The War of 1812: 91 Cool Facts

In many ways, it is considered a forgotten war. Between the United States and Britain as well as allies on each side, it seems the War of 1812 was confronting issues that were never completely solved in the War for Independence.

In today’s post, I am going to share 91 cool facts that you may not know about the War of 1812.

Let’s see how many of these facts you did know…

#1: Start And End

The War of 1812 started on June 18th, 1812 and ended completely on February 16th, 1815.

#2: 2 Wars For Great Britain

Great Britain was already at war with France when President Madison declared war on Britain too.

#3: Canada Recognizes This War Significantly

The War of 1812 is just a “spot” on American record books but Canada remembers it greatly. They did so with a War monument and spent $30,000,000 on the Bicentennial surrounding the war.

#4: The Amount Of United States Troops

The total amount of U.S. troops utilized in the War of 1812 was 286,730. In comparison:

  • 231,000 served in the Revolution
  • 2,750,000 served in the Civil War (both sides)
  • 4,743,826 served in World War 1
  • 16,100,000 served in World War 2

#5: Longer Than People Assume

You would think people would know more about the War of 1812. It lasted longer than:

  • The Mexican – American War
  • The Spanish – American War
  • And the length of time the United States was in World War 1

#6: Dolly Didn’t Save George, A Servant Did

When the British came to the capital, it is often said that First Lady Dolly Madison saved the portrait of George Washington. Truth be told, she saved silver while a servant was able to retrieve the portrait of our first president.

#7: You May Not Know About The War But You Know The Song

The United States anthem was written during the War of 1812… The Star Spangled Banner.

#8: One Reason

One of the reasons the U.S. declared war was because Britain was blocking trade with foreign nations.

#9: 2nd Reason

The British were giving Indians arms to fight.

#10: 3rd Reason

United States sailors were being forced to serve on British ships.

#11: 4th Reason

Britain assumed that America was trying to take Canada.

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#12: Last Reason

The U.S. was trying to “keep face” against a plethora of British insults.

#13: The Liberation Of Canada

war of 1812

A monument in Toronto, Canada showing War of 1812 Canadian soldier triumphing over an American soldier.
Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

United States leadership assumed that Canadian citizens would accept U.S. military help thinking they were liberating our Northern neighbor from British rule. This turned out to be a failure of assumption.

#14: No British Imports

During the war, the U.S. closed all ports to British cargo and would not allow the Brits to sell their goods.

#15: Exaggerated Numbers?

Several U.S. politicians stated that President Madison greatly exaggerated the numbers of U.S. sailors the British took to serve on their ships. The State Department claimed the number was 6,257 while others said the number was just over 100.

#16: Stephen Girard Saved The U.S. From Financial Ruin

Girard was one of the richest men in the U.S. and he opened a bank in Philadelphia. The credit of the U.S. hit a low point toward the end of the War of 1812, but Girard extended nearly all the bank’s assets to ensure U.S. survival.

The Bank of Girard is now owned by Citizen’s Bank.

#17: The Name

It is the only war to be named after a year.

#18: U.S. Soldiers Killed

The number of U.S. soldiers killed in action was 2,260.

#19: British Soldiers Killed

The number of British soldiers killed in action was approximately 1,600.

#20: Escaping Slaves

The estimates show that around 3,000 slaves escaped to Canada and their freedom.

#21: I’ll Drink To That

The tune to a British drinking song, To Anacreon in Heaven was used for the Star Spangled Banner.

#22: The Burning Of The White House

In August of 1814, British forces made their way to Washington and burned the Capitol and the White House. Before burning the White House, they ate the dinner that was prepared for the President and First Lady.

#23: Mass Bombing

When the British attacked Fort McHenry, they fired approximately 1,500 rockets and bombs… But Old Glory stood.

#24: The Saving Of The Patent Office

The clerk of the U.S. Patent Office through himself in front of British soldiers and convinced them not to burn the structure for the love of knowledge.

#25: The Winner Is???

When asked who won the War of 1812, many Canadian citizens will claim Canada did.

#26: Soldiers Or Sailors

The majority of U.S. sailors had much more battle experience than did U.S. soldiers. This came from British impressment and fighting pirates.

#27: Primary Weapon

The primary weapon used by soldiers was muzzle loading muskets that had a range of 100 yards.

#28: Near Secession

Massachusetts and other New England States considered seceding because the claimed that it was Madison’s War and people were near starvation.

#29: Treaty Signed

The British and Americans signed the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, but news traveled slowly and the War raged on.

#30: Uncle Sam

Legend has it that Uncle Sam was created during the War of 1812. A military vendor packed rations and his name was Sam Wilson. The outside of the container said U.S. Rations and one soldier was told the U.S. stood for Uncle Sam Wilson who was feeding them.

#31: The Winner Is???

Ask Americans who know about the War of 1812 who the winner is and the majority will say US because we won the Battle of New Orleans.

#32: Who Cares?

Ask the British who won the War of 1812, you will probably get a “Who Cares, but WE BURNED THEIR WHITE HOUSE!,” with roars of laughter.

#33: Disease Killed The Most

Diseases were the biggest killer in the War of 1812.

#34: Laura Secord

She is considered the Canadian, Female Paul Revere.

Laura walked over 20 miles from the U.S. to Canada to warn of a United States attack.

#35: Toronto Burning

I mentioned the British laughing about burning the White House, but they neglect to mention that Americans first burnt many buildings in York which is now Toronto.

#36: Stolen Lion

There is stolen property in the U.S. Naval Academy. It seems a British Imperial Lion was taken during the War and it is in the Naval Academy to this day.

#37: The Loser Is???

