by Kenneth Drexler, Digital Reference Specialist
The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain
a wide variety of material associated with the War of 1812,
including manuscripts, broadsides, pictures, and government
documents. This guide compiles links to digital materials
related to the War of 1812 that are available throughout
the Library of Congress Web site. In addition, it provides
links to external Web sites focusing on the War of 1812 and
a bibliography containing selections for both general and
Library of Congress Web Site | External
Web Sites | Selected Bibliography
Andrew Jackson Papers
The Andrew Jackson Papers contain more than 26,000 items dating from 1767 to 1874. Included are memoranda, journals, speeches, military records, land deeds, and miscellaneous printed matter, as well as correspondence reflecting Jackson’s personal life and career as a politician, military officer, president, slave holder and property owner.
A selection of references to the War of 1812 includes:
- Account of the Battle of New Orleans, 1815
- Andrew Jackson to David Holmes, January 18, 1815, "Sir, The repulse which the enemy met with on the 8th has, I believe, proved fatal to their hopes. Their loss on that day was prodigious, exceeding, according to their own accounts as well as to ours, 2600. Amongst their killed were Genl. Packingham, the commander in cheif, and Majr Genl Gibbs who died the day after the action. Major general Kean was wounded but still lives. Their army is at present conducted by Major general Lambert, who, if I mistake not, finds himself in a very great perplexity. To advance he cannot: to retreat is shameful. Reduced to this unhappy dilemma, I believe he is disposed to encounter disgrace rather than ruin, and will, as soon as his arrangements for this purpose are effected, return to his shipping." [Transcription]
- James Monroe to Andrew Jackson, February 5, 1815, "I have just had the honor to receive your letters of the 9th and 13th Ultimo communicating an account of the brilliant victory, obtained by the troops under your command near New Orleans, over the very superior force of the veteran troops of Great Britain which attacked you on the 8th." [Transcription]
- Andrew Jackson to James Monroe, February 13, 1815 - This letter is a draft of Jackson's general report on the New Orleans campaign. [Transcription]
Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional
Documents and Debates, 1774-1875
This collection contains a large selection of Congressional
material related to the War of 1812, including debates,
laws, journals, documents, and reports.
- The Annals
of Congress contains the debates of Congress during
this time period. On June 1, 1812, President
James Madison sent a message to Congress asking for
a declaration of war against Great Britain. The House
of Representatives passed the declaration on June
4 by a vote of 79 yeas and 49 nays. On June 17, the Senate
passed the declaration by a vote of 19 yeas and 13 nays.
- The appendix of the Annals of Congress
from the 13th Congress, 3rd Session, presents additional
documents from 1814 and 1815 related to the War
of 1812 and peace negotiations with Great Britain,
including a report titled "An
Exposition of the Causes and Character of the War."
- The American
State Papers, comprising a total of thirty-eight volumes,
contain the legislative and executive documents of Congress
during the period 1789 to 1838. The Foreign Relations
volume for 1807 to 1815 provides legislative and executive
relations with Great Britain.
- The United
States Statutes at Large is the official source for
the laws and resolutions passed by Congress from 1789
to the present. Included in this publication is the
declaration of war against Great Britain signed by
Madison on June 18, 1812, and the Treaty
of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812.
First American West: The Ohio River Valley, 1750-1820
This collection assembles 15,000 pages of original historical
material documenting the land, peoples, exploration, and
transformation of the trans-Appalachian West from the mid-eighteenth
to the early nineteenth century. The collection is drawn
from the holdings of the University of Chicago Library and
the Filson Historical Society of Louisville, Kentucky. It
contains over thirty items directly related to the War
of 1812, including letters and journals.
Highlights from the War of 1812 in this collection include
- Battle orders from William
Henry Harrison for an attack upon the British and
Native Americans (October 1813).
- Plan of the attack and defense of the American lines
Orleans on January 8, 1815.
James Madison Papers, 1723 to 1859
The James Madison Papers consist of approximately 12,000
items captured in some 72,000 digital images. They document
the life of the man who came to be known as the "Father
of the Constitution" through correspondence, personal
notes, drafts of letters and legislation, an autobiography,
legal and financial documents, and miscellaneous manuscripts.
Correspondence and notes trace his two terms as the fourth
president of the United States, illuminating the origins
and course of the War of 1812, including copies of letters
written by Madison to Secretary
of War John Armstrong.
Examples of documents from the War of 1812 in the Madison
Papers include the following:
Madison's papers to find additional documents related
to the War of 1812.
James Monroe Papers
The James Monroe Papers at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress consist of approximately 5,200 items dating from 1758 to 1839. Monroe (1758–1831) was the fifth president of the United States, and one of 23 presidents whose papers are at the Library of Congress.
- Letter, August 18, 1814, Secretary of State James Monroe to Secretary of War John Armstrong, offering "to proceed with a troop of horse" as the British menaced Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812. [Transcription]
- Letter, August 21, 1814, Secretary of State James Monroe to President James Madison describing what he can see from "a commanding height" near Charlotte Hall, Maryland, "of the enemy's shipping near the town." [Transcription]
Printed Ephemera: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera
The Printed Ephemera Collection at the Library of Congress
is a rich repository of Americana. In total, the collection
comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the
seventeenth century to the present and encompassing key
events and eras in U.S. history, including the War of
Examples of broadsides from the War of 1812 include:
Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1606 to 1827
Jefferson's papers consist of approximately 27,000 documents
ranging in date from 1606 to 1827. Correspondence, memoranda,
notes, and drafts of documents make up two-thirds of the
Papers. This collection contains many of Jefferson's letters
written to and from James Madison and others concerning
the War of 1812.
