The War With the United States : A Chronicle of 1812 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 123 pages of information about The War With the United States .
arguments, not wielding his country’s sword.  Nor had he in his Cabinet a single statesman with a genius for making war.  His war secretary, William Eustis, never grasped the military situation at all, and had to be replaced by John Armstrong after the egregious failures of the first campaign.  During the war debate in June, Eustis was asked to report to Congress how many of the ‘additional’ twenty-five thousand men authorized in January had already been enlisted.  The best answer he could make was a purely ‘unofficial opinion’ that the number was believed to exceed five thousand.

The first move to the front was made by the Navy.  Under very strong pressure the Cabinet had given up the original idea of putting the ships under a glass case; and four days after the declaration of war orders were sent to the senior naval officer, Commodore Rodgers, to ’protect our returning commerce’ by scattering his ships about the American coast just where the British squadron at Halifax would be most likely to defeat them one by one.  Happily for the United States, these orders were too late.  Rodgers had already sailed.  He was a man of action.  His little squadron of three frigates, one sloop, and one brig lay in the port of New York, all ready waiting for the word.  And when news of the declaration arrived, he sailed within the hour, and set out in pursuit of a British squadron that was convoying a fleet of merchantmen from the West Indies to England.  He missed the convoy, which worked into Liverpool, Bristol, and London by getting to the north of him.  But, for all that, his sudden dash into British waters with an active, concentrated squadron produced an excellent effect.  The third day out the British frigate Belvidera met him and had to run for her life into Halifax.  The news of this American squadron’s being at large spread alarm all over the routes between Canada and the outside world.  Rodgers turned south within a few hours’ sail of the English Channel, turned west off Madeira, gave Halifax a wide berth, and reached Boston ten weeks out from Sandy Hook.  ’We have been so completely occupied in looking out for Commodore Rodgers,’ wrote a British naval officer, ’that we have taken very few prizes.’  Even Madison was constrained to admit that this offensive move had had the defensive results he had hoped to reach in his own ‘defensive’ way.  ’Our Trade has reached our ports, having been much favoured by a squadron under Commodore Rodgers.’

The policy of squadron cruising was continued throughout the autumn and winter of 1812.  There were no squadron battles.  But there was unity of purpose; and British convoys were harassed all over the Atlantic till well on into the next year.  During this period there were five famous duels, which have made the Constitution and the United States, the Hornet and the Wasp, four names to conjure with wherever the Stars and Stripes are flown.  The Constitution

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The War With the United States : A Chronicle of 1812 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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