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The War of 1812 in the Champlain Valley

Allen S. Everest

Publication Year: 2010

This is the story of marching men and clashing ships, of suffering, and of occasional heroic deeds. As in wars past, and for similar reasons, Lake Champlain and the region surrounding Lower Canada, Vermont, and Upstate New York became one of the major theaters of military action. For two and a half years, people in the region saw armies raised, defeated, and disbanded. They witnessed their own militia repeatedly called out to protect the border areas and to serve as adjuncts to regular army units. Despite a series of disheartening military reverses, loss of life, and destruction of property, civilians maintained a remarkable degree of resilience. They fled if battle threatened but soon returned to pick up the threads of their lives. Everest’s story shows us a war in microcosm and allows us a close-up experience of the small events that helped shape the destiny of a youthful and growing nation.

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Before the construction of the canal connecting Lake Champlain with the Hudson River, the economic development of the Champlain Valley was inextricably linked to its markets in Canada. Its inhabitants used the Richelieu River, outlet of the lake, to send their timber products, potash, and foodstuffs to consumers ...

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1. Settlement of the Champlain Valley

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pp. 1-10

The Champlain Valley at the beginning of the nineteenth century, though still a youthful frontier area, was undergoing a peaceful and prosperous period of rapid growth. Although only thirty-five years earlier the valley had been an unsettled wilderness, already thousands had rushed in on both sides of the lake ...

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2. A Postponed War

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pp. 11-30

Into this peaceful scene a long-festering international discord exploded. On June 18, 1812, the Senate of the United States completed action on a troublesome measure which, with the president's signature, committed the nation to war with Great Britain. Two days previously, the government in London announced ...

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3. The Eve of the War-The Northeast

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pp. 31-46

When war broke out on the North American continent, the British government sought for the first two years to continue its cautious prewar defensive strategy in Canada. They had little choice in view of the tremendous demands of the British war in Europe, which were straining the resources of the empire. ....

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4. War Comes

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pp. 47-66

AIthough Congress declared war on June 18, it was the 23rd before Governor Tompkins knew it and the 27th before General Mooers in Plattsburgh received word. With his immediate issuance of division orders, the wheels of mobilization started to turn. He continued to receive directions from the governor concerning the militia, ...

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5. Indians, Furs, and Prisoners of War

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pp. 67-86

The Indians who lived and hunted across the international border from northern New York to the upper Great Lakes were protected in this right by Jay's Treaty of 1795. As war between the two countries approached, the loyalty of these Indians became important, especially in British war planning. ...

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6. The Tragic First Winter

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pp. 87-102

The fall of 1812, which held out prospects of great American achievements, ended in the lingering whimpers of two tragicomic campaigns on widely separated fronts. They were whimpers only by contrast with the big bang of Hull's surrender of his whole army in August. ...

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7. A Summer of Setbacks: 1813

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pp. 103-122

The season's first military activity was planned for the area bordering on Lake Ontario, and troops were collected at Sackets Harbor from Greenbush. Plattsburgh. and Burlington for the purpose. During the winter, Dearborn and the new secretary of war, John Armstrong, had corresponded concerning the nature of the campaigns of 1813. ...

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8. The Hampton-Wilkinson Fiasco

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pp. 123-140

For several months prior to Dearborn's release from command, the War Department had been looking for a successor. It had been severely taxed to find successful generals, and the field of choice was narrow. James Wilkinson was the senior brigadier general, outranked only by Dearborn and Pinkney. ...

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9. The Third Tense Summer: 1814

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pp. 141-160

During the winter, a promotion elevated George Izard to the rank of major general and Alexander Macomb to brigadier. In each case they were recognitions of military qualities displayed in previous campaigns, and each was a sign of progress in the administration's weeding out of the old and unfit in favor of the young and vigorous. ...

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10. The British Occupation of Plattsburgh

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pp. 161-178

When Izard marched out of the North Country on August 29, his command devolved upon General Macomb, who experienced a brief panic when he realized the threat he faced. He knew that a huge British army was poised just north of the border, but estimates of its size ranged from seven thousand to fourteen thousand. ...

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11. The Battle of Plattsburgh

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pp. 179-192

The two armies and Macdonough's ships waited five days for the arrival of Downie's fleet, which was still not ready because of the Confiance. Downie's manpower was adequate, but just barely. He had plenty of sailors for the large vessels; the Thirty-ninth Regiment provided much of the crews of the twelve gunboats, ...

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12. Aftermath

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pp. 193-204

The battle of Plattsburgh, decisive as it was, still left many tangled threads to unravel. Smugglers continued to ply their trade on Lake Champlain, and Collector Sailly had difficulty holding good assistants until he promised to back them fully in all suits. One of the most serious confrontations with smugglers ...


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pp. 205-206


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pp. 207-220


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pp. 221-228


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pp. 229-239

E-ISBN-13: 9780815651468
E-ISBN-10: 0815651465
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815632580
Print-ISBN-10: 0815632584

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 17 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2010