Journal of Military History
Vol. 76, No. 4
October 2012


Donald R. Hickey, “1812: Remembering a Forgotten War,” The Journal of Military History 76 #4 (October 2012): 969-72.
Samuel Watson, “Trusting to ‘the Chapter of Accidents’: Contingency, Necessity, and Self-Constraint in Jeffersonian National Security Policy,” The Journal of Military History 76 #4 (October 2012): 973-1000.
James Madison faced a difficult war because of Republican antipathy to taxation, debt, standing armies, federal aid to infrastructure, and a national bank. Many Republicans shared Thomas Jefferson’s faith that an untrained militia could easily conquer Canada, but they did not improve militia training or administration. Indeed, Jefferson gutted the army’s fledgling supply organization in 1802, an act far more significant for the War of 1812 than the creation of the Military Academy. Jefferson boxed himself and his successor into a corner by refusing to negotiate with Britain on realistic terms and by relying on commercial sanctions that damaged the economy and devastated revenues. Reactive and backward-looking, the Jeffersonian Republicans refused to match ends and means and failed to create a viable deterrent or alternative to war.
J. C. A. Stagg, “United States Army Officers in the War of 1812: A Statistical and Behavioral Portrait,” The Journal of Military History 76 #4 (October 2012): 1001-34.
Addressing one aspect of the larger problem of the U.S. Army’s often poor performance during the War of 1812, this essay focuses on the War Department’s attempt to create a competent officer corps. The article provides data about the officers’ social origins and discusses their difficulties in performing their duties, as revealed in the transcripts of 334 general courts martial. The conclusions suggest that officers were judged more severely for their moral and character defects than for their shortcomings in performing routine duties. These findings also explain why, unlike their European counterparts in the Napoleonic era, most U.S. Army officers failed to achieve the necessary degree of proficiency.
Michael J. Crawford, “U.S. Navy Petty Officers in the Era of the War of 1812,” The Journal of Military History 76 #4 (October 2012): 1035-51.
Navies in the age of sail required artisans familiar with the working of a sailing vessel as well as a warship’s operations. The years 1797 to 1812 were formative for the body of skilled petty officers on whom commissioned and warrant officers relied to turn their armed ships into effective instruments of warfare. This essay provides an overview of the early U.S. Navy’s process of recruiting and training petty officers, how the character of subordination and discipline was negotiated between commissioned and lesser officers, and the petty officers’ life aboard ship in the era of the War of 1812.
Jeremy Black, “The North American Theater Of The Napoleonic Wars, Or, As It Is Sometimes Called, The War Of 1812,” The Journal of Military History 76 #4 (October 2012): 1053-66.
The Anglo-American conflict of 1812–15, “the War of 1812,” provides an opportunity for considering the nature of warfare in the early nineteenth century and, also, the opportunities and problems that Britain, the world’s leading naval power, enjoyed as it sought to balance wide-ranging commitments.
Kevin D. McCranie, “The War of 1812 in the Ongoing Napoleonic Wars: The Response of Britain’s Royal Navy,” The Journal of Military History 76 #4 (October 2012): 1067-94.
It proved difficult for Britain’s Royal Navy to fight the War of 1812 while already at war with France. This ongoing conflict had lasted for nearly two decades and had left Britain with few reserves. Moreover, war with America necessitated a massive westward shift in naval deployments even while the European war intensified with Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and the expansion of Wellington’s Peninsular Campaign. The following article analyzes how the Royal Navy balanced operations between Napoleon’s Empire and the United States with an emphasis on 1812 and 1813.
Donald E. Graves, “Why the White House Was Burned: An Investigation into the British Destruction of Public Buildings at Washington in August 1814,” The Journal of Military History 76 #4 (October 2012): 1095-1127.
The War of 1812 is a conflict that carries an unduly heavy burden of mythology, much of it propagated by nineteenth-century historians and deriving mainly from national chauvinism. In this respect, one of the most misunderstood events of the war is the British destruction of public buildings in Washington in August 1814. This article examines the background of that event and discusses whether it was justified, either under the laws of war, as they were understood at the time, or in retaliation for the American destruction of Canadian towns and villages in the northern theatre.
John P. Bowes, “Transformation and Transition: American Indians and the War of 1812 in the Lower Great Lakes,” The Journal of Military History 76 #4 (October 2012): 1129-46.
To better understand American Indian participation in the War of 1812 it is necessary to step away from the narrative constructed by men like President James Madison and General William Henry Harrison, who saw a dangerous British-Indian alliance wherever they turned. Similarly, it is helpful to avoid using the Treaty of Ghent as a narrative endpoint. Therefore, instead of seeing the War of 1812 as a singular event and its conclusion as an end point, this article places the conflict and its Indian participants within a broad chronological context. Such an extended framework helps to explain why Indians were divided in response to the war and to illustrate how it connected developments that came before and after. Rather than addressing some type of composite Indian story, the article focuses on the Wyandot communities in the Old Northwest, whose lives were intertwined with those of their native neighbors and whose histories reveal that while the War of 1812 was undoubtedly transformative, it is best viewed as a transition rather than as a conclusion.
Frederick C. Leiner, “‘The Sport of Arbitrary Men’: The Privateer Nonsuch and a Search at Sea in the War of 1812,” The Journal of Military History 76 #4 (October 2012): 1147-64.
In the War of 1812, the United States had a small navy and relied on privateers—private armed ships that sought to make money—to engage in commercial warfare against Britain. If privateers stopped a British merchant ship, or an American trading under a British license, they sailed it into a friendly port. If deemed a “good prize,” the vessel and goods were sold, the net proceeds divided between the privateer’s owners, officers, and crew. But sometimes, the stop and search went beyond the bounds of law: the seizure of the Ann Maria, a tiny Virginia schooner, off St. Thomas, by the Baltimore privateer Nonsuch, led all the way to the Supreme Court, and reveals the dark side of a system based on legalized robbery.
Richard Jensen, “Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812,” The Journal of Military History 76 #4 (October 2012): 1165-82.
Wikipedia has become the world’s dominant educational resource, with over four million articles in the English language edition that reach hundreds of millions of readers. Wikipedia is written by and for the benefit of highly motivated amateurs. Military history is one of its strengths, with over 50,000 articles and over 700 well-organized volunteers who prevent mischief and work on upgrading quality. They rely on free online sources and popular books, and generally ignore historiography and scholarly monographs and articles. The military articles are old-fashioned, with an emphasis on tactics, battles, and technology, and are weak on social and cultural dimensions. This essay examines how the 14,000-word article on the “War of 1812” was worked on by 2,400 different people, with no overall coordinator or plan. Debates raged as the 1812 article attracted over 3,300 comments by 627 of the most active editors. The main dispute was over who won the war.
Research Note:

