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War of 1812,

The popular name of the second war between the United States and Great Britain. Blessed with prosperity and dreading war, the people of the United States submitted to many acts of tyranny from Great Britain and France rather than become involved in armed conflicts with them. Consequently, the government of the United States was only nominally independent. Socially and commercially, the United States tacitly acknowledged their dependence on Europe, and especially upon England; and the latter was rapidly acquiring a dangerous political interest and influence in American affairs when the war broke out. The war begun in 1775 was really only the first great step towards independence; the war begun in 1812 first thoroughly accomplished the independence of the United States. Franklin once heard a person speaking of the Revolution as the war of independence, and reproved him, saying, “Sir, you mean the Revolution; the war of independence is yet to come. It was a war for independence, but not of independence.”

When it was determined, early in 1812, to declare war against Great Britain, preparations were at once made for the crisis. In February the congressional committee of ways and means reported a financial scheme, which was adopted. It was a system adapted to a state of war for three years. It contemplated the support of war expenses wholly by loans, and the ordinary expenses of the government, including interest on the national debt, by revenues. The estimated expense of the war the first year was $11,000,000. Duties on imports were doubled, a direct tax of $3,000,000 was levied, and an extensive system of internal duties and excise was devised. In March, Congress authorized a loan of $11,000,000, at an annual interest not to exceed 6 per cent., reimbursable in twelve years. When war was declared, only little more than half the loan was taken, and the President was authorized to issue treasury notes, payable in one year, bearing an annual interest of 5 3/5 per cent. Measures were also devised for strengthening the military force. It was weak when war was declared. Congress passed an act, June 26, 1812, for the consolidation of the old army with new levies, the regular force to consist of twenty regiments of foot, four of artillery, two of dragoons, and one of riflemen, which, with engineers and artificers, would make a force of 36,700 men. Little reliance could be placed on the militia, who would not be compelled, by law, to go beyond the bounds of their respective States. The navy was very weak, in comparison with that of the enemy, the acknowledged “mistress of the seas.” It consisted of only twenty vessels, exclusive of 170 gunboats,. and actually carrying an aggregate of little more than 500 guns.

The following is a list of forts in existence when war was declared in 1812, and their location: Fort Sumner, Portland, Me.; Fort William and Mary, Portsmouth, N. H.; Fort Lily, Gloucester, Cape Ann; Fort Pickering, Salem, Mass.; Fort Seawall, Marblehead, Mass.; Fort Independence, Boston Harbor; Fort Wolcott, near Newport, R. I.; Fort Adams, Newport. Harbor; Fort Hamilton, near Newport; North Battery, a mile northwest of Fort Wolcott; Dumplings Fort, entrance to Narraganset Bay, R. I.; Tonomy Hill, a mile east of North Battery, R. I.; Fort Trumbull, New London, Conn.; Fort Jay, Governor's Island, New York Harbor; works on Ellis and Bedloe's islands, New York Harbor; Fort Mifflin, Delaware River, below Philadelphia; Fort McHenry, Baltimore; Fort Severn, Annapolis; Forts Norfolk and Nelson, on Elizabeth River, below Norfolk, Va.; forts Pinckney, Moultrie, and Mechanic, for the protection of Charleston, S. C.; Fort Mackinaw, island of Mackinaw; Fort Dearborn, Chicago; Fort Wayne, at the forks of the Maumee, Ind.; Fort Detroit, Michigan; Fort Niagara, mouth of the Niagara River; Fort Ontario, Oswego; Fort Tompkins, Sackett's Harbor, N. Y. Some of these were unfinished.

