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BEST 1812 PROGRAMS

BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS Click HERE Powerpoint Program developed and presented by Bonnie Pepper Cook, Chalmette Chapter, Louisiana Society.

HEROINES WAR OF 1812 - This powerpoint presentation created by Sharon Myers has been selected as our Second Best Powerpoint Program for 2013-2014. Sharon Myers is the President of the William Wetmore Chapter, Ohio Society of the U.S. Daughters of 1812. Click HERE

 

FIRST PLACE WINNER

WAR OF 1812 IN THE NORTH- Click HERE

GUEST COLUMN: STAR SPANGLED BANNER CELEBRATES
WAR OF 1812 BICENTENNIAL

by Sharon Myers Published: December 29, 2013

 

As we enter 2014, let us remember that this year marks yet another Bicentennial -- that being "The Star-Spangled Banner," our national anthem, which was written during the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore by Francis Scott Key during the last year of the War of 1812.

British troops had attacked Washington, D.C., setting fire to many important government buildings, including the White House and the U.S. Capital in late August 1814 and marched toward Baltimore, the third largest city in the U.S. and the center for shipping and boat building. If the British took Baltimore, they could destroy American ships and without ships, the U.S. would have little hope of winning the war.

The British raided American farms and houses and broke into the home of Dr. William Beanes looking for food and drink and valuables. Beane and his friends were able to round up the thieves and place them under arrest. One soldier escaped and reached British General Robert Ross and told him what had happened. Ross sent the troops to arrest Dr. Beanes, who was then jailed in Ross's warship the Tonnant.

Although Beanes was an American, his captors thought he was British, charged him with treason and threatened to hang him. Francis Scott Key, a well-respected lawyer, heard about his friend's capture and got permission from President Madison to negotiate with the British on Beane's behalf. Key arranged to have an American agent for prisoner exchange accompany him. They found and boarded the Tonnant.

Key and Skinner pleaded their case to General Ross showing him letters from British soldiers who had been wounded and Dr. Beanes had treated the men with kindness. After conferring with the British, they relented but would not release the doctor or Key immediately because they had seen and heard too much of the preparations for the attack on Baltimore. They were placed under guard and were forced to wait out the battle behind the British fleet.

On Sept. 13, 1814, the British attacked Baltimore's Fort McHenry. British warships continuously bombarded the fort for 25 hours. 1,500 shells were used. They ceased fire due to a lack of ammunition.

Prior to this, Maj. George Armistead, Commander of Fort McHenry, asked seamstress Mary Pickersgill to create a flag to fly over Fort McHenry prior to the battle. This flag was to be so large that the British troops would easily identify Armistead's position from afar. Pickersgill spent six weeks making the 30- foot by 42-foot flag.

Key watched the bombs bursting in air as the British attacked the fort throughout the night. Unknown to Key, the battle was actually going badly for the British. They had underestimated the American forces. American officers had sunk more than 20 ships in Baltimore Harbor before the battle which created an underwater wall that kept the British ships too far away to seriously damage the fort.

The next morning by the dawn's early light Key saw the broad stripes and bright stars of the U.S. flag still waving in the distance over Fort McHenry, sending a big message: the United States had not surrendered. Key wrote a patriotic poem called "The Defense of Fort McHenry."

True to their word, the British freed Key, Skinner and Beanes after the battle. Copies of Key's poem were given to soldiers and in November it was set to music by publisher Thomas Carr. The United States has used it as the national song since the 1880s. It was made the official national anthem by Congress in 1931 under President Herbert Hoover, replacing Hail Columbia.

The flag remained in the possession of Major Armistead for some time. Pieces of it were given to the fort's soldiers or their wives. It is now 8 feet shorter than it was originally. It has been permanently housed at the Smithsonian since 1912 and has undergone multiple restoration efforts.

The flag had 15 stripes, not 13. The stars are 2 feet by 2 feet tip to tip. The flag will not unfurl in winds less than 5 mph. At least 3 to 5 people are required to raise and lower the flag as it weighs 45 pounds.

