Amateurs, to Arms!: A Military History of the War of 1812

Amateurs, to Arms!: A Military History of the War of 1812

by John R. Elting
     
 

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Begun in ignorance of the military reality, the War of 1812 was our "most unmilitary war," fought catch-as-catch-can with raw troops, incompetent officers, and appallingly inadequate logistics. American soil was invaded along three frontiers, thte nation's capital was occupied and burned, and the secession of the New England states loomed as a possibility. In

Overview

Begun in ignorance of the military reality, the War of 1812 was our "most unmilitary war," fought catch-as-catch-can with raw troops, incompetent officers, and appallingly inadequate logistics. American soil was invaded along three frontiers, thte nation's capital was occupied and burned, and the secession of the New England states loomed as a possibility. In Amateurs, to Arms! distinguished military historian Colonel John R. Elting shows how the young republic fought and almost lost its "Second War for Independence," and how it was saved by the handful of amateur soldiers and sailors who survived, masters their deadly new professions, and somehow battled Great Britain to a standstill along our wilderness borders and on the high seas.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
No other conflict in our history found us so unready or ill-prepared as the War of 1812, argues Elting, who here presents the military side of the war and emphasizes the amateurishness of the Americans who managed to win their ``Second War of Independence'' despite themselves. Tactical victories, few and far between, made the difference in the end: Oliver Perry's destruction of a British squadron on Lake Erie in 1813, William Henry Harrison's defeat of a British column the following year at the Battle of the Thames. Ironically, the most celebrated clash of the war, Andrew Jackson's 1815 victory at New Orleans, took place two weeks after the signing of the peace treaty at Ghent in Belgium. Elting ( The Superstrategists ) tells the story from the British side as well as the American. He includes a memorable account of the expedition under Robert Ross that won an easy victory over the Americans at Bladensburg, Va., then captured Washington, burning the Capitol and the White House, only to suffer a surprising defeat before Baltimore. This is a lively, well-written account of one of America's long-forgotten, but decidedly major wars. Illustrations. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Having reduced the U.S. Army during the Jefferson administration, the new nation was totally ill-equipped for the war it would wage against British troops in 1812. Plagued with inexperienced recruits, politicians as officers, and a sometimes unsupportive government, the success of the war seemed almost impossible. Elting handles all of these aspects in a manner that would appeal to the general reader of history as well as to the military statistician. Insight into the battles and the leaders is often provided in great detail, and interesting information is also indicated in the footnotes. This book, coupled with J.C.A. Stagg's Mr. Madison's War ( LJ 9/1/83), provides a complete overview of the politics and logistics of the war. With so few books written on the War of 1812, this is essential for any public or academic library.-- Barbara Zaborowski, Cambria Cty. Lib., Johnstown, Pa.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616202866
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
09/01/1991
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
250
Sales rank:
835,922
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Colonel John R. Elting was born in Spokane, Washington, in 1911 and graduated from Stanford University and the Colorado State College of Education. A professional soldier for much of his life, he retired from the United States Army in 1968. He has written and edited numerous books on military history.

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