Donna Kwon March 27, 2009
Mrs. Hannah Social Studies
U.S. VICTORY LEAVES BRITISH BURNING AND AMERICA VICTORIOUS
Even after the crushing disappointment of the failure to conquer Kingston, Upper Canada, the
American fleet, led by Major-General Henry Dearborn, persisted towards York, the Upper Canadian
capital, believing that a victory at York could be just as much as a devastating blow to the British as the
taking of Kingston could have been.
With general consensus that the British might never recover from a loss of two ships, the
Americans sailed forward with confidence in their abilities. On Tuesday, April 27, 1813, American
warships docked a couple miles west of the government house.
Though the British promptly dispatched their soldiers, the York Volunteers were sent out to act
as guides, causing everyone to become temporarily lost in the woods. By the time the British and
Canadians arrived at the landing point, American soldiers were already ashore and firing grape and pot
shots at the British soldiers.
Because of this huge disadvantage, the York Volunteers all but vanished, along with others who
seemed to evaporate from the battle. However, in all the confusion the two British ships that the
American soldiers had hoped to capture.
After the exodus of the British regulars, the American soldiers were met with no further
resistance. Their thirst for retribution pushed them over the edge of caution, and they vandalized
private property, burning some houses down and looting others. In a stroke of brilliance, they seize all
public stories, acquiring the ammunition and other equipment that were meant for the British Lake Erie
Giddy with euphoria at this victory, the American soldiers returned, confident that they would
no longer receive any trouble from the Upper Canadians.
BATTLE OF THE GREAT LAKES: VICTORY OVER THE ERIE
Pressured by continuous American victories, the British attempted to take control of Lake Erie,
in a poor endeavor to regain naval superiority over the lake. Master Commandant Oliver H. Perry, the
new commander of the American fleet on Lake Erie, learned of this and quickly began to prepare for
An effort was made to hinder the American ships by blockading Presque Isle, which prevented
Perry from moving two of his ships, Niagara and Lawrence, over the harbor’s sand bar. The two
opposing sides waited, each daring the other to see how long their supplies lasted. Finally, on July 29,
the British were forced to depart because of low supplies. Taking advantage of this golden opportunity,
Perry sailed his ships out of the harbor.
Both the Americans and the British were beginning to feel anxiety coursing through their blood,
as both fleet realized the importance of the ownership of Lake Erie. In early September, battle erupted
on the sea.
After hours of battle and heavy casualties on either side, the Niagara, aided by arriving
gunboats, forced the British into submission. Perry had managed to capture the entire British squadron
and secured American control of Lake Erie. In a momentous letter written to General William Henry
Harrison, Perry proudly reported, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.”
THE WHITE HOUSE HAS BURNED TO THE GROUND: WILL THE REST OF AMERICA FOLLOW? Donna Kwon March 27, 2009
Mrs. Hannah Social Studies
Angry creatures, the British were, in the August of our 3 year at war. Taking our troops by
surprise, British ships sailed into Chesapeake Bay, just to the south of Washington D.C., America’s highly
respected capital, and marched inland.
The American Army could do little to impede them, as they were well to the North, and only a
hastily organized militia was available for combat.
At what is now known as the Battle of Bladensburg, a last-ditch attempt to defend the city, the
British swiftly overwhelmed the American’s disordered militia, sweeping through the American soldiers
and leaving them in ruins.
In what seemed to be retaliation for the capture and plundering of the Upper Canadian capitol
of York, the British barbarically set fire to President Madison’s residence on August 24, 1814, burning
down the White House and effectively tarnishing America’s pride.
Thankfully, President Madison and First Lady Dolly Madison escaped unscathed, with the First
Lady even managing to salvage a full-length portrait of General and president George Washington, a
priceless piece painted by the artist Gilbert Stuart.
However, the British were not satisfied with the smoldering the White House. They began to
destroy and burn any building even distantly connected with the United State’s government. In this
devastation were included the Senate House, dockyards, arsenals, barracks, storehouses, and many
These acts of extreme violence did not deter the president, however. From the ruins of the
capitol emerged an iron will to restore the glory of the White House, and American soldiers continued to
struggle against the British all the more, a burning fire ignited in the mindsets of many.
A NATIONAL ANTHEM BLOOMS FROM THE DEPTHS OF THE BATTLE OF BALTIMORE
In the early hours of September 12 , 1814, British troops disembarked from their ships in
anticipation of capturing Baltimore, Maryland. However, their hopes were dashed—the American troops
were ready for them. The American militia, outnumbered 3 to one with about 3000 men, was being
commanded by Brigadier John Stricker, a man who was fatally wounded a few minutes into the battle.
This did not crack the American soldiers’ determination, however, and they managed to fend off
the British. The British, though they managed to break the first two American lines, found that their land
path to Baltimore was efficiently blocked.
The British commander then took the only actions he c