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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

13 Resources to Remember the War of 1812

In my previous article, "12 Reasons to Remember the War of 1812" I discovered those points worth remembering it.  Now to find resources to help you find that information easily and a few unusual ones.  Some will be general resources and some are specific to one of those reasons. 

  1. Donald R. Hickey wrote 2 books giving a brief option, The War of 1812; A Short History and he also wrote the award winning War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict for deeper coverage
  2. Never overlook the value of children's books for a quicker introduction and Don Nardo's The War of 1812 offers both basic coverage and knows how to capture the curiosity of young readers.  Try it!
  3. Wikipedia has become a more reliable source than in its early days.  Be sure always to check also the "Talk" tab to see further discussion.  Find it at English language and put in your topic in the search box
  4. Amy Elliott Bragg's book, Hidden History of Detroit, and her blog, The Night Train provide unusual information worth knowing
  5. Visit Fort Malden in Amherstburg, Ontario just across the river from Detroit.  Hear about life there watching for the Yankee "insurgents"
  6. Nardo's book gives a great view of Old Ironsides in battle, but David L.  Weitzman's book is an outstanding printed look at the entire ship
  7. The River Raisin Battlefield in Monroe, MI has something at all times to help you understand the importance of the rallying cry "Remember the River Raisin!" plus a January reenactment and quarterly discussions
  8. Commodore Perry has 3 attractions in Put in Bay, OH to look at the Battle of Lake Erie along with plenty of recreation. ("We have met the enemy" and forgive Ohio for the nearby later Toledo War of 1835-36)
  9. Tecumseh was unsuccessful in halting American expansion by siding with the British, but his bravery and qualities were honored by William Henry Harrison, who fought him at the Battle of Tippecanoe and the Battle of the Thames.  The best information I've found on the internet is this thorough article available through The "Wayback Machine" internet archive
  10. Dolley Madison's story is exciting enough, but the full information on The Burning of Washington is by Anthony S. Pitch and climaxes on p.14 to the end on p.17 -- she was personally in danger, threatened by the British
  11. Controversy about Alexander Macomb, "the Hero of Plattsburgh" and namesake of a local county and township, is included with facts about his Detroit statue at Detroit: The History and Future of the Motor City
  12. The Smithsonian's look at Francis Scott Key's writing "The Star-Spangled Banner" is interactive and offers many ways of understanding it and its role in the war and beyond
  13. While researching #10 I developed a love of Eyewitness to for its "History through the eyes of those who lived it."  Looking for historical stories to bring an event to life? Start there. The Battle of New Orleans facts are as lively as Johnny Horton's tall tale song. (The lyrics have a few minor typos, but you can also hear it.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

12 Reasons to Remember the War of 1812

It's the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and even the award winning book about it is titled, "War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict."  Teachers must cover the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. At a recent history conference it was admitted this war is easily overlooked and too often indeed "Forgotten."

First a disclaimer since this will focus mainly on the Great Lakes region. I grew up in Missouri and didn't hear about this while in school. My daughters did grow up here and never had any assignments about the War of 1812.

I've discovered a dozen things crucial to this area:
  1. What started this war?
  2. This was the Northwest Territory, the frontier for the still quite young and barely United States
  3. I'd heard the phrase "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!", knew it was a political slogan, but not the role of the Battle of Tippecanoe with William Henry Harrison (Nov. 7, 1811)
  4. The surrender of Detroit by General William Hull put the whole outcome of the war in doubt immediately (Aug. 16, 1812)
  5. General Hull's nephew, Isaac Hull, on the east coast proved the fledgling Yankee fleet could defeat the British Navy with his USS Constitution, now known as Old Ironsides (Aug. 19, 1812)
  6. The massacre of wounded and surrendered soldiers at Frenchtown, now Monroe, created the rallying cry "Remember the River Raisin!" (Jan. 23, 1813) and the soldiers came mainly from Kentucky
  7. Commodore Perry took a newly built fleet and won the Battle of Lake Erie. He wrote on the back of a letter to William Henry Harrison: We have met the enemy and they are ours (Sept. 10, 1813)
  8. Tecumseh unsuccessfully tried to halt American expansion by siding with the British. When Americans retook Detroit after the Battle of Lake Erie, they crossed into Canada, found Fort Malden burned, then charged into the Battle of the Thames shouting "Remember the Raisin!", killing Tecumseh and winning the battle (Oct. 5, 1813)
  9. Dolley Madison saved White House treasures when the British burned it, but that was only part of the story (Aug. 24-25, 1814)
  10. Alexander Macomb, namesake of a local county and township, was the Hero of Plattsburgh. He stated "Fortune always favors the brave", refusing to retreat although greatly outnumbered.  He succeeded (Sept. 11, 1814)
  11. Francis Scott Key's writing "The Star-Spangled Banner" matched Yankee resistance (Sept. 14, 1814)
  12. Andrew Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans even as the final treaty was being completed. (Jan. 8, 1815) 
Next 12 Resources to Remember the War of 1812 will form the second half of this look at 12 Reasons to Remember the War of 1812.  (Some are unusual!)