The War of 1812 Generals became a new generation of American heroes, villains, and political influencers.
By 1812 most of the Revolutionary War generation was passed away or were too old to do much fighting and a new generation had risen up and were itching to expand their territory and make a name for themselves.
These Warhawks became influential political figures in Congress and would lead a new generation into war.
American Generals and Leaders
James Madison did not realize how ill-equipped the United States was for war. Many of the leaders he assigned were veterans of the Revolutionary War and had grown fat and lacked the incentive to fight the British.
It would be the young generation that came up behind them and took commands in 1814 that would turn the tide of war and bring it to a stalemate.
President James Madison: Father of the Constitution, co-author of the Federalist papers, apprentice to Thomas Jefferson, Revolutionary War veteran, and 4th President of the United States. He declared war on Britain before Congress in 1812 and was present at the Battle of Bladensburg when the British routed the Americans and eventually burned the White House.
James Monroe: Secretary of State
William Jones: Secretary of Navy
John Armstrong: Secretary of War
Andrew Jackson: His success at the Battles of Horseshoe Bend and New Orleans launched him into the political scene. He became a superhero among the common man and would eventually be elected as President of the United States.
Jacob Brown: Had much success in the Northwest and became a national hero. He was wounded at the Battle of Lundy Lane, but recovered and participated in the Siege of Fort Erie.
Henry Dearborn: A Revolutionary War veteran. He was partly to blame for the Fall of Detroit but saw success in the Battle of York. His success was minimal and was recalled from the field and placed in an administrative role.
Wade Hampton I: A Revolutionary War veteran that did not see any success during the war. He resigned his commission in 1814 and returned to South Carolina.
Stephen Van Rensselaer: He was given a command and suffered a terrible defeat at the Battle of Queenston Heights. The humiliation ended his military career. Later in his life, he went on to become an influential advocate for higher education.
James Wilkinson: A Revolutionary War veteran who served under many presidents. He saw some success in the Mobile District in the Mississippi Territory. He was assigned to the St. Lawrence River theater of war where he failed and was discharged from the Army on June 15, 1815.
William H. Winder: Participated in the Battle of Bladensburg and Stoney Creek. He was captured at Stoney Creek and after the Battle of Bladensburg was removed from command.
William Hull: The American General that was responsible for the Fall of Detroit without a shot being fired. He was court-martialed and then sentenced to death.
President James Madison commuted the sentence to merely dismiss him from the Army in recognition of his heroic service during the Revolutionary War
Peter Buell Porter: Served as quartermaster at the beginning of the war and raised and commanded a brigade of New York militia that incorporated a Six Nations Indian contingent and led his command with distinction.
He brokered a deal with Red Jacket, who agreed to provide 500 troops under Porter's command. For his actions, he has presented a gold medal under a joint resolution of Congress dated November 3, 1814 "for gallantry and good conduct" during the Battle of Chippewa, the Battle of Niagara, and the Siege of Fort Erie.
Alexander Smyth: He was promoted to brigadier general on July 6, 1812. After the Battle of Queenston Heights Smyth was given a command and proved himself inept. His plan to invade Canada started with the Battle of Frenchman's Creek but was then abandoned because of problems due to poor organization.
James Barron: Commander of the Chesapeake during the Chesapeake-Leopard incident that sent the nation spiraling into war.
Oliver Hazard Perry: Saw success at the Battle of Lake Erie. His success in the public eye did not last long as he would be court-martialed later for some of his actions.
Isaac Hull: He was the Captain of the USS Constitution and became a national hero after defeating the HMS Guerriere. He spent the rest of the war at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. Here he oversaw the construction of other U.S. Navy ships.
Isaac Chauncey: He was an officer in the United States Navy who served in the Quasi-War, The Barbary Wars, and the War of 1812. In the latter part of his naval career, he was President of the Board of Navy Commissioners.
James Lawrence: He was an American naval officer. During the War of 1812, he commanded USS Chesapeake in a single-ship action against HMS Shannon commanded by Philip Broke. He is probably best known today for his last words or "dying command" "Don't give up the ship!", which is still a popular naval battle cry, and which was invoked by Oliver Hazard Perry's personal battle flag, adopted to commemorate his dead friend.
William Bainbridge: He served under six presidents beginning with John Adams and is notable for his many victories at sea. He commanded several famous naval ships, including the USS Constitution and saw service in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812. Bainbridge was also in command of USS Philadelphia when she grounded off the shores of Tripoli in North Africa, resulting in his capture and imprisonment for many months. In the latter part of his career, he became the U.S. Naval Commissioner.
Stephen Decatur: He served with distinction throughout the War of 1812. He was known for his leadership and genuine concern for his men. Decatur's career came to an early end when he was killed in a duel with a rival officer.