While the army of General Hull was lying in camp below Sandwich, in Canada, he was absent at Detroit two or three days. There had been some skirmishing with detachments of his army, under Colonels Cass and McArthur, near the Tarontee; and the apparent supineness of the general made the younger officers and the men suspect him of incapacity, if not of treachery. While Hull was absent at Detroit the [122] command of the American troops in Canada devolved on Colonel McArthur, and he resolved to attack Fort Malden. He detached some rangers to seek a convenient passage of the Tarontee above the bridge, so as to avoid the guns of the British armed vessel Queen Charlotte, lying in the river. This was impracticable. A scouting party was sent under Major Denny to reconnoitre, who found an Indian ambuscade between Turkey Creek and the Tarontee, in the Petit Cote settlement. There Denny had a sharp skirmish with the Indians, when a part of his line gave way, and he was compelled to retreat in confusion, pursued nearly 3 miles by the victors. He tried to rally his men, but in vain. In the skirmish he lost six men killed and two wounded. This was the first blood shed in the War of 1812-15.

The defeat of Hull weakened the confidence of the government and the people in an easy conquest of Canada, and immediate steps were taken, when the armistice of Dearborn was ended, to place troops along the northern frontier sufficient to make successful invasion, or prevent one from the other side. Vermont and New York joined, in co-operation with the United States, in placing (September, 1812) 3,000 regulars and 2,000 militia on the borders of Lake Champlain, under Dearborn's immediate command. Another force of militia was stationed at different points along the south bank of the St. Lawrence, their left resting at Sackett's Harbor, at the eastern end of Lake Ontario. A third army was placed along the Niagara frontier, from Fort Niagara to Buffalo, then a small village. This latter force of about 6,000 men, half regulars and volunteers and half militia, were under the immediate command of Maj.-Gen. Stephen Van Rensselaer, a leading Federalist of New York.

The reverses that befell the American army during 1812 spread a gloom over the people, justified the warnings of the opposition who prophesied disaster, and increased the activity and machinations of the peace party. But before the close of the year the brilliant exploits of the little American navy dispelled the brooding gloom that hung over the people and filled them with joy and confidence. These justified the judgment of the Federalists. who always favored measures for increasing the navy, and the opposition of the Democrats to it ceased. These naval victories astounded the British public. The lion was bearded in his den. The claims of Great Britain to the mastery of the seas were vehemently and practically disputed. Nor were the naval triumphs of the Americans confined to the national vessels. Privateers swarmed on the oceans in the summer and autumn of 1812, and were making prizes in every direction. Accounts of their exploits filled the newspapers and helped to swell the tide of joy throughout the Union. It is estimated that during the last six months of 1812 more than fifty armed British vessels and 250 merchantmen, with an aggregate of over 3,000 prisoners and a vast amount of booty, were captured by the Americans. The British newspapers raved and uttered opprobrious epithets. A leading London journal petulantly and vulgarly gave vent to its sentiments by expressing an apprehension that England might be stripped of her maritime supremacy “by a piece of striped bunting flying at the mast-heads of a few fir-built frigates, manned by a handful of bastards and cowards.” The position of the American army at the close of 1812 was as follows: The Army of the Northwest, first under Hull, and then under General Harrison, was occupying a defensive position among the snows of the wilderness on the banks of the Maumee River; the Army of the Centre, under General Smyth, was resting on the defensive on the Niagara frontier; and the Army of the North, under General Bloomfield, was also resting on the defensive at Plattsburg, on the western shore of Lake Champlain.

Admiral Cochrane, who succeeded Admiral Warren in command on the American Station, issued a proclamation, dated at Bermuda, the rendezvous of the more southern blockading fleet, April 2, 1813. It was addressed to slaves under the denomination of “persons desirous to emigrate from the United States.” Owing to the inability of nearly all the slaves to read, the proclamation had very little effect. It is said that a project had been suggested by British officers for taking possession of the peninsula between the Delaware and Chesapeake bays, and there [123] training for British service an army of negro slaves. The project was rejected only because the British, being then slaveholders themselves, did not like to encourage insurrection elsewhere.

