Category Archives: War of 1812

Stories about the War of 1812 including important battles, dates and people who helped fight America’s Second Revolution.

Meet the War of 1812 Autographed Books

We told you our exciting news earlier this week that we will have several copies of War of 1812 books available at the FGS 2016 Conference in Springfield for purchase. This fundraiser is made possible by the generosity of the historians and authors themselves.

We’ll be sharing more information about these texts in the coming days. We’re going to start with the four part series, Free Men and Dreamers by L.C. Lewis. If you are interested in making a donation to acquire these publications, stop by the Preserve the Pensions booth in the Expo Hall.

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Free Men and Dreamers – available at FGS2016!

Volume 1: Dark Sky at Dawn by L. C. Lewis (Covenant Communications, 2007)

Historical fiction allows the author to share an event or time period from a different perspective. Understanding an individual’s background, culture and lifestyle may give fresh ideas as to what would have driven them to act a certain way. It is a dangerous time for America. The years following the signing of the Constitution have been riddled with British aggressions aimed at breaking the will of the young government. Trade restrictions tear at its economy while British ships attack and kidnap Americans at sea, refusing to acknowledge thier American citizenship. Washington, Franklin, and Hamilton have died. Their inspired dream is now entrusted to their aged and war-weary peers and to the succeeding generations-men and women, born in liberty, who are prepared to sacrifice their lives in its defense. But the divisive evils of greed, slavery, and class distinction cast a dark cloud over the promise WE THE PEOPLE, even as war talk rattles the governing halls. American declars a war to reconfirm her independence. . .war to protect her more perfect union: The War of 1812. Dark Sky at Dawn, based in historical fiction, tells the fascinating story of people, events, history, and spiritual reawakening that precede the compelling moment in time before the guns blazed and the light of the Restoration dawned on a new day.

Volume 2: Twilight’s Last Gleaming by L. C. Lewis (Covenant Communications, 2008)

C. Lewis continues her engaging historical fiction with Twilight’s Last Gleaming. While the cannons roar and rockets ignite American skies, disease ravages the upper Connecticut Valley. Few notice the sufferings of the families. Attentions are forced elsewhere on the Chesapeake, which guards the entrance to the infant nation’s threatened capital. It is the height of the War of 1812. As the beleaguered American forces begin to rally, Britain’s military is divided between battlefronts on two continents. Until Napoleon can be toppled and all of the crown’s resources can be diverted to the American campaign, Britain needs a tactical diversion. They attack the Chesapeake Bay! Lieutenant Jed Pearson heads to war, leaving his beloved Willows estate in the care of powerless freed slaves. But soon circumstances will blur the line between adversary and friend, family and foe, British and American. In this second volume of the epic historical series Free Men and Dreamers, witness the saga of five families caught in the tumult of the oft-forgotten war that cemented American liberty and set the stage for the great work of the Restoration.

Volume 3: Dawn’s Early Light by L. C. Lewis (Brigham Distributing, 2009)

This third volume of L. C. Lewis’s War of 1812 historical fiction epic, Free Men and Dreamers, covers the British offensive against Washington D.C.  Once Napoleon is subdued, and despite the commencement of peace negotiations, Britain unleashes her triumphant European conquerors on America. And their primary target? Washington. While attentions turn to the defense of the Capital, mercenaries threaten the Winding Willows and White Oak plantations, forcing enemies to become allies, fighting side-by-side with freed slaves to defend their homes and families. Mere miles away, the Capital’s defense now rests predominantly upon citizen soldiers and a most unlikely naval force—a rag-tag fleet called the Chesapeake flotilla—and the men who built it. But Britain’s house is also divided over the war, as the cost mounts in blood and money. Experience the pain and passion of five families—American, slave and British—as they endure the three darkest days of American history—the week when Washington burned.

Volume 4: Oh, Say Can You See?  by L. C. Lewis (Brigham Distributing, 2010)

Though the capital smolders, the battered Constitution and the presidency have survived. But the British left the struggling government no home. Gone are the symbols of America – the Capitol Building and the President’s House, and nearly every relic of the infant nation.
Britain’s next target is the port city of Baltimore, but has the raid on Washington stiffened the Americans’ backs? As the Willows women mourn their absent men – gone to war, or wounded, or captured – they await the birth of a blessed child.  Miles away, attorney Francis Scott Key embarks on a diplomatic mission that will leave an everlasting mark on America. Proving that the pen can indeed by more powerful than the sword, Key records the fears and hopes of his embattled people. His epic poem soon set to music and titled “The Star-Spangled Banner,” rallies a shattered nation to rise from its knees to claim the dream of “one nation under God” during the closing hours of the War of 1812.

Don’t want to wait? We understand. Donate now to help save these incredibly fragile documents and digitally preserve American history.


War of 1812 Authors Support ‘Preserve the Pensions’

In honor of the War of 1812 and the Preserve the Pensions project, we are delighted to announce that the following authors have donated signed copies of their books that honor the history of the War of 1812.  These books will be available at the upcoming FGS Conference in Springfield, IL; look for the Preserve the Pensions area as you enter the Expo Hall! Proceeds from these will go toward the continued digitization of the unique soldier’s benefit pension records, currently housed at the National Archives.

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Autographed books will be available at the 2016 FGS Conference in Springfield, IL.

