Little is heard of the War of 1812. We have been lead to believe we won the War. We beat the hell out of the British in New Orleans in the War’s final battle. A victory that took place 6 weeks after the War had officially ended.
The alleged reason America became involved in the War with Great Britain, the false reason, was to force the British to refrain from removing U.S. seamen from American ships to work and fight on British vessels. There was a second reason also. To force the Brits to lift restrictions on U.S. trade with Europe.
Both reasons basically hogwash. The U.S. started the War. The U.S. invaded Canada. The reason being then President Madison and his political cohorts believed it was the divine destiny of the U.S. to control all of North America. The intent was to make Canada part of the U.S. A land grab pure and simple.
Madison thought the Canadians would be joyed to be a part of the U.S. He was so wrong! They were inflamed! They had no desire to join their neighbor to the south.
When we hear of the War, it seems like the War was fought in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans. Rarely and only for a short time. The War lasted 3 years. Two of those were fought in the Niagara Falls area and a few in what then was the American northwest Indiana and Michigan. The War involved 3 major battles. Two in Canada in 1812 and 1813, one in the west in 1814. The U.S. fared poorly in each.
Historians who dare to delve into the War, view it much like Vietnam. Believe the U.S. lost the War. Some prefer to describe the outcome of the 3 battles as draws.
The British might have decisively defeated the U.S. were it not involved in a heavy war with France at the time. The troops Britain could send to Canada and the U.S. to engage in the War were limited. The British relied on Indian tribes to fight with them as allies. Indians for a number of reasons were unhappy with the U.S. Tribes joined together to assist Great Britain. Their leader was Tecumseh, a Shawnee. He was a skillful warrior and leader. Articulate. Well educated. He could dine with British generals and officers and their ladies comfortably.
Tecumseh viewed Americans as wanting to eliminate Indian tribes everywhere in their quest for expansion. Of the six tribes making up the Iroquois Nation, 4 sided with Tecumseh and the Brits. Two with the Americans. Other tribes in large numbers joined Tecumseh and the Brits also.
When the war between Britain and France ended, the War of 1812 took a decisive turn. The Brits now had troops to send to the U.S. to fight. To wage the battle on American soil. Britain quietly sent 9,000 troops to invade Washington, D.C. They wanted to capture the American capital and end the conflict. They almost succeeded. It took less than one week for the Brits to land and reach Washington. The White House, Capitol and certain federal buildings were burned. Dolley Madison made her famous White House escape at the last minute taking Washington’s portrait with her.
The reason for Washington’s fall was twofold. Surprise one. The Americans never knew the British were coming. The other the American troops defending Washington. They were ill equipped and trained. They were militants and not actual members of American forces.
Having run over Washington, the Brits than moved on to Baltimore expecting similar success. They were fooled. Baltimore was defended by well trained U.S. military. The U.S. won the battle. Fort McHenry after three days of heavy attack still stood. The American flag proudly flying. The birth of the Star Spangled Banner.
The War moved to New Orleans. General Andrew Jackson in charge of the American defense. The Brits were decisively defeated. The irony of the whole thing is the War had officially ended six weeks earlier. It took that long for the information to reach New Orleans. However the victory made the U.S. look good. Contributed heavily to people believing the U.S. won the War.
The War’s conclusion has left history with we three final versions. A happy one for all involved. Americans “think” they won the War. The Canadians because they knew for real they had won and had avoided being swallowed by the U.S. The British because they forgot the whole thing. The conflict to them merely a fly on one’s sleeve.
The biggest losers were the Indians. Tecumseh was killed together with 7,500 Indians. The number though not large in itself represented a significant number of Indian warriors.
I cannot understand why Americans were not taught the U.S. was the aggressor and basically lost the War, except for Fort McHenry and New Orleans. We condemn history changing today yet did it with the War of 1812.
I went out last night. In between showers and circumventing some flooded streets. It was Brady’s for fish and chips.
An enjoyable evening. Always a pleasure to be in Carola’s company. Sat next to a charming couple at the bar. Danny and Barbara. Snowbirds. They are from Missouri. They have owned a home in Key West for years. Danny still working. He owns a company that deals with pharmaceuticals.
Enjoyed their company. Confident we will run into each other again.
A haircut with Lori later this morning. Tonight, Steve and I are going out. First time since his return from his 3 week European vacation. I am anxious to hear about it.
The Sound of Music premiered on Broadway this day in 1959. Mary Martin starring.
One year later in 1960 was my introduction to Broadway musicals. In a period of 2 months, I saw The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, and Camelot. What a way to begin!
Enjoy your day!