General Armstrong, Secretary of War, planned a second invasion of Canada in the autumn of 1813. There had been a change in the military command on the northern frontier. For some time the infirmities of General Dearborn, the commander-in-chief, had disqualified him for active service, and in June (1813) he was superseded by Gen. James Wilkinson, who, like Dearborn, had been an active young officer in the Revolution. Leaving Flournoy in command at New Orleans, Wilkinson hastened to Washington, D. C., when Armstrong assured him he would find 15,000 troops at his command on the borders of Lake Ontario. On reaching Sackett's Harbor (Aug. 20), he found one-third of the troops sick, no means for transportation, officers few in number, and both officers and men raw and undisciplined. After some movements on the lake, Wilkinson returned to Sackett's Harbor in October, sick with lake fever. Armstrong was there to take personal charge of preparations for an attack upon Kingston or Montreal. Knowing the personal enmity between Wilkinson and Wade Hampton, Armstrong, accompanied by the adjutant-general, had established the headquarters of the War Department at Sackett's Harbor to promote harmony between these two old officers, and to add efficiency to the projected movements. Wilkinson, not liking this interference of Armstrong, wished to resign; but the latter would not consent, for he had no other officer of experience to take his place. After much discussion, it was determined to pass Kingston and make a descent upon Montreal.

For weeks the bustle of preparation was great, and many armed boats and transports had been built at the Harbor. On Oct. 17 orders were given for the embarkation of the troops at Sackett's Harbor, and General Hampton, then halting on the banks of the Chateaugay River, was ordered to move to the St. Lawrence, at the mouth of that stream. The troops at the harbor were packed in scows, bateaux, Durham boats, and common lake sailboats, at the beginning of a dark night, with an impending storm hovering over the lake. Before morning there was a furious gale, with rain and sleet, and the boats were scattered in every direction. The shores of the little islands in that region were strewn with wrecks, and fifteen large boats were totally lost. On the 20th a large number of the troops and saved boats arrived at Grenadier Island, near the entrance to the St. Lawrence. There they were finally all gathered. The damage and loss of stores, etc., was immense. The troops remained encamped until Nov. 1. The snow had fallen to the depth of 10 inches. Delay would be dangerous, and on Nov. 9 General Brown and his division pushed forward, in the face of a tempest, to French Creek, at the present village of Clayton, on the St. Lawrence. Chauncey at the same time made an ineffectual attempt to blockade the British vessels in the harbor of Kingston. British marine scouts were out among the Thousand Islands. They discovered the Americans at French Creek, where, on the afternoon of Nov. 1, there was a sharp fight between the troops and British schooners and gunboats filled with infantry. The remainder of the troops, with Wilkinson, came down from Grenadier Island, and on the morning of the 5th the whole flotilla, comprising 300 bateaux, preceded by gunboats, filled with 7,000 troops, went down the St. Lawrence, pursued by British troops in a galley and gunboats, through the sinuous channels of the Thousand Islands. The same evening the belligerents had a fight by moonlight in Alexandria Bay, and land troops from Kingston reached Prescott, opposite Ogdensburg, at the same time.

Wilkinson disembarked his army just above Ogdensburg, and marched to some distance below to avoid the batteries at Prescott. Brown, meanwhile, successfully took the flotilla past Prescott on the night of the 6th, and the forces were reunited 4 miles below Ogdensburg. There Wilkinson was informed that the Canada shores of the St. Lawrence were lined with posts of musketry and artillery to dispute the passage of the flotilla. To meet this emergency, Col. Alexander McComb was detached with 1,200 of the best troops of the army, and on the 7th landed on the [124] Canada shore. He was followed by Lieutenant-Colonel Forsyth with his riflemen. On the 8th a council of war was held, and, after receiving a report from Col. J. G. Swift, the chief engineer, concerning the strength of the army, the question “Shall the army proceed with all possible rapidity to the attack of Montreal?” was considered, and was answered in the affirmative. General Brown at once crossed the river with his brigade. Meanwhile a large reinforcement had come down from Kingston to Prescott, and were marching rapidly forward to meet the American invaders. A severe engagement ensued at Chrysler's Field, a few miles below Williamsburg (Nov. 11, 1813). The flotilla was then at the head of the Long Rapids, 20 miles below Ogdensburg. The Americans were beaten in the fight and driven from the field (see Chrysler's field, battle of), and that night they withdrew to the boats. The following morning the flotilla passed the Long Rapids safely. General Wilkinson was ill, and word came from Hampton that he would not form a junction with Wilkinson's troops at St. Regis. The officers were unwilling to serve longer under the incompetent Wilkinson, and it was determined, at a council of war, to abandon the expedition against Montreal. The troops went into winter quarters at French Mills (afterwards Covington), on the Salmon River.

