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Photo above: Flag from Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner. Courtesy Library of Congress.
War of 1812 Timeline - Major Battles
It had only been twenty years since the first battle for independence had been fought and won over the British Empire with a new Constitution and the presidencies of Washington, Jefferson, and Adams in the books. But hostilities and disagreements between the fledgling nation, the United States, and Britain, had not abatted. By 1812, another war would be fought, for four more years, with the White House burned and strife from New England to Michigan, from Canada to the South. Many of these battles are not well known, even the burning of the new capital city is below the radar in american history for most, but this war, unlike the American Revolution, would solidify the nation as separate from Great Britain and capable of defending its territory. This time, the War of 1812 would hold its sovereignty. The battles listed below are considered the major battles of the War of 1812 by the staff of americasbesthistory.com, some protected by National Park Service sites, state parks, and others still to be protected.
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January 18-23, 1813 - Battles of the River Raisin, Michigan Territory
Troops: USA 1,000; British 597, Indian Allies 800.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 504, 547 captured; British/Indian Allies 188-212, 3 captured.
First day retreat by British and their Indian allies from Frenchtown is countered four days later in their recapture of the town. Second battle was the highest casualty loss of Americans for any day in the War of 1812. Now the River Raisin National Battlefield Park.
April 3, 1813 - Battle of Rappahannock River, Virginia
Troops: USA 4 ships, 160 sailors; British 17 ships, up to 50 sailors per ship.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 16, 100 captured, 4 ships captured; British 13, 2 ships sunk.
Blockade of Rappahannock River extends to raid and capture of four American privateers by several hundred British sailors and various warships and small boats.
April 27, 1813 - Battle of York, Upper Canada (near Toronto)
Troops: USA 1,700, 14 ships; British 600, Indian Allies 100.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 320; British/Allies 201, 274 additional captured.
Navy flotillas support infantry assault on York to American victory as British retreat to Kingston and their Lake Ontario Navy base.
April 28-May 9, 1813 - Siege of Fort Miegs, Ohio
Troops: USA 2,800; British/Canadian 895, Indian allies 1,250.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 456, 530 captured; British/Allies 80, 41 captured.
British and Native American allies attempt to capture the new fort, at eight acres the largest to that time in the war, in northwestern Ohio. Relief sortie by Americans failed with heavy casualties, but British do not gain the fort and cease the siege.
May 25-27, 1813 - Battle of Fort George, Upper Canada
Troops: USA 4,000, 14 ships; British/Allies 1,350.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 153; British 358, 129 additional captured.
Successful amphibious assault by American Army under Colonel Winfield Scott and Navy under Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry takes Fort George, across the Niagara River from Fort Niagara.
May 28-29, 1813 - Second Battle of Sacket's Harbor, New York
Troops: USA 1,400, 2 ships; British 870, 5 ships.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 153, 154 captured; British 265, some captured.
British force crosses Lake Ontario to capture Sacket's Harbor, main navy base on the lake for the American force, but are repulsed.
June 6, 1813 - Battle of Stoney Creek, Upper Canada
Troops: USA 3,400 with 1,328 engaged; British 700.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 54, 100 captured; British 162, 52 captured.
Night attack on American camp leads to British victory and a turn of affairs in the fight for Upper Canada, with American forces retreating back down the Niagara River to Fort George.
June 22, 1813 - Battle of Craney Island, Virginia
Troops: USA 750; British 2,000.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 0; British 200.
American repulse of British attack on Norfolk, Portsmouth, and the Gosport Navy Yard in Virginia ends in United States victory when the fortifications on Craney Island near Hampton Roads hold under General Robert B. Taylor.
June 6, 1813 - Battle of Beaver Dams, Upper Canada
Troops: USA 600; British 50, Indian Allies 400.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 75, 462 additional captured; British/Allies 25-40.
Warned by a female citizen of the surprise attack from Fort George, Native allies of the British ambush the American attackers, causing heavy casualties.
August 2, 1813 - Battle of Fort Stephenson, Ohio
Troops: USA 160; British/Indian Allies 1,400.
Casualties: USA 8; British 96.
After British failure to capture Fort Miegs, their attack on the American supply base on the Sandusky River fails against Major Croghan's smaller force.
September 5, 1813 - Capture of HMS Boxer
Troops: USA 1 ship; British 1 ship.
Casualties: USA 1 ship damaged; British 1 ship captured.
USS Enterprise captures HMS Boxer off coast of Bristol, Maine.
September 10, 1813 - Battle of Lake Erie
Troops: USA 9 ships; British 6 ships.
Casualties: USA 123, 1 ship damaged; British 134, 306 captured, all ships captured.
Control of Lake Erie secured by the American navy with capture of six British ships.
October 5, 1813 - Battle of the Thames, Upper Canada
Troops: USA 3,760 plus; British 600-800, Indian Allies 500-1000.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 27-84; British/Allies 50-86, more than 566-579 captured.
British troops under General Proctor and Indian allies under Tecumseh retreat from Fort Detroit after American Navy gains control of Lake Erie to Moraviantown. American troops under future President William Henry Harrison defeat the British forces, kill Tecumseh, and destroy the trival confederacy. The regain control of the Northwest frontier.
October 26, 1813 - Battle of the Chateauguay, Lower Canada
Troops: USA 4,000; British 1,350, Indian Allies 180.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 85; British/Allies 22.
American force in the St. Lawrence campaign attempting to reach and attack Montreal is defeated by British and their allies.
November 11, 1813 - Battle of Crisler's Farm, Lower Canada
Troops: USA 2,500-4,000; British 900.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 339, 120 captured; British 192.
Americans abandon St. Lawrence campaign and their attempt to capture Montreal after second defeat by outnumbered British and Canadian troops.
December 19, 2013 - Capture of Fort Niagara, New York
Troops: USA 324 plus; British 562.
Casualties: USA 79-94, additional 344 captured; British 11.
Surprise night assault after recapturing Fort George on December 10 by British infantry takes important American fort and retain its possession until the end of the war.
December 30, 2013 - Battle of Buffalo, New York
Troops: USA 2,011; British/Canadian 1,065, Indian Allies 400.
Casualties: USA 113, additional 56 captured; British 107, 5 captured.
British forces plunder and destroy the cities of Buffalo and Black Rock in retaliation for the American destruction of Newark. All but five buildings in Buffalo and Black Rock were burned.
Note: Photo above: Battle of Lake Erie, William Henry Powell, 1873. Courtesy U.S. Senate Art Collection, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., Image courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Casualty and troop strength numbers from Wikipedia Commons via various sources.
History Photo Bomb
Resolution for federal aid from the Missouri Territory during the time of the New Madrid earthquakes in 1811-12. Courtesy National Archives.
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