Remembering the War of 1812

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2012

If you have been watching television in the past few days, you will recall seeing all the ships and Blue Angels that have been on the news arriving in New Orleans for the week. New Orleans served as the inaugural city for what will be a three-year national celebration commemorating the War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner. Although the Blue Angels could not perform their airshow, the spectacle of ships was opened to the public for viewing. Warships, navy vessels and tall ships from around the world came to New Orleans to start the festivities for the theme, “Our Flag Was Still There.”

“Why New Orleans?” you might be asking. Well, here’s why. Some 200 years ago one of our nation’s first battles was fought with countries that are now our closest friends. What do you know about the War of 1812?

The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the United States and the British Empire. The United States declared war in 1812 for several reasons. The first was because of trade restrictions by Britain and because of the ongoing war with France.

Another was because of the impressment of American merchant sailors. Some of the battles were fought in Canada in the Great Lakes. The Americans gained control

over Lake Erie in 1813 and seized parts of Ontario. Gen. Andrew Jackson destroyed the Creek nation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814.

The British in 1814 won the Battle of Bladensburg and captured and burned Washington, D.C. The South and the Gulf Coast had major battles. The Battle of New Orleans was in 1815, and the Battle of Baltimore was in 1814. This battle inspired the lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

There were many other battles to be fought, but they finally came to an end and both sides occupied parts of the other’s territory. The Treaty of Ghent was restored, and peaceful relations and trade are restored with the United States.

The Louisiana Treasures Museum has a uniform button from the War of 1812 on display. The museum also has uniform buttons, bullets and other items from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. These artifacts are worth seeing and remembering these wars was fought for our freedoms.

Wayne Norwood is a lieutenant with the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Department and owner and operator of the Louisiana Treasures Museum.