The Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812

The War of 1812

A Strategy Of Invasion

From a strategic standpoint, the Americans wanted to exploit Canada's main weakness: its relatively sparse population dispersed along a narrow strip bordering the United States, from present-day Windsor, Ontario, to the mouth of the St. Lawrence. If they were able to cut off this strip permanently, west of Montreal or in Upper Canada, everything to the west would be isolated. To do so, they would launch four simultaneous attacks. The most powerful army, consisting primarily of regular troops, would attack Montreal, while the three other armies, which were more modest in size and consisted essentially of militiamen, would invade Upper Canada. The idea was certainly a good one, but nobody appears to have realized that it would require proper organization to succeed.