Napoleonic Wars Forum

The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Naval Action in the 1812 War

For all discussions relating to the war fought between Britain and the United States of America of 1812-15.

Naval Action in the 1812 War

Postby researchingreg » January 24th, 2017, 10:14 pm

One of my wife's family Lt John Race Godfrey served on HMS Acasta a 40 gun Frigate under Captain Kerr mainly as a midshipman for 4 years from June 1811 in Portsmouth until leaving in July 1815 at Portsmouth.
During those 4 years he seemed to be in action against American ships, even though the 1812 war was from June 1812 until Dec 1814. The Acasta took the American Brig Catherine with its cargo of wine on 29 August 1811 off Corsica after a 5 hour chase. In Oct 1811 Acasta along with HMS Artimide took the American Ship Trajan off Bordeaux for breach of the blockade being enforced by the Royal Navy. This is before the war started. Then Acasta sailed from Portsmouth on 30 Dec 1811 in a convoy to Torbay, then on 4 Jan 1812 sailed with the convoy to the Indies. Then once the war started the Acasta captured the American Privateer Brig Curlew (16 guns and 178 men) at 44.15 N longitude and 62.30 W off Cape Sable Florida on 24 July 1812. The Acasta along with other Royal Navy Warships then had many actions and captured and engaged American Ships and as late as 11 March 1815 Acasta along with HMS Leander and HMS Newcastle was engaged in chasing the USS Constitution which got away, but they did manage to capture the accompanying Sloop Levant. Which was their last engagement.
The actions during the main war I can cover in other posts.

So the Royal Navy was engaged in action against US ships before and after the 1812 War.
User avatar
researchingreg
New Member
 
Posts: 57
Joined: January 22nd, 2015, 8:57 pm
Location: London

Re: Naval Action in the 1812 War

Postby Waggoner » January 25th, 2017, 11:34 am

This is interesting information. The Americans tried to play the Napoleonic Wars both ways...break the British blockade to trade with France and trade with the British to resupply Wellington in the Peninsula. It is not surprising that the Royal Navy would have intercepted some of their blockage runners. While the treaty to end the War of 1812 was signed at the end of December 1814, the US government did not ratify it until February 1815. Word of the truce was slow to travel hence the ill fated battle on New Orleans. It looks like the word was even slower getting to RN ships on deployment. I look forward the hearing more about your wife's ancestor's adventures.

All the best,

Gary
User avatar
Waggoner
Senior Member
 
Posts: 439
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 12:59 am
Location: New Brunswick, Canada

Re: Naval Action in the 1812 War

Postby researchingreg » January 25th, 2017, 1:01 pm

Waggoner wrote:This is interesting information. The Americans tried to play the Napoleonic Wars both ways...break the British blockade to trade with France and trade with the British to resupply Wellington in the Peninsula. It is not surprising that the Royal Navy would have intercepted some of their blockage runners. While the treaty to end the War of 1812 was signed at the end of December 1814, the US government did not ratify it until February 1815. Word of the truce was slow to travel hence the ill fated battle on New Orleans. It looks like the word was even slower getting to RN ships on deployment. I look forward the hearing more about your wife's ancestor's adventures.

All the best,

Gary

Gary

Yes it was a shame about the Battle of New Orleans and the slow communications in that era. His younger brother William Earle Godfrey was an Ensign in the Army at that battle, which I've already posted about, his regiment had 5 killed and 25 wounded in the battle, but lost a lot more through disease. viewtopic.php?f=42&t=3229

Geoff
User avatar
researchingreg
New Member
 
Posts: 57
Joined: January 22nd, 2015, 8:57 pm
Location: London

Re: Naval Action in the 1812 War

Postby Senarmont198 » January 25th, 2017, 9:30 pm

It should be noted that the USS Constitution had defeated and capture HMS Cyane and HMS Levant and that the Levant was recaptured with a prize crew aboard.as she couldn't outrun her pursuers. She was not a US Navy vessel. Both the Constitution and the Cyane got away from their pursuers. The Cyane was taken into the US Navy.
Senarmont198
Senior Member
 
Posts: 490
Joined: May 28th, 2015, 10:23 am

Re: Naval Action in the 1812 War

Postby Senarmont198 » January 25th, 2017, 9:35 pm

Waggoner wrote:This is interesting information. The Americans tried to play the Napoleonic Wars both ways...break the British blockade to trade with France and trade with the British to resupply Wellington in the Peninsula. It is not surprising that the Royal Navy would have intercepted some of their blockage runners. While the treaty to end the War of 1812 was signed at the end of December 1814, the US government did not ratify it until February 1815. Word of the truce was slow to travel hence the ill fated battle on New Orleans. It looks like the word was even slower getting to RN ships on deployment. I look forward the hearing more about your wife's ancestor's adventures.


The New Orleans operation was a planned British invasion, and one in which government officials accompanied the expedition. The plan was to take New Orleans and then administer it. It was the last of three British invasions in 1814 that were defeated on land, the other two being Plattsburg and Baltimore. And the fighting on the Niagara peninsula also did not go well for the British. Of the three engagements, the British lost two and the other was a bloody draw.

