Home / Accueil

War of 1812 Timeline: January 1815 - 1871

Timeline PDF

January 1815 - 1871

1815

Arrival of British reinforcements at Quebec City, Lower Canada: 102nd Regiment.

January 1815

Ensign George Morehouse of the New Brunswick Fencibles leads a detachment from Meductic and captures Houlton, District of Maine in an effort to help secure the strategically important line of communication between Saint John, New Brunswick and Quebec, Lower Canada.

1 January 1815

British bombardment of the defences of New Orleans, Louisiana.

8 January 1815

Battle of New Orleans, Louisiana.

The British campaign in Louisiana sought to gain control of the mouth of the Mississippi River and disrupt American economic activity by seizing the key port of New Orleans.  However, the slowness of the British advance through the difficult bayou country of the river delta gave time for Major General Andrew Jackson to organize the city's defences. The main attack on 8 January, over open terrain against prepared fortifications, was a disaster.  British casualties exceeded 2,000 out of a force of 6,000, including the death of the commander Major-General Sir Edward Pakenham, while the Americans lost 71. With this humiliating defeat the British lifted their siege and retreated down river in search of easier targets along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

9-12 January 1815

Royal Navy vessels bombard Fort St Philip, Louisiana.

13 January 1815

A British amphibious force attacks and captures Fort Peter and the town of St. Marys, Georgia. They occupy the area for about a month.

15 January 1815

USS President is captured off New York City by a British squadron led by HMS Majestic.

11 February 1815

On the same day that British forces besiege and capture Fort Bowyer, Mississippi Territory, Henry Carroll, secretary to United States Secretary of State Henry Clay, arrives in New York from Plymouth, England with a signed copy of the Treaty of Ghent.

13 February 1815

A planned British assault on Mobile, Mississippi Territory is abandoned after word of the peace treaty arrives.

17 February 1815

The United States Congress ratifies the Treaty of Ghent. The War of 1812 formally ends with the exchange of ratifications in Washington, District of Columbia.

20 February 1815

USS Constitution defeats HMS Levant and HMS Cyane near Madeira, Spain.

1 March 1815

Governor General Sir George Prevost learns of the Treaty of Ghent and gives orders to end hostilities and disband the militia.

2 March 1815

Governor General Sir George Prevost is recalled to England to face a court martial for his actions at the Battle of Plattsburg; Lieutenant-General Gordon Drummond, replaces Prevost as the new Governor General.

11 March 1815      

Near the Cape Verde Islands, a British squadron led by HMS Leander recaptures Levant while USS Constitution and Cyane escape.

19 March 1815     

British Commodore Sir Edward Campbell Rich Owen arrives at Kingston, Upper Canada to assume command of the Great Lakes station from Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo.

6 April 1815

American naval prisoners, mostly from privateers or pressed men who refused to fight against the United States, riot at Dartmoor Prison in south west Great Britain. Frustrated by delays in repatriation and harsh living conditions, the unruly prisoners of war are fired on by British guards.  Seven Americans are killed and 31 are wounded.

10 April 1815

American Commodore Isaac Chauncey and General Jacob Brown visit Kingston, Upper Canada.

Commodore Isaac Chauncey and Major General Jacob Brown visited Commodore Sir Edward Campbell Rich Owen in Kingston, the site of Britain's main naval establishment on the Great Lakes and home port of the Lake Ontario squadron. The trip culminated with a social gathering aboard the British flagship HMS St. Lawrence after which Chauncey was honoured with a 13-gun salute.  This event symbolized the end of the 'shipbuilder's war' on Lake Ontario and presaged the demilitarization of the Great Lakes formalized in the 1817 Rush-Bagot Agreement that continues in effect to this day.

26 April 1815

British forces evacuate Castine, District of Maine.

22 May 1815

United States troops reoccupy Fort Niagara, Youngstown, New York and begin to upgrade the defences facing British Fort George and Fort Mississauga.  Fort Niagara will be garrisoned until 1826.

24 May 1815

Battle of Sinkhole, Missouri Territory is fought between Sac (Sauk) fighters under Chief Black Hawk (Makataimeshekiakiak) and Missouri militia.

27 May 1815

HMS Regulus arrives in Saint John, New Brunswick with 371 Chesapeake African Americans settlers looking to take advantage of their newfound freedom.

30 June 1815

In the Sunda Straits near Java, USS Peacock fires on British East India Company Marine Brig Nautilus, killing and wounding 14, after the British inform the American commander of the end of the war. 

1 July 1815            

The United States garrison returns Fort Amherstburg, Upper Canada, captured in September 1813, to British Lieutenant-Colonel R. James and a contingent of the 37th Regiment.

18 July 1815

British evacuate Fort Mackinac, Michigan Territory. By late summer they have established a new post on Drummond Island in Lake Huron.