The news of Perry's victory on Lake Erie (see Erie, Lake, battle on) startled the British public, and strange confessions of weakness were made in the English and provincial newspapers. “We have been conquered on the lake,” said a Halifax paper, “and so we shall be on every other lake, if we take as little care to protect them.” Others urged the necessity of an alliance with the Indians to secure the possession of Canada. “We dare assert,” said a writer in one of the leading British reviews, “and recent events have gone far in establishing the truth of the proposition, that the Canadas cannot be effectually and durably defended without the friendship of the Indians and command of the lakes and river St. Lawrence.” He urged his countrymen to consider the interests of the Indians as their own; “for men,” he said, “whose very name is so formidable to an American, and whose friendship has recently been shown to be of such great importance to us, we cannot do too much.”

Towards the close of 1813, the whole of the New England States presented a united front in opposition to the national administration and the war. The peace faction was very active and industriously sowed discontent. The newspapers and orators of the ultra-Federal party denounced the administration as hostile to New England, which, it was asserted, was treated as a conquered province; her great interests—commerce and navigation— being sacrificed, and her sentiments of right and justice trampled upon. They declared that every New England man of promise in public affairs had been for twelve years proscribed by the national government, and that, reduced as New England was by follies and oppressions to the brink of ruin, it was her first duty to consult her own interest and safety. The idea was broached in a Boston newspaper (Daily Advertiser) that it would be desirable for New England to conclude a separate peace with Great Britain, or, at least, assume a position of neutrality, leaving it to the States that chose to fight it out to their hearts' content. No person appeared as the avowed champion of such a step. It was denounced as a treasonable suggestion, and produced considerable anxiety at Washington. These discontents finally led to the Hartford convention (q. v.).

For nearly two years the Americans waged offensive war against Great Britain (1812-14), when they were compelled to change to a war of defence. The entire sea-coast from the St. Croix to the St. Mary's, and of the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans and beyond, was menaced by British squadrons and regiments. At Portland, Boston, Providence, New Haven, New York, Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, and Savannah, which were exposed to attack, the people were soon busy casting up fortifications for defence.

On Jan. 6, 1814, the United States government received from that of Great Britain an offer to treat for peace directly at London, that city being preferred because it would afford greater facilities for negotiation. It was proposed, in case there should be insuperable objections to [125] London, to hold the conference at Gottenburg, in Sweden. This offer, with the selection of Gottenburg, was accepted by President Madison, who, at the same time, complained of the rejection of Russia's mediation, which had been offered three separate times. He nominated as commissioners to negotiate for peace John Quincy Adams and James A. Bayard, to whom Henry Clay and Jonathan Russell were added as special representatives of the war party. At the same time, Russell was nominated and confirmed as minister to Sweden.

Early in 1814 the most serious business of Congress was to provide for recruiting the army. The enlistment of twelvemonths' men, it was found, stood in the way of more permanent engagements, and the fourteen regiments of that character then existing were to be replaced by men to serve five years. Nor were any volunteers to be retained except for a like period. Three additional rifle regiments were to be raised; two regiments of light dragoons were consolidated, and three regiments of artillery were reorganized into twelve battalions. Could the ranks be filled under this organization, there would be an army of 60,000 regulars. To fill these ranks the money bounty was raised to $124—$50 when mustered in and the remainder when discharged, the latter sum, in case of death, to go to the soldier's representatives. To anybody who should bring in a recruit, $8 were allowed. In the debate on this subject Daniel Webster made his first speech in Congress, in which he declared that the difficulty of raising troops grew out of the unpopularity of the war, and not from political opposition to it. The enormous bounties offered proved that. And he advised giving over all ideas of invasion, and also all restrictive war waged against commerce by embargoes and non-importation acts. “If war must be continued, go to the ocean,” he said, “and then, if the contention was seriously for maritime rights, the united wishes and exertions of the nation would go with the administration.” Little was done towards increasing the force of the navy, excepting an appropriation of $500,000 for the construction of a steamfrigate or floating battery, for which Fulton offered a plan, and the authorizing the purchase, for $225,000, of the vessels captured on Lake Erie. At a cost of about $2,000,000 in bounties, 14,000 recruits were obtained, of whom the New England States furnished more than all the rest of the States put together.

