The War of 1812

[ 1812 - 1814 ]

(June 18, 1812-Dec. 24, 1814), inconclusive British-U.S. conflict arising chiefly out of U.S. grievances over oppressive maritime practices during the Napoleonic Wars. The long struggle between Great Britain and France, fought intermittently between 1793 and 1815, led both belligerents to infringe on the rights and impair the interests of neutrals. Napoleon averted hostilities by agreeing not to interfere with U.S. trade to Britain. Britain, on the other hand, confident in its naval supremacy, continued to enforce its order in council of 1807, which led to the blockade of all French ports, and insisted that neutral vessels first call at British ports and pay duties. In addition, U.S. sensibilities were offended by the British practice of stopping U.S. ships on the high seas and impressing seamen alleged to be deserters from the Royal Navy. The new nation reacted with the Embargo Act (1807) and the Non-intercourse Act (1809). A third measure (1810) removed trade restrictions but provided for revival of nonintercourse against whichever belligerent should fail to revoke its blockade. This Great Britain failed to do in time to prevent a declaration of war signed by Pres. James Madison on June 18, 1812.

International tension was increased by U.S. resentment of British actions along the Canadian frontier. British authorities were supplying arms and encouragement to the Shawnee leader, Tecumseh, in an effort to check the advance of white settlers into Indian country. After a Shawnee attack led to the pitched Battle of Tippecanoe (Nov. 7, 1811), Westerners raised the cry that the British must be expelled from Canada to ensure frontier security. This theme was espoused vigorously by a group of expansionist congressmen called War Hawks, who also included Florida in their territorial ambitions.

The U.S. entered the war ill-prepared. Ambitious plans to invade Canada were never realized. American warships won three notable victories in duels with British frigates in 1812, including that of the Uss "Constitution" against the "Guerrière," though the three later frigate duels of the war were won by the British. Numerous naval skirmishes were fought for control of Lakes Erie, Ontario, and Champlain. Despite limited U.S. success, including the recapture of Detroit, by the summer of 1814 the British still controlled access to Lake Michigan and occupied the northern Mississippi River. An amphibious British force ravaged the shores of Chesapeake Bay and, after winning the Battle of Bladensburg, burned public buildings in Washington, D.C., in retaliation for similar U.S. acts in York (Toronto). U.S. morale was lifted when U.S. ships hindered British commerce, but this action failed to disturb Britain's control of the sea and its blockade of the American coast.

Weary of futile warfare, both sides signed the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium on Dec. 24, 1814, restoring prewar conditions. This settlement forestalled a New England separatist movement, proposed at the Hartford Convention (December 1814-January 1815) in response to the extremely unpopular war. Though the U.S. gained none of its avowed aims, popular legend soon converted defeat into the illusion of victory. Several circumstances contributed to this process: the series of military successes in the war's closing months created a sense of victory (the most imposing of which, the Battle of New Orleans, was won before news of the peace treaty reached that part of the U.S.); the end of war in Europe brought an end also to the issues of impressment and paper blockades; and finally, the war did actually subdue Indian resistance with the death of Tecumseh in battle and the crushing of the Creek confederacy in the South by Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson in 1814. (This led indirectly to the acquisition of Florida in 1819.) The war also marked a decline of U.S. dependence on Europe and stimulated a sense of nationality.


Seeing the approach of war (the War of 1812) between the Americans and British, Tecumseh assembled his followers and joined the British forces at Fort Malden on the Canadian side of the Detroit River. There he brought together perhaps the most formidable force ever commanded by a North American Indian, an accomplishment that was a decisive factor in the capture of Detroit and of 2,500 U.S. soldiers (1812).

Fired with the promise of triumph after the fall of Detroit, Tecumseh departed on another long journey to arouse the tribes, which resulted in the uprising of the Alabama Creeks in response to his oratory, though the Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Cherokees rebuffed him. He returned north and joined the British general Henry A. Procter in his invasion of Ohio. Together they besieged Fort Meigs, held by William Henry Harrison, on the Maumee River above Toledo, where by a stratagem Tecumseh intercepted and destroyed a brigade of Kentuckians under Colonel William Dudley that had been coming to Harrison's relief. He and Procter failed to capture the fort, however, and were put on the defensive by Oliver Hazard Perry's decisive victory over the British fleet on Lake Erie (Sept. 10, 1813). Harrison thereupon invaded Canada. Tecumseh with his Indians reluctantly accompanied the retiring British, whom Harrison pursued to the Thames River, in present-day southern Ontario. There, on Oct. 5, 1813, the British and Indians were routed, and Harrison won control of the Northwest. Tecumseh, directing most of the fighting, was killed. His body was carried from the field and buried secretly in a grave that has never been discovered. Nor has it ever been determined who killed Tecumseh. Tecumseh's death marked the end of Indian resistance in the Ohio River valley and in most of the lower Midwest and South, and soon thereafter the depleted tribes were transported beyond the Mississippi River.

<table class='table table-bordered col-lg-12 col-md-12 col-sm-12 col-xs-12 margin20 row-30' border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="color: rgb(60, 59, 59); line-height: 25px; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><tbody><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">State</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Entry</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Exit</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Combat Forces</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Population</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Losses</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Britain</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1812</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1814</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">50000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">17000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">5000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">USA</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1812</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1814</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">100000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">9700000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">12000</font></td></tr></tbody></table>

Total Casualties 17000 Killed and Wounded
Casualties Killed 17000 / Wounded
Military Casualties Killed 17000 /Wounded
Civilian Casualties Killed / Wounded
Belligerents Initiation Date Termination Date
United States of America and United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
Choctaw and Tecumseh's Confederacy 1812 / 6 / 18 1813 View
Cherokee and Spain 1812 / 6 / 18 1814 View
Muscogee and Wyandot people 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
United States of America and Sauk people 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
Choctaw and Potawatomi 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
Cherokee and Mascouten 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
Muscogee and Lenape 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
United States of America and Kickapoo people 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
Choctaw and Mingo 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
Cherokee and Miami people 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
Muscogee and Iroquois 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
United States of America and Meskwaki 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
Choctaw and Chickamauga Cherokee 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
Cherokee and Ojibwe 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
United States of America and Muscogee 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
Muscogee and Shawnees 1812 / 6 / 18 1815 / 2 / 18 View
Weapon Name Weapon Class Weapon Class Type
Harpers Ferry Model 1803 Manportable Rifles
Springfield Model 1812 Musket Manportable Rifles

Related Conflicts

No Releted Conflicts