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1812 Journal Then & Now (November/December)

The War of 1812 lasted from the American declaration of war on Great Britain in June 1812 to the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent in February 1815, although historical events associated with the war and its aftermath continued for years. We are pleased to present the last part of our Then & Now Journal which highlights both historic events and events that help commemorate the history. Space does not permit us to list every event, and so we encourage you to investigate what may be happening in your area.


Nov. 5: American forces evacuate and destroy Fort Erie and withdraw to Buffalo; American Brig.-Gen. Duncan McArthur’s 700-man cavalry raiding force arrives at Brant’s Ford, Upper Canada, confronts 100 Canadian militiamen and native allies and turns south to raid along north shore of Lake Erie.

Nov. 6: McArthur’s force encounters 550 Canadian militiamen at Malcolm’s Mills, blocking Americans’ intended route to Lake Erie; McArthur’s cavalry outflanks Canadians and drives them from the field; Americans continue raid to Lake Erie before returning to Thames Valley; Malcolm’s Mills becomes last battle of war fought in Upper Canada; British barge flotilla captures American schooner Franklin off Hampton, Va.

Nov. 7: In unauthorized move, Maj.-Gen. Andrew Jackson seizes British-occupied Pensacola, Spanish Florida in pursuit of Creek warriors; British withdraw.

Nov. 10: McArthur begins to withdraw to U.S., pursued by 1,100 British and Canadians.

Nov. 11: Jackson returns to Mobile, Mississippi Territory.

Nov. 14: Schooner HMS Julialaunched at Kingston Navy Yard.

Nov. 15: British forces re-occupy Fort Erie after American withdrawal.

Nov. 18: McArthur’s force arrives back in Detroit; Americans capture two British gunboats on upper St. Lawrence River and take prisoners to Sackets Harbor, N.Y.

Nov. 22: Jackson leaves Mobile for New Orleans once he learns of pending British attack on that city.

Nov. 24: HMS Fantomehits reef near Prospect, NS while escorting convoy from Castine, Me. to Halifax.

Nov. 25: British fleet sails from Jamaica for New Orleans.

Nov. 27: During treaty negotiations in Ghent, Belgium Britain drops requirement for uti posseditis (i.e., retain captured territory).

Dec.: British complete construction of Fort Wellington at Prescott, Upper Canada.

Dec. 1: Jackson arrives at New Orleans; begins preparations for city’s defence.

Dec. 5: Militia drive back British raiders during skirmish at Farnham Church, Va.

Dec. 9: US Senate passes new bank bill to finance war and increase taxes.

Dec. 13: British naval and military expedition under Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane and Maj.-Gen. Sir Edward Pakenham lands near Lake Borgne, La.

Dec. 14: British sailors and marines in open boats overwhelm American gunboats on Lake Borgne, but incur heavy losses.

Dec. 15: New England Federalists meeting secretly in Hartford, Ct. discuss secession and propose constitutional amendments to protect influence of Northeastern states; U.S. adopts additional internal taxes.

Dec. 23-24: Maj.-Gen. John Keane lands with 1,800 British troops below New Orleans, encamps at Villieré Plantation; Jackson launches three-pronged surprise attack on Keane that night, falls back after battle and fortifies line along Rodriguez Canal, causing British to delay advance into city.


Treaty of Ghent
Treaty of Ghent seals and signatures [PHOTO: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF THE UK]

Treaty of Ghent seals and signatures

Dec. 24: Treaty of Ghent signed to end war; British and American diplomats agree to status quo ante bellum (i.e., situation before the war), with exception of four disputed areas to be resolved by boundary commissions.

Dec. 25: Kingston Naval Dockyard launches frigate HMS Psyche, sent from Britain in prefabricated pieces.

Dec. 27: Prince Regent ratifies Treaty of Ghent.

Dec. 28: U.S. Congress rejects conscription proposal; Pakenham probes Jackson’s defences, repulsed with heavy casualties.

Dec. 30: British Parliament ratifies Treaty of Ghent.


Jan.: 102nd Regiment arrives at Quebec City as reinforcements; detachment of New Brunswick Fencibles captures Houlton, Me. to secure line of communication between Saint John and Quebec.

Jan. 1: British commence bombardment of Rodriguez Canal defences but fail to breach them.

Jan. 5: Federalist Convention ends in Hartford.

Jan. 7: U.S. Congress passes compromise national bank bill.

Jan. 8-9: Jackson’s 4,000 men score huge victory over Pakenham’s 6,000 at Battle of New Orleans; 700 British killed (including Pakenham), 1,400 wounded; Americans only lose 8 soldiers; American success paves Jackson’s way to White House; British withdraw in search of easier targets along Gulf of Mexico coast.

