In May of 1813, United States forces captured the British post of Fort George near Niagara Falls on the Canadian border. Upon abandoning the position later that year, Brigadier General George McClure ordered his troops to withdraw back across the Niagara River and destroy the town of Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario), leaving hundreds of civilians homeless during a very cold winter. The U.S. secretary of war, John Armstrong Jr., dismissed McClure for this action, but the general defended his commands and explained his perspective in an 1817 book, Causes of the Destruction of the American Towns on the Niagara Frontier.
McClure's narrative is one of the many firsthand accounts featured in this new microfilm collection, The War of 1812: Battles and Campaigns, Personal Narratives, and Unit Histories. The War of 1812 has been called the United States' second war of independence, and, indeed, the conflict with Great Britain came at a critical moment in the history of the country, as the generation that had fought the American Revolution, created the Constitution, and founded the republic was yielding the stage to a new generation of leaders. Among the distinguished military heroes of the War of 1812, two_Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison_would become presidents of the United States, and Winfield Scott would become the country's leading military officer of the first half of the nineteenth century. Negotiations in Europe culminating in the war-ending Treaty of Ghent would also launch the diplomatic and political career of John Quincy Adams, who went on to become one of the country's most influential secretaries of state as well as president himself. An under-heralded era in American history, the War of 1812 and the treaty settled many of the issues that had been left unresolved from the Revolution, especially the international role of the United States and its relations with Canada and Great Britain.
This microfiche collection, reproduced from the holdings of the Library of Congress, contains the story of participants, eyewitnesses, and analysts of the war from military, political, and diplomatic perspectives. The collection provides in-depth documentation of the war and its effects across a wide range of topics and places. UPA has organized the collection into four series_battles and campaigns, general histories, personal narratives, and unit histories.