18 July 1815 - March 1817       

A series of peace treaties are negotiated between the United States and First Nations, such as the Nishnabek (Potawatomi), Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Wyandot, and Seneca, living on American territory in the western Great Lakes and upper Mississippi Valley regions.

August 1815         

British begin construction of Butler's Barracks, Niagara, Upper Canada.

In 1815 the British at Niagara decided to construct a complex of military and Indian Department buildings to replace those destroyed during the War of 1812.  These buildings were built on the north-west corner of the military reserve, away from the Niagara River, and out of range of the cannons of American Fort Niagara.  Ultimately an Indian Department Council House, a hospital, commandant's quarters, and a group of 19 barracks buildings and storehouses surrounded by a wooden palisade were erected.  The Indian Department ended their operations in Niagara in 1822.  Butler's Barracks was occupied by British soldiers until the Crimean War (1854-6).  From 1870 until the 1960's the Dominion of Canada operated a training base known as Camp Niagara, using some of the earlier buildings.

 

The 104th Regiment is transferred to Quebec.

1816

1816

Founding of the Perth military settlement in eastern Upper Canada. Under the direction of the army, British veterans of the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars are offered land, provisions and tools to move to the colony. By the end of the year about 1,500 former soldiers and their families will enter the settlement.

23 August 1816

As part of the terms of the Treaty of Ghent, the first of several international boundary commissions begins work to resolve disputed borders.

One of the principal issues addressed by the Treaty of Ghent was the determination of the border between British North America and the United States.  Four of the treaty's 11 articles made provisions for the establishment of four boundary survey commissions, while a fifth clause addressed the appointment of staff and finances for the commissions.  For each contested region, both governments were to name one commissioner while disagreements were referred to an arbitrator.  For the British, surveyors like fur trader and explorer David Thompson were employed to produce precise maps of the border.  Although the disputed frontiers identified by the treaty would not be settled until the 1840s, the commissions nevertheless established between both countries a tradition of peaceful diplomatic resolution of disputes.

1817

28 April 1817

The Rush-Bagot Agreement is ratified limiting the number of armed vessels on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.

The era of warships on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain came to an end when British Minister to the United States Sir Charles Bagot and American Acting Secretary of State Richard Rush negotiated the disarmament of both countries' freshwater fleets.  The Rush-Bagot Agreement limited each navy to one warship under 100 tons and armed with a single 18-pounder cannon for service on Lakes Ontario and Champlain.  On Lake Erie and the upper lakes, both governments were permitted two such vessels each.  Hereafter, American and British naval ships, once masters of the lakes, were disarmed, laid up, sold, dismantled or left to rot.  Consequently, each country steadily reduced their inland naval posts in an effort to reduce costs.

May 1817

Anxious to improve the security of the Grand Communication Route, the New Brunswick government declares the land between Presque Isle and Grand Falls to be a military settlement, and begins giving land grants to disbanded regiments.

 

25 November 1817

The commissioners appointed pursuant to the Treaty of Ghent determine that Moose, Dudley, and Frederick Islands belong to the United States, but that all other islands in Passamaquoddy Bay, and Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy, are part of New Brunswick.

1818

30 June 1818

British forces withdraw from Moose Island, District of Maine, bringing a belated and unofficial end to the war on the Atlantic coast.

20 October 1818

Britain and the United States sign the Convention of 1818. 

The Convention of 1818 (the Convention of Commerce), addressed various unresolved matters in the Treaty of Ghent.  It delineated American fishing rights in the coastal waters of Newfoundland and Labrador and provided for a third party to examine restitution to Americans who lost slaves during the War of 1812.  It also established the westerly boundary between the United States and British North America along the 49th parallel from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains.  Both countries would jointly occupy the land beyond this for a period of 10 years with the possibility of renewal.  The 1846 Oregon Treaty later partitioned this territory.  While Anglo-American relations were fraught with tensions for decades following the war, this document became one of many peaceful agreements. 

5 November 1818

The Duke of Richmond drafts his plan of defence for the colony.

Even with war officially concluded, the safety of British North America was still a concern.  Since 1815, military planners acknowledged the importance of strengthening the Montreal-Kingston corridor and advanced many proposals.  Building upon these, Governor General Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond, developed a colonial defence plan which eventually resulted in the construction of expanded fortifications at the capital Quebec ( Quebec Citadel), and Lake Ontario's main naval yard Kingston ( Fort Henry); fortifying the Richelieu ( Fort Lennox) and St. Lawrence Rivers (St. Helen's Island) to defend Montreal, a logistic depot; and developing an alternative to St. Lawrence River communications ( Rideau Canal).  While the Quebec Citadel and Fort Lennox were begun shortly after this plan, the other proposals were incorporated into the 1825 Carmichael Smyth Report.

