War of 1812 Quotations

A War of Words

During my research into the War of 1812, I often come across passages that resound for their humour, clarity, insight, or profound predictions. The quotations below are drawn from numerous sources, all of which are now in the public domain. Click the name of the author for more citation information.

On the advances of the US into native lands

“In fifty years time, there perhaps will not be an Indian left between this and the Rocky Mountains.”

– Lt. Col. Robert McDonall, Michilimackinac, 15 May 1815.

On native rights

“By what new principle are they to be prevented from defending their property? … they are men, and have equal rights with all other men to defend themselves and their property when invaded.”

– Maj.-General Isaac Brock, Fort George, Niagara, 22 July 1812.

Under attack by American invading force

“The General desires you will immediately evacuate the Fort and join him on the Queenston road.”

– Major J. B. Glegg, 27 May 1813.

A Spy named Constant Bacon

“A man of the name of Constant Bacon came over from the enemy the day before yesterday and has been sent to this place by Major-General Riall on suspicion of being a spy.”

– Lt.-Col. Robert Nichol, 22 April 1813.


1. “Lt. Col. McDonall to Secretary Foster, May 15, 1815,” In Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, Historical Collections, vol. 16, 30 vols. (Lansing: Robert Smith & Co., State Printers, 1890), 104.

2. “Proclamation of Major-General Brock,” In E. A. Cruikshank, Documents Relating to the Invasion of Canada and the Surrender of Detroit, 1812 (Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, 1913), 82-83.

3. “Major J. B. Glegg to Colonel William Claus, 27th May, 1813,” In E. A. Cruikshank, The Documentary History of the Campaign upon the Niagara Frontier in the Year 1813, vol. 5, 9 vols. (Welland: Printed at the Tribune Office, 1902). 246.

4. “Lieut.-Colonel Robert Nichol to Sir Gordon Drummond, 22 April 1814,” In E. A. Cruikshank, The Documentary History of the Campaign on the Niagara Frontier in 1814, vol. 1, 9 vols. (Welland: Printed at the Tribune Office, 1896), 9.