The War of 1812 has been referred to by some historians as America’s “forgotten conflict.” The contest between the United States and Great Britain, fought in the years 1812-1815, is mired in controversy in terms of causation and results. The reasons for going to war with England were ostensibly over the rights of free trade and impressment of American sailors. Other elements include American territorial expansion, economic factors, and national honor. The war has been criticized as one in which neither side won and, therefore, should never have been fought. Yet the war did manage to bring some prestige to the young American nation as it demonstrated to the world it could stand up against one of the world’s mightiest military powers.
Unfortunately, the Tennessee State Library and Archives does not possess the individual service records and pension files of Tennesseans in the War of 1812; they are housed at the National Archives (Washington, D.C.). However, the Library and Archives does possess microfilm, printed material, and fine manuscript collections pertaining to the War of 1812. This guide provides a quick reference source for these materials.