At the beginning of August, 1814, Armstrong, the Secretary of War, ordered General Izard, in command of a large body of troops at Plattsburg, to march a larger portion of them to co-operate with the army on the Niagara frontier. This order produced amazement and indignation in the minds of Izard and his officers, for they knew the imminent peril of immediate invasion, from the region of the St. Lawrence, of a large body of Wellington's veterans, who had lately arrived in Canada. Both the army and people were expecting an occasion for a great battle near the foot of Lake Champlain very soon, and this order produced consternation among the inhabitants. Izard wrote to the War Department in a tone of remonstrance, Aug. 11: “I will make the movement you direct, if possible; but I shall do it with the apprehension of risking the force under my command, and with the certainty that everything in this vicinity but the lately erected works at Plattsburg and Cumberland Head will, in less than three days after my departure, be in the possession of the enemy.” Nine days afterwards Izard wrote to the Secretary: “I must not be responsible for the consequences of abandoning my present strong position. I will obey orders, and execute them as well as I know how.” The removal of this force invited the invasion of Prevost immediately afterwards, which was checked by the American army and navy at Plattsburg, where, with great diligence, General Macomb concentrated troops for defence immediately after Izard left.

From the beginning of the war the government had to depend upon loans for funds, and in this matter the peace faction found an excellent chance for embarrassing the administration. They took measures to injure the public credit, and so much did they do so that upon each loan after 1812 a ruinous bonus was paid. On a loan of $16,000,000, at the beginning of 1813, the lender received a bonus of about [126] $2,000,000. In March, 1814, the darkest period of the war, a loan of $25,000,000 was authorized, when the peace faction, at public meetings, through the newspapers, and even from the pulpit, cast every possible embarrassment in the way of the government. Their opposition assumed the character of virtual treason. They violently denounced the government and those who dared to lend it money; and by inflammatory publications and personal threats they intimidated many capitalists who were disposed to lend. The result was, not half the amount of the proposed loan was obtained, and that only by the payment of $2,852,000 on $11,400,000. Then this unpatriotic faction pointed to this event as evidence of the unwillingness of the people to continue the war. So disastrous were these attempts to borrow money that only one more of a like nature was made through the remainder of the war, the deficiency being made up by treasury notes. Foiled in their efforts to utterly prevent the government from making loans, the peace faction struck another blow at the public credit, and the complicity of Boston banks gave it intensity. The banks out of New England were the principal lenders to the government, and measures were taken to drain them of their specie, and so produce an utter inability on their part to pay their subscriptions. Boston banks demanded specie for the notes of New York banks and those farther south which they held, and at the same time drafts were drawn on the New York banks for the balances due the Boston corporations, to the total amount of about $8,000,000. A panic was created, and great commercial distress ensued, for the banks so drained were compelled to contract their discounts. This conspiracy against the public credit was potent and ruinous in its effects. To make the blow more intensely fatal, the conspirators made arrangements with agents of the government authorities of Lower Canada, whereby a very large amount of British government bills, drawn on Quebec, were transmitted to New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, and offered on such advantageous terms that capitalists were induced to purchase them. By this means an immense amount of gold was transmitted to Canada, and so placed beyond the reach of the government and put into the hands of the enemy.

