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Ohio War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission  

Suggested Reading

General Histories

Benn, Carl. The War of 1812. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

A short overview, which includes much of the more recent historiography about the war.

Borneman, Walter R. 1812: The War That Forged a Nation. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2005.

A general popular history that emphasizes the war’s importance to America’s “coming of age” as a nation.

Coles, Harry L. The War of 1812. The Chicago History of American Civilization. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1965.

An analytical and narrative survey of the war, in which the author argues that honor and economic interests steered the United States into the greater Anglo-French struggle. The war greatly contributed to a heightened nationalistic spirit in both Canada and the United States.

Hannay, James History of the War of 1812, between Great Britain and the United States of America. St. John, New Brunswick: John A. Bowes Publisher, 1901.

A general history of the war from the Canadian perspective, very critical of American activities and conduct during the war.

Hickey, Donald R. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1989.

A detailed account of the war from a diplomatic, economic and political perspective. An abridged version of this work is also available as is a new and expanded 2012 bicentennial edition.

Hitsman, J. Mackay. The Incredible War of 1812: A Military History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965.

A history of the war with special attention given to the actions along the Canadian border.

Katcher, Philip R. N. The American War, 1812-1814. Men-at-Arms Series. Reading, U.K.: Osprey Publishing, 1974.

Popular and straight forward interpretations and descriptions of the principal land engagements of the war and the regulars and militia on both sides that waged it.

Latimer, Jon. 1812: War with America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007.

Written from the British viewpoint, the war is placed in its strategic context as part of the larger phenomenon of the Napoleonic Wars. American nationalism rampant and territorial expansion into Canada are considered the war’s underlying causes.

Lawson, Don. The War of 1812: America’s Second War for Independence. London: Abelard- Schuman Publishers, 1966.

A general history of the war written for young readers.

Mahon, John K. The War of 1812. Cambridge, MA.: Da Cappo Press, 1991.

Lack of Congressional and popular support, poorly equipped regulars, ill-trained militia and poor coordination all come together to provide the reader with a lens through which to view how a war should not be conducted.

Suthren, Victor. The War of 1812. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Publishers, 1999.

A lavishly illustrated and well-written work crafted as a companion to PBS’s mini-series on the War of 1812. An excellent “starter” for someone wishing to find out more about this pivotal moment in history.

Taylor, Alan. The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels and Indian Allies New York: Random House Publishers, 2010.

The war is treated as a struggle between the nascent American revolutionary republic and the British attempt to contain and destroy it. The lives, motivations and actions of soldiers, immigrants, settlers and Indians on both sides are examined and the subsequent roles each in their turn played in the future development of Canada and the United States.

Zuehlke, Mark. For Honour’s Sake: The War of 1812 and the Brokering of an Uneasy Peace. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2007.

A survey of the war from the Canadian perspective. The work reveals the trials and travails the diplomats at Ghent experienced as they attempted to hammer out a treaty that would be amenable to both sides, but in the end was considered unsatisfactory.

Naval Histories

Arthur, Brian. How Britain Won the War of 1812: The Royal Navy’s Blockade of the United States, 1812-1815. Suffolk, U.K.: Boydell Press, 2011.

An assessment of the war as a British victory by means of a successful naval blockade of American ports and harbors.

Budiansky, Stephen. Perilous Fight: America’s Intrepid War with Britain on the High Seas, 1812-1815. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2011.

How American seamanship, together with visionary leadership combined to stave off defeat on the high seas. Examines how the Navy’s sterling performance secured for it a place of honor in the republic’s defense.

Daughan, George C. 1812: The Navy’s War. New York: Perseus Books, 2011.

A well-researched account of the outnumbered U.S. Navy’s splendid performance against the all-powerful Royal Navy. The war at sea is discussed within the context of presidential politics, the Constitution and diplomacy.

Forester, Cecil S. The Age of Fighting Sail: The Story of the Naval War of 1812. Sandwich, MA: Chapman Billies, Inc., 2005.

McKranie, Kevin D. Utmost Gallantry: The U.S. and the Royal Navies at Sea in the War of 1812. Annapolis, MD.: Naval Institute Press, 2011.

A well-balanced view of the operations and leadership of both the American and British navies during the war.

