Historical Research Capabilities
This collection contains a number of songs commemorating battles from the War of 1812. These song sheets can be used to research some of the specific conflicts during the era and examine how songwriters used victories and defeats to promote the war effort. For example, "
Old England Forty Years Ago" chronicles the military effort during the war and declares, "Our soldiers and our seamen too, / We've put in warlike motion, / Straight to the field our soldiers flew, / Our seamen to the ocean."
"The Constitution's glory! / Her crew so bold and brave! / Are fam'd in brilliant story! / Our rights defend and save."
Military losses often fueled the war effort as much as victories. For example, the " Battle of Queenstown" prefaces the song with a synopsis of the October 1812 conflict near Niagara Falls in which U.S. soldiers captured Queenstown but due to "the excessive fatigue of the troops, . . . and the great deficiency of ammunition, they were unable to resist [British forces] . . . . The battle continued 11 hours, during which the greatest bravery was displayed by our troops." The song then celebrates the effort of the the battle with the chorus, "Then let each bold warrior now gird on his shield, / And swear while he's breath that he never will yield."
- After reviewing the lyrics, who would you think were some of the most important military leaders of the War of 1812?
- Who do you think is the intended audience of these songs?
- How do these songs use defeats to rally support for the war?
- How do these songs compare to the Civil War songs in this collection that describe military battles and leaders?