NYHIST-L Archives

September 2012


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Robert Sullivan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 13 Sep 2012 09:37:07 -0400
text/plain (78 lines)
DAR remembers a forgotten war

By Linda Kellett, Courier-Standard-Enterprise News Staff

FORT PLAIN — It was America’s first unpopular war, one that many would
have liked to forget. Poorly planned and executed, the war’s poor,
frail, and “once-naive, patriotic victims [that is, veterans] of a
can’t-win conflict” were objects of public pity and charity 41 years

That’s according to Fulton County Historian Peter Betz, who on
September 5 addressed members of the merged Fort Plain chapter of the
National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and their guests
about the War of 1812 — our nation’s so-called “second war for

Betz noted it was a war that pitted the United States against its
then-chief trading partner, England, and Britain’s close ally, Canada,
with nearly disastrous consequences.

Among the high points and low points of the war included the writing
of the national anthem after the Battle of Fort McHenry near Baltimore
and the burning of the nation’s capitol, he said.

The war was prompted, in part, by England’s practice of compelling
former British subjects to serve in their military during its war
against Napoleon. Americans were also upset about the British practice
of forcing trading vessels to dock in British-controlled ports, where
they were searched and charged duties, Betz said.

There were no real winners in an ill-conceived and poorly planned war
marked by smuggling and corruption in the states, he added.

Betz said the benefits of the war primarily consisted of the
realization by all parties that the United States couldn’t conquer
Britain and Canada; and Britain and Canada realized they couldn’t
conquer America.

As a result, they began to work together, he said, beginning an era of
“good feelings” among the neighbors.

This year marks the war’s largely unobserved bicentennial anniversary.

Unobserved, that is, except for key battle areas in places like
Sackets Harbor and Old Fort Niagara in New York state, which Betz
noted received little state or federal funding support because of the
weak economy.

Canada, on the other hand, dedicated millions of dollars for the
celebration, Betz said. “For Canadians, it was the key to independence
and identity,” he explained.

DAR Treasurer Deborah Skivington, who served as emcee for the potluck
dinner event at the Fort Plain Chapter House — a trading post erected
in 1786 by the late Isaac Paris Jr. — early this week said the local
observance was encouraged by the national Commemorative Events
Committee, which also promoted the commemoration of the 150th
anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

She said, “This was our regular September dinner. Peter was our guest
speaker,” who was selected to address about his well-researched topic
based on a recently published article in another local publication,
she said.

Among those present included Jean Cole, of Canajoharie, the state
director for District 4, as well as members’ husbands and other

Skivington said the local chapter includes about 38 members from St.
Johnsville, Fort Plain and surrounding areas. Anyone interested in
joining are asked to contact Skivington at [log in to unmask]

Bob Sullivan
Schenectady Digital History Archive
Schenectady County (NY) Public Library