Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New
The War of 1812 was a
conflict between the fairly new nation called the United States of
America, and on the other side the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland and its North American colonies in Canada.
The war began in 1812
and ended in 1815. Over 1,600 British and 2,260 American soldiers,
marines, and sailors perished in this war on both land and on the
ocean. While at war with the United States, Britain was also
fighting against France and her allies in Europe.
Due to their war with
France, the British sought to restrict American trade with France,
and imposed a set of restrictions which the U.S. considered
illegal under international law. The U.S. declared war on Britain
on July 18, 1812 after years of enduring British restrictions and
attacks on American shipping, the forcible impressment of
thousands of American sailors into service with the British navy,
increasing anger at British restraints on American trade with
France and other European nations, and frustration at continuing
British military support for Native Americans fighting against the
expanding United States.
Also fueling the desire
for war with Britain was a feeling that Britain never truly gave
up thinking of America as a "lost" colony that should be punished.
Many pro-war American saw a new war with Britain as a
reaffirmation of American independence; in fact, the war became
known as the Second War of Independence.
When war was declared by
the United States in the summer of 1812, the American military was
woefully unprepared for conflict with the world's most powerful
empire. Even though the British were engaged in a life and death
struggle with Napoleon's France, troops were sent to reinforce
British Canada and to battle the Americans.
The war that developed
was a repeat of the American desire to invade and absorb Canada.
Just as in the American Revolutionary War, British and Canadian
forces beat back an American invasion. Modern Canadians trace the
first true inkling of their nationhood to this war and the
Canadian contribution to their own defense.
of 1812 Map
As with many aspects of
politics and public policy, this new war with Britain was popular
in some regions of the United States, and vastly unpopular in
others. However, the British
Burning of Washington
on August 24, 1814, in which the White House and the Capital
Building were burned by invading British troops, enraged all
sections of the country in enmity towards the British.
Ironically, while many
of the battles of the War of 1812 resulted in American defeat and
humiliation, the greatest American victory on land came at the
Battle of New Orleans, in 1815, which actually took place after
the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, which would end the war. The
American victory at New Orleans produced a national hero in
General Andrew Jackson, which would help propel him into the
(rebuilt) White House in later years.
Burning of the White House and the Capital in Washington,
won the War of 1812?
Basically, the War of
1812 ended in a draw. Per the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the
war, neither the U.S., nor Britain lost or gained any territory.
The only real change was that American fishermen gained the right
to fish in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
However, perception is
often taken for reality. In the U.S., the war was seen as a
victory due to the belief that the mighty British Empire had been
held off. While the issue of the impressment of American sailors
by the British was not dealt with in the treaty, the British no
longer employed that recruitment tactic after the war.
In Canada, the war was
also seen as a victory, as the American invasion had been held
off, and this conflict is seen in Canada as a major milestone in
Canadian national development. The British view was basically that
this pesky sidenote to the world war against Napoleon was finally
over, and it had not adversely affected the outcome of their much
more important war with France.
The real losers of this
war were the Native Americans, whose lands were now more firmly in
U.S. hands, and who could no longer rely on British aid against
Size of the U.S.
Military when the War of 1812 Began:
U.S. Military Personnel
During the War of 1812:
U.S. Military Deaths and
Wounded in the War of 1812: (Battle Casualties)
*An estimated 15,000
total deaths occurred due to the war on the American side. As
is typical of warfare in this era, more deaths occurred from
disease and other causes than through actual battle wounds and
British Military Deaths
and Wounded in the War of 1812: (Battle Casualties)
British Military Deaths
and Wounded in the War of 1812: (Non-Battle Casualties)
3,321 Deaths by
Expenditures during the War of 1812:
Money Borrowed by the
Federal Government During the War of 1812:
Society of the War of 1812--Preserving
the records and other documents relating to the war, caring for
its veterans' graves of veterans, and encouraging patriotism among
Army Campaigns: The War of 1812--From
Myths of the War of 1812--article
by War of 1812 Historian, Don Hickey
links and reenactment information.
of Ohio Soldiers in the War of
database of records for officers and enlisted men from the
Adjutant General records.
War of 1812--Features
the text of the British account of the capture of Washington D.C.
as reported in The Columbian Centinel, December 7,
summary of the war and brief descriptions of major
Erie War of 1812 Re-enactment
all military units who portray the period in time known as the War
War of 1812 in the News Media
Britain, These Colonies Are
Kevin Sullivan,Washington Post Foreign Service-May 5,
resolution on the War of 1812 passes unanimously
Sentinel--April 11, 2007
of 1812 clash left home marked with soldiers'
Mayers, Toronto Star --May 03, 2007 04:30 AM
of Cook's Mills decisive moment in Welland's
Welland Tribune - May 03, 2007 Making
a soldier's meal of Quebec
Masters, Vancouver Courier--April 25, 2007