War of 1812 Campaigns
The following is a synopsis of the Land Campaigns of the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

. The source is the United States Army Center of Military History

Canada, 18 June 1812 — 17 February 1815

This campaign includes all operations in the Canadian-American border region except the battle of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane
Battle of Lundy's Lane
The Battle of Lundy's Lane was a battle of the Anglo-American War of 1812, which took place on 25 July 1814, in present-day Niagara Falls, Ontario...

. The invasion and conquest of western Canada was a major objective of the United States in the War of 1812. Among the significant causes of the war were the continuing clash of British and American interests in the Northwest Territory
Northwest Territory
The Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Northwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 13, 1787, until March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio...

 and the desire of frontier expansionists to seize Canada as a bargaining chip while Great Britain was preoccupied with the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...


In the first phase of the war along the border in 1812, the United States suffered a series of reverses. Fort Mackinac
Fort Mackinac
Fort Mackinac is a former American military outpost garrisoned from the late 18th century to the late 19th century near Michilimackinac, Michigan, on Mackinac Island...

 fell (6 August), Fort Dearborn
Fort Dearborn
Fort Dearborn was a United States fort built in 1803 beside the Chicago River in what is now Chicago, Illinois. It was constructed by troops under Captain John Whistler and named in honor of Henry Dearborn, then United States Secretary of War. The original fort was destroyed following the Battle of...

 was evacuated (15 August), and Fort Detroit
Fort Detroit
Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit or Fort Détroit was a fort established by the French officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac in 1701. The location of the former fort is now in the city of Detroit in the U.S...

 surrendered without a fight (16 August). American attempts to invade Canada across the Niagara Peninsula
Niagara Peninsula
The Niagara Peninsula is the portion of Southern Ontario, Canada lying between the south shore of Lake Ontario and the north shore of Lake Erie. It stretches from the Niagara River in the east to Hamilton, Ontario in the west. The population of the peninsula is roughly 1,000,000 people...

 (October) and toward Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 (November) failed completely.

Brig. Gen. William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

's move to recapture Detroit was repulsed (January 1813), but he checked British efforts to penetrate deeper into the region at the west end of Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

, during the summer of 1813. Meanwhile, in April 1813, Maj. Gen. Henry Dearborn
Henry Dearborn
Henry Dearborn was an American physician, a statesman and a veteran of both the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Born to Simon Dearborn and Sarah Marston in North Hampton, New Hampshire, he spent much of his youth in Epping, where he attended public schools...

's expedition captured Fort Toronto and partially burned York
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, capital of Upper Canada. On 27 May, Brig. Gen. Jacob Brown
Jacob Brown
Jacob Jennings Brown was an American army officer in the War of 1812. His successes on the northern border during that war made him a hero. In 1821 he was appointed commanding general of the U.S. Army and held that post until his death.-Early life:Born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Jacob Jennings...

 repelled a British assault on Sackett's Harbor, New York.

An American force led by Col. Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

 seized Fort George
Fort George, Ontario
Fort George National Historic Site is a historic military structure at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, that was the scene of several battles during the War of 1812...

 and the town of Queenston across the Niagara
Niagara River
The Niagara River flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. It forms part of the border between the Province of Ontario in Canada and New York State in the United States. There are differing theories as to the origin of the name of the river...

 (May–June 1813), but the British regained control of this area in December 1813. A two-pronged American drive on Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 from Sackett's Harbor and Plattsburg, New York in the fall of 1813 ended in a complete fiasco. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry
Oliver Hazard Perry
United States Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island , the son of USN Captain Christopher Raymond Perry and Sarah Wallace Alexander, a direct descendant of William Wallace...

 defeated the British fleet on Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

 (10 September 1813), opening the way for Harrison's victory at the Thames River
Thames River (Ontario)
The Thames River is located in southwestern Ontario, Canada.The Thames flows west through southwestern Ontario, through the cities of Woodstock, London and Chatham to Lighthouse Cove on Lake St. Clair...

 (5 October), which reestablished American control over the Detroit Area.

A Campaign Streamer, which was embroidered Canada, 18 June 1812 - 17 February 1815 was awarded for this campaign.