1819

1 March 1819

The Duke of Wllington approves the Duke of Richmond's plan of defence.

Summer 1819

Construction begins on Fort Lennox, Ile aux Noix, Lower Canada.

In a re-assessment of colonial security following the War of 1812, British officials continued to stress the importance of protecting the Richelieu River from American invasion.  Alarmed by the construction of a new fort at Rouses Point, New York, it was decided that Ile aux Noix be refitted since the 1812-14 fortifications were considered inadequate.  Based on plans by Gustavus Nicolls, Commanding Royal Engineer in the Canadas, and named after Sir Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond, Fort Lennox, took shape during a 10 year construction campaign.  The new fortification featured a four bastions square plan, barracks and storehouses. 

Autumn 1819

Construction begins of a fort on Ste-Helene Island, Montreal, Lower Canada.

1820 - 1871

May 1820 

Construction begins on the Citadel at Quebec City, Lower Canada.

Re-evaluating their strategy of defence following the conclusion of hostilities with the Unites States in 1815, the British felt it paramount to strengthen Quebec City, the centre of their North American colonial military and civil administration.  The Citadel became part of an extensive military building campaign planned by Sir Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond, which included fortifications in Lower and Upper Canada.  Sections of the existing military works at Quebec City atop Cap-aux-Diamands were incorporated into the latest fortification plan drawn by Lieutenant-Colonel Elias Walker Durnford, Commanding Royal Engineer in the Canadas.  Completed in 1831 at a cost of £236,500, the star-shaped Citadel continues to have an active military garrison and remains the largest British fortress constructed in North America.

 

Construction of St. Stephen's Anglican Church within the military complex of Fort Chambly, Lower Canada.

22 May 1820

Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor the Earl of Dalhousie lays the cornerstone of Dalhousie College, whose construction costs are paid by the Castine Fund.

17 July 1821

Construction begins on the Lachine Canal, Lower Canada.

The Lachine Rapids above Montreal were an obstacle for anyone travelling up the St. Lawrence River.  From the port of Montreal, all cargo was carried overland to Lachine and loaded onto western-bound vessels.  This bottleneck was exacerbated by the increased river traffic caused by the war effort.  Subsequently, numerous individuals and commissions stressed the importance of improving inland waterway communications.  Concurrently, Montreal businessmen, competing with the Americans for access to western markets, advocated the construction of a canal to bypass the rapids.   Completed in 1825 and financed in part by merchants, the Lower Canada Legislature and, in return for free passage of their naval vessels, the British military, the Lachine Canal ushered in a new era of canalization along Canada's inland waterways.

18 June 1822        

The board of commissioners established under the terms of the 1814 Treaty of Ghent settles the international boundary from the St. Lawrence River through Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Huron to Sault Ste Marie.  Both parties are able to negotiate the ownership of strategic islands along the St. Lawrence and Detroit Rivers all while preserving vital shipping routes for their respective nation.

13 October 1824

Major-General Sir Isaac Brock and his aide-de-camp John Macdonell are re-interred below the monuments commemorating the Battle of Queenston Heights, Upper Canada.

Although Fort George was bombarded, burned and occupied by the Americans during the war, the graves of Major-General Isaac Brock and Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonell were not disturbed in any way.  In 1824, the two bodies were exhumed and placed beneath a monument built on the battlefield of Queenston Heights.   This monument was destroyed by a bomb placed by Benjamin Lett, an exiled supporter of William Lyon Mackenzie's rebellion in 1840.   The bodies of Brock and Macdonell were moved to the Hamilton family grave plot in Queenston, while a second and much grander tower was constructed.  The fourth and final burial took place on the battle anniversary in 1853. Brock's Monument is the largest and most significant monument erected in British North America after the War of 1812.

9 September 1825               

Sir James Carmichael Smyth submits his report on the defence of British North America.

At the request of the Duke of Wellington, Master General of the Board of Ordnance, a group of Royal Engineers led by Sir James Carmichael Smyth toured most of British North America and prepared a comprehensive plan of defence in case of future American attack. From this scheme and building upon the 1818 recommendations of the Duke of Richmond's plan of defence came the Rideau Canal, a secure military waterway to by-pass the St. Lawrence River, as well as Fort Henry and the Kingston fortifications which protected the town's navy yard, military stores and the entrance to the Rideau Canal.  Also, St. Helene's Island at Montreal was reinforced to strengthen that city while the Halifax Citadel was built to defend the city against landward attack.

1826

Construction commences on the Rideau Canal, Upper Canada.

Because the western portion of the St. Lawrence River, Britain's chief communication route between Lower and Upper Canada, bordered New York State its security could not be assured.  Reassessing British North American defences after the war, an alternative route connecting Montreal and Kingston via the Ottawa, Rideau and Cataraqui Rivers was endorsed by the Duke of Richmond in 1818 and in the 1825 Carmichael Smyth Report.  In 1826 Royal Engineer Lieutenant-Colonel John By was appointed to oversee the project.  A number of defensible structures were built to protect posts along this 202 km Ottawa-Kingston corridor.  Completed for the 1832 navigation season at a cost of £800,000, the canal's 47 locks could accommodate naval and commercial steamer vessels and remains a major British engineering achievement. 

August 1828      

Construction is initiated on the Halifax Citadel, Nova Scotia.

Facing growing political tensions with the United States following the War of 1812, British North America's security was reassessed and many strategic locations were strengthened.  Halifax, the seat of Nova Scotia's government and an important Atlantic port, was protected from a naval attack by several fortifications.  In order to support these defences and guard against a land based assault, a masonry star-shaped work atop Citadel Hill, the fourth fortification on that site since 1749, was built.  The Citadel , also known as Fort George, was designed by Colonel Gustavus Nicolls of the Royal Engineers.  Initially a six year project, setbacks plagued construction which was not completed until about 30 years later at a cost of £242,122 - over twice the original estimated amount.

18 June 1832

Work commences on Fort Henry, Kingston, Upper Canada.

Hastily constructed during the War of 1812, British military planners recognized the need to replace Fort Henry almost as soon as it was completed. Starting with the Duke of Richmond's recommendations of 1818, the new fort's design was the result of over 10 years of planning by the Royal Engineers.  The limestone masonry fortification was part of a plan that included five similar forts, and six Martello Towers, that were to encircle Kingston providing security for the town's navy yard, the military stores depot and the Rideau Canal's southern entrance. Cost overruns on the canal, however, meant that only Fort Henry was completed as planned. Still, it was the largest and most formidable British fortification in North America west of Quebec City. 

9 August 1842

Britain and the United States sign the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

Border disputes bedevilled Anglo-American diplomacy for nearly 120 years following the 1783 Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the American War of Independence.  Of the four disputed boundaries identified in the 1814 Treaty of Ghent, two remained unresolved until finally being negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster and British Special Minister Lord Alexander Ashburton.  The undefined frontier between Maine and New Brunswick was leading to a growing crisis in the 1830s and 1840s as settlers in both jurisdictions made claims to timber resources in the Aroostook River Valley triggering the bloodless "Aroostook War."  This treaty, which settled the Maine-New Brunswick-Quebec border as well as the boundary across Lake Superior to the Lake of the Woods, averted hostilities all while preserving each nation's honour.

18 June1846         

The United States Senate ratifies the Oregon Treaty. The treaty divides the Oregon Territory and extends the border between British North America and the United States along the 49th parallel across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific coast. The territory had been jointly occupied by Great Britain and the U.S. since shortly after the War of 1812.

13 October 1853

Major-General Sir Isaac Brock and his aide-de-camp John Macdonell are re-interred below the fourth monument commemorating the Battle of Queenston Heights, Upper Canada.

Although Fort George was bombarded, burned and occupied by the Americans during the war, the graves of Major-General Isaac Brock and Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonell were not disturbed in any way.  In 1824, the two bodies were exhumed and placed beneath a monument built on the battlefield of Queenston Heights.   This monument was destroyed by a bomb placed by Benjamin Lett, an exiled supporter of William Lyon Mackenzie's rebellion in 1840.   The bodies of Brock and Macdonell were moved to the Hamilton family grave plot in Queenston, while a second and much grander tower was constructed.  The fourth and final burial took place on the battle anniversary in 1853. Brock's Monument is the largest and most significant monument erected in British North America after the War of 1812.

1 July 1867

Canadian Confederation.  The responsibility of national defence is finally transferred from Great Britain to the newly established Dominion of Canada in 1870-71 leaving garrisons only at the imperial naval stations of Halifax, Nova Scotia and Esquimalt, British Columbia.

1871       

The Treaty of Washington between the United States and Great Britain addresses American claims arising out of their civil war and sets the stage for the settlement of the Pacific coast international boundary in Puget Sound. It also provides American access to Canadian fishing grounds on the Atlantic coast. While the treaty is unpopular in Canada, the British provide compensation by way of loan guarantees for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

← Back  |

War of 1812 Timeline


Section 1: 1775 - November 1811
Section 2: January 1812 - June 1812
Section 3: July 1812 - September 1812
Section 4: October 1812 - December 1812
Section 5: January 1813 - March 1813
Section 6: April 1813 - June 1813
Section 7: July 1813 - September 1813
Section 8: October 1813 - December 1813
Section 9: January 1814 - March 1814
Section 10: April 1814 - June 1814
Section 11: July 1814 - December 1814
Section 12: January 1815 - 1871

Government of Canada official War of 1812 Bicentennial Website

RELATED LINKS