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Fort George National Historic Site

The Onset of War - The 1812 Campaign.


Some prominent characters of the British Command Structure in the year 1812

King George III

Secretary For War and the Colonies
Lord Henry Bathurst third Earl of Bathurst

Overall Military Command in the Canadas
Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost

Right Division H.Q.
Fort Malden (area) incl. Detroit
Center Division
Fort George Niagara (area)
Left Division H.Q.
Kingston Eastern U.C./Quebec
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas St. George Later
Colonel Henry Procter
Major General Isaac Brock.
Replaced by Major General Roger Hale Sheaffe
(Baron) Major General
Francis de Rottenburg
Other Key Figures in the area Other Key Figures in the area Other Key Figures in the area
(Brigadier General) Tecumseh
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas St. George
Lieutenant Colonel Cecil Bisshopp Lieutenant Colonel John Vincent
Major Charles-Michel d'Irumberry de Salaberry
Captain Adam Muir

Captain Charles Roberts


Captain Dominique Ducharme

Indian Department
Some prominent characters of the American Command Structure in 1812

President James Madison

Secretary of War Dr. William Eustis

Overall Military Commander First
Major General Henry Dearborn

Detroit Niagara Sackets
Brigadier General
William Hull
Brigadier General Stephen Van Renessaler Brigadier General
Joeseph Bloomfield
Key Figures Key Figures Key Figures
Colonel Duncan
Colonel Lewis Cass
Colonel James Findlay
General Alexander Smyth
Lieutenant Colonel Winfield Scott
Solomon Van Renessaler
Brigadier General Jacob Brown
Lieutenant Colonel William H. Winder
Lieutenant Colonel Charles G. Boerstler
Colonel Electus Backus

The Land Action charts are designed to give a simple overview of battles that occurred in one calendar year. This can be used to supplement the time line as it separates simultaneous activities and shows where they happened. The divisions (Right, Center and Left) are historical ones created in 1813. If you stood in center of Upper Canada and faced the States, the Windsor /Detroit area would be on your right, Niagara York and Fort Erie would be central, and Kingston, Prescott and Cornwall would be on your left.

When reading the chart the month is indicated in the left hand column , the number at the beginning of the entry is the day of the month. British victories are marked in bold, smaller actions are in italics, and American victories and neutral information are indicated in regular type. i..e. On August 5 the British skirmished (Brownstown is in italics) with the Americans at Brownstown, and the British won.. If you check the time line for this date you would read:

August 5th, Battle of Brownstown
A small American force sent by Hull to escort incoming supplies to Fort Detroit is ambushed and defeated by a small group of Natives and British Regulars.

For teachers wishing to focus on Niagara, follow the action in the column marked Center Division, H.Q. Fort George and use it to select relevant dates from the time line.

1812 Land Actions

British (Canadian/Native) victories are in bold typeface. Smaller actions(raids/skirmishes) are indicated in italics

Month Right Division
Fort Malden
Center Division
Fort George
Left Division
June 18 War is Declared
July 12 Hull's Invasion
17 Michilimackinac
August 5 Brownstown
9 Magagua
12 Burning of Fort Dearborn
16 Capture of Detroit
16 Prevost agrees to a cease fire with Americans 16 Prevost agrees to a cease fire with Americans
September 3-6 Allied Native Raids
(Western Tribes Frontier)

25 Muir's Advance(no battle
9 Cease fire ends 9 Cease fire ends.
American raids into the 1,000 islands
October 13th Artillery exchange Forts George and Niagara /
Battle of Queenston Heights
21st Artillery exchange
Forts George and Niagara
November 28 American invasion attempt at Frenchman's Creek 20 American invasion attempt at Lacolle Mills
December 17 American force of 600 attack Miami village on the Mississinewa

Naval Charts are included in the package for two reasons. First, the role of the inland navy was crucial to the decisions land officers made. Most aggressive action between the U.S. and Canada required boats to cross the borders created by the Great Lakes. Once a crossing was achieved -could supplies reach them? Could the Navy evacuate them? Brigadier General Jacob Brown's failure to recapture the Niagara peninsula in 1814 was due to a lack of support from Commodore Isaac Chauncey on Lake Ontario. As the Great Lakes systems were the best passages in and out of the Canadian interior, boats were the fastest mass transport system of the period. An army's mobility depended on them. Control of the Great Lakes depended on the strength of the navy and naval battles often proved too costly (The loss of a single ship could tip the balance in the power struggle for control of the lakes) for the meagre number of ships and resources given to the Provincial Marine and the inland Navy.

Secondly, the charts are included to give a sampling of the conflict on the east coast of the continent, where the war was very different. Privateering, piracy, covert operations and full-fledged battles raged along the eastern seaboard as the United States fought the control of the British Navy on the Atlantic. Although this rarely had an impact for the war on the interior, for many Americans, control of their own commerce on the Atlantic was the main reason for the war.

Naval Campaigns 1812

British (Canadian/Native) victories are indicated in bold typeface

Month Lakes Huron and Erie Lake Ontario Lake Champlain East Coast and Atlantic Navy
June 18 U.S. declares war on Britain Provincial Marine in charge of British Great Lakes vessels. 5th U.S.capture of the Lord Nelson by the U.S.Brig. Oneida18 U.S. declares war on Britain 18 U.S. declares war on Britain Provincial Marine in charge of British Great Lakes vessels. 18 U.S. declares war on Britain
July 3 H.M.S. General Hunter captures the U.S.S. Cayahoga 19 British Skirmish at Sackets Harbour
31 H.M.S. Growler and H.M.S. Duke of Gloucester engage the U.S. Schooner Julia
17 British Squadron captures U.S. Brig Nautilus near New York.
August 16 U.S.Brig Adams Captured at Detroit 13 U.S.S. Essex captures H.M.S. Alert near the Azores
20 U.S.S. Constitution
victory and seizure of H.M.S. Guerriere south of Newfoundland
September Chauncey given command of American Great Lakes naval forces. Chauncey given command of American Great Lakes naval forces. A merican raids into the 1,000 islands
October 8 H.M.S. Caledonia and Detroit captured H.M.S. Detroit (formerly the U.S.S. Adams) destroyed. 1 British Capture of dismantled
Lady Murray at Genesee River
18 U.S.Sloop. Wasp captures H.M.Brig. Frolic north of Bermuda and both are taken back by H.M.S. Poictiers
25 U.S.S. United States captures H.M.S. Macedonian
November 10 US capture and burning of Two Brothers, pursuit of the Royal George
11 U.S. pursuit of the Governor Simcoe which sinks after the engagement / capture of the Mary Hatt and Elizabeth
22 H.M.S. Southhampton captures U.S. Brig Vixen Near Jamaica.
December 29 U.S.S. Constitution destroys H.M.S. Javanear Brazil.