An American advance from Plattsburg in March 1814, led by Maj. Gen. James Wilkinson
James Wilkinson
James Wilkinson was an American soldier and statesman, who was associated with several scandals and controversies. He served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, but was twice compelled to resign...

, was checked just beyond the border, but on 3 July ,500 men under General Brown seized Fort Erie
Fort Erie
Fort Erie was the first British fort to be constructed as part of a network developed after the Seven Years' War was concluded by the Treaty of Paris at which time all of New France had been ceded to Great Britain...

 across the Niagara in a coordinated attack with Commodore Isaac Chauncey
Isaac Chauncey
Isaac Chauncey was an officer in the United States Navy.-Biography:Chauncey, born in Black Rock, Connecticut, 20 February 1779, was appointed a Lieutenant in the Navy from 17 September 1798...

's fleet designed to wrest control of Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south by the American state of New York. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. In the Wyandot language, ontarío means...

 from the British. In subsequent troop maneuvers in the Niagara region, Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott's brigade (1,300 men) of Brown's command was unexpectedly confronted by a large British force while preparing for an Independence Day parade (5 July 1814) near the Chippewa River
Chippewa River
Chippewa River may refer to:* Chippewa River * Chippewa River * Chippewa River * Chippewa River...

. Scott's well-trained troops broke the enemy line with a skillfully executed charge, sending the survivors into a hasty retreat. British losses were 137 killed and 304 wounded; American, 48 killed and 227 wounded.

Lundy's Lane

After Chippewa, Brown's force advanced to Queenstown, but soon abandoned a proposed attack on Forts George and Niagara when Chauncey's fleet failed to cooperate in the operation. Instead, on 24–25 July 1814, Brown moved back to the Chippewa preparatory to a cross-country march along Lundy's Lane to the west end of Lake Ontario. Unknown to Brown, the British had concentrated about 2,200 troops in the vicinity of Lundy's Lane and 1,500 more in Forts George and Niagara. On 25 July, Scott's brigade, moving again towards Queenstown in an effort to draw off a British detachment threatening Brown's line of communications on the American side of the Niagara, ran into the enemy contingents at the junction of Queenstown Road and Lundy's Lane. The ensuing battle, which eventually involved all of Brown's force (2,900 men) and some 3,000 British, was fiercely fought and neither side gained a clear cut victory. The Americans retired to the Chippewa unmolested, but the battle terminated Brown's invasion of Canada. Casualties were heavy on both sides, the British losing 878 and the Americans 854 in killed and wounded; both Brown and Scott were wounded and the British commander was wounded and captured. British siege of Fort Erie (2 August - 21 September 1814) failed to drive the Americans from that outpost on Canadian soil, but on 5 November they withdrew voluntarily. Commodore Thomas Macdonough's victory over the British fleet on Lake Champlain (11 September 1814) compelled Sir George Prevost, Governor General of Canada, to call off his attack on Plattsburg with 11,000 troops.


After the surrender of Napoleon, the British dispatched Maj. Gen. Robert Ross
Robert Ross
Robert Ross may refer to:*Robert Ross, 5th Lord Ross , Scottish nobleman*Robert Ross, 9th Lord Ross , Scottish nobleman*Robert Ross , British botanist...

 from France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 on 27 June 1814, with 4,000 veterans to raid key points on the American coast. Ross landed at the mouth of the Patuxent River
Patuxent River
The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. There are three main river drainages for central Maryland: the Potomac River to the west passing through Washington D.C., the Patapsco River to the northeast passing through Baltimore, and the Patuxent River between...

 in Maryland with Washington as his objective on 19 August and marched as far as Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Upper Marlboro is a town in and the county seat of Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The live-in population of the town core proper was only 648 at the 2000 census, although Greater Upper Marlboro is many times larger....

 (22 August) without meeting resistance. Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. William Winder, in command of the Potomac District, had assembled a mixed force of about 5,000 men near Bladensburg, including militia, regulars, and some 400 sailors from Commodore Joshua Barney
Joshua Barney
Joshua Barney was a commodore in the United States Navy, born in Baltimore, Maryland, who served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.-Revolutionary War:...