Roosevelt, Theodore. The Naval War of 1812 or The History of the United States Navy during the Last War with Great Britain. New York: Putnam’s Sons, 1882.

A classic, detailed analysis of the strengths and weakness of both belligerents. Touches upon the navy’s positive impact on American wartime civilian morale.

Toll, Ian W. Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006.

Vindication of the decision of a generally parsimonious Congress for the laying of the keels of six frigates at the end of the eighteenth century. Their performance during action against the Barbary Pirates through the War of 1812 would help raise the reputation of the U.S. Navy to that of a power to be reckoned with.

The War of 1812 on Land and Lake in Ohio and the Northwest

Allaben, Frank, ed. "The Battle Described by the Victorious American Leader." Journal of American History (National Historical Society) 8 (January-March 1914): 109-116.

Collection of letters and reports written by O. H. Perry and Secretary of the Navy William Jones about the Battle of Lake Erie. The work also contains rosters of American casualties, and a list of the ships of both squadrons.

Allaben, Frank, ed. “Commander Barclay’s Account of the Battle of Lake Erie.” Journal of American History (National Historical Society) 8 (January-March 1914): 123-128.

Provides an account of the Battle of Lake Erie from the British commander Robert Barclay. A roster of the British casualties is also included.

Allaben, Frank, ed. “The Court Martial of Commander Barclay.” Journal of American History (National Historical Society) 8 (January-March 1914): 129-146.

As a matter of Royal Navy regulations, for his defeat at the Battle of Lake Erie, Captain Robert Barclay was court-martialed. An account of the court-martial and Barclay’s subsequent acquittal of all charges brought against him. His lack of experienced sailors is the principal piece brought forth in his defense.

Allaben, Frank, ed. “The Log Book of the ‘Lawrence.’” Journal of American History (National Historical Society) 8 (January-March 1914): 117-121.

Extracts from the log of the ‘Lawrence,’ O.H. Perry’s first flagship at the Battle of Lake Erie.

Allaben, Frank, ed. “The ‘Niagara’ in the Centennial Celebrations.” Journal of American History (National Historical Society) 8 (January-March 1914): 7-17.

In 1833, the state of Pennsylvania raised the Brig Niagara and rebuilt and refitted her for the centennial celebration. The ‘Niagara’ was Perry’s flagship when the British surrendered during the Battle of Lake Erie.

Allaben, Frank, ed. “The Raising and Rebuilding of the ‘Niagara’” Journal of American History (National Historical Society) 8 (January-March 1914): 18-31.

A detailed account of the salvage operations and rebuilding of Perry’s second flagship the ‘Niagara’ for the centennial celebration.

Altoff, Gerard T. Among My Best Men: African Americans and the War of 1812. Put-In-Bay, OH: The Perry Group, 1996.

A well-researched and written account of the naval service of African Americans during the War of 1812. The work centers around their actions as members of Perry’s crews at the Battle of Lake Erie.

Altoff, Gerard T. and David Curtis Skaggs. A Signal Victory: The Lake Erie Campaign, 1812-1813. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997.

A very insightful and readable account of the Battle of Lake Erie. The strategic conduct of the campaign and the tactical maneuverings of the American and British fleets during the battle are presented. Perry is portrayed as impetuous and adverse to controversy.

Anderson, David D. “The Battle of Fort Stephenson: The Beginning of the End of the War of 1812 in the Northwest.” Northwest Ohio Quarterly 33 (Spring 1961): 81-90.

Major George Croghan’s successful defense of Fort Stephenson made him the first American hero of the war. It was a crucial turning point of American fortunes in the Northwest and Ohio.

Antal, Sandy. A Wampum Denied: Procter’s War of 1812. Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1997.

A rich and detailed investigation of the war in the Northwest from British, Canadian and Native American perspectives. Examines in detail the actions of Colonel Henry Procter, his complex relationship with Tecumseh and Major General Sir Isaac Brock.

Bond, Beverly W.., Jr. “William Henry Harrison in the War of 1812.” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 13 (March 1927): 499-516.

A sympathetic treatment of Harrison’s military abilities and campaigns during the war.

Bourne, Alexander. “The Siege of Fort Meigs, Year 1813: An Eye-Witness Account.” Northwest Ohio Quarterly 17 (October 1945): 139-154; 18 (January 1946): 39-48.

