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War of 1812 Chronology (1812-1815)

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The War of 1812 began with the United States’ declaration of war against Great Britain on June 18, 1812. Although the war officially ended when the Treaty of Ghent was ratified by the U.S. Senate on February 17, 1815, sporadic fighting continued over several months in remote locations where word of the peace treaty had not been received.

Although USS Constitution’s role in the war was limited to the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, many of the consequential battles of the war occurred on land and on inland waterways. Fighting took place in a circle around the United States, composed of seven military theaters of operation: the Old Northwest (embracing Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Upper Canada), along the river corridors of the Niagara, St. Lawrence, and the Lake Champlain-Richelieu, along coastal Maine, in the Chesapeake Bay, on the Gulf Coast.

The high seas are considered an eighth theater of the war, but ship battles and seizures of merchant ships occurred around the world, from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific.

This detailed chronology tracks the war’s many battles and the results of each of those battles.


The war begins with a poorly-coordinated three-pronged U.S. invasion of Canada by badly trained and poorly led American forces, which fails on all three fronts. The U.S. enjoys more success on the high seas, where its warships win a series of single-ship duels with the Royal Navy, and American privateers enjoy an early and rich harvest of unsuspecting British merchant ships.

June 23, 1812 – U.S. Navy clashes with HMS Belvidera: An American squadron headed by USS President engages the British frigate Belvidera, which escapes to take word of the outbreak of war to Halifax, Canada.

July 15, 1812 – British squadron captures USS Nautilus: Four days after sailing from New York, the brig Nautilus, commanded by Lieutenant William Crane, encounters a British squadron consisting of the frigates Shannon, Guerriere, Belvidera, and Aeolus, and the ship of the line Africa. After a spirited chase, the British force Nautilus to surrender.

July 17, 1812 – British capture Fort Mackinac: In the northwest, news of war reaches the British before the Americans. In response, 50 British regulars, 180 local fur traders, 280 Ottawas and Ojibwes under John Askin, Jr. of the Indian Department for British North America, and 115 Menominees, Očhéthi Šakówiŋs, and Ho-Chunks under fur trader Robert Dickson, land on Mackinac Island in Michigan Territory on July 17 and train their cannon on the fort from the heights above. Surprised, outnumbered, and fearing attack by members of the indigenous nations if they resist, the Americans surrender without firing a shot. Loss of the fort emboldens many indigenous people to join the British in the war.

Commanders Number Engaged Casualties
British: Captain Charles Roberts British: 230
Ottawas, Ojibwes, Menominees, Očhéthi Šakówiŋs, Ho-Chunks (combined): 400
Killed: 0
Wounded: 0
Captured: 0
American: Lieutenant Porter Hanks American: 57 Killed: 0
Wounded: 0
Captured: 57

August 16, 1812 – British capture Detroit: The surrender of Fort Detroit is the first major U.S. defeat of the War of 1812. After initially invading Canada, U.S. forces under Brigadier General William Hull withdraw to Michigan Territory and take refuge in Fort Detroit. British General Isaac Brock brilliantly uses his force of regulars and militia, as well as warriors from the Wyandot, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, Shawnee, Ho-Chunk, Sauk, Menominee, and Grand River Iroquois nations led by Chief Tecumseh, to persuade General Hull to surrender, warning of an attack by militant members of the indigenous nations if he refuses. Many U.S. soldiers under Hull are angry at the surrender. The defeat ends U.S. invasion plans in the Old Northwest for the remainder of the year and undermines American morale.

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Major General Isaac Brock
Shawnee: Chief Tecumseh
British: 750
Wyandots, Ottawas, Potawatomis, Ojibwes, Shawnees, Ho-Chunks, Sauks, Menominees, and Grand River Iroquois (combined): 600
Killed: 0
Wounded: 2
Captured: 0
American: Major General William Hull American: 1,600 Killed: 7
Wounded: Unknown
Captured: 1,593

August 19, 1812 – USS Constitution defeats HMS Guerriere: After narrowly escaping from a British squadron in a heroic multi-day chase off the Atlantic Coast in July, the U.S. frigate Constitution defeats the British frigate Guerriere. Because British cannon balls appear to bounce off the American ship’s sides, Constitution earns the nickname “Old Ironsides.” With four successful cruises, Constitution becomes the most famous U.S. ship of the War of 1812 and is still maintained as a commissioned U.S. Navy vessel today.

