Friday, November 16, 2012

War of 1812 Facts

I am going to continue talking about the War of 1812 today but first I wanted to tell you about a contest I was in.

Earlier this month, I was chosen as one of the semi finalists for a book put out by the Authorshow.com. The book is entitled 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading. I was one of the winners and will be featured in the book.

Now onto the War of 1812. I am not going to go through two years of battles, that would be too boring and depressing. Instead, I am going to fill you in on some facts about the war.

The War of 1812 inspired a poem entitled The Star Spangled Banner. The poem was inspired by the Battle of Fort McHenry on September 3, 1812. Later it was put to music and in 1931, became the official national anthem.

This war was an important milestone for Canada and gave our nation a sense of identity. When the war ended in 1815, it gave a foundation for Confederation and the emergence of Canada as a free and independent nation.

If the Americans had won that war, Canada would not exist. It would have just become a part of the US. Then we would have lost the ethnic and linguistic diversity that the Crown allows us and thrown into the melting pot that is the US.

The Treaty of Ghent ended the war. It set the borders between Canada and the United States back to its 1811 configuration. The  reaty also called for a joint US-British boundary commission that would confirm the border between Canada and the US in the years following the war. This boundary is now the world's largest undefended border.

When the war ended, so did the hostilities between Canada and the US. It marked the beginning of two centuries of peace, cooperation and friendship.

Many modern reserve regiments in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces can trace their origins back to the War of 1812.

Laura Secord had nothing to do with chocolate even if that is how most of us know her name. Laura was an American born young woman who was married to a Canadian settler, James Secord. On the night of June 21, 1813, several American soldiers pushed their way into the Secord home and forced Laura to serve them dinner. While she was washing dishes, she heard the men discussing their upcoming attack on Lieutenant FitzGibbon at Beaver Dams. Her husband was barely able to walk, having been wounded in a battle six months earlier. So Laura set out at dawn to warn FitzGibbon.

She avoided the main roads and instead travelled by foot along a 19 mile difficult and circuitous route. It was dark by the time the brave woman reached Black Swamp. In a clearing, she stumbled upon some Iroquois natives. Impressed by Laura's urgency, the Chief assigned one of his men to escort her to FitzGibbon's headquarters.

The strange thing is that FitzGibbon initially didn't say anything about Laura Secord's visit. It wasn't until 1827 that her name appeared in reports.

Major-General Sir Isaac Brock was appointed to the Order of Bath for his capture of Detroit. He died at the Battle of Queenston Heights before he learned of this honour.

Tecumseh is probably the best-known First Nations leader of the War of 1812. However, Mohawk War Chief John Norton often led more warriors into battle.

The British chose to dress their soldiers in red coats so that they could be seen from a long distance. Due to the inaccuracy of the weapons, the enemy had to wait until the British were 100 metres away before firing. Untrained soldiers would be intimidated by the advancing army, often misjudging the size of the army, and retreat.

If it wasn't for the alliance with the First Nations, Canada would more than likely have lost the war. The First Nations were instrumental in many battles.

There is lots more to know about the War of 1812 but these last three entries have filled you in on some of the highlights.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Information for this entry was gathered from the Did You Know - Historical website through the Government of Canada. I also consulted the Insitute Historica Dominion Institute for information on Laura Secord.


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