Rushville Republican


November 13, 2012

Barada: Remembering the War of 1812

RUSHVILLE — In addition to commemorating the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, this year marks the bicentennial of another, largely forgotten conflict which involved the United Sates. It is the War of 1812. This column isn’t long enough to cover all the noteworthy events of the War of 1812, but there are a few highlights (assuming wars can have “highlights”) of which we should all be aware.

One of the most basic questions to be answered is who fought whom in the War of 1812? The United States declared war on the British Empire, and the war lasted from June 18, 1912 to Feb. 18, 1815. The causes of the war, at least from the American perspective, were trade restrictions imposed by the British as a result of their ongoing war with Napoleon and France, the impressment of American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy (although the British contended that many of those merchant sailors were deserters from the Royal Navy in the first place, British support for American Indian tribes opposing American expansion) and, possibly, our desire to annex Canada to the United States.

Neither country was really ready for a war in North America. The British were totally consumed with the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, and the United States was totally unprepared for war, period. The US started the war with a regular army of only 7,000 men. The Navy had only six frigates and 14 ships of all other types. On the other side, the British had 5,200 men on this continent and its Navy had 34 frigates and 52 other types of vessels aligned against us. By the war’s end, the American army numbered just under 36,000 men, and the British had just over 48,000 troops in North America. So, it wasn’t really a very big war, especially compared to the ongoing war against the French in Europe.

Most historians consider the War of 1812 to have been a draw, with neither side being able to claim victory against the other. Several notable events took place, however, that are generally remembered by most Americans but seldom associated with the War of 1812. For example, right here in Indiana in the fall of 1811, Indiana’s territorial governor William Henry Harrison led U.S. troops to victory in the Battle of Tippecanoe against Indians who were followers of the Shawnee chief Tecumseh and his brother, Tenskwatawa. The defeat of the Indians led them to believe that they needed British help to prevent the further advance of the white man into the Old Northwest Territory.

The British victory at the Battle of Bladensburg in August, 1814 make it possible for them to attack and burn the White House, the Capitol building, and most of the rest of Washington. On the other hand, American victories the same year and in 1815 in New York, Baltimore, and New Orleans turned back three invasion attempts by the British.

As a matter of fact, it was the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor that led Frances Scott Key to write the words of what would become our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.” He was being held on one of the British ships in the harbor at the time.

Perhaps most interesting of all was the American victory in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Future president Andrew Jackson commanded the rag-tag American forces, but the battle itself was fought nearly two weeks after the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812, had been signed in modern-day Belgium!

Ironically, our neighbors to the north look at the War of 1812 as more important in their history than we do in the United States. Little known battles such as the Battle of Queenston Heights and the Battle of Crysler’s Farm are commemorated as Canadian victories which helped prevent American expansion into their territory. Numerous ceremonies have been held this year to celebrate Canadian victories. Despite a fair number of losses in battle, however, Americans considered the War of 1812 a victory, referring to it as the “second war of independence” against Britain.

It seems safe to conclude that the War of 1812 was, at best, a tie for the Americans and the British. Both Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison went on to become presidents of the United States. The end of the war ushered in an “Era of Good Feelings,” which effectually ended nearly all animosity between the United States and Great Britain. Canada also emerged from the war with a new sense of national identity, having repulsed multiple American invasion attempts, a fact that we seldom recall.

Interestingly enough, the War of 1812 is barely remembered in Britain today, nor do many Americans know much about it. But from the standpoint of an historic event, I would suggest that burning our nation’s capital city, the Battle of New Orleans, the inspiration for the lyrics to our national anthem, the Battle of Tippecanoe right here in Indiana, and the emergence of two future presidents of the United States justify knowing just a little more about an event that changed our history 200 years ago.

That’s -30- for this week.

Text Only
  • Spying ways to have vacation fun I have a neighbor named John Campbell, and I am suddenly EXTREMELY suspicious of him.It all started with our summer vacation to Maryland. We made several excursions into Washington, D.C. from our “base camp” in Annapolis. In fact, of the five days we

    July 29, 2014

  • I expect them to do nothing Which crisis is at the top of the list this week? Is it the IRS scandal, the VA scandal, the fighting in Gaza, the emergence of ISIS as a deadly power in the Middle East, the intentional shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 which killed nearl

    July 29, 2014

  • Word of advice So, what’s the word? Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which t

    July 29, 2014

  • There's something about Maryland My family unit has just returned from a death march – oops, make that, “vacation” – in Annapolis, Maryland. In spite of constant 96-degree temps (though it dropped as low as 95.7 at night), and the stifling humidity, we had lots of dolgurn fun. Mainl

    July 22, 2014

  • Learning to say goodbye From as far back as I can remember, saying hello has been a part of nearly each day.During my youth, it was used when I met new people my parents introduced me to and was frequently followed by a handshake. I couldn’t count the number of times I used

    July 18, 2014

  • Lessons from the largely forgotten war As we approach the official date on which the First World War started, July 28, 1914, when the first shots were fired by the Austro-Hungarians who invaded Serbia, it’s appropriate to think about the lessons that catastrophic event has taught us one h

    July 15, 2014

  • Please go away My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven’t caught up. I don’t have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m

    July 15, 2014

  • Soothing '60's Surf Sounds I’m sitting in my home office enjoying a serenade of rhythmic pulsations emanating from the outside wall. It’s coming from our water spigot. No. 5 son (age 13) and his buddies are using it to fill water balloons. 1,500 water balloons to be exact. 1,5

    July 15, 2014

  • Soccer-stopping Storm a Lousy Treat What a great way to spend a Saturday morning in July: I’m sitting in my car with rain cascading on the roof, lightning skittering all over the sky, and thunder sockin’ it to the atmosphere with such force that I feel a rumbling in my bum.I’m staring

    July 8, 2014

  • Only in America - Top 10 As we move into the glorious months of summer, I thought you might be amused by reading the Top Ten List of what Canadians supposedly think of how things are going in this country. It’s a lot like David Letterman’s “top ten list.”Number 10: Only in A

    July 8, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.