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Captain James Richard Dacres British: 263
Guns: 49
Killed: 15
Wounded: 63
Missing: 24
American: Captain Isaac Hull American: 450
Guns: 55
Killed: 7
Wounded: 7

October 13, 1812 – British victory at Queenston Heights: In the Battle at Queenston Heights, the United States suffers its second major defeat of the war. To secure a foothold in Canada before the onset of winter, U.S. forces cross the Niagara River and seize Queenston Heights. Although initially successful, reinforcements are not forthcoming because American militiamen refuse to cross the Canadian border. The British, under Major General Isaac Brock, and their Grand River Iroquois allies under Captain John Norton, assault the Heights and defeat and capture the bulk of the American invasion force. Although victorious, General Brock is killed.

Commanders Number Engaged Casualties
British: Major General Isaac Brock (killed), Major General Sir Roger Sheaffe
Iroquois: Captain John Norton
British: 950
Iroquois: 250
Killed: 21
Wounded: 85
Captured: 17
American: Major General Stephen Van Rensselaer American: 1,200 Killed: 100
Wounded: 170
Captured: 958

October 25, 1812 – USS United States captures HMS Macedonian: Cruising between the Azores and Cape Verde Islands, the U.S. frigate United States defeats the British frigate Macedonian. In a battle lasting about two hours, American gunnery severely damages Macedonian’s rigging and hull, and the British ship surrenders. The Americans sail Macedonian home as a prize of war, and the British ship is incorporated into the U.S. Navy as a high-profile trophy ship that publicizes the U.S. victory against the “Mistress of the Seas.”

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Captain John Carden British: 301
Guns: 49
Killed: 36
Wounded: 68
American: Captain Stephen Decatur American: 428
Guns: 55
Killed: 5
Wounded: 7

December 29, 1812 – USS Constitution defeats HMS Java: After returning to Boston in September, Constitution sails for the South Atlantic. On December 29, off the coast of Brazil, Constitution defeats the British frigate Java. After a fierce battle lasting almost three hours, the British surrender. Java suffers heavy damage, forcing the Americans to set it on fire and sink it after the battle. The three U.S. frigate victories in 1812 eventually induce the Royal Navy to change its tactics. In 1813, the Royal Navy orders its frigates not to engage American frigates alone.

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Captain Henry Lambert (mortally wounded) British: 373-426
Guns: 47
Killed: 22-60
Wounded: 101
American: Commodore William Bainbridge American: 480
Guns: 55
Killed: 9
Wounded: 26


More battles are fought in 1813 than any other year of the war. The Americans secure the Old Northwest, but the British prevail elsewhere. American losses in men, money, and equipment are steep. Although no one realizes it at the time, 1813 is the high water mark of American attempts to conquer Canada.

January 18-22, 1813 – Americans are defeated at Frenchtown: After defeating a small enemy force at Frenchtown on the River Raisin in Michigan Territory on January 18, U.S. forces are overwhelmed by an army of British soldiers and warriors from indigenous nations four days later. The following day, indigenous warriors kill somewhere between 30 and 100 wounded and abandoned American prisoners in an apparent retaliation for actions committed by the Americans. “Remember the Raisin!” becomes a popular rallying cry for American settlers in the West.

Commanders Number Engaged Casualties
British: Brigadier General Henry Procter
Wyandot: Chief Roundhead, Chief Walk-in-the-Water, Chief Split-Log
British: 600
Wyandots, Potawatomis, Kickapoos, Ojibwes, Ottawas, Lenapes, Sauks, and Muscogees (combined): 600-800
Killed: 24
Wounded: 158
Wyandots, Potawatomis, Kickapoos, Ojibwes, Ottawas, Lenapes, Sauks, and Muscogees (combined) Casualties: Unknown
American: Brigadier General James Winchester American: 975 Killed: 300
Wounded: 27
Captured: 648

February 4, 1813 – British mount first of many raids in the Chesapeake Bay.

