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Kentuckians in the War of 1812

Photo: Wade Harris
Photo: Wade Harris
Photo: Wade Harris
Photo: Wade Harris
Photo: Wade Harris
Photo: Wade Harris
Photo: Wade Harris
Photo: Wade Harris

During the War of 1812 (also known as The Second Revolution), Kentucky disproportionately saw more casualties than any other state. But very few remember the war or even know why it was fought. 

Due to unsettled issues from the American Revolution, America declared war on Great Britain June 8, 1812.  Patriotic fervor was high in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky, so volunteer companies, called the Kentucky Militia, were formed.

Author and historian Ted Garrison, a contributing member with the Clay County Historical Society, researched and documented key battles, such as the Battle of River Raisin, considered the most memorable for Kentuckians. He explains that Kentucky troops were sent to Canada to push British forces back. They moved inland to attack the British and Native Americans across the river at the Frenchtown Settlement. 

“The patriotism and sacrifice of men in the War of 1812 overwhelms me,” he says. “Anyone who would walk from Manchester to Georgetown, Kentucky, barefooted, to get sworn into the military, and walk on up into southern Canada to fight the battle and then walk back—they had to be Superman in those days. They had to be so strong, so healthy and so patriotic.” 

A member of Jackson Energy Cooperative, Garrison says there were 44 people from the area in the Revolutionary War, but it’s hard to find out the number of losses as they did not keep good records.

At the Kentucky History Center & Museums in Frankfort, Garrison is shown beside a small and highly portable 1776 cannon, which was used in the war.

“The soldiers from Kentucky who fought the War of 1812 should never be forgotten,” he says.

Read Ted Garrison’s The Forgotten War here.

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