If you ask a Briton what the date 1812 means to them they’ll respond with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with its crash of cannons and memorable theme tune, often accompanied with fireworks. A magnificent work of music written to commemorate the Russian defeat of Napoleon’s Grande Army of over half a million battle-hardened soldiers.
Ask an American and they think of the 1812 war with Britain, a war that is barely mentioned in British schools but which means much to Americans. To them they won that war after the English defeat at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. In fact the war was officially ended before that battle and yet another battle occurred later which the Americans conveniently forget: the Battle of Fort Bowyer, which the English won. It’s moot to argue who won that war because it should never have been fought. Google the details on Wikipedia or the many history forums and laughably you get different interpretations of the same facts depending on whether the writer is American, British, Canadian or a Native American. It’s one of those topics where the facts either don’t count or can’t properly be ascertained. The Americans wanted the British Navy to desist boarding American ships and stealing the crew (impressing) and they were trying to annexe Canada. America failed to take Canada but won the ending (more or less) of the impressments of their sailors.
Apparently the Americans (I can be accused of generalisation here, and I’d be guilty) believe they won the 1812 war because they solidly beat the English in the Battle of New Orleans. However, they conveniently ignore the fact that the Treaty of Ghent had already been signed the previous month and so the war was already over with no one winning or losing before the Battle of Orleans happened. Funny though because the English withdrawing from Orleans sailed around to Mobile and laid siege to Fort Bowyer.
They took the fort but their celebrations were short-lived. The ship carrying the mail from Europe finally arrived with the news that the war was over in December two months earlier! The embarrassed English commanders, Cochrane and Lambert gave the fort back to the Americans with sincere apologies for the inconvenience!
Kathleen Bullock (illustrator) and I (writer) have completed the first of our Scoot illustrated books for infants. It’s a surrealistic story about string with no end which they follow through their favourite shops, woods and playgrounds. Now getting the query letter ready to send to agents. Here’s the front cover