Charles Stewart: He was an officer in the United States Navy who commanded a number of US Navy ships, including USS Constitution. He saw service during the Quasi-War and both Barbary Wars in the Mediterranean along North Africa and the War of 1812. He lived a long life and was the last surviving Navy captain who had served in the War of 1812.
Jacob Jones: He was promoted to the rank of Captain in March 1813 and given command of the frigate USS Macedonian. He spent time in Decatur's squadron, which was bottled up at New London during 1814. Later, Captain Jones was sent to the Lake Ontario theater, where he commanded the frigate USS Mohawk during the last year of the war.
Charles Morris: Morris was appointed an executive officer of the USS Constitution under the command of Isaac Hull during her battle with the HMS Guerriere, in which action Morris was severely wounded. He was promoted to captain on March 3, 1813. In 1814, he commanded the USS Adams in raiding expeditions against British commerce. Cornered in the Penobscot River in Maine he and his men went ashore with their cannons and, assisted by local militia attempted to hold off the British amphibious force in the Battle of Hampden.
Thomas Macdonough: He achieved fame during the War of 1812, commanding the American naval forces that defeated the British navy at the Battle of Lake Champlain, part of the larger Battle of Plattsburgh, which helped lead to an end to that war.
William Crane: He was in command of the brigantine USS Nautilus on 29 July 1812, when it was captured by a British squadron. Crane was promoted to master commandant on March 4, 1813, and to captain on November 22, 1814.
Johnston Blakely: He was an officer in the United States Navy during the Quasi-War with France and the War of 1812. He is considered to be one of the most successful American naval officers of that period. After a successful cruise, it is believed he was lost at sea. Blakeley received the Thanks of Congress, a gold medal, and posthumous advancement to the rank of Captain for his last cruise.
British Generals and Leaders
In 1812 the British were more concerned with Napoleon's attack on Moscow, then what was going on in North America. When the war was declared they were ill-equipped to launch an attack and did everything in their power to defend the land they had.
George Prevost: He served as both the civilian Governor-General and the military Commander in Chief in Canada during the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States.
Gordon Drummond: He was a Canadian-born British army officer and the first official to command the military and the civil government of Canada. As Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, Drummond distinguished himself on the Niagara front in the War of 1812 and later became Governor-General and Administrator of Canada.
Edward Pakenham: He was the commander of British forces in North America during the War of 1812. On 8 January 1815, Pakenham was killed in action while leading his men at the Battle of New Orleans.
Isaac Brock: He was one of the commanders of the British Army in Upper Canada who developed a close relationship with Tecumseh. He captured Detroit and led the British and their Native allies at the Battle of Queenston Heights. Despite British success at Queenston Heights, the Americans struck a hard blow to the British when Brock was killed in action when a bullet went through his heart.
Francis De Rottenburg: He was a military officer and colonial administrator who served in the armies of the Kingdom of France and later the United Kingdom. He served in the Montreal district during the War of 1812.
Henry Proctor: Hw was a British major-general who served in Canada during the War of 1812. He is best known as the commander who was decisively defeated in 1813 by the Americans and left western Upper Canada in American hands. Procter is regarded by many as an inept leader.
Phineas Riall: He was the British general who succeeded John Vincent as commanding officer of the Niagara Peninsula in Upper Canada during the War of 1812.
Robert Ross: He was a veteran officer from the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and arrived in the United States to attack the capital. He saw success at the Battle of Bladensburg and then moved towards Baltimore. On September 12, he was shot while commanding troops at North Point and died while being moved to the rear.
Robert H. Sheaffe: He was a Loyalist General in the British Army during the War of 1812. He was promoted to a Baronet in 1813 and afterward served as Commander and acting Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada.
John B. Warren: He served during the British invasion of Maryland in 1814 and led a detail of British troops that occupied Havre de Grace and set fire to much of the town, including the home of Commodore John Rodgers
Robert Barclay: He was a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars who was detached to America after the War of 1812 begun. He arrived and was given command of a detached squadron on Lake Erie.
James L. Yeo: He was a veteran of many engagements before the outbreak of the War of 1812. Yeo was then given command of the squadron on Lake Ontario, commanding it in several engagements with the Americans.
Tecumseh: An influential Shawnee leader who sought to unite the tribes and form an independent Indian nation. He allied with the British but was killed at the Battle of Thames. The Indian alliances crumbled after his death.
John Norton: He was a military leader of Iroquois warriors in the War of 1812 on behalf of Great Britain against the United States. Commissioned as a major, he led warriors from the Six Nations of the Grand River into battle against American invaders at Queenston Heights, Stoney Creek, and Chippewa.