In January, 1815, Alexander J. Dallas, Secretary of the Treasury, in a report to Congress, laid bare the poverty of the national treasury. The year had closed with $19,000,000 unpaid debts, to meet which there was a nominal balance in the treasury of less than $2,000,000 and about $4,500,000 of uncollected taxes. For the next year's services $50,000,000 would be required. The total revenue, including the produce of the new taxes, was estimated at about $11,000,000—$10,000,000 from taxes, and only $1,000,000 from duties on imports, to such a low ebb had the commerce of the United States been reduced. Various schemes for raising money were devised, but the prospect was particularly gloomy. The government was without money or credit; the regular military force was decreasing; the war party were at variance, Great Britain refusing to treat on admissible terms; a victorious British army threatening the Northern frontier; Cockburn in possession of Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia; the Southern States threatened with servile insurrection; a formidable British armament preparing to invade the Gulf region; and the peace faction doing all in their power to embarrass the government. It was at this juncture that the complaints of the Hartford convention (q. v.), and a commission from the legislature of Massachusetts appeared before the government. Fortunately, the news of the treaty of peace and the victory at New Orleans went over the country in February and saved the people from utter discouragement. The government took heart and authorized a loan of $18,400,000, the amount of treasury notes then outstanding; and as an immediate means to go on with, a new issue of treasury notes to the amount of $25,000,000 (part of them in sums under $100, payable to bearer, and without interest) was authorized. The small notes were intended for currency; those over $100 bore an interest of 5 2/5 per cent. All acts imposing discriminating duties on foreign vessels of reciprocity nations, and embargo, non-importation, and non-intercourse laws, were repealed; and so commerce was immediately revived and the revenue increased. [127]

The whole number of captured British vessels during the war, on the lakes and on the ocean, including those taken by privateers (of which there remained forty or fifty at sea when peace was proclaimed), and omitting those recaptured, was reckoned at 1,750. There were captured or destroyed by British ships 42 American national vessels (including 22 gunboats), 133 privateers, and 511 merchant-vessels—in all 686, manned by 18,000 seamen.


The following is a record of the chief battles and naval engagements between the United States forces and the combined British and Indian forces:

Action at Brownstown, Mich.......Aug. 5, 1812

Action at Maguaga, 14 miles below Detroit......Aug. 9, 1812

Surrender of Fort Dearborn and massacre (Chicago)......Aug. 15, 1812

Surrender of Detroit by Gen. William Hull (Michigan))......Aug. 16, 1812

Frigate Constitution captures British frigate Guerriere ......Aug. 19, 1812

Defence of Fort Harrison, Indiana, Capt. Zachary Taylor commanding......Sept. 4, 1812

Battle of Queenston......Oct. 13, 1812

Sloop-of-war Wasp captures British sloop Frolic ......Oct. 18, 1812

Action at St. Regis, N. Y.......Oct. 23, 1812

Frigate United States captures British frigate Macedonian ......Oct. 25, 1812

Affair at Black Rock, N. Y.; attempted invasion of Canada by the Americans under Gen. Alexander Smyth......Nov. 28, 1812

Frigate Constitution captures British frigate Java off the coast of Brazil......Dec. 29, 1812

Schooner Patriot sails from Charleston, S. C., for New York......Dec. 30, 1812

[This vessel, having on board Theodosia, the wife of Governor Alston and only child of Aaron Burr, is never heard of afterwards.]

Action at Frenchtown, now Monroe, Mich......Jan. 18, 1813

Defeat and capture of General Winchester at the river Raisin, Mich......Jan. 22, 1813

British fleet, Vice-Admiral Cockburn, attempts to blockade the Atlantic coast......January et seq. 1813

Sloop-of-war Hornet captures and sinks British sloop Peacock near the mouth of the Demerara River, South America......Feb. 24, 1813

York (now Toronto), Upper Canada, captured......April 27, 1813

Defence of Fort Meigs, O., by General Harrison......April 28–May 9, 1813

Gen. Green Clay is checked in attempting to reinforce Fort Meigs.......May 5, 1813

Fort George, on the west side of Niagara River, near its mouth, is captured by the American troops under General Dearborn......May 27, 1813

