The Incredible War of 1812:
A Military History

J. Mackay Hitsman
Updated by Donald E. Graves

J. Mackay Hitsman’s account is both exciting and authoritative and is regarded by many experts as the best one-volume history of the conflict. It is an engrossing story of the causes of the war and of the campaigns and battles that raged on land and water, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

Hitsman describes the life of the soldiers – both regulars and militia – and the difficulties of waging war in largely trackless territory, where rivers and lakes were the main means of transport. His examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the political and military leaders on both sides helps us to understand the events as they unfold, and he dispels some of the myths that have pervaded earlier accounts.

Finally he looks at the treaty that ended the war, and its aftermath.

This new edition, edited by War of 1812 scholar Donald E. Graves, contains the entire text of the original, new maps and much new material based on recent research.

  • Foreword by Sir Christopher Prevost (descendant of the wartime British commander-in-chief).
  • Illustrations of leaders, uniforms, weapons, warships, medals and battle scenes.
  • 20 maps of campaigns and battles.
  • Appendices listing British and Canadian military units and their modern successors; the First Nations that fought on both sides; the naval strength of both sides; medals and awards.
  • Comprehensive bibliography with more than 1,000 entries.

J. Mackay Hitsman (1917-1970) also produced Safeguarding Canada, 1763-1871 and, with J.L. Granatstein, Broken Promises: A History of Conscription in Canada.