British activity at sea actually brought on the war with trade being interrupted and American seaman being impressed. The Royal Navy had no problems firing on the Chesapeake in 1807 but were outraged when HMS Little Belt was almost sunk by the USS President. The captain of the President had learned his lesson-fire first and ask questions after.
Senarmont198
Senior Member
 
Posts: 490
Joined: May 28th, 2015, 10:23 am

Re: Naval Action in the 1812 War

Postby janner » January 28th, 2017, 12:09 pm

Lets not end the story there though, Senarmont ;-)

On January 14th 1815, the USS President was defeated off Sandy Hook by HMS Endymion. The US vessel became HMS President, a name that still graces the list of Her Majesty’s Fleet, but now as a 'stone frigate'.

Moreover, as you are aware, the US attempt to annex the Canadian provinces via Niagera was a abject failure. Rather than not going well for the British, the campaign that culminated at Lundy's Lane was a strategic defeat for the US.

The War of 1812 saw a number of US successes, there's really no need to sugarcoat the failures.
Stephen
User avatar
janner
Participating Member
 
Posts: 166
Joined: May 17th, 2015, 8:44 pm
Location: Odense, Denmark

Re: Naval Action in the 1812 War

Postby Senarmont198 » January 28th, 2017, 2:02 pm

Nothing's being sugar-coated.

I merely mentioned what happened to the Levant because the part of her being defeated and captured by the Constitution, along with the Cyane, had been left out.

Lundy's Lane wasn't the end of the Niagara campaign. The siege and British defeat at Fort Erie was the end of the campaign, except for a minor action north of the position. The British retreated northward after lifting the siege of Fort Erie. The Americans withdrew back across the Niagara river because they didn't believe they could supply a garrison at Fort Erie over the winter.

They were planning another campaign for 1815 when the war ended.

No one is disputing that the USS President was captured by HMS Endymion at the end of the war. She was being pursued by a British squadron and had also been damaged in the hull coming out of harbor. Endymion was not on her own.

The bottom line is that the British offensives in 1814 were all defeated which led to the peace treaty leaving the situation as it was before the war. Wellington himself urged that peace be made without British territorial demands on the Americans because of the defeat of the three British offensives and Fort Erie.

That information is readily available and if you would like the sources I'll assemble them for you and list them here.
Senarmont198
Senior Member
 
Posts: 490
Joined: May 28th, 2015, 10:23 am

Re: Naval Action in the 1812 War

Postby Josh&Historyland » January 29th, 2017, 12:32 am

Niagra was hardly satisfactory for either side, it could be said that the British thrust after the successful defence of Canada was blunted by its end, yet its unlikely they'd have left it there had the war continued. Indeed most of the campaigns were damp squibs in one way or another. Each side had by 1815 successfully managed to offset the other's successes to some degree, and New Orleans didn't really alter much treaty wise, nor did these stray ship actions. Altogether a fairly arbitrary little war, though undeniably interesting.

The root Cause of course is the British right to search ships at sea, which of course lead to the incident of the Leapord etc. But also of American belligerence wishing to assert herself in defiance and defence of her flag abroad, perhaps too willing to back up their outrage with powder, the usual hair brained American invasion of Canada was rebuffed and the British naval descents were a mixed bag, it worked at Washington, not so much at Baltimore, and offensive operations from Canada were derailed after the death of Brock.

New Orleans was such another amphibious attempt to take an American city, The battle was fought after the treaty was signed, though as yet not ratified, slow communications are doubtless the answer. Happened in Spain at Toulouse and Bayonne as well, where long distances or ignorance was also a factor.

Josh.
Adventures In Historyland, Keeping History Real. http://adventuresinhistoryland.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Josh&Historyland
Senior Veteran Member
 
Posts: 1878
Joined: March 2nd, 2013, 1:14 pm

Re: Naval Action in the 1812 War

Postby janner » January 29th, 2017, 9:06 am

Senarmont198 wrote:Nothing's being sugar-coated.

Lundy's Lane wasn't the end of the Niagara campaign. The siege and British defeat at Fort Erie was the end of the campaign, except for a minor action north of the position. The British retreated northward after lifting the siege of Fort Erie. The Americans withdrew back across the Niagara river because they didn't believe they could supply a garrison at Fort Erie over the winter.
...
That information is readily available and if you would like the sources I'll assemble them for you and list them here.


So the US withdrew, but the British retreated - that's called sugarcoating.

The problem is not the availability of the data, but decisions taken in presenting it.

As Josh demonstartes, it perfectly possible to present an even handed account of events...
Stephen
User avatar
janner
Participating Member
 
Posts: 166
Joined: May 17th, 2015, 8:44 pm
Location: Odense, Denmark

Re: Naval Action in the 1812 War

Postby Senarmont198 » January 29th, 2017, 11:56 am

The British were forced to retreat because of being defeated at Fort Erie.

The Americans withdrew because of the issue of resupply over the winter. The British were defeated, the Americans were not.

There is a difference in the two. Both are retrograde operations, one because of a defeat the other because of logistical problems. The Americans could have stayed at Fort Erie over the winter, but the difficulties in resupply across the Niagara River in the winter posed significant problems.

I can list some references for you that might help with the Niagara campaign if you like. Let me know and I'll list them for you.
Senarmont198
Senior Member
 
Posts: 490
Joined: May 28th, 2015, 10:23 am

Next

Return to War of 1812

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest