As part of the ongoing commemorations of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, this special issue of the journal New York History focuses on New York State’s key role in that conflict. In the early nineteenth century, New York occupied an important strategic position in North America.
As the newly independent United States defined and expanded its borders, it clashed with Native peoples and Great Britain, which continued to have a strong presence on the continent despite the losses of the American Revolution. With the onset of the War of 1812, New York became a central battleground in the ongoing contest for dominance in North America.
Many of the war’s most important engagements took place on New York soil: Ogdensburg (1812, 1813), Sackets Harbor (1812, 1813), Black Rock (1813), Buffalo (1813), Fort Niagara (1813), Big Sandy Creek (1814), and Plattsburgh (1814), arguably the most important battle of the war. The conflict touched every part of the state. Western New York served as a staging ground for crucial battles on both sides of the Niagara frontier. On the state’s northern and eastern borders, naval clashes between Great Britain and the United States took place on Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Champlain. To the south, part of Great Britain’s Navy blockaded New York Harbor, seized cargos from ships leaving Sag Harbor, and raided Gardiners Island and Riverhead, Long Island.
This special issue examines the war in New York State from multiple angles—military, political, diplomatic, and economic. It includes explorations of interesting primary sources from the period and offers useful essays for educators who are seeking to incorporate the history of the war into their classrooms. It also contains an extensive book reviews section, which features new works on New York and the War of 1812.
Table of Contents
Editors’ Introduction: Special Issue on the War of 1812
F. Daniel Larkin, Thomas D. Beal, William S. Walker
‘Savage Barbarities and Petty Depredations': Supply Shortages and Military-Civilian Conflicts in the Niagara Theater, 1812-14 by Daniel P. Glenn
Failure at Queenston Heights: The Politics of Citizenship and Federal Power during the War of 1812 by David Dzurec
Terror Weapons in the Naval War of 1812 by Andrew J. B. Fagal
Militia, Mud, and Misery: Sackets Harbor During the War of 1812 by Gary M. Gibson
Schemers, Dreamers, and a Revolutionary Foreign Policy: New York City in the Era of Second Independence, 1805-1815 by Lindsay Schakenbach
Documents and Interpretations
New York in Song: The War of 1812 by David K. Hildebrand
Remembering the War of 1812: Hiram Cronk’s Funeral Procession by Joshua Britton
Teaching the War of 1812: Curriculum, Strategies and Resources by Douglas Kohler
Sources for Social Studies Instruction: The War of 1812 by Lawrence M. Paska
Book Reviews: New Books on New York and the War of 1812
Smith, The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812
REVIEWED BY SEAN KELLEY
Daughan, 1812: The Navy’s War
REVIEWED BY LUKE J. FEDER
McCranie, Utmost Gallantry: The U.S. and Royal Navies at Sea in the War of 1812
REVIEWED BY CALEB KLINGER
Daughan, The Shining Sea: David Porter and the Epic Voyage of the U.S.S. Essex during the War of 1812
REVIEWED BY KEVIN SCHARLAU
Herkalo, The Battles at Plattsburgh: September 11, 1814
REVIEWED BY JARED LOBDELL
A Critical Review Essay
The Iroquois Trail of Tears: From Protectors of the Peace to Removal from Ancestral Lands
Rhoades, Long Knives and the Longhouse: Anglo-Iroquois Politics and the Expansion of Colonial Virginia
Tiro, The People of the Standing Stone: The Oneida Nation from the Revolution to the Era of Removal
Hauptman, The Tonawanda Senecas’ Heroic Battle Against Removal: Conservative Activist Indians.
REVIEWED BY JACOB LUDES, III
Book Reviews: New Books on New York
Dring, Recollections of Life on the Prison Ship Jersey in 1782
REVIEWED BY DEBRA JACKSON
Dunham, Allegany to Appomattox: The Life and Letters of Private William Whitlock of the 188th New York Volunteers
REVIEWED BY RYAN C. BIXBY
Blackett, Making Freedom: The Underground Railroad and the Politics of Slavery
REVIEWED BY CHRISTOPHER ALLEN VARLACK
Vaught, The Farmer’s Game: Baseball in Rural America
REVIEWED BY CHRISTOPHER DEROSA
Purnell, Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings: The Congress of Racial Equality in Brooklyn
REVIEWED BY ANDREW J. FORNEY
Federation of Genealogical Societies, Preserve the Pensions: War of 1812 Pension Digitization Project
REVIEWED BY THOMAS D. BEAL
Illustration for this post: The Battle of Queenston Heights, by James B. Dennis. Courtesy the Library and Archives Canada.