James R. Arnold, “Winfield Scott Makes a Name for Himself,” The Journal of Military History 76 #4 (October 2012): 1183-85.
Review Essay:

John R. Grodzinski, “Opening Shots from the Bicentenary of the War of 1812: A Canadian Perspective on Recent Titles,” The Journal of Military History 76 #4 (October 2012): 1187-1201.

Reviews: The War of 1812
How Britain Won the War of 1812: The Royal Navy’s Blockade of the United States, 1812-1815, by Brian Arthur, reviewed by Spencer C. Tucker, 1204-5

The Weight of Vengeance: The United States, the British Empire, and the War of 1812, by Troy Bickham, reviewed by Richard Buel, Jr., 1205-6

The War of 1812 in the Age of Napoleon, by Jeremy Black, reviewed by David Curtis Skaggs, 1206-8

Perilous Fight: America’s Intrepid War with Britain on the High Seas, 1812-1815, by Stephen Budiansky, reviewed by Michael J. Crawford, 1208-9

1812: The Navy’s War, by George C. Daughan, reviewed by Spencer C. Tucker, 1209-10

Strange Fatality: The Battle of Stoney Creek, 1813, by James E. Elliot, reviewed by John R. Grodzinski, 1211-12

Illinois in the War of 1812, by Gillum Ferguson, reviewed by John W. Hall, 1212-13

First Campaign of an A.D.C.: The War of 1812 Memoir of Lieutenant William Jenkins Worth, United States Army, edited by Donald E. Graves, reviewed by Richard V. Barbuto, 1213-14

The Rockets’ Red Glare: An Illustrated History of the War of 1812, by Donald R. Hickey and Connie D. Clark; 1812: War and the Passions of Patriotism, by Nicole Eustace, reviewed by David Curtis Skaggs, 1214-16

The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict, by Donald R. Hickey, reviewed by William B. Skelton, 1217-18

187 Things You Should Know About the War of 1812, by Donald R. Hickey, reviewed by Christopher T. George, 1218-20

The Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812, by Andrew Lambert, reviewed by Kevin D. McCranie, 1220-21

