Red Jacket’s men were already scrambling across the fields to the American front. At that point, Norton and his men could only stay low and fire upon Winfield Scott’s 1st Brigade as it advanced to do battle with the British. Scott’s troops managed to gain the upper hand over General Riall’s British forces, and Riall called for a withdrawal, giving the field of battle to the Americans. Norton’s Iroquois and the light infantry were then called upon to cover the retreat of the British regulars. Behind them they left 87 dead tribesmen.

The Battle of Chippewa thus saw the heaviest Indian casualties of the entire war. Besides the 87 dead suffered by the Grand River Iroquois, the American Iroquois suffered 25 dead and many wounded.

One of the Iroquois fighting with the Americans who fell during the battle was the Oneida Chief Cornelius Doxtator. Ephraim Webster, an interpreter who was at the battle, recalled his death: “Doxtator was pursued by five or six mounted Wyandots (Huron). They passed near him, and knowing well the Indian rules of warfare, he stood erect and firm, looking them full in the face they passed him unharmed. Doxtator was shot just as he leaped a fence near by, upon which the Wyandots wheeled and rode off.” In 1877 Chief Doxtator’s grandson told what happened next: “After Doxtator was shot a Chippewa ran up, tomahawked and scalped him and with others, captured Doxtator’s two boys, Daniel and George, respectively 17 and 15, who were near their father. But some Oneidas shot the Chippewa as he was clambering a fence, tomahawked and scalped him, and recovered the prisoner boys.”

The sight of Iroquois killing other Iroquois devastated surviving warriors and the Indian communities on both sides of the border. According to An Account of Sa-G-Ye-Wat-Ha, or Red Jacket, and His People, 1750-1830, by John Niles Hubbard: “That the battle of Chippewa was particularly severe to the Indian forces engaged in it, may be inferred from the fact that the British Indians retreated not only beyond the Chippewa, but stayed [stopped] not until they had gone thirty miles further. The battle ground was strewed with many of their number who had been slain….The sight of slain warriors was far from being a pleasing object for Red Jacket to behold, and having ever been opposed to his people engaging in contests that did not really concern them, he proposed…that they should withdraw from a further participation in the war, in case they could prevail on their Canadian brethren to do the same….The Indians therefore after this retired to their villages, with the exception of a few young braves, with whom the love of war was a more potent influence than the counsels of the aged and more considerate of their nation.”

The fact that most of the Iroquois deaths were inflicted by brother Iroquois changed the Nations’ view of the war and thereafter they remained neutral.

Major causes of the war

The tensions that caused the War of 1812 arose from the French revolutionary (1792–99) and Napoleonic Wars (1799–1815). During this nearly constant conflict between France and Britain, American interests were injured by each of the two countries’ endeavours to block the United States from trading with the other.

American shipping initially prospered from trade with the French and Spanish empires, although the British countered the U.S. claim that “free ships make free goods” with the belated enforcement of the so-called Rule of 1756 (trade not permitted in peacetime would not be allowed in wartime). The Royal Navy did enforce the act from 1793 to 1794, especially in the Caribbean Sea, before the signing of the Jay Treaty (November 19, 1794). Under the primary terms of the treaty, American maritime commerce was given trading privileges in England and the British East Indies, Britain agreed to evacuate forts still held in the Northwest Territory by June 1, 1796, and the Mississippi River was declared freely open to both countries. Although the treaty was ratified by both countries, it was highly unpopular in the United States and was one of the rallying points used by the pro-French Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, in wresting power from the pro-British Federalists, led by George Washington and John Adams.