Highlights from the War of 1812 in this collection include
War of American Independence
the Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815
Treasures at the Library of Congress: The Burning of the
City of Washington
An online exhibition on the burning of Washington, D.C.,
by the British troops on August 24, 1814.
Bull & Uncle Sam: From Enemy to Ally
This exhibition examines U.S. and British relations from
the early nineteenth century to the end of World War II.
It includes documents, cartoons, and pictures from the
War of 1812.
Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)
On June 18, 1812, President James Madison signed a declaration
of war against Great Britain, marking the beginning of
the War of 1812.
British troops landed at Benedict, Maryland, on the shores
of the Patuxent River on August 19, 1814. A few days later,
the British set fire to the White House, the Capitol,
and many of the other public buildings in Washington.
The British bombardment of Fort McHenry inspired Francis
Scott Key to write the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner"
on September 13, 1814.
The Battle of New Orleans was fought on January 8, 1815.
From Colony to Country: A Reader's Guide to Canadian Military
Library and Archives Canada presents a guide to the War
of 1812 from the Canadian perspective that includes texts,
notes, and bibliographic references. The guide has been
divided into ten subsections: General References; Government
and the Military; Troops and Traditions; Personal Stories;
Aboriginal Peoples; Multicultural Communities; Women;
Art, Music and Literature; Commemorations; and Web Research.
Society of the War of 1812
The General Society of the War of 1812 collects historical
documents associated with the War of 1812 and encourages
scholarly and genealogy research related to the war.
This site contains an index of affiliated state societies,
a searchable database of War of 1812 ancestors, a timeline
of the war, and a compilation of related Web sites.
The Man Who Captured Washington
This Web site contains information on General Robert Ross who led British troops during the capture of Washington, D.C., in August 1814. It presents short essays on the Battle of Bladensburg, the burning of the White House, and the events that inspired the writing of the Star Spangled Banner.
Military Resources: War of 1812
A compilation of resources on the War of 1812 compiled
by the Archives Library Information Center at the National
Archives and Records Administration. It includes links to
documents and images at the National Archives, as well as
links to external sites.
Online Bookshelves: War of 1812
The U.S. Army Center of Military History provides the
full text of the chapter in American
Military History concerning the War of 1812 and
a bibliography of suggested readings on the war.
War of 1812 and Associated Documents
The Avalon Project at Yale Law School presents a compilation
of government documents related to the War of 1812.
War of 1812
This online exhibition provides highlights from the Archives
of Ontario relating to the War of 1812, including letters,
personal diaries, posters, maps, documentary art, and
War of 1812 Digital Collection
The War of 1812 Digital Collection is a search portal containing historical documents and artifacts related to the war, including rare or unique books, maps, memoirs, military correspondence, and physical objects. This open-access database allows users to search and display diverse artifacts held by Canada’s libraries, museums, and archives. The portal was developed and managed by Canadiana.org, an alliance of Canada’s major memory institutions.
of 1812 Website
This site provides articles, book reviews, maps, prints,
sound and audio clips, reenactment information, a timeline,
and related links.
Benn, Carl. The War of 1812.
New York: Routledge, 2003.
LC call number: E354 .B46 2003 [Catalog
Borneman, Walter R. 1812: The War
that Forged a Nation. New York: HarperCollins
LC call number: E354 .B66 2004 [Catalog
Heidler, David S., and Jeanne T. Heidler, eds. Encyclopedia
of the War of 1812. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO,
LC call number: E354 .H46 1997 [Catalog
Hickey, Donald R. Don’t Give
Up the Ship!: Myths of the War of 1812. Urbana: University
of Illinois Press, 2006.
LC call number: E364.9 .H53 2006 [Catalog
-----. The War of 1812: A Forgotten
Conflict. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989.
LC call number: E354 .H53 1989 [Catalog
Langguth, A. J. Union 1812: The Americans
Who Fought the Second War of Independence. New York
: Simon & Schuster, 2006.
LC call number: E354 .L34 2006 [Catalog
Remini, Robert V. The Battle of New
Orleans. New York: Viking, 1999.
LC call number: E356.N5 R46 1999 [Catalog
Stagg, John C.A. Mr. Madison's War:
Politics, Diplomacy, and Warfare in the Early American Republic,
1783-1830. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University
LC call number: E357 .S79 1983 [Catalog
Watson, Robert P. America's First Crisis: The War of 1812. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2014. [Catalog
Childress, Diana. The War of 1812.
Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co., 2004.
LC call number: E354 .C47 2004 [Catalog
Greenblatt, Miriam. War of 1812.
New York: Facts on File, 2003.
LC call number: E354 .G74 2003 [Catalog
Haberle, Susan E. The War of 1812.
Mankato, Minn.: Bridgestone Books, 2003.
LC call number: E354 .H33 2003 [Catalog
Marquette, Scott. War of 1812.
Vero Beach, Fla.: Rourke Pub., 2003.
LC call number: E354 .M26 2002 [Catalog
Nardo, Don. The War of 1812.
San Diego, Calif.: Lucent Books, 2000.
LC call number: E354 .N37 2000 [Catalog
Stefoff, Rebecca. The War of 1812.
New York: Benchmark Books, 2001.
LC call number: E354 .S84 2001 [Catalog
Warrick, Karen Clemens. The War of
1812: We Have Met the Enemy and They Are Ours. Berkeley
Heights, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, 2002.
LC call number: E354 .W39 2002 [Catalog