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Guest Blog: The War of 1812

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Every once in awhile you meet someone who loves the things you love. Like history for instance. I write during England's Regency era, officially 1811-1820. I am not an expert on the war from either side of the Pond. I know a little bit about both. If you ever watched a movie titled, The Madness of King George, you'll find out just how frustrated George III was about losing the colonies. In 1812, his son who was declared the Prince Regent (because the king was insane) ruled over Great Britain and Ireland.

Please welcome Debra Marvin who will take you on a tour of The War of 1812 and will return in two weeks on October 9th with a discussion on naval vessels which is sure to be fascinating. 

Thank you for inviting me into your drawing room, Jillian!

Depending on what decade…or century your readers hale from, I’m obsessing about a little event called The War of 1812, or the Anglo American War. Right now, History buffs in Canada and the U.S are commemorating that period in history.

I feel its odd to say ‘celebrate’ when we talk of war, don’t you?

In 1812, President James Madison and many Washington insiders were for war. Britain was ignoring our sovereignty as a nation by telling us who we could and could not trade with. Other reasons for Madison’s declaration of war included: impressment of American sailors and privateers into service for His Majesty’s Navy, Britain’s arming of the Native population, or First Peoples, in the northwest (Ohio valley and western Great Lakes) and …
not so altruistic, the desire by some to gain Canada’s vast reserves of natural resources.

“WarHawks” were ready to take over the continent and there was little to stop them. Or so they thought. Wouldn’t Canadians want to be out from under the monarchy too? And what better timing? Britain was very busy with Napoleon on the Continent.

This year, I’ve been researching sea and land battles, politics of the time, uniforms, army and naval strategy, and life set against the Regency/Federalist period on both sides of the conflict.
I’ve visited three reenactments this year around the Great Lakes and Niagara frontier and just last week took a day sail on the US Brig Niagara. I’m digging in deep for my next series, and loving all the amazing opportunities.

While many Americans know little of this period, or care even less, Canada celebrates the War of 1812 as a turning point in their national identity. War with Britain for the United States became war with our good neighbor Canada.
Canadian citizens, as subjects of King George, had to take a stand. With so few British soldiers available, it was local militia, Native allies, and various groups banding together by ancestry that capably supplemented the British Regulars. Standing together against the invading U.S. forces bonded these wide spread people together on their great wild land.

Similarly, the eventual successes of the United States’ small army and even smaller navy against the greatest army and navy in the world created a national pride in a divided nation. At one point, strong Federalist sentiment in New England threatened a secession because they couldn’t abide or support the war efforts. Enter Francis Scott Key and his poem The Star-Spangled Banner, and a few American victories. Just in time to save the union!

What do you think of these bumper stickers: “We won  the War of 1812” and there’s a U.S version and a Canadian version, sold next to each other on the shelf! I guess the jury is still out on that.

By 1815 The British had already stopped their practice of impressing seaman but it was the Treaty of Ghent that officially ended the war. Too bad it took months before the fighting stopped. Nothing really changed – no gains or losses other than the human toll.

I hope you enjoy my photos and (warning) I’m happy to chat about the War of 1812. I post about it on my group blog Inkwell Inspirations as the War of 1812 Groupie, and my facebook and twitter accounts are thick with history. I’d love to hear from you.

Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. Debra likes to write, weed and wander and is blessed to have the best family and friends in the world. She has decided she needs to live closer to her grandchildren. She’s thankful each day that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of  humor. Her work has finaled in the TARA, Great Expectations, Heart of the Rockies, Maggie, Rattler and most recently, the Daphne DuMaurier for the second time. Not too bad considering she’s trying a mashup of gospel and . . .  gothic.



  1. Thank you for hosting Jillian!

    I've brought some almond scones for the occasion and I see you are boiling water for tea!

    Another reason Jillian and I hang tight is that when we first met, we found we were both writing about a 19th century insane asylum. Of course we had to meet!

    I hope I've increased awareness or interest in 'The Forgotten War'. Look for events along the Great Lakes, Mid Atlantic and New Orleans over the next two years.

    1. Hey Deb,
      I almost forgot to publish the blog this am because I was up watching Castle last night and forgot before I went to bed to make sure I had everything all set. I could see Nathan Fillion in one of those uniforms. :)So glad you're here.

    2. Yes, I came over and knocked on the door at 6 am...
      I can see why you'd be sleeping in late. My daughter is one of the many Castle fans who've waited months for that 'morning after'!

      I have at least two 'leading men' in mind for my stories. Fillion in a uniform? Sure, as long as I let him be snarky and cute.

  2. Me again. Shameless plug: for more about my research travel visit my group blog, Inkwell Inspirations. Thanks Jillian!

  3. fantastic, Jillian and Debra! Great times for history lovers. Great pictures, too.

    1. As Jillian said, I'm going to be back next month to talk about the naval war. What's a brig, a sloop, a schooner and who are the marines? that kind of stuff. And share photos from my day sail aboard the Brig Niagara last week!

