War of 1812
The War of 1812 was fought between the US and Britain and its colonies including Upper and Lower Canada and Nova Scotia. The US declared war on Britain on June 18, 1812 for a number of reasons including British restraints on neutral trade (with France, because of the British war with Napoleon), conscription of US sailors into the British Navy (the British needed as many sailors as possible for the war against Napoleon, and considered any former British citizens fair game and sometimes US natives), and the British military support of American Indians in defending their lands.
The war started in 1812 and lasted until 1815, though a peace treaty had been signed in 1814. Over 2200 US soldiers died and over 1600 British. Jefferson County played a central role in the war, from beginning to end. It was the headquarters of Commodore Isaac Chauncey and the US Navy of the Great Lakes. Six armed engagements were fought in Jefferson County during the war, more so than any other county on American soil. The successful campaigns against York and Niagara (1813) were launched from Sackets Harbor, as were the not so successful campaigns on Montreal and Niagara (1814). Perry's victory on Lake Erie was also directed from Jefferson County under the command of Isaac Chauncey. At times, Sackets Harbor would be the temporary home of more than 6000 soldiers, sailors, marines, and workmen.
The Navy Yards at Sackets Harbor produced eight warships during the war, more than any other US Navy Yard. They ranged in size from the single-gun dispatch schooner Lady of the Lake to the 58-gun frigate Superior. The latter was the largest US warship to see service during the war. The workmen also broke all records for construction, completing the 42-gun Mohawk from keel to launch, in just 34 days. At the end of the war, Sackets Harbor embarked on the largest naval shipbuilding effort in the nation's history. In January and February, 1815, Sackets Harbor workmen laid the keels of two massive 106-gun ships of the line, each with an overall length of 214 feet and a breadth of 56 feet. Each would have three gun decks capable of throwing a broadside weight of 1,804 pounds. Had these warships, the New Orleans and Chippewa been launched in the spring of 1815, they would have been the largest warships in the world. Instead, they remained on their stocks until they were eventually sold for salvage.