Little Known Facts of the War of 1812
There were more British regular troops in North America when the War of 1812 broke out than
there were men in the U.S. Regular army.
The Battle of the Brass:
The battle of Bladensburg in August 1814 was the only battle in American history where the
President, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of State were
all present. The Americans lost.
The Rockets’ Red Glare:
Although it gave the United States a national anthem, there is no evidence that any of the
notoriously inaccurate Congreve rockets fired at Fort McHenry ever hit the fort.
The British army in Canada lived largely on American beef smuggled openly across the
borders of New York and Vermont.
The last major battle of the war was fought at New Orleans on 8 January 1815, 15 days
after the peace treaty was signed between Britain and the United States.
The Age of Technical Miracles:
During the War of 1812, new steam-powered vessels were introduced on the St. Lawrence,
on Lake Champlain and on the Hudson River. The United States constructed a steam-powered,
armoured warship, Demologos in New York harbour, and Philadelphia was defended with an
electronically detonated command mine.
General Winfield Scott, an American hero of the war, entered the U.S. regular army in
1809 and was still on active service as commander-in-chief when the civil war broke out in
1861. By this time, he was too fat to mount a horse.
American newspapers regularly published accounts of troop movements, official military
correspondence and letters from officers describing operations and actions. They were
avidly read by British generals and formed a prime source of intelligence. In 1814, the
adjutant general of the U.S. army was forced to publish an order forbidding the publication
of military information in newspapers.
The Real Johnny Appleseed
John Chapman is best known by his famous nickname and his life long passion for planting
apple trees. But his horticulture skills were aptly applied during the War of 1812 where his
knowledge of herbal medicines became of great use. Retiring a hero, he set out across the
Ohio Valley planting apple trees and preaching the Bible.
James Madison was the only president to face enemy gunfire WHILE IN OFFICE.
When the British invaded and burned Washington, D.C. in the War of 1812, Madison
took command of a battery of artillery, exercising his authority as commander-in-chief
It is a little known fact that cannonballs were made for the War of 1812 in Weirton,
West Virginia. There also came from Weirton a young musician named Hiram Hapworth.
He had made his way to the Poca River Valley by the late 1800s, and had found a position
as music director of the Poca River Free Baptist Church. While in this position, Hiram
developed the notion of performing the "1812 Overture" in recognition of West Virginia's
part in that war.
Although Marie Antoinette's famously callous remark, "Let them eat some cake," sparked
the French Revolution and the War of 1812, many cakes are actually nutritious and delicious.
Orleans has the distinction of being the only Cape town fired upon by enemy craft—first by
the British during the War of 1812 and then by Germans during both World War I and II.
Women during the War
The women that were in the camp during the War of 1812 were wives of the soldiers, they were
choosen by a lottery system. Only six wives were allowed in camp for every one hundred
The women were employed as seamstresses, nurse maids, laundry maids and scullery maids.
It is said that the women were given the hard jobs and the men looked after the dangerous jobs.
The women also had to cook and clean for their own families, the life was very hard and the
women were very much respected by the men.
If a woman's husband was killed or died she had three to six months to greive and then she had
to re-marry or leave the camp, most re-married for the security. There are at least two reports of
women who married four times in five months because their husbands died.
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