After Jefferson became president in 1801, relations with Britain slowly deteriorated, and systematic enforcement of the Rule of 1756 resumed after 1805. Compounding this troubling development, the decisive British naval victory at the Battle of Trafalgar (October 21, 1805) and efforts by the British to blockade French ports prompted the French emperor, Napoleon, to cut off Britain from European and American trade. The Berlin Decree (November 21, 1806) established Napoleon’s Continental System, which impinged on U.S. neutral rights by designating ships that visited British ports as enemy vessels. The British responded with Orders in Council (November 11, 1807) that required neutral ships to obtain licenses at English ports before trading with France or French colonies. In turn, France announced the Milan Decree (December 17, 1807), which strengthened the Berlin Decree by authorizing the capture of any neutral vessel that had submitted to search by the British. Consequently, American ships that obeyed Britain faced capture by the French in European ports, and if they complied with Napoleon’s Continental System, they could fall prey to the Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy’s use of impressment to keep its ships fully crewed also provoked Americans. The British accosted American merchant ships to seize alleged Royal Navy deserters, carrying off thousands of U.S. citizens into the British navy. In 1807 the frigate H.M.S. Leopard fired on the U.S. Navy frigate Chesapeake and seized four sailors, three of them U.S. citizens. London eventually apologized for this incident, but it came close to causing war at the time. Jefferson, however, chose to exert economic pressure against Britain and France by pushing Congress in December 1807 to pass the Embargo Act, which forbade all export shipping from U.S. ports and most imports from Britain.

The Embargo Act hurt Americans more than the British or French, however, causing many Americans to defy it. Just before Jefferson left office in 1809, Congress replaced the Embargo Act with the Non-Intercourse Act, which exclusively forbade trade with Great Britain and France. This measure also proved ineffective, and it was replaced by Macon’s Bill No. 2 (May 1, 1810) that resumed trade with all nations but stipulated that if either Britain or France dropped commercial restrictions, the United States would revive nonintercourse against the other. In August, Napoleon insinuated that he would exempt American shipping from the Berlin and Milan decrees. Although the British demonstrated that French restrictions continued, U.S. Pres. James Madison reinstated nonintercourse against Britain in November 1810, thereby moving one step closer to war.

Britain’s refusal to yield on neutral rights derived from more than the emergency of the European war. British manufacturing and shipping interests demanded that the Royal Navy promote and sustain British trade against Yankee competitors. The policy born of that attitude convinced many Americans that they were being consigned to a de facto colonial status. Britons, on the other hand, denounced American actions that effectively made the United States a participant in Napoleon’s Continental System.

Events on the U.S. northwestern frontier fostered additional friction. Indian fears over American encroachment coincidentally became conspicuous as Anglo-American tensions grew. Shawnee brothers Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa (The Prophet) attracted followers arising from this discontent and attempted to form an Indian confederation to counteract American expansion. Although Maj. Gen. Isaac Brock, the British commander of Upper Canada (modern Ontario), had orders to avoid worsening American frontier problems, American settlers blamed British intrigue for heightened tensions with Indians in the Northwest Territory. As war loomed, Brock sought to augment his meagre regular and Canadian militia forces with Indian allies, which was enough to confirm the worst fears of American settlers. Brock’s efforts were aided in the fall of 1811, when Indiana territorial governor William Henry Harrison fought the Battle of Tippecanoe and destroyed the Indian settlement at Prophet’s Town (near modern Battle Ground, Indiana). Harrison’s foray convinced most Indians in the Northwest Territory that their only hope of stemming further encroachments by American settlers lay with the British. American settlers, in turn, believed that Britain’s removal from Canada would end their Indian problems. Meanwhile, Canadians suspected that American expansionists were using Indian unrest as an excuse for a war of conquest.

Under increasing pressure, Madison summoned the U.S. Congress into session in November 1811. Pro-war western and southern Republicans (War Hawks) assumed a vocal role, especially after Kentucky War Hawk Henry Clay was elected speaker of the House of Representatives. Madison sent a war message to the U.S. Congress on June 1, 1812, and signed the declaration of war on June 18, 1812. The vote seriously divided the House (79–49) and was gravely close in the Senate (19–13). Because seafaring New Englanders opposed the war, while westerners and southerners supported it, Federalists accused war advocates of expansionism under the ruse of protecting American maritime rights. Expansionism, however, was not as much a motive as was the desire to defend American honour. The United States attacked Canada because it was British, but no widespread aspiration existed to incorporate the region. The prospect of taking East and West Florida from Spain encouraged southern support for the war, but southerners, like westerners, were sensitive about the United States’s reputation in the world. Furthermore, British commercial restrictions hurt American farmers by barring their produce from Europe. Regions seemingly removed from maritime concerns held a material interest in protecting neutral shipping. “Free trade and sailors’ rights” was not an empty phrase for those Americans.

