Posted by Murrisk on December 24, 2001 at 01:19:34:
On Christmas eve 1814, a treaty was signed between the U.S. and Great Britain/Canada in Ghent, Belgium, which closed the war of 1812-14.
The U.S. declared war on Great Britain on June 12, 1814. The majority of the battles took place around the Niagra Peninsula/Great Lakes against combined British/Canadian/Indian forces. Several heroic figures were created by the war including the great Shawnee Indian leader, Tecumseh, who captured Detroit. So highly regarded was he that a frieze of his death is on the Capitol Dome in Washington even though he fought for the British. The British burned the White House in August 1814. During this invasion the British bombarded Fort McKinley which led to the writing of the Star Spangeled Banner to the air of a British drinking song.
A British fleet had been dispatched to capture New Orleans before the peace treaty was signed. This fleet picked up a regiment of black troops in the Carribean to augment the white troops. These were the first free black troops to fight on U.S. soil (Britain had declared slavery illegal in 1772). On January 15, 1815, 5,000 British troops faced 3,000 well dug-in U.S. militia under the control of Andrew Jackson, the son of Scotch-Irish immigrants. The British casualties were 2,036 versus U.S. casualties of 13. This battle was commemerated in the song "Battle of New Orleans" by Lonnie Donnegan - "we fired our guns and the British kept a-coming but there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago". Andrew Jackson served two terms as President of the U.S. Labeled a 'jackass' in the campaign of 1828 he adopted the 'jackass' emblem which to this day remains the emblem of the Democratic party.
A peace treaty was finally signed in Ghent on December 24, 1814, which said both sides should return to the pre-war boundaries. The U.S., Great Britain and Canada have never fought a war since and the Canada-U.S. border remains the longest undefended border in the world despite the pressures created by the sad events of September 11, 2001.
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