The Incredible War of 1812
J. Mackay Hitsman, updated by Donald Graves.
War of 1812 is one of those conflicts that were overshadowed by
the greater war being fought in Europe at the time, although it
resulted in part from the conflict between Britain and France.
Incredible War of 1812 is a valuable guide to that conflict,
explaining in great detail the why, when and how of the battles
fought between the forces of Britain/Canada and the United States
understand the theatre of any war, it is necessary to examine
the origins of the conflict, and Hitsman presents a very clear
picture of the years of tension from the end of the American Revolution
until 1811, the year before the conflict erupted.
chapter on preparations for war in 1811-12 explains in great detail
how both sides formed their armies and describes the abilities,
or otherwise, of the senior officers who were to lead them.
are presented with a description of the lower ranks that did the
actual fighting, thus providing a balanced account of the men
involved, both regular and militia. Indeed, it is this examination
of the strengths and weaknesses of the men involved that helps
the reader to understand the events as they unfold.
actual conflict is examined in sections from the opening moves
in June and July 1812, through the actions in the Northwest in
1812, the war around the Niagara later that year, and the problems
with supplying the forces in the terrain of Upper Canada.
importance of dominating the Great Lakes and rivers, so that supplies
could be transported more readily, is discussed as this became
an important feature of the war for Canada.
on the victories and defeats experienced by both sides during
1813 and the British actions elsewhere in North America, such
as Washington and New Orleans, complete the story.
value of this book as an account of the War of 1812 is not the
only reason why the student of American and Napoleonic history
should consider this volume for their library.
Graves (himself an acknowledged expert on the war) has updated
the source material listed in Hitsman's original work. The list
of references is one of the most extensive I have come across
in any work, and is a valuable information source in itself.
appendices describe orders of battle of both regular and militia
units; the naval forces in North America; British and Canadian
military heritage of the War of 1812; and British and Canadian
Battle Honours, medals and awards of the war of 1812. There are
numerous maps to clarify each campaigning area. The 400 pages
of The Incredible War of 1812 represent one of the most useful
one-volume works on the conflict ever published.
clarity of the narrative, the maps and the comprehensive source
material make this a classic work and exceptional value for the
modest price. It will certainly be a well-thumbed reference work
in my library.