February 24, 1813 – USS Hornet defeats HMS Peacock: While cruising off the coast of South America, the U.S. sloop of war Hornet encounters the British brig sloop Peacock off the mouth of the Demerara River off the coast of Guyana. During the short battle, American gunnery shatters the British ship. As the American victors transfer the British prisoners to Hornet, Peacock suddenly sinks. Nine British and three American sailors drown as a result.

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Commander William Peake British: 130
Guns: 20
Killed: 14
Wounded: 33
American: Master Commandant James Lawrence American: 170
Guns: 20
Killed: 4
Wounded: 4

April 27, 1813 – Americans capture York, the capital of Upper Canada, and burn the public buildings.

May 1-9 1813 – Americans defend Fort Meigs against a siege by British soldiers and warriors from indigenous nations.

May 27, 1813 – Americans capture Fort George.

May 29, 1813 – Americans defend Sackets Harbor against a British assault.

June 1, 1813 – HMS Shannon captures USS Chesapeake: As the War of 1812 continues, British sea power makes itself felt. The Royal Navy blockades many U.S. ports. The frigate Chesapeake sails from Boston Harbor on June 1, 1813, to engage HMS Shannon. Captain James Lawrence of Chesapeake receives a mortal wound early in the battle. Carried below, he issues his last order: “Tell the men to fire faster and don’t give up the ship!” British Marines and sailors board the vessel and bloody hand-to-hand combat ensues. After 15 minutes, with 146 men killed or wounded, Chesapeake surrenders. “Don’t give up the ship!” becomes a powerful rallying cry for the U.S. Navy that persists even today.

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Captain Philip Broke British: 330
Guns: 52
Killed: 23
Wounded: 56
American: Captain James Lawrence  (mortally wounded) American: 379
Guns: 49
Killed: 48
Wounded: 99

June 6, 1813 – Battle of Stoney Creek: British defeat the Americans on the Niagara front in Upper Canada.

June 24, 1813 – Battle of Beaver Dams: Planned as a surprise attack on a small British force harassing Fort George, the Battle of Beaver Dams results in a serious defeat for the U.S. forces in the Niagara campaign of 1813. The American plan is foiled by Canadian resident Laura Secord, who makes a heroic 20-mile trek through the wilderness at night to warn the British. During the afternoon of June 24, a large force of Grand River Iroquois ambush the Americans in the forest. Lieutenant Colonel Charles Boerstler surrenders the entire American force to the British after his troops run low on ammunition. Months later, U.S. forces evacuate Fort George and withdraw to New York.

Commanders Number Engaged Casualties
British: Lieutenant James FitzGibbon
Canadian: Captain Dominique Ducharme
British: 480
Iroquois: 400
Wounded: 25
American: Lieutenant Colonel Charles Boerstler American: 600 Killed: 25
Wounded: 50
Captured: 525

Early 1813 – Tensions between the National Creek Muscogees (who favor assimilation into American society) and the “Red Sticks” faction (who advocate retaining traditional ways) erupts in a civil war. American troops and militias become involved in the conflict.

July 27, 1813 – Battle of Burnt Corn: In present-day Alabama, U.S. forces attack “Red Stick” warriors carrying supplies furnished by the governor of Spanish-controlled Florida. This marks the beginning of America’s Creek War.

August 2, 1813 – Defense of Fort Stephenson: Americans defeat British attempt to storm the post in Ohio.

August 30, 1813 – In retaliation for the U.S. attack at Burnt Corn, Muscogee “Red Sticks” assault Fort Mims in present-day Alabama, overwhelming the garrison after several hours of bitter fighting. Resistance is desperate, as women and boys take the place of fallen defenders. Few escape the fort. The assault convinces the U.S. to launch a major campaign to crush militant Muscogees.

Commanders Number Engaged Casualties
Muscogee “Red Sticks”: William Weatherford (Red Eagle) Muscogee “Red Sticks”: 750-1,000 Killed: 100
Wounded: 200-300
Captured: 0
Missing: 0
American: Major Daniel Beastly 1st Mississippi Volunteers (militia): 120
Non-combatants: 180
Killed: 250-275
Wounded: Unknown
Captured: Unknown

September 10, 1813 – U.S. naval victory on Lake Erie: “We have met the enemy and they are ours…” So writes Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry after defeating the British squadron on Lake Erie. Following a hard-fought but decisive naval engagement lasting three hours, the entire British squadron surrenders. The battle secures Lake Erie for the United States and allows U.S. commanders to move troops and supplies by water, and to regain the initiative in the Old Northwest.