Frigate Chesapeake surrenders to the British ship Shannon ......June 1, 1813

Action at Stony Creek, Upper Canada......June 6, 1813

Affair at Beaver Dams, Upper Canada......June 24, 1813

Maj. George Croghan's gallant defence of Fort Stephenson......Aug. 2, 1813

British sloop-of-war Pelican captures the brig Argus in the British channel......Aug. 14, 1813

Massacre at Fort Mimms, Ala., by the Creek Indians......Aug. 30, 1813

Brig Enterprise captures British brig Boxer off the coast of Maine.......Sept. 5, 1813

Perry's victory on Lake Erie......Sept. 10, 1813

Detroit, Mich., reoccupied by the United States forces......Sept. 28, 1813

Battle of the Thames, Upper Canada; Harrison defeats Proctor; death of Tecumseh......Oct. 5, 1813

Action at Chrysler's Field, on the northern shore of the St. Lawrence, about 90 miles above Montreal......Nov. 11, 1813

Jackson's campaign against the Creek Indians......November, 1813

Gen. George McClure, commanding a Brigade on the Niagara frontier, burns the village of Newark, Canada, and evacuates Fort George, opposite Fort Niagara (he is severely censured)......Dec. 10, 1813

Fort Niagara captured by the British......Dec. 19, 1813

Buffalo and Black Rock burned by the British and Indians......Dec. 30, 1813

General Jackson defeats and crushes the Creek Indians at Great Horse Shoe Bend, on the Tallapoosa......March 27, 1814

Frigate Essex, Capt. David Porter, surrenders to the British ships Phoebe and Cherub in the harbor of Valparaiso, Chile......March 28, 1814 [128]

General Wilkinson, with about 2,000 troops, attacks a party of British, fortified in a stone mill, at La Colle, Lower Canada, near the north end of Lake Champlain, and is repulsed......March 30, 1814

British blockade extended to the whole coast of the United States......April 23, 1814

Sloop-of-war Peacock captures the British brig Épervier off the coast of Florida with $118,000 in specie......April 29, 1814

British attack and destroy the fort at Oswego, N. Y.......May 6, 1814

Action at Big Sandy Creek, N. Y.......May 29, 1814

Sloop-of-war Wasp captures the British sloop Reindeer in the British Channel......June 28, 1814

Fort Erie, with about 170 British soldiers, surrenders to Gen. Winfield Scott and General Ripley......July 3, 1814

Battle of Chippewa, Upper Canada......July 5, 1814

Battle of Lundy's Lane, or Bridgewater, Upper Canada......July 25, 1814

Congress appropriates $320,000 for one or more floating batteries, designed by Robert Fulton; one finished......July, 1814

[This was the first steam vessel of war built.]

Expedition from Detroit against Fort Mackinaw fails......Aug. 4, 1814

British troops land at Pensacola, Fla.......Aug. 4, 1814

British troops, 5,000 strong, under General Drummond, invest Fort Erie......Aug. 4, 1814

Stonington, Conn., bombarded by the British fleet under Commodore Hardy......Aug. 9-12, 1814

British fleet, with 6,000 veterans from Wellington's army under General Ross, appears in Chesapeake Bay......Aug. 14, 1814

Midnight assault by the British on Fort Erie repulsed......Aug. 15, 1814

Battle of Bladensburg, the Capitol at Washington burned......Aug. 24, 1814

Nantucket Island stipulates with the British fleet to remain neutral......Aug. 31, 1814

Sloop-of-war Wasp sinks the British sloop Avon......Sept. 1, 1814

British General Prevost crosses the Canadian frontier towards Plattsburg, N. Y., with 12,000 veteran troops......Sept. 1, 1814

Fleet on Lake Champlain under Com. Thomas Macdonough defeats the British under Commodore Downie......Sept. 11, 1814

British approaching Baltimore, Md., under General Ross; he is killed at North Point......Sept. 12, 1814

They find the city too well fortified, and retire......Sept. 13, 1814

British fleet bombard Fort McHenry......Sept. 13, 1814

[During this attack Francis Scott Key wrote The Star-Spangled banner.]