The onset of war both surprised and chagrined the British government, especially because it was preoccupied with the fight against France. In addition, political changes in Britain had already moved the government to assume a conciliatory posture toward the United States. Prime Minister Spencer Perceval’s assassination on May 11, 1812, brought to power a more moderate Tory government under Lord Liverpool. British West Indies planters had been complaining for years about the interdiction of U.S. trade, and their growing influence, along with a deepening recession in Great Britain, convinced the Liverpool ministry that the Orders in Council were averse to British interests. On June 16, two days before the United States declared war, the Orders were suspended.

Some have viewed the timing of this concession as a lost opportunity for peace because slow transatlantic communication meant a month’s delay in delivering the news to Washington. Yet, because Britain’s impressment policy remained in place and frontier Indian wars continued, in all likelihood the repeal of the Orders alone would not have prevented war.

1813 Battles:

January 17, 1813: Capture of an American brig, USS Viper, by a British frigate, HMS Narcissus, off the coast of Belize.

January 18, 1813: First Battle of Frenchtown in Michigan.
Result: American victory.

January 22, 1813: Second Battle of Frenchtown in Michigan.
Result: British victory.

January 23, 1813: River Raisin Massacre in Michigan. About 30 to 60 American soldiers captured during the Second Battle of Frenchtown are executed.

February 7, 1813: American raid of Elizabethtown in upper Canada.

February 22, 1813: Battle of Ogdensburg in New York.
Result: British victory.

February 24, 1813: Naval battle between an American sloop, USS Hornet, and a British sloop, HMS Peacock, on the Demerara River in Guyana. The HMS Peacock was so badly damaged it sank shortly after.
Result: American victory.

April 3, 1813: Battle of Rappahannock River in Virginia.
Result: British victory.

April 27, 1813: Battle of York in Toronto, Canada.
Result: American victory.

April 28-May 9 of 1813: Siege of Fort Meigs in northwestern Ohio.
Result: American victory.

April 23, 1813: British raid at Frenchtown in Maryland.

May 3, 1813: British raid on Havre de grace and Principio Foundry in Maryland.

May 6, 1813: British raid at Georgetown and Fredericktown in Maryland.

May 27, 1813: Battle of Fort George in upper Canada.
Result: American victory.

May 29, 1813: Second attack on Sackets Harbor in New York.
Result: American victory.

June 1, 1813: Battle of Boston Harbor, otherwise known as the capture of an American frigate, USS Chesapeake, by a British frigate, HMS Shannon, off the coast of New England between Cape Cod and Cape Ann.

June 3, 1813: British capture of two American sloops, USS Eagle and USS Growler, on Lake Champlain on the border of Canada.

June 6, 1813: Battle of Stoney Creek in upper Canada.
Result: British victory.

June 15, 1813: Second British raid at Charlotte in New York.

June 19, 1813: British raid on Sodus in New York.

June 20, 1813: Attack on a British ship, HMS Junon, by a flotilla of American gunboats in the Elizabeth River in Virginia.
Result: Indecisive.

June 22, 1813: Battle of Craney Island in Virginia.
Result: American victory.

June 24, 1813: Battle of Beaver Dams in upper Canada.
Result: British victory.

June 25-16, 1813: Battle of Hampton in Virginia.
Result: British victory.

July 1, 1813: Skirmish at Cranberry Creek in New York.

July 1-October 9, 1813: Blockade of Fort George in upper Canada.

July 5, 1813: British raid at Fort Schlosser in New York.

July 8, 1813: Action at Butler’s farm near Niagara, Canada.
Result: British victory.

July 11, 1813: British raid at Black Rock in New York.

July 12, 1813: British raid at the Ocracoke Inlet in North Carolina.

July 14, 1813: British attack and brief capture of an American schooner, USS Asp, by a British naval party from a British sloop, HMS Contest, and a British brig HMS Mohawk (formerly the USS Viper). The Asp was set on fire but its American crew regained the ship, extinguished the flames and the ship continued to serve through the rest of the war.