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Commander Robert Heriot Barclay British:
2 ships
1 brig
2 schooners
1 sloop
440 men
Wounded: 93
Captured: 306
All vessels lost
American: Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry American:
3 brigs
5 schooners
1 sloop
490 men
Killed: 277
Wounded: 96

October 5, 1813 – Battle of the Thames: A major victory for the United States. Following the U.S. naval victory on Lake Erie, American land forces under Major General William Henry Harrison pursue retreating British soldiers and warriors from indigenous nations. Major General Henry Procter commands the British soldiers, and Chief Tecumseh leads the Shawnee, Lenape, Ottawa, Ojibwe, Wyandot, Ho-Chunk, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Sauk, Meskwaki, and Muscogee warriors. Harrison’s forces, led by mounted Kentucky volunteers under Colonel Richard M. Johnson, catch the British near Moraviantown, Canada, at the Thames River. A mounted charge by the Kentuckians breaks the British line. Confused and disordered, most British soldiers surrender. After a short, stubborn fight, the warriors withdraw. Tecumseh is killed in the battle. Michigan Territory is restored to the United States and Tecumseh’s confederacy of warriors is shattered. With the United States now ascendant in the region, many indigenous nations agree to peace.

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Major General Henry Proctor
Shawnee: Chief Tecumseh (killed)
British: 600
Shawnees, Lenapes, Ottawas, Ojibwes, Wyandots, Ho-Chunks, Potawatomis, Kickapoos, Sauks and Meskwakies, and Muscogees (combined): 500-1,000
Wounded: 30
Captured: 600
Shawnees, Lenapes, Ottawas, Ojibwes, Wyandots, Ho-Chunks, Potawatomis, Kickapoos, Sauks and Meskwakies, and Muscogees (combined) Killed: 33
Shawnees, Lenapes, Ottawas, Ojibwes, Wyandots, Ho-Chunks, Potawatomis, Kickapoos, Sauks and Meskwakies, and Muscogees (combined) Wounded: Unknown
American: Major General William Henry Harrison American: 3,000 Killed: 7
Wounded: 22

October 26, 1813 – British victory at Châteauguay in Lower Canada.

November 11, 1813 – Battle of Crysler’s Farm: British victory ends the U.S. offensive that has targeted Montreal. The Americans do not fight badly, but their commander, Brigadier General Thomas P. Boyd, sends his soldiers into battle intermittently in a seemingly uncoordinated offensive. Major General James Wilkinson is too ill to lead the men himself. By late afternoon the American army retreats.

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Lieutenant Colonel Joseph W. Morrison
Iroquois: Lt. Charles Anderson
British: 900
Iroquois: 30
Killed: 31
Wounded: 148
Captured: Unknown
Missing: 13
Iroquois Wounded: 3
American: Major General James Wilkinson and Brigadier General Thomas P. Boyd American: 2,500 Killed: 102
Wounded: 237
Captured: 120

December 9, 1813 – U.S. forces burn Newark, Upper Canada.

December 30, 1813 – British retaliate by burning Buffalo, New York.


With Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat in Europe, the British strengthen their forces in North America, and for the United States the war becomes mainly defensive. The war’s bloodiest battles are fought in 1814 on the Niagara front. In spite of some defeats, U.S. soldiers fight with greater skill and determination. For the British, reinforcements from Europe and elsewhere enable them to take the offensive by invading upper New York, Coastal Maine, the Chesapeake Bay, Cumberland Island in Georgia, and the Gulf Coast.

March 27-28, 1814 – Battle of Horseshoe Bend: In the climactic battle in the Creek War, U.S. forces under Major General Andrew Jackson defeat Muscogee “Red Sticks” at their encampment on a bend in the Tallapoosa River in present-day Alabama. Intense close combat continues through the night. The “Red Sticks” are unwilling to surrender.

