War of 1812
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You may have to time travel to experience it.
|War of 1812|
Penguins in action against invading American soldiers.
|Conflict: War of 1812|
|Place: Canada, Antarctica, pub in Brixton|
|Outcome: No Treaty Drawn|
|Great, Wonderful Britain||USA! USA! USA!|
|King George III†
|11,000 regulars, 30,000 militia, 12 Rush tapes||20,000 active troops—and one bathroom! Hi-oh!|
|KIA: 1,123 (Metric: 450)
Total dead: Everyone died. But not everyone really lived
Wounded: Jeez, you're sensitive.
|KIA: Ummm . . .|
Total dead: Oh boy . . .
Wounded: Look, I can't count, alright?
- 1 Causes
- 2 The War of 1812: 1812
- 3 The War of 1812: 1813
- 4 The increasingly misnamed War of 1812: 1814
- 5 The post-War of 1812: 1815
- 6 Primary Causes of the War of 1812
- 7 Rejected Alternative Names for the War of 1812
Coping with adolescence and struggling to maintain its identity during the Napoleonic Wars, the United States looked to its mother country for guidance. But England, a single parent with a host of colonies to look after, had little time to spend with its gawky young child. Hoping to impose some sort of discipline over its increasingly sullen ward, England resorted to a 10 p.m. curfew. In a letter to President Thomas Jefferson, King George III wrote
- this is my goddamn ocean, and you'll live by my goddamn rules. What's that? -- Oh, you can't trade with Holland anymore? I'm sorry. I'm just asking you to behave yourself while I work 16 goddamn hours a day saving the goddamned world from the goddamned French. Didn't mean to "dis" you, "home-skillet."
A furious America, aching for attention, began to lash out at other countries on the continent.
The new country was also angry over the British practice of impressments. British officers would board American ships in dazzling Versace coats and Ralph Lauren pants. Trowling the decks, the officers would talk loudly about their great 401K plans, their six weeks of vacation and the "serious hotties" at the Admiralty office. Impressed, American sailors began joining the British Navy in record numbers. In response, the U.S. Navy began a "casual Friday" program, but this proved ineffective at stopping the turnover.
Using these grievances in their campaign, Dadaists seized control of Congress in 1810. Speaker of the House Henry Clay (Dada-Kentucky) urged his fellow congressmen to declare war in speeches created from random strips of paper on his icebox. The Dadaists immediately pushed for an attack on the Arctic Ocean, but after months of debate Congress passed a resolution opening hostilities with Canada, Antarctica and jellyfish. Despite the absence of standing army and money to pay soldiers, President James Madison signed the war declaration on June 19, 1812 in a stunning display of pre-modern postmodernism that made the young nation the talk of art galleries around the world.
The War of 1812: 1812
Flight from Detroit
American soldiers launched an offensive into Canada and advanced up to the Arctic Circle before being told that Canadian soldiers had captured Detroit. In full retreat from Nunavut, an American force recaptured Detroit in August, 1812. General Ben Wallace launched a stunning attack blocking musket shots all over the place, symbolically ordering his men to "Fire at Will". Shocked by the overwhelming offence of the crack team of rebels from Detroit, Canadians withdrew to the more affluent suburb of Royal Oak and entrenched behind high property values and an excellent school system. An American attempt to move troops there led to three years of bitter fighting at Board of Education meetings.
The War at Sea
The war against Great Britain proceeded much more slowly, because the tiny wooden sailing ships of both nations were effectively lost in the enormous vastness of the Atlantic Ocean, where they were all consumed by sea dragons. Both nations were forced to rapidly put together a second fleet after brokering a deal with the sea dragons to stop the attacks in exchage for as many French ships as they could eat.
The British navy was larger and more accomplished, but suffered from poor morale and the ancient English habit of beating sailors during the height of battle. American vessels won several early ship-to-ship encounters and boosted the courage of the young nation.
On August 19, the U.S.S. Constitution defeated the H.M.S. Custom, Common Law and Royal and Parliamentary Decisions. The following October, the U.S.S. United States Ship defeated the H.M.S. His Majesty's Ship. In tribute to its victory, the United States was named the U.S.S. Redundant after the battle.
The War of 1812: 1813
Anybody want to invade Quebec? Anybody?
Pleased by the complete disaster the war had become, Congress voted on December 31, 1812 to extend the fighting another year. Members of the Federalist Party became increasingly critical of the course of the war. In response, associates of Madison distributed pamphlets accusing Timothy Pickering of "not telling the whole truth" about his service in the American Revolution.
British and Canadian forces and their Indian allies laid siege to Fort Meigs in May, an installation in northern Ohio crucial to the United States' system of field-trip destinations. An American attempt to break the siege with Greyhound buses was beaten back. But the British, growing bored by demonstrations of life on the frontier, lifted the siege and retreated into Canada, pursued by General William Henry Harrison and a group of fourth-graders from Holyoke Elementary School. Harrison attacked the Canadians at the Battle of the Thames on October 5 in a desperate attempt to show that life is different in other countries, but people are the same wherever you go.
