United States and American History: 1814 and the War of 1812

About the history of the United States in 1814, the end of the War of 1812, Washington is burned by the British, the treaty of Ghent is signed.


--The 1st cotton cloth was manufactured by power machinery in Waltham, Mass.

--Secretary of War James Monroe proposed a draft or generous bounties to raise a regular army of about 100,000. Congress did nothing.

--Education at Harvard cost approximately $300 per year. Classes were given 5 days a week from 6 A.M. to 4 P.M. Harvard president John Thornton Kirkland encouraged social life and contributed to the beginnings of some of Harvard's clubs, among them the Hasty Pudding club.

Jan. 3 England's proposal for peace negotiations reached Washington.

Jan. 18-Feb. 8 The Senate confirmed 5 peace commissioners: John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, James A. Bayard, Albert Gallatin, and Jonathan Russell.

May 27 Creek chief William Weatherford (Red Eagle) surrendered to Gen. Andrew Jackson after the Battle of Horse Shoe Bend. This broke the power of the Creeks as a nation.

I am in your power; do with me as you please. I am a soldier, I have done the white people all the harm I could. I have fought them and fought them bravely. If I had an army, I would yet fight, and contend to the last.

Aug. 8 Peace negotiations began in Ghent, Belgium.

Aug. 9 The Creeks, through a treaty, gave most of their lands to the U.S., ending Indian occupation of south and west Alabama.

Aug. 23 As the British prepared to invade Washington, D.C., Dolley Madison wrote her sister indicating the President had departed the day before after instructing her to be ready to leave the White House at a moment's notice. Dolley told of "watching with unwearied anxiety" for the return of her husband. Later in the day, when the battle at nearby Bladensburg was won by the British, Dolley fled. She took with her the White House silver plate, a portrait of Washington, some official papers, and her parrot.

British accounts the next day told of a table spread for 40 guests, complete with several wines, joints of various sorts, and "all other requisites for an elegant and substantial repast . . . in a state which indicated that they had been lately and precipitately abandoned." Dolley Madison's fame as a hostess deserves to be legendary if, indeed, during the 48 hours everyone was either leaving Washington or bracing for attack, she blithely went on preparing dinner for 40.

Aug. 24 The British set the White House, Capitol, and Navy Yard afire. Adm. George Cockburn supervised demolition of the office of the National Intelligencer, telling his men to "destroy all the 'C's' so they can't abuse my name."

Dec. 24 Treaty of Ghent signed. One provision concerned the return of slaves under the classification of property. The British protested this stipulation and it wasn't until 1824 that a price was set for those slaves who had been freed due to the war. Another article related to the Indians and guaranteed them the same status and territory they held in 1811. Though the U.S. signed treaties with the Indians after British withdrawal, it never returned their lands to them.

Considering the comings and goings of the inexperienced militiamen, it is a wonder that the American troops had any success at all-398,000 militiamen served for less than 6 months, while some served for a period of hours. When these men left after their term of service, they usually took home supplies, adding to the already critical materials shortage. The U.S. cost for the War of 1812 was $105 million. And at the war's end, 25,975 British troops were still in Canada.

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