The American ship which gained the greatest fame during the war was the
Constitution, aka "Old Ironsides". This ship was victorious in three major
battles and a good many minor ones, and never once was it defeated. Old Ironsides
lives on today thanks to the fund-raising efforts of American schoolchildren to save
it and recondition it.
Fifteen star flag of 1812
During the War of 1812 there were 15 states in the Union, Vermont and Kentucky having
been added to the original 13.
An enormous version of this flag, commissioned by
Major Armistead, flew
over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore and inspired Francis Scott Key to
write "The Star Spangled Banner".
The War of 1812 (1812-1815)
by Victoria Proctor ©1999
The war in Europe between Napoleon's France and Britain inevitably drew
the United States into a second war with England for several reasons:
- ECONOMIC: the European war created great demand for American products and U.S.
merchants wished to trade, as citizens of a neutral country, with both sides. Napoleon,
however, forbade any nation to trade with England, and England forbade any nation to
trade with France. Neither nation accepted the U.S. stance of neutrality, and blockades
were set up to prevent American merchants from delivering and selling their goods in Europe.
- U.S. SAILORS KIDNAPPED: Between 1803 and 1812, it is estimated that British
captains captured 10,000 American sailors and forced them to serve on British
ships. In June 1807, just three miles off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia, the
British ship Leopard fired on the frigate Chesapeake after her captain,
Commodore James Barron, refused to allow the British to board in search of "deserters".
- FRONTIER PROBLEMS: The quarrel with Great Britain not only concerned trade and
impressment, but difficulties on land also. Frontiersmen, both in the Northwest and in the
South had to contend with constant warfare with the Indians. Americans suspected that the
British in Canada were both encouraging Indian warfare and supplying the Indians with arms and
(My apologies to Native Americans but the term "Indians" is simply clearer in this context.)
By 1810, John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina, led a pro-war faction in Congress
known as the "War Hawks". President Madison asked Congress for a declaration of war on England,
and on June 18, 1812, pushed by the War Hawks, Congress declared "Mr. Madison's War".
John C. Calhoun
THE WAR OF 1812 IN SOUTH CAROLINA
Although South Carolina provided at least 5,000 soldiers to the national war
effort, subsidized volunteer militia, raised a half-million dollars for self-defense, and
upgraded coastal defenses, there were no significant battles or skirmishes here. The
British blockaded Saint Helena Sound, and raided plantations on the larger sea islands
off the coast of Beaufort County, South Carolina. The sea islands were a prime source for
the much-valued sea-island cotton. According to one source, the British
invaded Hilton Head Island and burned most of the plantation homes near navigable waters.
The British did not, however, invade the South Carolina mainland as many Charlestonians
feared they might, considering their experiences during the Revolutionary War.
For more information on the events of the War of 1812, see
War of 1812 History
- from American Military History, at the U.S. Army website.
South Carolina's War of 1812
Unless otherwise indicated, the source for each soldier's
National Archives, Record Group 94, Microfilm, ID M652
Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who
Served During the War of 1812 in Organizations From the State of South
With special thanks to Roxsanne Wells-Layton who contributed the
unit roster lists
from which these surname pages were initially drawn. Please note that South Carolina's military
units in 1812 were composed of men from numerous counties and cannot be easily
assigned as belonging solely to one location. However, a review of these unit rosters
will help you determine which "John Jones" is yours if you are familiar with the names of his neighbors. Then, as now, men from the same
town/county/area tended to enlist together.
This page created and maintained by
Victoria Proctor Copyright © 1999, 2014. All rights reserved.