The Bicentennial of the War of 1812 has brought much enthusiasm and interest in this forgotten war and many researchers have delved deeper to discover answers to some of the controversies that have lived on through the past 200 years. One of these controversies that occurred right here in Summit County has been solved! I am speaking of the controversy of the three gunboats that were built here on the Cuyahoga River. We have discovered that they were, indeed, built here and ordered by the Army and not the Navy. They were used in the Battle of the Thames which was just a few weeks after the Battle of Lake Erie. They were indeed gunboats and not Schenectady boats as some have speculated. There is evidence that the Schenectady boats (flat boats similar to barges) were built in Cleveland and not Summit County. And yes, the Cuyahoga River was a navigable river and deemed so by the Federal Government during the early 1800s.

Contact Sharon Myers, President, William Wetmore Chapter Daughters of 1812 330-794-5099.

Editor's note: Myers will present a program entitled "O Say Can You See? The National Anthem Bicentennial 2014" to the Tallmadge Historical Society Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Olde Town Hall on Tallmadge Circle.

 

THE WAR OF 1812, A VERY COMPLICATED WAR.  

Dr.Linda Lee Williams Shabo….

Linda Shabo  as the Public Relations Chairman National of the U.S. Daughters of 1812

maintains three web sites devoted to the War of 1812:

www.alabamatrailswarof1812.com, http://www.daughterswar1812trails.com/ and

www.war1812trails.com. Linda’s first became interested in the War of 1812 as a

consequence her serving as Dr. Frank L. Owlsley’s research assistant.  Owlsley’s

Struggle for the Gulf Borderlands was published in 1981.  This comprehensive history

makes use of Spanish documents which were translated by Dr. Shabo-, Linda and

includes much material not considered by earlier historians.

                        Text                                   

We are now celebrating the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.  Exploring the War of

1812 is a complicated process full of contradictions.  It was fought by Americans who

claimed that they were fighting for “Freedom of the Seas,”and  an end to impressment of

seamen, yet , New England and New York, which relied on trade, were  solidly against

war.  Those  who voted to declare  war, the War Hawks, came from areas in the old

Northwest (then  Illinois ,Indiana, Ohio) and the old Southwest.  It has to be concluded

that land, more land was a major motivation for many of those who voted in favor of war,

 Indian lands and those of Canada.  A critic who opposed  declaring war on Great

Britain questioned why his colleagues  refused to declare war on France when France had

 seized twice as many American ships as the British had.

 

  Jefferson reflected the majority opinion of the time when he pronounced that 

  it would be easy to take Canada.  All the American would have to do is “ march in.”

 Jefferson was quickly proven wrong.  The only thing we accomplished by our attempts

 to invade Canada was we succeeded in uniting all of Canada  including French

 Canadians, against us..

 

  The real losers were the Indians.  Most of the Creeks in Alabama turned a deaf ear

to Tecumseh and listened, instead to Benjamin Hawkins who had encouraged them to

be successful farmers..  Their becoming successful farmers, however, did not save the

Indian  villages or their land from the land hungry Americans who swarmed upon them

 and  would  remove them all from their land within two decades after the War of 1812

 ended.

  The Battle of Horseshoe Bend was won by Cherokees who swam the Tallapoosa river

 and attacked  the fortified Village of Tohepeka (Horseshoe Bend)  from behind and the

 villagers of Lewiston, New York were saved by the “valiant” Tuscarora.

And yes, seamen from New England and New York turned privateers would save

American honor and that of their much maligned region by destroying British shipping

on the high seas in much the same way Andrew Jackson would prove his own merit when

he destroyed the British at New Orleans.  Jackson’s many critics, among them two

Tennessee governors and President Madison himself, had opposed Jackson’s being

given any military command because he had no military experience and was known

to be violent and extraordinarily hot tempered, something which had been demonstrated

by his having fought many duels, many of these in defense of his wife Rachel’s honor.

 Rachel Jackson’s contemporaries appear to have sympathized with her husband Lewis

 Robards who was granted a divorce from Rachel on the grounds of adultery in 1793.

Rachel, who had returned to Nashville from Natchez in 1790 with Jackson, was to live

 for more than four more decades in Nashville as a social outcast while her former

 husband went on to remarry and father ten children with a second wife.  Rachel may

have been pushed into loveless marriage by family members who clearly wanted her

to marry Lewis Robards. Robards was wealthy and well able to help Rachel’s family.

