Tag Archives: War of 1812 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 http://www.laurielclewis.com/.

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



Happy Birthday, Marine Corps!

Our very dedicated volunteer, Michael Hall, is a retired Marine. Today, we celebrate along with him the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Did you know the impact of the War of 1812 on the Marines? Here is a bit of trivia for you! 

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Battle of New Orleans. Image: Library of Congress

We were created on 10 November 1775 at Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

It was during the War of 1812 that the US Marine Corps really came into its own!

Traditions from the War of 1812:

  • The quatrefoil on the top of Marine Corps officers was placed there so that Marine Sharpshooters did not shoot their own officers.
  • The leather stock worn around the neck of US Marines. This was to help prevent saber slashes. Today it is part of the US Marines Dress Blue Uniform.
  • The Marine Corps Barracks in Washington DC called (8th and I) and the Commandant’s house were spared by the British out of respect for the bravery shown by the Marines during the Battle of Bladensburg.
The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor
The Anchor: Acknowledges the naval tradition of the Marines. It also lets every Marine know that we do need taxi service to get to the fight! Tradition states that the Marines stole the Anchor when the Navy wasn’t looking. Proof of this can be found in the US Marine Hymn first verse:
“From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli; we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea;”
The Eagle: Represents the proud nation that we serve! Tradition states that the Marines stole the Eagle when the Army wasn’t looking. Proof of this can be found in the US Marine Hymn first verse:
“First to fight for right and freedom and to keep our honor clean.”
The Globe: Represents the world that the Good Lord gave to the US Marines to be his force on earth. Tradition states that the Marines stole the Globe when The Lord wasn’t looking. (That is what the other services would have you believe). However, we all know that The Lord gave it to the US Marines. Proof of this can be found in the US Marine Hymn third verse:
“If the Army and Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes; they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.”

What Was the War of 1812 Really Like? Find an Eyewitness Account

How much did you learn about the War of 1812 in your school days? Probably not much beyond the date and that we were at it again with the British. If you are reading this however, you are also probably one of those people who just were not satisfied with what you learned and are seeking for more. Reaching into history, especially the history of our own ancestors brings something indescribable to our understanding of how this country was created and gives us a new perspective on the things we enjoy in our day.

Once you’ve found your ancestor in the War of 1812 pensions online at fold3.com, you find what unit your soldier may have fought in and maybe even a bit about their wounds if they received any. It leaves you wanting more. To really get as close as we can to the realities of the war our ancestors survived, let us suggest journals and memoirs written by soldiers from the war. At the Library of Congress online, we find a sample of the kinds of books from their First American West collection.

In 1854 Elias Darnell wrote, A Journal Containing An Accurate and Interesting Account …of Those Heroic Kentucky Volunteers and Regulars…1812-13, (available online from the Library of Congress)  and he states from the beginning, “The author of this Journal wrote it for his own satisfaction.”

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A page from Darnell’s text.


Darnell describes some of the day-to-day hardships, relationships between soldiers, battles, biases, friendly fire accidents, and even wonders he sees as he passed through lands he’d never been. If your ancestor was in Winchester’s Campaign, he may be noted in this memoir. The soldiers were not always happy with their leadership, for Darnell describes the feelings of the men when General Harrison resigned and his replacement came to take over the troops, Gen. Winchester, being a stranger, and having the appearance of a supercilious officer, he was generally disliked. His assuming the command almost occasioned a mutiny in camp; this was prevented by the solicitations of some of the officers to go on.

Darnell’s ninety-nine page book is engaging and easy to read (okay, if you skip the parts where he quotes Army regulations). He includes recollections of other soldiers as well, including Davenport’s and Mallary’s descriptions of being adopted into Indian families while he recovering from their wounds. These stories, even if embellished here or there, open one’s eyes to the messiness and confusion of war and the depredations our ancestors endured for Liberty’s sake. Darnell ends his account with the following:

“Language fails to express the emotions I felt on arriving safely at home, to enjoy the caresses and society of dear friends, after having endured so much fatigue, and having been so often exposed to imminent danger; and having so frequently expected death…”

You can be a part of preserving history now. Donate today to help us fund the digitization of the War of 1812 Pension files.