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<p>USS Constitution vs HMS Java</p>

The War of 1812

The War of The War of 1812 was a conflict fought between the United States of America and the British Empire, from June 1812 to February 1815. Outside of The United States and Canada, it is a minor theater of the Napoleonic Wars.


From the outbreak of Napoleonic War (1803-1814), Britain had enforced a naval blockade to choke off neutral trade to France. The United States contested this as illegal under international law.  Britain also pressed American merchant sailors into the British Navy because they needed to man large number of Navy ships for Britain’s wide ranging seafaring activities. This lead to incidents such as the Chesapeake–Leopard affair, in 1805, where the British removed four sailors from USS Chesapeake. This inflamed anti-British sentiment in the United States. The ongoing impressment lead to the Little Belt affair in 1811, in which 11 British sailors died after a conflict with USS President. The tensions lead to the declaration of war June 18, 1812, by President James Madison.


In 1812, Britain's Royal Navy was the world's largest with over 600 cruisers in commission and some smaller vessels. Most of these were involved in blockading the French navy and their allies and protecting British trade against French privateers.  The Royal Navy still had 85 vessels in American waters, counting all North American and Caribbean waters. However, the Royal Navy's American squadron based in Halifax, Nova Scotia numbered one small ship of the line, seven frigates, nine smaller sloops and brigs, and five schooners. By contrast, the United States Navy was composed of eight frigates, 14 smaller sloops and brigs, and no ships of the line. The U.S. had embarked on a major shipbuilding program before the war at Sackets Harbor, New York to produce new ships.