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
American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other
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:
Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation
This collection contains a large selection of Congressional
material related to the War of 1812, including debates,
laws, journals, documents, and reports.
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."
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.
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
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.
Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
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
- A letter from Jefferson to Madison on June
29, 1812, discussing the recent declaration of
- Jefferson's letter to Samuel H. Smith on September
21, 1814, offering his personal library to Congress
after the British burned the Capitol.
- A letter from Jefferson to Madison on October
15, 1814, in which he offered his opinion on the
war and ongoing peace negotiations.
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.
Americana: Selected Images from the Collections of the Library
Pictorial Americana, a 1955
Library of Congress publication, contains a chapter listing
selected images related to the War
Search the Prints
and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) for additional
images concerning the War
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
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
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