The Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812

The Americans Attack Upper Canada

New American Leadership

Meanwhile, the defeats of 1812 had great repercussions in Washington. General John Armstrong was appointed Secretary of State for War. He was an experienced soldier and diplomat who had spent several years in France, where he had had the opportunity to meet Napoleon and study the operations of the French army, then at its zenith. Under his supervision, the American army made considerable progress. But Armstrong had to deal with poorly led and inadequately trained troops. With no real staff, he was burdened with administrative details and often had to run campaigns rather than concentrate on strategy proper. Therefore, in 1813 the Americans expended considerable effort in an attempt to conquer Upper Canada, while neglecting the principal objective, Montreal. This scattering of their forces could only work in favour of Canada's defenders.