British attack on Fort Bowyer, Mobile Bay, repulsed......Sept. 15, 1814

Garrison at Fort Erie by a sortie break up the siege......Sept. 17, 1814

General Drummond raises the siege of Fort Erie......Sept. 21, 1814

Wasp captures the British brig Atlanta......Sept. 21, 1814

Gallant fight of the privateer, the General Armstrong, with the British 74-gun shipof-the-line, the Plantagenet, in the harbor of Fayal, one of the Azores......Sept. 26, 1814

Gen. George Izard, on the Niagara frontier, moves on Chippewa with a force of 6,000 men......Oct. 13, 1814

General Izard, after a skirmish with the British near Chippewa, Oct. 19, retires to the Niagara River, opposite Black Rock......Oct. 21, 1814

Fort Erie abandoned and blown up by the United States troops......Nov. 5, 1814

British approach New Orleans......Dec. 22, 1814

General Jackson attacks the command of General Keane on Villereas plantation, about 9 miles below the city, and checks its advance on the night of......Dec. 23, 1814

He intrenches about 7 miles below the city......Dec. 24, 1814

[His line, extending at right angles to the river, reached to a cypress swamp about 1 1/2 miles distant, and was protected by rudely constructed breastworks of cotton bales and earth, with a shallow ditch in front. At the extreme left of this line was stationed the brigade of General Coffee, 800 strong; then came Carroll's brigade, about 1,400 men, while the right towards the river was held by 1,300 men under Colonel Ross, including all the regulars; General Adair was placed in the rear with about 500 men as a reserve. Along [129] the line were placed at intervals eighteen guns, carrying from six to twenty-three pound balls, and several guns across the river under Patterson. Anticipating an advance on the west bank of the river as well, Jackson had placed Gen. David B. Morgan with about 1,200 men and two or three guns a little in advance of his own position.]

British attack General Jackson with artillery, but are forced to retire......Dec. 28, 1814

Another attempt made......Jan. 1, 1815

Final assault fails......Jan. 8, 1815

[The British commander, Sir Edward Pakenham, in his final assault designing to attack on both sides of the river at once, ordered Col. William (afterwards Sir) Thornton to cross on the night of Jan. 7 with 1,200 men and attack General Morgan at early dawn. The main assault under Pakenham was made as early as 6 A. M., the 8th, in two columns, the right under Maj.-Gen. Sir Samuel Gibbs, the left under Maj.-Gen. John Keane, and the reserve under Maj.-Gen. John Lambert; total force probably numbered about 7,000 men. General Gibbs's column in close ranks, sixty men front, came under fire first, which was so severe and deadly that a few platoons only reached the edge of the ditch and broke. In this advance Gibbs was mortally wounded, and Pakenham, in his attempt to rally the men, was almost instantly killed. The left advance under Keane fared no better, Keane being severely wounded and carried off the field, and his column routed. By 8 A. M. the assault was at an end. Colonel Thornton's attack on the west side of the river was successful, for he routed General Morgan's militia, which were poorly armed, and drove them beyond Jackson's position towards the city, and compelled Patterson to spike his guns and retire, but owing to the failure of the main assault, together with the loss of the chief officers, General Lambert, now chief in command, recalled Thornton from his successes, and on Jan. 9 began preparations for retreating. Of 7,000 British troops engaged in the assault, 2,036 were killed and wounded, the killed being estimated at over 700; Americans lost eight killed and thirteen wounded in the main assault; total loss on both sides of the river, seventy-one.]

Frigate President, forty-four guns, Commodore Decatur commanding, is captured by the British frigates Endymion, forty guns, the Pomone, Tenedos, and Majestic......Jan. 15, 1815

Frigate Constitution captures the Cyane and the Levant, British sloops-of-war......February, 1815

Fort Bowyer, invested by the British fleet, surrenders......Feb. 12, 1815

Sloop-of-war Hornet, Capt. James Biddle, captures the British brig-of-war Penguin off the Cape of Good Hope......March 23, 1815

See also Jackson, Andrew; New Orleans; and readily suggestive names of persons and places that were conspicuous in the war.

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