1812: War with America, by Jon Latimer, reviewed by Richard V. Barbuto, 1222-23

A Matter of Honour: The Life, Campaigns, and Generalship of Isaac Brock, by Jonathon Riley, reviewed by John R. Grodzinski, 1223-24

Oliver Hazard Perry: Honor, Courage, and Patriotism in the Early U.S. Navy, by David Curtis Skaggs, reviewed by Robert Malcomson, 1224-25

The War of 1812: Conflict for a Continent, by J.C.A. Stagg, reviewed by John R. Grodzinski, 1225-27

The Encyclopedia of the War of 1812, edited by Spencer C. Tucker, reviewed by J. C. A. Stagg , 1227-28

With a Sword in One Hand and Jomini in the Other: The Problem of Military Thought in the Civil War North, by Carol Reardon, reviewed by Michael A. Bonura and by Samuel Watson, 1229-32

Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity, edited by Nicholas Paul and Suzanne Yeager, reviewed by Brian J. Hale, 1232-33

War in the World: A Comparative History, 1450-1600, by Jeremy Black, reviewed by Niccolò Capponi, 1234-35

The Spanish Experience in Taiwan, 1626-1642: The Baroque Ending of a Renaissance Endeavor, by José Eugenio Borao Mateo, reviewed by Roderich Ptak, 1235-36

Conquered Into Liberty: Two Centuries of Battles Along the Great Warpath that Made the American Way of War, by Eliot A. Cohen, reviewed by Alexander V. Campbell, 1236-38

The Archaeology of Forts and Battlefields, by David R. Starbuck, reviewed by Clarence R. Geier, 1238-39

Op Zoek naar Glorie in Vlaanderen 1707-08: De Zonnekoning en de Spaanse Successi, by Frederik Dhondt, reviewed by John M. Stapleton, 1239-41

The Pennsylvania Associators, 1747-1777, by Joseph Seymour, reviewed by Barbara A. Gannon, 1241-42

The Siege of Fort William Henry: A Year on the Northeastern Frontier, by Ben Hughes, reviewed by Scott E. Belliveau, 1242-44

A Child of the Revolution: William Henry Harrison and His World, 1773-1798, by Hendrik Booraem V, reviewed by R. Douglas Hurt, 1244-45

Cavalry of the American Revolution, edited by Jim Piecuch, reviewed by Frank L. Kalesnik, 1245-46

Burgoyne and the Saratoga Campaign: His Papers, by Donald R. Cubbison; and The Battle of Bennington: Soldiers and Civilians, by Michael P. Gabriel, reviewed by Thomas M. Barker, 1246-49

Forging Napoleon’s Grande Armée: Motivation, Military Culture, and Masculinity in the French Army, 1800-1808, by Michael J. Hughes, reviewed by John H. Gill, 1249-50

The Germans of Charleston, Richmond and New Orleans during the Civil War Period, 1850-1870: A Study and Research Compendium, by Andrea Mehrländer, reviewed by Jeff Strickland, 1250-51

The Revolution of 1861: The American Civil War in an Age of Nationalist Conflict, by Andre M. Fleche, reviewed by Robert Bonner, 1252-53

Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War, by Christian McWhirter, reviewed by Kirsten M. Schultz, 1253-54

War Upon the Land: Military Strategy and the Transformation of the Southern Landscapes during the American Civil War, by Lisa M. Brady, reviewed by Joseph P. Hupy, 1254-56

Demon of the Lost Cause: Sherman and Civil War History, by Wesley Moody, reviewed by D. Jonathan White, 1256-57

Riders of the Apocalypse: German Cavalry and Modern Warfare, 1870-1945, by David R. Dorondo, reviewed by Richard L. DiNardo, 1257-58

Great Sioux War Orders of Battle: How the United States Army Waged War on the Northern Plains, 1876-1877, by Paul L. Hedren, reviewed by John H. Monnett, 1258-59

Sustaining Southern Identity: Douglas Southall Freeman and Memory in the Modern South, by Keith Dickson, reviewed by Matthew C. Hulbert, 1259-60

1911: Preliminary Moves. The 2011 Chief of Army History Conference, edited by Peter Dennis and Jeffrey Grey, reviewed by Samuel R. Williamson, Jr., 1261-62

Indigenous Peoples of the British Dominions and the First World War, by Timothy C. Winegard, reviewed by John Connor, 1262-63

Karl Hanssen’s Samoan War Diaries, August 1914-May 1915: A German Perspective on New Zealand’s Military Occupation of German Samoa, edited by James N. Bade, reviewed by Michael Wynd, 1264-65

