COLUMBUS — During the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the War of 1812, the Ohio Statehouse and Columbus A cappella group, The Hardtackers will present a free lunch-time musical performance of sea shanties throughout the decades. The hour-long performance will take place at noon on Wednesday, July 11 on the West Plaza (High Street side) of the Ohio Statehouse.
Visitors are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from a food cart operated by Milo’s Catering and Banquet Services on Capitol Square. In addition, there are a number of downtown restaurants located on Capitol Square.
In the event of inclement weather, the performance will take place in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium. The presentation is free and open to the public.
The music will highlight the rhythms that coordinated the efforts of many sailors hauling on the lines during the War of 1812 and since. After the performance, visitors are encouraged to step into the Statehouse Rotunda and see the replica of the 15-star American flag that famously inspired the National Anthem. The flag flew on Veterans Plaza on June 18, 2012 marking the exact day that President Madison declared war on Great Britain in 1812.
Also on view in the Statehouse Rotunda is the magnificent painting, Perry’s Victory, depicting the battle of Lake Erie. Perry’s Victory, depicts a key battle of the War of 1812, The Battle of Lake Erie, in which Oliver Hazard Perry led the American forces to victory over the British. Perry’s flagship, the Lawrence, had caught fire, and his crew suffered heavy casualties. The painting was the first piece of artwork commissioned by the state of Ohio for the new 1861 Statehouse.
The survivors, including Perry, rowed to another American ship, the Niagara, and continued the battle, outmaneuvering the British. Oliver Hazard Perry, commanding the American fleet, met up with the British off the Bass Islands in Lake Erie and soundly defeated them. This action effectively gave control of the lake to the Americans, and led to General William Henry Harrisons’ invasion of Canada. Perry is famous for his statement after the final stages of the battle, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
Ohio artist William Powell created the painting. But after completing it, Powell asked for three times the agreed-upon price, refusing to give up the painting. Instead, he exhibited the painting around the nation and received another commission for a similar piece which now hangs in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Finally, the State of Ohio met Perry’s higher price, and the painting hangs in the Rotunda at the Ohio Statehouse.
About the War of 1812
In the War of 1812, the United States took on the greatest naval power in the world, Great Britain, in a conflict that would have an immense impact on the young country’s future. Causes of the war included British attempts to restrict U.S. trade, the Royal Navy’s impressment of American seamen and America’s desire to expand its territory.
President James Madison requested a declaration of war to protect American ships on the high seas and to stop the British from impressing or seizing U.S. sailors. U.S. ships were being stopped and searched by both Great Britain and France, who were fighting each other in Europe. American attempts to invade Canada during the war failed, but U.S. forces won a number of important naval battles. Americans saw the War of 1812 as a triumph that showed the new nation could fend off foreign threats.
The United States suffered many costly defeats at the hands of British, Canadian and Native American troops over the course of the War of 1812, including the capture and burning of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., in August 1814. Nonetheless, American troops were able to repulse British invasions in New York, Baltimore and New Orleans, boosting national confidence and fostering a new spirit of patriotism. The ratification of the Treaty of Ghent on February 17, 1815, ended the war but left many of the most contentious questions unresolved. Nonetheless, many in the United States celebrated the War of 1812 as a “second war of independence,” beginning an era of partisan agreement and national pride.