July 14, 1813: Action off Charles Island in the Galapagos during which an American squadron of three vessels attacked and captured three British armed whalers. It was one of only a few naval engagements of the war to occur in the Pacific Ocean.

July 17, 1813: Skirmish at Ball’s Farm near Niagara, Canada.

July 19, 1813: Capture of a British convoy of 15 bateaux, a gun boat, Spitfire, as well as British military supplies by American privateers, Neptune and Fox, on the upper St. Lawrence River in New York.

July 20, 1813: Skirmish on Cranberry Creek between American privateers and British forces in an effort to reclaim supplies captured by the Neptune and Fox the previous day.
Result: American victory.

July 21-28, 1813: Second siege of Fort Meigs in northwestern Ohio during which British forces try to recapture the fort.
Result: American victory.

July 27, 1813: Battle of Burnt Corn Creek in Alabama. The battle is considered the first battle of the Creek War between the United States and a faction of the Muscogee nation known as the Red Sticks.
Result: Red Stick victory.

July 29, 1813: Attack on a British sloop, HMS Martin, by a flotilla of American gunboats and blockships near the mouth of the Delaware River.
Result: Indecisive.

July 29-August 4, 1813: Murray’s raid on New York and Vermont villages and towns on Lake Champlain.

July 31, 1813: Skirmish near Lower Sandusky in Ohio.

July 31-August 1, 1813: American raid at York in upper Canada.

August 2, 1813: Battle of Fort Stepehenson in Indiana.
Result: American victory.

August 10, 1813: British capture of two American schooners, USS Julia and USS Prowler, on Lake Ontario.

August 14, 1813: Capture of an American sloop, USS Argus, by a British brig, HMS Pelican, in St. George’s Channel off the coast of Wales and Ireland.

August 30, 1813: Battle at Fort Mims in Alabama.
Result: Red Stick victory.

September 5, 1813: Capture of a British sloop, HMS Boxer, by an American brig, USS Enterprise, off the coast of Maine.

September 10, 1813: Battle of Lake Erie in Ohio.
Result: American victory.

Battle of Lake Erie, illustration published in Military Heroes of the War of 1812, circa 1849

September 23, 1813: Capture of a British frigate, HMS Highflyer, by an American frigate, USS President, off the coast of New England.

September 30, 1813: First skirmish at Odelltown in Canada.

October 5, 1813: Battle of the Thames in Ontario, Canada.
Result: American victory.

October 12, 1813: American raid at Missisquoi Bay in Canada.

October 26, 1813: Battle on the Chateauguay in Canada.
Result: British victory.

November 1-2, 1813: Skirmish at French Creek in New York.
Result: Indecisive.

November 3, 1813: Battle of Tallasseehatchee in Alabama.
Result: American victory.

November 9, 1813: Battle of Talladega in Alabama.
Result: American victory.

November 10, 1813: Skirmish at Hoople’s Creek in Canada.
Result: British victory.

November 11, 1813, Battle of Crysler’s Farm in Ontario, Canada.
Result: British victory.

November 12, 1813: The Canoe fight on the Alabama River.
Result: American victory.

November 13, 1813: Skirmishes at Nanticoke Creek in upper Canada.

November 18, 1813: Hillabee Massacre in Tennessee during which 60 Hillabee Indians were killed when American forces burned the Hillabee Indian villages of Little Oakfusky and Genalga.

November 29, 1813: Battle of Autossee in Alabama.
Result: American victory.

December 10-11, 1813: Burning of Niagra in upper Canada by American troops.

December 15, 1813: Skirmish at McCrea’s Farm in upper Canada.
Result: British victory.

December 17, 1813: Burning of the upper Creek village of Nuyaka by American troops.

December 18-19, 1813: American capture of Fort Niagra in upper Canada.

December 23, 1813: Battle of Holy Ground, aka Battle of Econochaca, in Alabama.
Result: Indecisive.

December 25, 1813: Capture of an American schooner, USS Vixen, by a British frigate, HMS Belvidera, near the coast of Delaware.

