May 7, 2012

Learning about the War of 1812

The War of 1812 was fought on land and sea from Montreal to New Orleans and from the Atlantic Coast to the middle of the continent. Remember the War of 1812 with a visit to some of the significant sites many of which have scheduled events commemorating the War of 1812.
  1. Detroit: On August 16, 1812 shortly after the US declared war on Canada and Britain, the British under Mayor General Brock with Native American allies under the Shawnee leader, Tecumseh were able to trick American Brigadier General William Hull into surrendering the fort and town of Detroit, Michigan.
  2. Fort Niagara: On December 19, 1813, British forces invaded the United States and captured Fort Niagara without firing a shot. The British troops and their native allies then burned nearby Lewiston, NY in retaliation for the American burning of the Canadian village of Newark, Ontario, now known as Niagara on the Lake, ten days earlier.
  3. Erie, Pa: In Erie the public dock is named for Daniel Dobbins, a merchant marine, who made the long trek to Washington, DC, where he informed the government that there was a desperate need of more naval power on Lake Erie which led to the creating of a base in Erie. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry took command of the ship building effort at Erie aiding the American’s control of the Great Lakes.
  4. Oswego, NY: In the Great Lake port city, an estimated 200 men and boys volunteered to transport an anchor rope needed in Sackets Harbor to make the “USS Superior,” a newly built frigate, battle ready. The rope was six inches in diameter, 600 feet long, and weighed about five tons. The H. Lee White Marine Museum recalls the event.
  5. Sackets Harbor: Sackets Harbor was the center of American naval and military activity in the eastern part of Lake Ontario. Visit the Seaway Trail Visitor center to learn about the war along Lake Ontario. Storyboards are located along the Lake Ontario shore where major events happened.
  6. Burning of Washington, DC: On August 24, 1814, the British force led by General Robert Ross occupied Washington and set fire to many public buildings including the White House and Capitol building. It was the last time a foreign power captured a US capital.
  7. The Star Spangled Banner: On September 13, 1814, the British attacked Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor. During the bombardment, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the poem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which was later set to music and became the national anthem of the United States.
  8. USS Constitution: Sitting in Boston Harbor, the Constitution earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” when she successfully defeated the HMS Guerriere. It was just one of her sea battle victories. The USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat.
  9. Canada: There are many sites along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River where the battles for control of Canada occurred including York, now called Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and one of the bitterest battles at Lundy’s Lane, near Niagara Falls.
  10. Battle of New Orleans: Treaty of Ghent signed in present-day Belgium formally ended the war on December 24, 1814 but one of the most famous battles occurred on January 8, 1815 under the command of Mayor General Andrew Jackson. The victory was later popularized in song by Johnny Horton.