“Rev War Revelry” War on the Chesapeake!

The Star-Spangled Banner and the burning of Washington City are the enduring legacies of the 1814 Chesapeake Campaign. These two events provide contrasting impressions of the American experience in the War of 1812. One conjures up an image of an American flag resiliently flying above Fort McHenry’s ramparts, denying the British entry into Baltimore. The other marks a low point in the American war effort, when politicians fled the nation’s capital followed by British soldiers, who burned many government buildings in the new nation’s capital city.

War along the Chesapeake Bay was not a limited episode in the War of 1812. There, Americans and British soldiers waged a hard and destructive war against one another. They fought pitched battles at Bladensburg and North Point. This campaign, remembered in popular memory for the creation of a national anthem and the burning of a nation’s capital, is more complex than just these two events.

Join Emerging Revolutionary War historians and guest historians John Nathan McDonald and George Best as we discuss the causes, movements, and impact of the 1814 Chesapeake Campaign. So, with your favorite beverage log onto our ERW Facebook page for the next historian happy hour as we discuss the obscure War of 1812 this Sunday, May 30, at 7 pm.

The Virginia Capes, Jutland, and American Destiny

At the end of last month and the beginning of this, I was in Britain marking the centennial of the Battle of Jutland, World War I’s largest naval battle. My great-grandfather was there as part of the Royal Navy, and it was meaningful in the extreme for me to be present at the commemorations.800px-BattleOfVirginiaCapes

The National Museum of the Royal Navy interpreted Jutland as “The Battle that Won the War,” and based its argument on the fact that the battle’s outcome led directly to German resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, which in turn brought the United States into the war, with all the resulting titanic effects. In other words, a naval battle which didn’t feature a single American had a profound impact on U.S. history.

If that sounds familiar to Revolutionary War scholars, that’s because the same description applies to the 1781 Battle of the Virginia Capes. Let me explain.

Continue reading “The Virginia Capes, Jutland, and American Destiny”