December 30, 1813: British raid at Black Rock and Buffalo in New York in retaliation for the burning of Niagara earlier in the month.

How long the US military would last in a war against the rest of the world

Posted On February 05, 2020 19:03:07

What would happen if the U.S. found itself facing off against the rest of the world? Not just its traditional rivals, but what if it had to fight off its allies like the United Kingdom, France, and South Korea as well?

The British are coming! The British are coming! Photo: US Army Visual Information Specialist Gertrud Zach

In short, America would stomp them. Especially if it pulled back to the continental U.S. and made its stand there.

First, the U.S. has the world’s largest Navy, by a lot. With ships displacing 3,415,893 tons, the mass of the U.S. Navy is larger than the next 8 largest navies combined. And the American ships, as a whole, are more technologically advanced than those of other countries. For instance, only America and France field nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. France has just one while America has 10 with an 11th on the way.*

And that’s before the U.S. Coast Guard gets into the mix. While the Coast Guard isn’t an expeditionary force, it could use its C-130s and other sensor platforms to give the Navy more eyes across the battlespace. It’s counterterrorism operators could protect government leaders and secure American ports.

A U.S. Navy carrier sails next to a British raft aircraft carrier. Photo: US Navy Airman Robert Baker

So attacking America across the water is a horrible idea. (Got that North Korea and China?)

Second, America’s air power is the strongest in the world. Currently, it has approximately 14,000 planes and helicopters spread across the five services. That’s more aircraft than the next 7 countries combined.

The world’s only operational fifth-generation fighter, the F-22, would conduct constant air patrols across the land borders of the U.S. to prevent any incursion by enemy bombers. The Army’s Patriot missile launchers would help stop enemy jets or missiles and Stinger/Avenger missile crews would shoot down any low-flying planes or helicopters.

Photo: US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich

So the rest of the world’s militaries have to fight their way across a land border with the U.S. while their air support is falling in flames around them.

The Army and Marine Corps’ almost 9,000 tanks would team up with thousands of Stryker Anti-Tank Guided Missile vehicles, Apache and Cobra helicopters, and anti-tank missile teams carrying Javelins and TOW missiles to annihilate enemy armor.

A U.S. Army Stryker combat vehicle firing a TOW missile. Photo: US Army Pfc. Victor Ayala

The world’s most advanced tanks, like the Leopard or the Merkava, would be tough nuts to crack. Artillery, aircraft, and anti-tank infantry would have to work together to bring these down. But most tanks worldwide are older U.S. and Soviet tanks like the Patton or the T-72 that would fall quickly to missile teams or Abrams firing from behind cover.

M1 Abrams can kill most things. Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Julio McGraw

The other combat troops trying to make their way through the shattered remains of their air support and the burning hulks that were once their tanks would find themselves facing the most technologically advanced troops in the world.

American soldiers are getting weapon sights that let them pick out enemies obscured by dust and smoke. Their armor and other protective gear are top notch and getting better.

Chances are, even infantry from France, Britain, or Russia would have trouble pushing through the lines in these conditions. But even if they did, the Marines and 101st Airborne Division would be able to swoop in on helicopters and Ospreys while the 82nd Airborne Division could drop thousands of reinforcements from planes to close any openings.

And all of this is before America becomes desperate enough to launch any nuclear weapons. If the enemy actually did make it through, they’d face nuclear strikes every time they massed outside of a city. And their forces still trying to reach the border would be easy pickings.

Minuteman III missiles are designed to strike targets far from American shores but they could annihilate an advancing army moving from Houston to Dallas just as easily. Navy Trident missiles could be fired from submarines in the Gulf of Mexico to destroy units waiting for their turn to attack at the border. Northern Mexico and southern Canada would become irradiated zones.

So don’t worry America, you are already behind one hell of an impenetrable wall.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said that only America field nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The Charles de Gaulle, France’s only aircraft carrier, is also nuclear-powered. WATM regrets this error.

Watch the video: When The Brits Burned Down The White House. War Of 1812 Documentary. Timeline (May 2022).