Commanders Number Engaged Casualties
Muscogee “Red Sticks”: Chief Menawa Muscogee “Red Sticks”: 930 Killed: 917
Wounded: Unknown
Missing: Unknown
American: Major General Andrew Jackson American: 2,700
Muscogee Allies: 600
Killed: 47
Captured: 0
Muscogees Killed: 23
Muscogees Wounded: 47

March 28, 1814 – Royal Navy defeats USS Essex

March 30, 1814 – Battle of Lacolle Mill: American attack repulsed in Lower Canada.

April 7-8, 1814 – British raid Pettipaug (present-day Essex), Connecticut.

July 3, 1814 – Americans capture Fort Erie on Niagara River.

July 5, 1814 – Battle of Ojibwe: Americans defeat the British on Niagara River.

July 17- 21, 1814– Siege of Prairie du Chien: Americans surrender Fort Shelby in present-day Wisconsin to British force under Lieutenant Colonel William McKay and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, and Ojibwe warriors led by Chief Tête de Chien.

July 25, 1814 – Battle of Lundy’s Lane: According to British Captain John Weeks, “Nothing could resist the obstinate desperation of the Yankees.” These words sum up the ferocity of the fight over the British artillery batteries during the Battle of Lundy’s Lane. Beginning in the evening, the battle continues past midnight. In the darkness, fighting takes place at close quarters, with both sides firing muskets and cannon at point blank range. Both sides suffer heavy casualties. “Such…carnage I never beheld,” a British eyewitness remarks. “Red coats, blue and gray were promiscuously intermingled, in many places three deep.” The Americans withdraw the next day. Many regard Lundy’s Lane as the hardest fought engagement of the war.

Commanders Number Engaged Casualties
British: Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond (wounded), Major General Phineas Riall (wounded and captured) British: about 3,000 Killed:84
Captured or Missing: 235
American: Major General Jacob Brown (wounded), Brigadier General Winfield Scott (wounded) American: about 3,000 Killed:173
Captured/Missing: 117

August 4, 1814 – British and their allies from indigenous nations, including 60 Menominees, defend Mackinac against American assault.

August 9-11, 1814 – Americans defend Stonington, Connecticut, against British assault.

August 13- September 17, 1814 – Siege of Fort Erie: Following the Battle at Lundy’s Lane, the U.S. Army withdraws to Fort Erie, which it enlarges and strengthens. The British, reinforced, besiege the fort. The Americans repulse a British attack on August 15. On September 17, in a sortie from Fort Erie, Americans overrun and spike several British artillery batteries before being forced to withdraw. Both sides suffer heavy casualties in the exchange. In addition, both sides suffer from the nearly constant rain. The British, unable to take the fort, withdraw on September 21. U.S. forces abandon Fort Erie and cross into New York in November.

Commanders Number Engaged Casualties
British: Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond British: 2,500 Killed: 283
Wounded: 508
Captured or Missing: 748
American: Brigadier General Edmund Gaines, Brigadier General Eleazer W. Ripley American: 2,000 Killed: 213
Wounded: 565
Captured or Missing: 240

August 24, 1814 – Battle of Bladensburg and capture of Washington City: Landing with a force of more than 4,300 soldiers, sailors, and Marines near Benedict, Maryland, the British march overland toward Washington, DC. A force of poorly trained American militia and some regulars try to stop the British at Bladensburg, but are routed. Captain Joshua Barney and about 500 seamen and Marines do the only real fighting on the American side, but they are soon forced to retreat, leaving the road to Washington open. The British occupy the city and burn the public buildings, including the Capitol and White House. This is the low point of the war for the United States. The one bright spot in the disaster was the quick thinking of First Lady Dolley Madison, who saved a portrait of George Washington and other White House treasures from the fire.

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Major General Robert Ross British: 4,500 Marines and regulars Killed: 64
Wounded: 185
American: Brigadier General William Winder American: 6,920 militia and regulars Killed:10-26
Wounded: 40-51
Captured: 100-120

September 1-11, 1814 – British occupy 100 miles of coastal Maine from Eastport to Castine.

September 11, 1814 – U.S. naval victory on Lake Champlain: During the first week in September, the largest British invasion force assembled in Canada begins to march toward Plattsburgh, New York. Its objective is to seize territory in upper New York that can be used as a bargaining chip in the peace negotiations. However, on September 11, the U.S. Navy defeats the British squadron on Lake Champlain. Although the British outnumber the Americans on land by approximately two to one, the land attack is called off because the British commander fears that the U.S. ships might ferry troops north and cut off his line of retreat. The British retreat from Plattsburgh raises American morale and discourages British negotiators at the peace talks being held at Ghent, in present-day Belgium.

