Monday, March 12, 2012


American Strategy in the War of 1812

1. Gain control of Canada by capturing Montreal or Quebec, then force England to negotiate to regain it. Operations against British forces in Canada [1812-1814] were unsuccessful, forcing the U.S. in 1814 to adopt a defensive strategy.

2. Commission privateers [private vessels granted permission to seize British naval and commercial vessels and thus hamper the British war effort]. Much more successful than Canadian option: 500 privateers eventually seized 1,300 British prizes.

British Strategy in the War of 1812

1. The British early in the war blockaded American ports with 75 naval vessels, greatly reducing American imports and exports, and angering many residents of New England who were dependent on foreign trade for their livelihoods.

2. After Napoleon's defeat and abdication in 1814, British were able to begin a land offensive against the Americans. The British were able to burn Washington, D.C., in 1814, but were unable to reduce or capture Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor ["The Star-Spangled Banner"].

3. The British also began a campaign against New Orleans in an effort to block commerce on the Mississippi River. Two weeks after a peace treaty was signed by Britain and the U.S., a force of militiamen and Army regulars under Andrew Jackson decisively defeated a force of British regulars at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815.

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