The Second War for Independence
and the Upsurge of Nationalism
I. On to Canada Over Land and Lakes
Due to widespread disunity, the War of 1812 ranks as one of America’s worst
There was not a burning national anger, like there was after theChesapeake
outrage; the regular army was very bad and scattered and hadold, senile generals,
and the offensive strategy against Canada wasespecially poorly conceived.
Had the Americans captured Montreal, everything west would havewilted like a
tree after its trunk has been severed, but the Americansinstead focused a three-
pronged attack that set out from Detroit,Niagara, and Lake Champlain, all of
which were beaten back.
In contrast, the British and Canadians displayed enthusiasm earlyon in the war
and captured the American fort of Michilimackinac, whichcommanded the upper
Great Lakes area (the battle was led by BritishGeneral Isaac Brock).
After more land invasions were hurled back in 1813, the Americans,led by Oliver
Hazard Perry, built a fleet of green-timbered shipsmanned by inexperienced men,
but still managed to capture a Britishfleet. His victory, coupled with General
William Henry Harrison’sdefeat of the British during the Battle of the Thames,
helped bringmore enthusiasm and increased morale for the war.
In 1814, 10,000 British troops prepared for a crushing blow to theAmericans along
the Lake Champlain route, but on September 11, 1814,Capt. Thomas MacDonough
challenged the British and snatched victoryfrom the fangs of defeat and forced the
British to retreat.
II. Washington Burned and New Orleans Defended
In August 1814, British troops landed in the Chesapeake Bay area,dispersed 6,000
panicked Americans at Bladensburg, and proceeded toenter Washington D.C. and
burn most of the buildings there.