The World War I Memoirs of Robert P. Patterson: A Captain in the Great War, edited by J. Garry Clifford, reviewed by Edward M. Coffman, 1265-66

The Mediterranean Fleet 1919-1929, edited by Paul Halpern, reviewed by Eric Grove, 1266-67

At Home and Under Fire: Air Raids and Culture in Britain from the Great War to the Blitz, by Susan R. Grayzel, reviewed by Brett Holman, 1267-68

Into the Sun: Novels of the United States Air Force, by Philip S. Meilinger, reviewed by Roger C. Thompson, 1269-70

Modern Warfare in Spain: American Military Observations on the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, edited by James W. Cortada, reviewed by Geoffrey Jensen, 1270-71

Heinrich Himmler, by Peter Longerich, reviewed by Eleanor Hancock, 1271-73

Nomonhan: The Red Army’s Victory that Shaped World War II, by Stuart D. Goldman, reviewed by Edward Drea, 1273-74

Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945, by Max Hastings, reviewed by Gerhard L. Weinberg, 1274-75

Stalin’s General: The Life of Georgy Zhukov, by Geoffrey Roberts, reviewed by Jonathan M. House, 1275-76

Kiev 1941: Hitler’s Battle for Supremacy in the East, by David Stahel, reviewed by Klaus Schmider, 1276-78

Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign: The Eighth Army and the Path to El Alamein, by Jonathan Fennell, reviewed by Craig Stockings, 1278-80

The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943, by Robert Citino, reviewed by Gregory Liedtke, 1280-82

Classical Spies: American Archaeologists with the OSS in World War II Greece, by Susan Heuck Allen, reviewed by Rose Mary Sheldon, 1282-84

Motherland in Danger: Soviet Propaganda during World War II, by Karel C. Berkhoff, reviewed by Matthew R. Schwonek, 1284-85

General Albert C. Wedemeyer: America’s Unsung Strategist in World War II, by John J. McLaughlin, reviewed by Marc Gallicchio, 1285-87

Omar Bradley: General at War, by Jim DeFelice, reviewed by Joseph R. Fischer, 1287-89

Beyond Rosie the Riveter: Women of World War II in American Popular Graphic Art, by Donna B. Knaff, reviewed by Sara Harrison Dougherty, 1289-91

Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath, edited by George H. Nash, reviewed by Andrew J. Bacevich, 1291-93

Soldiers and Statesmen: Reflections on Leadership, by John S. D. Eisenhower, reviewed by Douglas V. Johnson II, 1293-94

Military Leadership and Counterinsurgency: The British Army and Small War Strategy since World War II, by Victoria Nolan, reviewed by Huw Bennett, 1294-96

The Short American Century: A Postmortem, edited by Andrew J. Bacevich, reviewed by Ralph Hitchens, 1296-98

Cold War: The Essential Reference Guide, edited by James R. Arnold and Roberta Wiener, reviewed by Thomas Nichols, 1298-1300

High Seas Buffer: The Taiwan Patrol Force, 1950-1979, by Bruce Elleman, reviewed by Thomas Sheppard, 1300-1

Combat in Korea: Passing the Test, April-June 1951, edited by William T. Bowers and John T. Greenwood, reviewed by William M. Donnelly, 1301-2

Mao, Stalin, and the Korean War: Trilateral Communist Relations in the 1950s, by Shen Zhihua, translated by Neil Silver, reviewed by June Teufel Dreyer, 1303-4

Before the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, 1954-1961, by William J. Rust, reviewed by Laurent Cesari, 1304-5

Defense Acquisition Reform, 1960-2009: An Elusive Goal, by J. Ronald Fox, reviewed by Robert G. Angevine, 1305-6

Warfare in Independent Africa, by William Reno, reviewed by Paul D. Williams, 1307-9

Hanoi’s War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam, by Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, reviewed by Peter Brush, 1309-10

Operation Anaconda: America’s First Major Battle in Afghanistan, by Lester W. Grau and Dodge Billingsley, reviewed by Richard W. Stewart, 1311-12

Losing Small Wars: British Military Failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, by Frank Ledwidge, reviewed by Andrew Mumford, 1312-13

Afghanistan Declassified: A Guide to America’s Longest War, by Brian Glyn Williams, reviewed by Aaron B. O’Connell, 1314-15

Wiki at War: Conflict in a Socially Networked World, by James J. Carafano, reviewed by Timothy S. Wolters, 1316-17

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