Key Events & Causes: War of 1812

Burning of Washington, D.C.
(Library of Congress Memory Collection)

Event Date Location Significance
Napolean excludes British goods from "fortress Europe" 1806 Europe American ships caught in middle as British respond with blockade. British seize 1000 U.S. ships, French ca. 500.
British impress American sailors 1803-1812 High seas British captains took over 10,000 American citizens to man ships.
Chesapeake -Leopard fight June 1807 3 miles off Norfolk, Virginia Chesapeake fired on by Leopard after refusing to be boarded. 3 Americans killed, 18 wounded.
Embargo Act December 1807 Washington, D.C. Jefferson's attempt at "peaceful coercion" resulted in economic disaster for merchants.
War Hawks elected to Congress 1810 U.S. Calhoun, Clay, others bothered by insults to U.S. and Indian presence
Battle of Tippecanoe 1811 Ohio River Valley Tecumseh's brother (the Prophet) led attack on Harrison's army of 1000.
Congress declares "Mr. Madison's War" June 18, 1812 Washington, D.C. Pushed by War Hawks, Madison asked for declaration. All Federalists oppose it.
British capture Ft. Mackinac August 16, 1812 Michigan  U.S. lost fort as British invade American territory.
Invasion attempts of Canada 1812 U.S.--Canadian border 3 attempts of U.S. to invade Canada all fail.
Constitution vs. Guerriere 1812 Atlantic Ocean Victory by U.S. ship ("Old Ironsides"). Other privateers captured or burned British ships. 
Battle of Frenchtown January 1813 Michigan Kentucky troops repelled by British and Indians in bloody fighting. American survivors killed in Raisin River Massacre.
Battle of York (Toronto) April 1813 Toronto, Canada U.S. troops took control of Great Lakes, burn York. This action later returned by British burning of Washington, D.C.
Battle of Lake Erie September 1813 Put-in-Bay  British naval attack repulsed by Capt. Perry.
Battle of Thames October 1813 Ontario, Canada Tecumseh killed in U.S. victory. NW Indians weakened by battle.
Battle of Horseshoe Bend March 1814 Mississippi Territory Andrew Jackson defeated Creek Indians.
British plan 3-part invasion of U.S.: Chesapeake Bay, Lake Champlain, & mouth of Mississippi River 1814
British successful in Chesapeake, but fail at Lake Champlain and at New Orleans

British burn Washington, D.C.
August 1814
District of Columbia
Sailing up Patuxent River, British burn Capitol and White House. Dolley Madison saves Washington's portrait.
Battle of Plattsburgh September 1814 Lake Champlain U.S. secured northern border with victory over larger British force.
Hartford Convention December 15,1814 Hartford, Connecticut Group of Federalists discussed secession, propose 7 amendments to protect influence of Northeast states.
Treaty of Ghent December 24, 1814 Ghent, Belgium British and American diplomats agreed on status quo ante bellum
Battle of New Orleans January 1815 New Orleans Jackson's forces defeated British. 700 British killed, 1400 wounded. U.S. losses: 8 killed, 13 wounded

Please cite this source when appropriate:

 Feldmeth, Greg D. "U.S. History Resources" (31 March 1998).

Back to Outlines & Charts Index

Back to U.S. History Resources main page.