Revenge in the Name of Honour: The Royal Navy's Quest for Vengeance in the Single Ship Actions of the War of 1812
Nicholas James Kaizer, author
The British Royal navy entered the War of 1812 expecting victory. Naval victories of the previous two decades and the mythos of Lord Nelson had built a naval culture accustomed to aggressive action and victory against all odds. No one expected the tiny United States Navy to triumph, and yet by the year’s end three British frigates and two sloops had been defeated in single ship actions against American opponents. Whereas British ships had defeated much heavier French and Spanish forces during the Great Wars, by the end of 1812 British frigates seemed unable to cope with the powerful American heavy frigates such as the famous USS Constitution and their superbly trained crews. This realization and the impact of the losses sent shockwaves through the British sphere. While these loses did not ultimately affect the outcomes of the war, they had a strong impact on contemporaries, naval and civilian alike, and led to unprecedented steps on behalf of the British naval administration and a drive for vengeance within the navy. This volume explores the socio-cultural effects of the single ship naval actions during the War of 1812, which captivated the British and American world during the last Anglo-American war.