  4. Good Morning Everyone!
    I'm so excited to have Deb joining us today. And you must go visit her and read the post over at Inkwell Inspirations. Lot's of good stuff and more pictures you'll love. Deb will be here all week so tell your friends who are interested in this time period to bring a cup of tea or coffee, pull up a chair, read to their hearts content and ask their questions.

    1. I promise to be here often and will respond to comments UNLESS wifi fails again. ugh.
      then I'll have to make a run to the library to catch up.

      Thank you for letting me hang out Jillian. I really hope (see my squeezing my eyes shut and crossing my fingers?) that I can some day publish some fiction with all this research!

    2. I'll pray that the wifi stays alive and well. You can hang out here anytime. I can't wait to read your future books. I'm convinced that it will happen in HIS time and it will be worth the wait.

  5. As a history nut myself, I appreciate the excitement for events most people don't even consider. Thanks for being so eager to share your love of old things!

    1. And that's why we love reenactments! The energy from being around people who are nutsy as myself (or more?!). Some of the reenactors do multiple wars but the cost of uniforms and guns and the effects to pull off a correct transformation is costly.

      Thanks for stopping by Amy!

  6. Great post, Deb. Thanks for hosting her, Jillian. I'll take a scone! And oh--I haven't watched Castle yet. I know, I know! I just couldn't stay up last night. ;)

    1. Thanks you Susie! Do you recall I took a photo of a lemon tart I had in an Irish Tea Shop (in Niagara on the Lake)? It was a true 'wish you were here' moment.

      There was a Jane Austen Society dance there, so the ladies had a most pleasing supply of men in uniform.

      I think that's one reason I like this setting. I love the period but focusing on the Federal side and warfare, rather than the peers and rules and details of the Regency appeals to me.

    2. Susie, you didn't stay up and watch Castle? My, my, my. :) I did like this episode. I went out with friends tonight and missed NCIS though and I think this may have been the last one for awhile.

      We will have to continue to compare notes related to lunatic asylums on both side of the pond. I enjoy delving into that dark side of the Regency.

  7. EVen I watched NCIS and I haven't in years!

    Not a lot has changed other than the boss. I miss Lauren Holly's hair.

    Jilian I visited our local (and no longer used) 19th C insane asylum on a tour. I wanted the walls to talk... sort of. But with the help of some historians in Scotland I've had a grand old time in my old setting too!

  8. It's scary to think about what those wall would say, isn't it Deb? Do you have a website that you use for Scottish research as I use the Bethlem Blog site? I know, I know I'm getting us off topic. Okay. How much do you know about insane asylums that soldiers were sent to? Were they? Was it needed?

  9. Thank you kindly for the delicious scones and tea! Debra, this has been a fascinating post. I'm so intrigued with this period of history and have learned that some called it the second war for independence. Wish I could have visited Niagara region this year, but thanks for giving me the heads up that the celebrations will continue on.

  10. Hi Carla, thanks for stopping in and enjoying the Federalist period with me. Well, Federalist/WarHawk era. There are a lot of events along the St. Lawrence as well. Plattsburgh is definitely closer for you but still a long haul. Did you hear of the day the USS Constitution was taken out for a 'sail' on the anniversary of her battle with HMS Guerriiere? That would have been something to see!

    I'm really enjoying the research. Can you tell?

  11. I enjoyed the post, as another War of 1812 Groupie, but I'm too far away in Arkansas to visit the locations of the war. If only my parents hadn't moved to the Midwest (not Arkansas)...

  12. Hi Deb and Jillian!

    Yikes! What am I to say here? I am a PATriot, (British pronunciation :)and love, love love the U.S., especially its very earliest beginnings--it had such vitality then. The settlers were almost superhuman it seems to me; while they fought for survival on the land, and in battle. And we've had very few colonial stories, especially about the Revolution, either in books-- or in movies. I am so glad for our history/educational purposes, though, that we are celebrating the War of 1812.

    Someone recently said they enjoyed the Regency era as compared to colonial because they found Britain to be so civilized and it would have been much easier to live there.

    Well, maybe if you were a member of the small percentage of peerage. If you weren't--not so much, I would think!

    Yet, I admit to the guilty pleasure of enjoying all those marvelous books by Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte (all-time favorite)and all those great writers of English tales! :)

    Thanks for hearing me out, ladies--

    Hugs, Deb!

    1. Hey there, Pat,
      Love you your comment. I've been consumed by the Regency era for years. I love investigating what was good and was not so good at the time in history. Yep, there was a lot that wasn't good, but that's where the writing fun comes in.

  13. Hi Carolyn,
    I feel blessed to be able to visit so many of these sites. The opportunity to "see" history is action is such a treat for anyone writing historical fiction. I'm so happy to meet another enthusiast.

  14. Hi Pat!

    Nice to see you here. Pat and I went for a mini-getaway to Sacket's Harbor in July. It was a relaxing and enjoyable time and I appreciated her company!

    There is quite a rich amount of historical sites in NY state. Pat writes about the French and Indian war.

    1. That sounds like so much fun. I've really got to get out more. :)

  15. when writers go on research trips together... so much fun. We talked about our current works in progress and brainstormed and soaked up some history as well.