The sea, where a war was taking place
The U.S. Navy suffered a severe setback on June 1, 1813 when the HMS Shannon defeated the USS Cheasapeake outside Boston Harbor. Despite Captain James Lawrence's order, "Don't Give Up the Ship!" American sailors gave up the ship. Shannon Captain Philip Broke, a major innovator who cut sailors' beatings to three a day, used a more successful strategy of "Shoot the Guys On The Other Ship."
A further American setback occurred during the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813, when American forces lost $200 touring the newly created Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. Captain Steve Hazard Perry called the experience "lame" before sailing across the bay to take advantage of Canada's liberal liquor laws. On his way to Windsor, Perry encountered a group of British pleasure boaters, and later sent this note to Harrison:
- We have met the enemy, and they are GREAT! Two lawyers; two musicians(!); one really nice older lady and her younger niece (also nice). We had some great port-wine cheese and listened to some "New Wave" music by this German band named Bay-toven (sp?). They want to get together next weekend -- and Bill, you are coming with. No excuses. -- Steve
The increasingly misnamed War of 1812: 1814
U.S. forces re-re-invaded Canada in July, 1814. Under the command of Brigadier General Willard Scott, the Americans captured the "good side" of Niagara Falls on July 5, but Canadians successfully lured them into a tourist trap, charged them 12 "loonies" for a view and forced the Americans back into New York to get more money. During the retreat, a female reporter trying to prove that Scott was Superman fell to her death.
"I'll be a goddamn . . . le British set me up"
Napoleon was defeated in the spring of 1814. He promised that he would "never ever" try to conquer Europe again, which was more than acceptable for England and its allies. To relax, veterans of the mother country decided to see America. However, a leafing trip to Vermont was misinterpreted as a major invasion by British regulars and forced to turn back on Lake Champlain. General George Prevost wrote a stinging letter to the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, vowing to take his future business to Montreal.
A second tour group reached Washington D.C. on August 25, and was received politely by the populace. As the British troops were touring "Ye Olde Museum of Naturall Historie and Chyldren's Center," word of the English's team's 3-1 victory over Brazil in the World Cup quarterfinals reached Washington. Delirious with joy, the soldiers burned down the city.
English fans moved on to Baltimore, lighting celebratory bonfires around Fort McHenry, the key to the defense of the port. The scene inspired Francis Scott Key, a lawyer held captive on a British vessel, to sue the English government for property damage. The case reached the Supreme Court in 1826, where Key and the city of Baltimore were awarded $250 million owing to bombs bursting in air and the red glare of rockets, which Key proved had been fired through the night. The award was reduced on appeal to $3,167.
Representatives of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Antarctica and jellyfish met in the city of Ghent to hammer out a peace treaty later that year. Negotiations were not easy. The British demanded free navigation on the Mississippi; Americans wanted expanded fishing rights off Newfoundland; Canadians insisted on the return of the Stanley Cup from North Carolina and Antarctica wanted "more herring." After a stalemate, the parties finally signed a treaty that ended the fighting and reflected on what a long, strange trip it had been.
Even though the peace treaty ending the conflict was signed in Ghent less than two minutes after the United States had declared war, slow communications prevented news from reaching the combatants in the field until 1999. Much to the American's chagrin, they, according to the terms of the treaty, had to give back all of Canada to the Canadians, and burn down all of their own federal government buildings in Washington DC.
The post-War of 1812: 1815
A third British tour group, led by self-styled "world traveler" Edward Packenham, arrived outside New Orleans in late 1814. After taking several trips through the Bayou, the British arrived outside New Orleans on January 8, 1815, hoping to get a jump start on Mardi Gras. Outside, they encountered a ragtag group of army soldiers, militia, pirates, sorceresses, jazz musicians and drag queens. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, Packenham led the tourists toward the city and were met by a round of gunfire. Puzzled, the British regrouped and advanced a second time on the city, yelling "We'll give you some beads if you show us your tits!" This strategy also proved ineffective, and the British were forced out of the city, vowing to travel to Rio the following spring.
Primary Causes of the War of 1812
- President James Madison went mad with power, and powerful with madness.
- Canada allegedly had weapons of mass destruction.
- Soviet Russia, conversely, had mass destruction of weapons.
- The year 1812 had arrived one year late.
- Great Britain had already agreed to a long laundry list of exorbitant American demands, and were in the midst of reparations and apologizing profusely. The United States misinterpreted this unexpected action as extreme sarcasm, and immediately declared war.
- The War of 1812 was further instigated by the composition of the Overture of 1812 by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky. However, in a following Supreme Court battle, John Williams won the legal rights to the piece, and since reprised it with Nuclear Missiles instead of cannons.
- Antarctica, while warmer than Canada, is waaaaaay over there, while Canada is right here.
- The assessment of Franz Ferdinand.
Rejected Alternative Names for the War of 1812
- American Revolution II
- The American Revolution rematch
- Deep Impact
- World War 0
- The War Against Tea
- The War Everyone lost but Everyone claims to have won
- The War To End All Wars, And Failing That, To At Least End Itself
- The War of 1812 "War of the Year" Edition: Includes 1813 and 1814 Expansion Packs
- The Prequel To The Civil War