Rachel’s family at the time of her marriage to Robards consisted of a widowed mother

who moved to Nashville to run a boarding house and sixteen Donelson siblings of

varying ages.  She and Jackson, having no children of their own, later adopted a nephew

who was named for Andrew Jackson.

 

  I, however, have chosen not to speculate about Rachel Jackson’s motives for marrying

Robards. I have, instead, chosen here to tell you something about an American privateer,

Captain David Porter, commander of the Essex who successfully attacked the British in

South Pacific and a little more about Jackson the military commander and later president.

Both of these men, Porter and Jackson, won out over opponents by refusing to conform

 with what was expected of them.

The Massachusetts born Porter as commander of USS Essex (1799)  achieved fame by capturing the first British warship of the conflict, HMS Alert, August 13, 1812 as well as several merchantmen.
In February 1813 he sailed Essex around Cape Horn and cruised the Pacific warring on British whalers. Porter's first action in the Pacific was the capture of the Peruvian vessel Nereyda, and the release  the captured American whalers on board. Over the next year, Porter would capture 12 whaleships and 360 prisoners. In June 1813, Porter released his prisoners, on the condition that they not fight against the United States until they were formerly exchanged for American prisoners of war. Porter's usual tactic was to raise British colors to allay the British captain's suspicions, then once invited on board, he would reveal his true allegiance and purpose.
Porter and his fleet spent October–December 1813 resting and regrouping in the Marquesas Islands, which he claimed in the name of the United States and renamed them the Madison Islands, in honor of then-President James Madison
On March 28, 1814 Porter was forced to surrender to Captain James Hillyar off Valparaíso after an engagement which became known as the Battle of Valparaiso with the frigate HMS Phoebe and the sloop Cherub (1806), when his ship became too disabled to offer any resistance.
Essex casualties included 58 dead and 31 missing (of a crew of 154. Fifty-one of these are buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Valpraiso,Chile where there graves are marked by a large monument added
by the U.S. Navy in 1881.

Notably, Porter disobeyed orders when he took he crew around the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of South America to attack and capture British
Ships in the South Pacific.

 Jackson, however, disobeyed more orders.
At New Orleans he defied Governor Claiborne and accepted the offer of help provided by the pirate Jean Lafitte, a decision which gave Jackson needed artillery support which contributed to Jackson’s victory at the Battle of New Orleans.  He defied the Monroe Administration when he
imposed the Fort Jackson Treaty on the Creek Nation, this being a treaty which ceded many thousands of acres to the U.S.  Jackson’s treaty conflicted with the terms stated in the Treaty of Ghent that provided for the return to “status quo antebellum,” which was intended to assure all combatants possession of the lands and territories that they had prior to the beginning of the War of 1812.  Washington officials feared that a Britain which was already exhausted by having to fight decades of Napoleonic Wars would act to enforce the terms of the Treaty of Ghent.  Jackson also disobeyed direct orders when he invaded Spanish Flordia after the War of 1812 where he deposed the Spanish Governor and summarily executed two British subjects.  Again, however, no action was taken by either the British or the Spanish who agreed in 1821 to surrender what had been Spanish Florida to the Americans because they, the Spanish, had seen that they had been unable to defend it against Jackson.

 Jackson also defied the Governor Blount of Tennessee when he insisted upon executing six men who expected to return home to Tennessee from Mobile with their units after their three month terms of enlistment had expired.  This action became part of a congressional investigation in 1828, which was later abandoned after Jackson was elected president later the same year.

  Jackson’s action with regard to the executed six men served as a example to the rest of the militia units who had expected to return home at the end of their three month enlistments. Jackson’s decision to execute the six was clearly dictated by expediency.  Jackson realized that three month enlistments would prove fatal for a commander who needed to have an army in the field.  The length of enlistments was later extended to six months and in actual practice Jackson prevented many militia under his command from returning home by insisting their service did not begin when they were conscripted at home.

Jackson’s removal of the Cherokees several decades later exists as yet
another defiant and successful action.  By defying that U.S. Supreme
Court which has upheld the treaty guaranteeing the Cherokee in possession of the lands they held and ordering the removal of the Cherokees from Georgia and North Alabama, Jackson assured his continuing popularity with the frontier westerners who supported his presidency.

 

 

 

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Copyright 2012