While no one can actually determine who the winner was, we do know who the loser was. American Indians lost a lot because of the War of 1812. Tecumseh was killed and British support was lost allowing the pushing of American Indians onto reservations.

#38: Stand Fast

I have always had great respect for Scottish Highlanders.

The 93rd Highlander Regiment was within range of the American forces. Their commanding officer was killed and they had no orders to push forward or retreat. They stood fast under enemy fire until a General came and ordered them to withdraw.

#39: The Battle On Lake Erie

Oliver Hazard Perry was the leader of a great battle on Lake Erie. This is when he wrote the famous line to General William Henry Harrison:

We have met the enemy, and they are ours.”

Primary Battles Of 1812

#40: Fort St. Joseph

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_St._Joseph_(Ontario)

#41: Battle of Michilimackinac

http://www.warof1812.ca/batmac.html

#42: Fort Malden

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Malden

#43: Capture of Detroit

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Detroit

Primary Battles Of 1813

#44: Battle of Ogdensburg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Ogdensburg

#45: Battle of York

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_York

#46: Battle of Fort George

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fort_George

#47: Battle of Stoney Creek

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stoney_Creek

#48: Battle of Beaver Dams

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Beaver_Dams

#49: Battle of Lake Erie

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lake_Erie

#50: Battle of the Thames

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Thames

#51: Battle of the Chateauguay

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Chateauguay

#52: Battle of Crysler’s Field

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Crysler%27s_Farm

Primary Battles Of 1814

#53: Battle of Chippawa

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Chippawa

#54: Battle of Lundy’s Lane

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lundy%27s_Lane

#55: Siege of Fort Erie

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Fort_Erie

American Leaders

#56: James Madison

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Madison

#57: Henry Dearborn

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Dearborn

#58: Jacob Brown

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Brown

#59: Winfield Scott

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winfield_Scott

#60: Andrew Jackson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Jackson

#61: William Henry Harrison

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Henry_Harrison

#62: William Winder

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._Winder

#63: William Hull

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hull

#64: Zebulon Pike

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebulon_Pike

#65: James Lawrence

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Lawrence

British Leaders

#66: Prince Regent George

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_IV_of_Great_Britain

#67: Lord Liverpool

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jenkinson,_2nd_Earl_of_Liverpool

#68: Sir George Prévost

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Pr%C3%A9vost

#69: Sir Isaac Brock

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Brock

#70: Gordon Drummond

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Drummond

#71: Charles de Salaberry

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_de_Salaberry

#72: Roger Hale Sheafe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Hale_Sheaffe

#73: Robert Ross

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Ross_(British_army_officer)

#74: Edward Pakenham

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Pakenham

#75: James FitzGibbon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_FitzGibbon

#76: Alexander Cochrane

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Cochrane

#77: James Lucas Yeo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Lucas_Yeo

#78: Techumseh

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tecumseh

More Cool Facts

#79: Cost

The War of 1812 cost the United States approximately $105,000,000.

#80: Naval Power

When the War of 1812 began the British had 600 ships and the United States only had 18.

#81: Mother Nature Saved Washington D.C. From Complete Destruction

Thanks to a ferocious thunderstorm and a tornado, the British stopped destroying Washington D.C. and the rain put the fires out.

#82: The Last War Of 1812 Veteran

Was Hiram Silas Cronk who died in 1905 at 105 years old.

#83: The British Paid Slave Owners

After the end of the War of 1812, the British paid a total of $1,204,960 to compensate slave owners whose slaves escaped.

#84: The White House Almost Was Rebuilt In Philadelphia

Because of the huge damages in Washington D.C., Congress had a proposal of moving it all to Philadelphia. The vote was 83-74 to keep it where it is.

#85: Andrew Jackson And The Battalion

Andrew Jackson welcomed free blacks into service and organized the Battalion, Brave Fellow Citizens made up of all blacks.

#86: The U.S. Commandeered

The United States Navy captured 2 British warships and converted them into American warships.

#87: Four Future Presidents

There were 4 future Presidents who were leaders in the War of 1812:

  • Andrew Jackson
  • William Henry Harrison
  • John Quincy Adams
  • and James Monroe

#88: The Kentucky Militia

Was the most feared batch of soldiers in this War. They scalped many Indians.

#89: The Federalist Party

The War of 1812 was the beginning of the end for the Federalist Party, Their antiwar stance harmed them.

#90: The Library of Congress

Since the library burned, Thomas Jefferson sold his complete collection of books to rebuild the Library of Congress.

#91: The U.S.S. Constitution

Was given the nickname Old Ironsides because a British sailor saw a cannonball bounce off her and said it must be made of iron. It was actually oak.

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed learning all these facts about the War of 1812 as much as I did researching and writing them for you.

Do you know any other facts that I missed?

Do you have any questions?

You can post comments and questions below.

Thank you for visiting and please hit the share buttons and let your social friends learn these too.

References

  1. https://www.factretriever.com/war-of-1812-facts
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812
  3. http://www.softschools.com/facts/history/war_of_1812_facts/862/
  4. http://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-war-of-1812
  5. https://www.factmonster.com/world/united-states-war/war-1812
  6. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-10-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-war-of-1812-102320130/
  7. http://www.kickassfacts.com/war-of-1812-facts/
  8. http://www.historynet.com/war-of-1812
  9. http://reidon.org/2012/06/18/58-things-you-should-know-about-the-war-of-1812/

About The Author

Greg Boudonck is a full time freelance writer and the author of over 50 books. He served in the United States Army in the early 1980’s and enjoys writing about military subjects. You can see Greg’s books on Amazon by searching his name and you can also visit his website at Lancerlife.com.

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