A Brief History of the War of 1812
British Army in the West Indies
The British Redcoat
Creek Indian War 1813-14
Role of Campfollowers in the British Army
Katie Stumpf - Author
Our very own Katie Stumpf wrote a very wonderful short story which appeared in the London Free Press.
Great job Katie!! Keep it up.
Surviving the Forgotten War
I wake up to the familiar call of the fife and drums. I get up off the patch of grass where I
have slept and stretch. The tents are for the men. Women and children are not priorities. Mother is already working over the
fire-trying to coax a flame. She yells to me as soon as she sees that I’m awake. I hurry over and apologize. She hands
me the baby while delivering a well earned scolding. I take the baby and keep her occupied. Mother spoons out my soup - what
little there is. The army never feeds us enough. But constant hunger is just part of life for a camp follower of the army.
The year is 1812 and the Yanks have declared war on Britain and are now attacking us in Upper Canada . Life is hard - and
my family is one of the lucky ones. There are wives and children stuck in England to fend for themselves. At least we get
clothes and some food. I get quarter rations every three days. That’s not much food. So we all go hungry, all the time.
Mother tells me that if I can scrounge up some sugar I can make dandelion syrup! I just about faint with excitement.
Dandelion syrup is so sweet - nothing can compare! But getting sugar will be quite a task. Sugar is so scarce that the captain
barely has any. After a lot of thought I decide that it is worth the risk to steal some. If I am caught I will be flogged.
I will be whipped till my back bleeds. But the lure of dandelion syrup is irresistible and I’m a good thief. So I do
my chores with my mind far away planning my expedition. I fetch water from the river, watch the baby, and help Mother cook.
I wait until everyone is busy and am about to make my move, when a cry is suddenly
heard: The yanks are coming, the yanks are coming! The soldiers line up in a second, they are so well trained. My plan is
forgotten - there are more pressing matters at hand. The soldiers march out to meet the enemy, some never to return. It does
not take them long to find the Yanks.
We do not hear the command, but it must have been given, as the air is suddenly filled
with smoke and loud cracks as the muskets fire. We watch our men fall with dread in our hearts. If my father dies in the battle
my mother will have 48 hours to find another husband or we will be left at the nearest settlement to fend for ourselves. As
our men drive back the Yanks, we rush out to help the wounded and search the dead for things of value, coats, boots, anything
to aid the living in survival. When it seems as though the battle will never end - though the time just seems slow through
the filter of our terrified minds - the enemy retreats. We have won! But our fear does not ease. Mother and I, frantic, hurry
to see if my father is dead. I stumble over the bodies, clumsy with fright. I almost faint with relief when we find him alive
and well. We have survived another day in our danger-ridden lives.