Control of the lakes were key during the War of 1812 as the fastest way to move troops, equipment, and supplies was by water. Most the roads in the Canadas and the US weren’t the super highways we know today, they were nothing more than dirt roads that would easily become mud pits in the snow and rain. To maintain control of the lakes both sides maintained squadrons of ships that could keep the enemy pinned in their own bases. Unlike Lake Erie which was controlled first by the British because the US Naval Squadron had been captured in 1812 after Brock captured Detroit, andRead More →

The St. Lawrence River had remained relatively quiet during the first year of the war, in fact it was for the most part downright peaceful. Both sides were enjoying a rather healthy trade relationship. The simple fact was that most of the St. Lawrence valley was occupied by Loyalists, those who went to or were forced to move to the colony of Upper Canada following the American Revolution, and many still had family on the American side of the river. This was not going to fly in 1813, as the war escalated, raids became common. On the 6th of February, a raid lead by MajorRead More →

Despite having lost Lake Erie to the Americans in 1813, Commodore James Lucas Yeo was not about to let Commodore Isaac Chauncy repeat this on Lake Ontario. As such both men engaged in one of largest arms race during the war, the constant construction of ships. Yeo at the King’s navy yards in Kingston and Chauncy at Sackets Harbor. A note on the name of the title as ‘Raid on Oswgeo’ often you will find this known as Raid on Fort Oswego, this is simply not true, the main fort in the town was Fort Ontario, and was the only manned fortification in the city.Read More →

During the War of 1812, Sackets Harbor was the major US Naval base on Lake Ontario, home base to Commodore Isaac Chauncy’s squadron and primary shipyard for the navy. In 1812 the Royal Navy had bombarded the base with little effect, but in 1813 following the American capture of Fort George. General Vincent having fallen back to Burlington Heights sent a message to Prevost and the newly appointed Commodore James Lucas Yeo that Chauncy’s entire squadron was at Niagara leaving Sackets Harbor for the most part undefended. The former navy point, serving today as a marina. The newly appointing commander of the Lake Ontario Squadron,Read More →

One of the most controversial and convoluted battle in the War of 1812 is that of the Battle of Beaver Dams. It’s also been my most active posts in the project, at least my original posts. I have received more hate mail and rude comments (both of which will never be made public) so rather than let it stand as it is, I did what any good student of history would do, that is research more and learn more. In doing so I came across two books (both of which are cited at the bottom of this post) that have greatly opened my eyes toRead More →

Moral within the American army was falling fast by the autumn of 1813. While Detroit had one, and at the Battle of the Thames William Henry Harrison had secured the western parts of Upper Canada, a majority of the colony remained in the hands of the British, and the only American army that could strike remained pinned at Fort George. The other two armies languished at Sacket’s Harbor and Burlington Vermont on Lake Champlain. The secretary of war, John Armstrong was at odds with his new Commander-In-Chief, General James Wilkinson where to strike next. Wilkinson believed that the best place to strike against the BritishRead More →

When it came to naval warfare in the 19th century the undisputed masters of the sea was the Royal Navy. The rivers and lakes of Upper and Lower Canada were the highways of the day, these were the main trade routes not only for economic purposes but military as well. Any nation that controlled the waterways, could control the course of the war. With the United States not having a squadron of note on the Great Lakes at the start of the war the British were quick to seize control of both Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. With Brock’s capture of Detroit in August ofRead More →

The final engagement in the Northern Theatre of the War of 1812 was two different naval actions, but as the two are intimately connected, I have combined them into one entry and titled it after the second engagement, the Battle of Lake Huron. The results of this battle gave the undisputed British control over the North by the end of the war, and sole control of Lake Huron. Following Croghan’s failure to take back Mackinac Island in his frontal assault in August of 1814, Sinclair opted to blockade the small island fort and cut off the supply line which meant locating H.M. Schooner Nancy. Eventually,Read More →

When Oliver Hazard Perry defeated the British Squadron in September of 1813 it not only cut the British off from additional troops and supplies coming from the eastern parts of Upper Canada, but it also removed the key supply route up the Detroit River to the distant outpost at Fort Mackinac. By 1813 the British had moved all their northern operations to Fort Mackinac, leaving the old Fort St. Joseph in the hands of the Northwest Company, protected by the local militia. However when William Henry Harrison liberated Detroit, occupied Amherstburg and defeated Procter and Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames, his eye turnedRead More →

Both the United States Navy and the Royal Navy knew that who ever had control of the lakes and water ways could control the battlefields on the land. The water was the fastest most effective way to move armies and supplies. On the British side the squadron on Lake Ontario was commanded by Commodore James Lucas Yeo out of the Navy Yards at Kingston. The American’s squadron out of Sacketts Harbor under Commodore Isaac Chauncey. Sam Latta’s house as it stands today By 1813 both sides had ships roaming Lake Ontario, many conducting raids against the other’s shore targets and small villages and ports whereRead More →