Series: “The Luxuriant Shoots of Our Tree of Liberty:” American Maritime Experience in the War of 1812

Thomas Jefferson was never more wrong. In late June 1812 he wrote to his friend Thaddeus Kosciuszko that no war had been "entered into under more favorable auspices" and that "[o]ur present enemy will have the seas to herself, while we shall be equally predominant at land, and shall strip her of all her possessions on this continent." The American army quickly experienced a series of horrendous reverses, while the navy gained triumph after triumph.