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War of 1812


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(1812–15)

A war between Britain and the USA. US frustration at the trade restrictions imposed by Britain in retaliation for Napoleon's Continental System, together with a desire to remove British and Canadian obstacles to US westward expansion, led the US Congress to declare war on Britain (June 1812). The USA–British North American (Canadian) border was the main theatre of war. In July, the US General, William Hull, advanced into Upper Canada, but in early August withdrew to Detroit, which was soon after captured by Major‐General Isaac Brock. In October 1812 a second invading US force crossed the Niagara River and stormed Queenston Heights, but it too was driven back by a British force, under Brock, who was killed. In October 1813 another US army under General William Harrison won the Battle of the Thames, in south‐western Ontario. In November US troops were defeated by a much smaller British force at Crysler's Farm on the St Lawrence. In July 1814, at the Battle of Lundy's Lane, a US force under General Jacob Brown briefly fought at night a British force under General Drummond and then withdrew, after which no more attempts were made to invade Canada. On Lake Erie in September 1813 a US force captured a British squadron of six ships, while the following year (September 1814), in a similar victory on Lake Champlain, a British squadron of 16 ships was forced to surrender. At sea US warships won a series of single‐ship engagements, but they were unable to disrupt the British naval blockade, which by 1814 was doing considerable harm to the US economy. In June 1814 a British expenditionary force landed in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, marching north and burning the new city of Washington. War‐weariness now brought the two sides to the conference table and in December 1814 the Treaty of Ghent was signed, restoring all conquered territories to their original owners.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence — History.


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