Now, to introduce our generous authors:

Donald R. Hickey, Ph.D., is “Mr. 1812.”  He is a professor of history at Wayne State College in Nebraska.  Called “the dean of 1812 scholarship” by the New Yorker, Don is an award-winning author who has written eleven books and a hundred articles, mainly on the War of 1812 and its causes.  He is best known for The War of 1812:  A Forgotten Conflict (Bicentennial edition, 2012). For promoting public understanding of the War of 1812, Don received the Samuel Eliot Morison Award from the USS Constitution Museum in 2013.

Bert J. Hubinger was born in New Jersey and raised in Florida, traveled the sea in search of adventures in sailing, diving on shipwrecks, and maritime history. Bert is a teacher, editor, photographer, and frequent contributor to a variety of publications. He is Director of the Annapolis Writing Center and former editor of The Journal of the War of 1812, author of Sea Drums and Other Poems, 1812: Rights of Passage, 1813: Reprisal, and the newly released 1814: Raze of Glory, the third and final published novel in his trilogy on the War of 1812.

Laurie C. Lewis is a Marylander through and through. Surrounded by the rich local history of Maryland, D.C., and famous War of 1812 treasures like Fort McHenry, Laurie has found much inspiration.  God, family, and country are her anchors and the themes of her books, designed to lift and inspire readers.  The Free Men and Dreamers, a five-volume series of historical fiction novels, begins with Dark Sky at Dawn to introduce the history of the nation and its people in the uncertain years just before the War of 1812.  Laurie continues her tremendously powerful stories of a country unsettled by war in Twilight’s Last Gleaming, Dawn’s Early Light, Oh, Say Can You See?, and In God Is Our Trust.  More information on Laurie can be found at

Can’t wait to make a donation to save the incredibly important pension files from the War of 1812? Click here to donate online!



How the Irish Changed the Course of the War of 1812

The War of 1812 was a war fought over immigration and citizenship.

Though the American Revolution officially severed them, the United States and Britain were still very much tied together in the early 19th century. At that time, many people believed that contrasting ideologies were the main difference between the two societies.

Americans favored republican self-government and a relatively egalitarian society. The British thought that to be a dangerous experiment destined for failure; they preferred the power and stability of their constitutional monarchy.

These different approaches to government caused a great flow of people between the two countries. Hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants poured into America, while some 30,000 “Late Loyalists” left the United States for British-controlled Canada.

A torrent of Irish immigration

In the earliest decades of the United States, the Irish made up more than 50% of the immigrants to the nascent republic. Many blamed the Crown for the poverty and oppression they faced at home. A violent but failed rebellion in 1798 sent even more Irish fleeing their homeland.


Irish emigrants who had already settled in America frequently wrote back home extolling the virtues of this new republican life, where it was possible for hard-working common people to succeed and live in religious freedom.

How the Irish changed American politics

Once in America, the Irish played a key role in shaping the political landscape of the new country. They arrived in the midst of an intense political struggle between Federalists, who favored a strong central government, and Republicans, who preferred state governments to dominate.

The Republicans painted Federalists as secretly loyal to the British crown – it was easy to draw parallels between a strong federal government and the centralized constitutional monarchy.

The message of the Republicans resonated with Irish immigrants. They had seen the dark side of an overly powerful central government back home, and the fact that Federalists were associated with the Crown didn’t help things either.

Despite Federalist efforts to suppress immigration, naturalization and voting rights, the Irish population vaulted the Republicans to political dominance through their sheer numbers. Once the Republicans came to power, they continued to open up immigration, naturalization and voting rights, leading to even more Irish coming over.

Britain reacts


This massive Irish emigration was a central cause of the war. Britain viewed these new Irish-Americans as very dangerous for their country. Not only were they losing a huge percentage of manpower for their labor and military force, but Irish abroad were considerably harder to control than Irish at home.

So Britain rejected the idea that subjects of the Crown could ever give up that status and refused to recognize anyone naturalized as an American citizen.

They began to treat all emigrants as fugitives or deserters. When able to, they stopped American ships and impressed sailors who they discovered were born in Britain. They essentially gave them two options – return to serve in the Royal Navy (which was hurting for sailors due to the Napoleonic wars) or be hung as deserters of the Crown.

Irish in the war effort


All of these factors led Irish-Americans to be gung-ho about going to war with Britain. The Republicans were extremely anti-British and pro-war, viewing the Crown’s colony in Canada as a threat to America’s independence that must be snuffed out.

In addition to being loyal Republicans and always looking for a chance to strike back at the British, those in favor of a free Irish Republic saw invading Canada as a way to achieve that. Many believed that if Americans could wrest Canada away from the British Empire, that would greatly damage the Crown and inspire a this-time successful Irish rebellion.

For these reasons, Irish-American newspapers and politicians encouraged Irish immigrants to enlist in the army. Promised the chance to spill British blood, and a way to earn land and a paycheck, the opportunity was too good to pass up.

The Irish joined in numbers far greater than their proportional representation in the overall population of America. The British viewed these Irish immigrants as absolutely essential to the US war effort once the conflict got under way.

Britain doubled down on their efforts to restrict immigration and impress expatriate sailors. Irish-Americans that were captured by the British were given a similar option – serve in the British military or be hung as a traitor.

But at this point it was too late. Irish-Americans were consistently on the front lines of the conflict and were heavily invested in the cause. Although the war ended in an arguable stalemate, our Irish ancestors were an integral part of successfully defending America in what could have been a nation-ending conflict.

Do you have Irish Ancestors that were in America at this time? If so, see how they were involved in the war – search the 1812 Pensions for free today.