Commanders Number Engaged Casualties
British: Commodore George Downie (Navy-killed), Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost (Army) British Navy:       British Army:
1 frigate              8,000 regulars
1 brig
2 sloops
12 gunboats
1,050 men
British Navy Killed:57
British Navy Wounded:100
(1 frigate, 1 brig, 2 sloops lost)
British Army Killed: 111
British Army Wounded: 120
British Army Captured: 317
American: Master Commandant Thomas MacDonough (Navy), Brigadier General Alexander Macomb (Army) U.S. Navy:            U.S. Army:
1 corvette              3,400 regulars
1 brig                      and militia
1 sloop
1 schooner
10 gunboats
820 men
U.S. Navy Killed: 47
U.S. Navy Wounded: 58
U.S. Army Killed: 57
U.S. Army Wounded: 58

September 12-14, 1814 – Battle of Baltimore: After burning Washington, DC, the British return to their fleet and proceed up the Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore, a large port city dominated by pro-war Democratic-Republicans and home to many privateers harassing British trade on the high seas. After suffering heavy casualties in a victory over American militia at North Point, the British proceed to the outskirts of Baltimore but find the city too well-defended to attack. They withdraw because they cannot get help from the Royal Navy, which is unable to compel the surrender of Fort McHenry, located at the mouth of Baltimore Harbor, despite a 25-hour bombardment. A young American lawyer named Francis Scott Key witnesses the bombardment and pens a stirring poem entitled, “The Defence of Fort McHenry.” Key suggests the poem can be sung to an English drinking tune, “Anacreon in Heaven.” It is soon retitled, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and in 1931 Congress names it the United States’s national anthem.

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Major General Robert Ross (killed), Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, Colonel Arthur Brooke British: 5,000 infantry, 19 warships Killed: 42-46
Wounded: 280-296
American: Major General Samuel Smith, Brigadier General John Stricker, Major George Armistead American: 11,000 militia, regulars, seamen Killed: 28
Wounded: 163
Captured: 50

October 19, 1814 – Battle of Cooks Mills: Last battle on the Niagara front.

October 22-November 17, 1814 – McArthur’s Raid into Upper Canada. With a force of 720 mounted men, including 70 Shawnees, Lenapes, and Wyandots, Brigadier General Duncan McArthur conducts a deep raid into Upper Canada from Detroit, destroying mills to deprive the British army of food. McArthur’s force overruns a militia force at Malcolm’s Mills on November 6. This is the only battle during the raid and is the last battle on the Canadian-American frontier.

November 7, 1814 – American force under General Andrew Jackson drives British from Spanish Pensacola.

December 14, 1814 – British capture a U.S. flotilla of gunboats and secure Lake Borgne on Gulf Coast.

December 15, 1814- Hartford Convention convenes: Dismayed by the course of the war and the seemingly destructive policies of the Madison administration in Washington, DC, anti-war Federalists in New England convene the Hartford Convention to air their grievances. Although there is some talk in New England about signing a separate peace and pulling out of the Union, moderates remain firmly in control at Hartford, and the convention proposes a series of constitutional amendments to prevent a renewal of the destructive policies and to better secure New England’s position in the Union.

December 24, 1814 – Treaty of Ghent: British and American delegates in present-day Belgium sign a peace treaty on December 24, 1814. Article I provides for the war to end when both sides ratify the agreement. Even though the British comply on December 27, it takes seven weeks for the treaty to reach the United States. In the meantime, the war continues.


January 8, 1815 – Battle of New Orleans: The British attack of January 8 is the climax of a British campaign on the Gulf Coast. After three preliminary engagements fought from December 23, 1814 to January 1, 1815, the British launch a major assault against General Andrew Jackson’s stout defenses south of New Orleans. They are repulsed with heavy losses, with over 2,000 killed, wounded, missing, or captured, while Jackson’s own losses are only 70. It is the last major battle of the War of 1812 and a resounding American victory. Casualties below are from the entire campaign.