Jan. 9-19: Royal Navy vessels besiege and bombard Fort St. Philip, La., on Mississippi River downstream from New Orleans; withdraw when learn of British defeat at that city.

Jan. 12: British raid Lakes Cove, Md.

Jan. 13-15: British amphibious force captures Fort Point Peter, Ga., attacks and captures nearby St. Marys; British occupy area until mid-March.

Jan. 15: HMS Endymion captures USS Presidentoff New York, President soon escapes, but is recaptured by HM Ships Pomone and Tenedos; taken into Royal Navy service as HMS President.

Jan. 30: President James Madison vetoes national bank bill.

Feb. 1: British begin construction of Pentanguishene Naval Yard, Penetang, Upper Canada.

Feb. 4: U.S. adopts second enemy trade law.

Feb. 7: Skirmish at Taylor’s Island, Md.

Feb. 8: News of peace arrives in North America.

Feb. 7-12: British forces besiege and capture Fort Bowyer, Mississippi Territory, at entrance to Mobile Bay; signed copy of Treaty of Ghent arrives in New York.

Feb. 13: British cancel planned attack on Mobile after word of peace arrives.

Feb. 15: U.S. Congress votes $500,000 to rebuild Washington federal buildings destroyed during British raid.

Feb. 16: U.S. Senate ratifies Treaty of Ghent.

Feb. 17: U.S. Congress ratifies Treaty of Ghent; Madison signs treaty, exchanges ratification papers with British ambassador; War of 1812 officially ends.

Feb. 18: Madison proclaims Treaty of Ghent.

Feb. 20: Privateer Dove of Liverpool, N.S., captures American brigantine George; last captured vessel of war to be brought into Halifax; USS Constitution captures HM Ships Cyane and Levant in mid-Atlantic off Madeira; Levant recaptured on March 11 by HMS Leander and returned to Royal Navy service; Cyane taken into United States Navy as USS Cyane.

Feb. 27: U.S. government cancels additional internal taxes.

March 1: Governor-in-Chief Sir George Prevost officially notified of Treaty of Ghent at Quebec and orders end of hostilities; Lower Canada militia disbanded.

March 2: Prevost is relieved and recalled to Britain to explain actions during Plattsburg campaign; replaced by Lieut.-Gen. Gordon Drummond.

March 19: Commodore Sir Edward Owen arrives at Kingston to assume control of Great Lakes station from Cmdre Sir James Yeo.

March 23: USS Hornet captures and scuttles HMS Penguinoff Tristan da Cunha, unaware that war is over.

April 3: Prevost leaves Quebec for Britain.

April 6: Lower Canada Assembly proclaims day of thanksgiving to mark end of war.

April 25/26: British troops evacuate Castine, Me.

May 22: American forces re-occupy Fort Niagara, N.Y.

May 24: Battle of the Sink Hole fought near Fort Cap au Gris, Missouri Territory between Missouri militia and Sauk tribesmen.

May 27: HMS Regulus arrives in Saint John, NB, with 371 Chesapeake Bay blacks for settlement.

May 29: Britain opens Canadian commerce to American citizens.

June 30: USS Peacock captures East India Company armed brig Nautilus off Java, despite being informed war is over.

July 1: American garrison returns Fort Amherstburg, Upper Canada, to British.

July 18: British evacuate Fort Mackinac, Michigan Territory and establish new post on Drummond Island in Lake Huron by late summer.

August: British begin construction of Butler’s Barracks, Niagara to replace those destroyed by Americans during war; 104th Regiment transferred to Quebec.


British Army begins to award War of 1812 battle honours.

Jan. 5: Prevost dies; although British authorities initially accepted Prevost’s explanation of his actions at Plattsburg, when official naval dispatch published it blames Prevost for defeat; Prevost demanded court martial to clear his name, set for Jan. 12.

June 16: To mark end of war, Upper Canada declares its first Thanksgiving Day.

Aug. 23: First of several international boundary commissions established under Treaty of Ghent begins work to resolve disputed borders.


Nov. 25: Boundary commissioners appointed under Treaty of Ghent determine that Moose, Dudley and Frederick Islands belong to U.S., but all other islands in Passamaquoddy Bay and Grand Manan Island in Bay of Fundy are part of N.B.


April 16: U.S. Senate ratifies Rush-Bagot Agreement limiting number of armed vessels on Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.

June 30: British depart Moose Island in Passamaquoddy Bay between Maine and N.B.; last British troops to leave U.S. soil.

Oct. 6: Fort Astoria on Columbia River returned to U.S.