's gunboat flotilla, which had been destroyed to avoid capture by the British fleet. In spite of a considerable advantage in numbers and position, the Americans were easily routed by Ross' force. British losses were about 249 killed and wounded; the Americans lost about 100 killed and wounded, and 100 captured. British detachments entered the city and burned the Capitol and other public buildings (24–25 August) in what was later announced as retaliation for the American destruction at York.

Fort McHenry

While the British marched on Washington, Baltimore had time to hastily strengthen its defenses. Maj. Gen. Samuel Smith
Samuel Smith (Maryland)
Samuel Smith was a United States Senator and Representative from Maryland, a mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, and a general in the Maryland militia. He was the brother of cabinet secretary Robert Smith.-Biography:...

 had about 9,000 militia, including 1,000 in Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, Maryland, is a star-shaped fort best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy in Chesapeake Bay...

 guarding the harbor. On 12 September, the British landed at North Point about 14 miles below the city, where their advance was momentarily checked by 3,200 Maryland Militiamen. Thirty-nine British (including General Ross) were killed and 251 wounded at a cost of 24 Americans killed, 139 wounded, and 50 taken prisoner. After their fleet failed to reduce Fort McHenry by bombardment and boat attack (night of 13–14 September), the British decided that a land attack on the rather formidable fortifications defending the city would be too costly and, on 14 October, sailed for Jamaica. Francis Scott Key
Francis Scott Key
Francis Scott Key was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, who wrote the lyrics to the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner".-Life:...

, after observing the unsuccessful British bombardment of Fort McHenry, was inspired to compose the verses of "The Star Spangled Banner."

New Orleans

On 20 December 1814, a force of about 10,000 British troops, assembled in Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

, landed unopposed at the west end of Lake Borgne
Lake Borgne
Lake Borgne is a lagoon in eastern Louisiana of the Gulf of Mexico. Due to coastal erosion, it is no longer actually a lake but rather an arm of the Gulf of Mexico. Its name comes from the French word borgne, which means "one-eyed".-Geography:...

, some 15 miles from New Orleans, preparatory to an attempt to seize the city and secure control of the lower Mississippi Valley. Advanced elements pushed quickly toward the river, reaching Villere's Plantation on the left bank, 10 miles below New Orleans, on 23 December. In a swift counter-action, Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

, American commander in the South, who had only arrived in the city on 1 December, made a night attack on the British (23–24 December) with some 20,000 men supported by fire from the gunboat Carolina. The British advance was checked, giving Jackson time to fall back to a dry canal about five miles south of New Orleans, where he built a breastworks about a mile long, with the right flank on the river and the left in a cypress swamp. A composite force of about 3,500 militia, regulars, sailors, and others manned the American main line, with another 1,000 in reserve. A smaller force—perhaps 1,000 militia—under Brig. Gen. David Morgan
David Morgan
David Morgan may refer to:*David Morgan , professor of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison*David Morgan , British sociologist*David Morgan , American frontiersman...

 defended the right bank of the river. Maj. Gen. Sir Edward Pakenham, brother-in-law of the Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

, arrived on 25 December to command the British operation. He entrenched his troops and, on 1 January 1815, fought an artillery duel in which the Americans outgunned the British artillerists. Finally, at dawn on 8 January, Pakenham attempted a frontal assault on Jackson's breastworks with 5,300 men, simultaneously sending a smaller force across the river to attack Morgan's defenses. The massed fires of Jackson's troops, protected by earthworks reinforced with cotton bales, wrought havoc among Pakenham's regulars as they advanced across the open ground in front of the American lines. In less than a half hour, the attack was repulsed. The British lost 291 killed, including Pakenham, 1,262 wounded, and 48 prisoners; American losses on both sides of the river were only 13 killed, 39 wounded, and 19 prisoners. The surviving British troops withdrew to Lake Borgne and reembarked on 27 January for Mobile, where they defeated a US Garrison at the Second Battle of Fort Bowyer. On 14 February, they learned that the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war, had been signed on 24 December 1814.
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