Commanders Number Engaged Casualties
British: Major General Sir Edward Pakenham (killed) British: 10,000 Killed: 386
Wounded: 1,521
Missing and Captured: 552
American: Major General Andrew Jackson American: 5,000
Muscogees: 200
Killed: 56
Wounded: 183
Missing and Captured: 93

January 9-18, 1815 – Battle of Fort St. Philip: British fail to force this post on the lower Mississippi to submit.

January 11-13, 1815 – British defeat U.S. force on Cumberland Island, Georgia.

January 15, 1815 – British capture of USS President: After a running duel with HMS Endymion, USS President is captured by a British squadron.

February 8-12, 1815 – British besiege and capture Fort Bowyer: Following the Battle of New Orleans, the British turn their attention towards Mobile, then in Mississippi Territory. Fort Bowyer, commanded by Major William Lawrence, guards the entrance to Mobile Bay. The defending garrison is only 320 strong. On February 8, British vessels encircle the fort as 1,400 British troops land two and a half miles east, isolating the post.  Over the next three days, British troops dig trenches to within 40 yards of the fort’s walls. The Americans surrender at noon on February 12, 1815.

Commanders Number Engaged Casualties
British: Major General John Lambert British: 1,400 Killed: 13
Wounded: 18
Captured: 0
Missing: 0
American: Major William Lawrence American: 320 Killed: 1
Wounded: 10
Captured: 309
Missing: 0

February 17, 1815 – U.S. ratifies Treaty of Ghent: The peace treaty reaches Washington, DC, on February 14, 1815. The United States Senate unanimously approves it two days later, and President James Madison completes the ratification process by signing the agreement on February 17. This ends the War of 1812. Neither Great Britain nor the United States loses any territory or surrenders any right. Indigenous nations, however, were unable to recover their lost territories and continued to face additional loss of land to settlers expanding westward. The British make no concessions on the maritime issues that caused the war and hold on to Canada. The United States vindicates its sovereignty and earns international respect for simply having fought the powerful British Empire to a draw. Although the war is now officially over, fighting continues on remote fronts until the news of peace arrives.

February 20, 1815 – USS Constitution defeats HMS Cyane and HMS Levant: In December, 1814, Constitution slips out of Boston and evades the British blockading squadron. On February 20, off the Madeira Islands, the U.S. warship encounters a small Royal Navy frigate and corvette. During the night battle that follows, Constitution manages to outmaneuver its two opponents, defeating them and forcing them to submit. Both ships are manned by American prize crews. Although Levant is retaken on March 12 by a pursuing British squadron, Cyane reaches a U.S. port as a prize of war.

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Cyane, Captain Gordon Thomas Falcon; Levant: Captain George Douglas. British: Cyane, 180: Guns: 34
Levant, 140: Guns: 21
Killed: 35
Wounded: 42
American: Captain Charles Stewart American: 451
Guns: 52
Killed: 4
Wounded: 14

February 24, 1815 – Skirmish on St. Marys River, Georgia: This is the last land battle of the war.

June 30, 1815 – USS Peacock defeats East India brig Nautilus: The U.S. Navy wins the last engagement of the war. Cruising far from normal lines of communication, Lewis Warrington, captain of the sloop Peacock, does not know the war has ended. Off the coast of present-day Indonesia, he fights and captures the Honorable East India Company brig Nautilus, even though the British officers on the company ship assure him that the war is over. Ironically, the first and the last vessels captured in the War of 1812 share the same name.

Commander Number Engaged Casualties
British: Lieutenant Charles Boyce British: 100
Guns: 14
Killed: 7
Wounded: 7
American: Master Commandant Lewis Warrington American: 220
Guns: 22
Wounded: 4

Economic warfare – Privateering: Privateers are privately owned armed vessels, authorized by a government to prey on enemy shipping. Both countries use privateers in this war. Small, sleek, and fast sailing, U.S. privateers do more damage to British shipping than the large frigates of the U.S. Navy. More privateers sail from Baltimore than any other U.S. city, and during the war American privateers capture 1,750 British merchant vessels, driving up insurance rates in some seas and exasperating British merchants. This form of warfare, though annoying to the British, has little impact of the British economy or on the course or outcome of the war, but its success, especially early in the war, boosts American morale.

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