Oct. 20: Britain and U.S sign Convention of 1818, which establishes 49th parallel as international boundary from Lake of the Woods to Rocky Mountains; allows joint American-British occupation of Oregon Country for 10 years, renewable; refers issue of return of or compensation for American slaves freed by British to third party, later submitted to Russian Czar for arbitration, finally resolved in 1826.

Nov. 5: Governor-General Duke of Richmond drafts plan for defence of Canada against future American attack; includes new or expanded forts and canals.


March 1: Duke of Wellington approves Richmond’s plan of defence.

June 7: Upper Canada Parliament opens and authorizes land grants to veterans of War of 1812.

Summer: British begin construction of Fort Lennox, Ile aux Nois, Lower Canada.

Autumn: British begin construction of fort on Ile Ste-Helene, Montreal.


May: British begin construction of expanded fortifications at Quebec Citadel.

May 22: NS Lieut.-Gov. Earl of Dalhousie lays cornerstone of Dalhousie College (now

Dalhousie University) paid for by customs duties collected at Castine during British occupation.


July 17: British begin construction of Lachine Canal at Montreal.


June 18: Boundary commission established by Treaty of Ghent agrees on international border

from St. Lawrence River through Great Lakes to Sault Ste-Marie.


Oct. 13: Upper Canada inaugurates first Brock Monument at Queenston Heights; bodies of Brock and his ADC Lieut.-Col. John Macdonell removed from Fort George and interred under monument.


British begin construction of Rideau Canal.


British begin construction of improved fortifications at Halifax Citadel.


June 18: British begin construction of Fort Henry, Kingston.


Brock Monument


April 17: Suspected American sympathizer causes severe damage to Brock Monument in explosion; bodies of Brock and Macdonell subsequently disinterred in 1853 and reburied in family cemetery at Queenston.


Aug. 9: Britain and U.S. sign Webster-Ashburton Treaty delineating northern part of Maine-NB-Quebec border and boundary across Lake Superior to Lake of the Woods.


June 18: U.S. Senate ratifies Oregon Treaty extending international boundary across Rockies along 49th parallel to Pacific coast.


June 1: British government approves Military General Service Medal and Naval Military Service Medal for service between 1793 and 1814, including army and navy clasps for War of 1812 battles.


Oct. 13: Cornerstone of new Brock Monument laid; remains of Brock and Macdonell placed in vaults at base of monument.

Second Brock Monument [PHOTO: CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM—19800978-070]

Second Brock Monument


Oct. 13: Upper Canada inaugurates second Brock Monument at Queenston Heights.


Prince Edward dedicates cenotaph close to exact site of Brock’s death.

Survivors of the War of 1812 [PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA—C014466]

Survivors of the War of 1812


Canadian government begins to award pensions to surviving War of 1812 veterans.


Lightning strike severely damages Brock Monument.


Brock Monument closes to public pending repairs.


Parks Canada begins repairs to Brock Monument.


Brock Monument reopens to public.


Feb. 10: Canadian government announces War of 1812 Commemorative Banner to be awarded to certain Canadian Forces units and First Nations communities and War of 1812 Commemorative Pin to be worn on uniform during commemorative period by Canadian Forces personnel.

July 19: Canadian government unveils War of 1812 Commemorative Banner and Commemorative Pin.

Aug. 15: Canadian government announces award of Detroit battle honour for War of 1812 to perpetuating Canadian Army units.

September 14: Canadian government announces award of Queenston, Maumee, Châteauguay, Crysler’s Farm and Niagara battle honours and theatre honour Defence of Canada—1812-1815—Défense du Canada for War of 1812 to perpetuating Canadian Army units and War of 1812 Commemorative Banner and non-emblazonable honorary distinction (Defence of Canada—1812-1815—Défense du Canada) to Canadian Forces units whose heritage embraces service in War of 1812.

Oct. 25: Canadian government announces award of War of 1812 Commemorative Banner and Commemorative Medal to successors of First Nations and Métis communities that participated in War of 1812.


Dec. 13-14: War of 1812 Garrison Christmas, Fort George, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Dec. 20: War of 1812 Garrison Christmas, Fort Malden, Amherstburg, Ont.


Jan. 6-10: Battle of New Orleans 200th Anniversary, Chalmette Battlefield, New Orleans.

March 21-22: 25th War of 1812 in the West Symposium, Fort Osage, Sibley, Mo.

May 22: Old Fort Niagara commemorative programme, Youngstown, N.Y.

July 1: Return of Fort Malden (Fort Amherstburg) 200th Anniversary, Amherstburg, Ont.

Oct. 24-25: Annual Fall Muster, Fort Osage, Sibley, Mo.


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