The author was a militia soldier during the siege of Fort Meigs. The article is excerpted from his autobiography. Provides good insight into the life of the common soldier.

Cox, Isaac Joslin. “Significance of Perry’s Victory.” Ohio Archaeological and Historical Publications 19 (October 1910): 460-466.

Perry’s victory on Lake Erie allowed William Henry Harrison to move his army against Detroit and then into Canada. This action ended the British threat to the Northwest, broke what was left of Tecumseh’s confederation and influenced the treaty negotiations at Ghent.

Edumunds, Allan A Tecumseh and the Quest for Indian Leadership. Boston: Little Brown, 1984.

The Shawnee Tecumseh is treated as a charismatic warrior-diplomat who transcended tribal differences and rivalries to organize a unified resistance to the seizure of Indian lands by the United States.

Heflinger, Walden Miller. “The War of 1812 in Northwestern Ohio: Year of Victory.” Northwest Ohio Quarterly 23 (Autumn 1951): 195-210.

Deals with the unsuccessful British siege of Fort Meigs, their failure to reduce Fort Stephenson, the American victory at the Battle of Lake Erie, and the Battle of the Thames.

Mackintosh, Alexander. Leaves from the War Log of the “Nancy”, Eighteen Hundred and Thirteen. Comments by Charles Henry and Jeremiah Snider. Toronto: Rous and Mann Publishers, 1936.

A fur trading vessel, commandeered by the British as a transport during the War of 1812. Excerpts from the ship’s log provide an interesting snapshot of life on board a Great Lakes vessel during the war.

Mastics, Al. “The War the Won the Peace.” Inland Seas 19 (Summer 1963): 131-134.

Perry’s victory over the British on Lake Erie was significant because it ended British attempts to seize the Northwest Territory and ultimately influenced the treaty negotiations at Ghent.

Metcalf, Clarence S. “Daniel Dobbins, Sailing Master, U.S.N.: Commodore Perry’s Right Hand Man.” Inland Seas (Summer 1958): 88-96; 14 (Fall 1958) 181-191.

Daniel Dobbins was the master shipbuilder that oversaw the construction of Oliver Hazard Perry’s fleet on Lake Erie.

Miller, Howard S., and Clarke Jack Alden. “Ships in the Wilderness: A Note on the Invasion of Canada, 1813.” Ohio History 71 (July 1962): 124-126.

The construction of the fleet that enabled William Henry Harrison to invade Canada after Perry’s victory at the Battle of Lake Erie.

Ostrander, Stephen. “Determined to Defend this Place:” The Defense of Fort Stephenson.” Timeline (April-June 2013): 24-37.

The attack on Fort Stephenson was the last British offensive of the war in Ohio.

Parsons, Usher. “An Afterward to the Battle of Lake Erie.” Edited by Marjorie Cahn Brazer. Inland Seas 33 (Fall 1977): 180-183.

Fleet Surgeon Parsons recollections of the battle and the treating of the wounded as written in a letter dated April 15, 1857.

Skaggs, David Curtis. Oliver Hazard Perry: Honor, Courage and Patriotism in the Early U.S. Navy. Annapolis, MD.: Naval Institute Press, 2006.

The definitive modern biography of O. H. Perry. A even-handed analysis of his life and career as a model naval officer.

Snow, Richard F. “The Battle of Lake Erie.” American Heritage 27 (February 1976): 14-21, 88- 90.

An account of the Battle of Lake Erie and the rivalries which existed between O.H. Perry, Daniel Dobbins and Jesse Duncan Elliott.

Stacey, C.P. “Another Look at the Battle of Lake Erie.” Canadian Historical Review 39 (March 1958): 41-51.

The Americans logistical advantages such as shorter and more secure supply lines; and the ability to produce arms, equipment and supplies closer to the theater of operations than the British.

Sugden, John. Tecumseh: A Life. New York: Holt, 1997.

The life of Tecumseh is viewed as a reflection of three themes that weave and reweave their way through his life: the encroachment on Indian lands by white settlers, catastrophic epidemics, and tensions between Great Britain and the United States. The definitive Tecumseh biography.

Online Resources


A searchable database that draws on a variety of Canadian sources to interpret the war through the use of documents and material culture.


An electronic compilation which provides online access to the vast and all encompassing collections of the Library of Congress.