1812 and all that seeks to offer insightful and accessible historical research on the War of 1812 and British Army during the Age of Napoleon.
My interests lie primarily in the study of the Napoleonic British Army, its practices, and the lives of its members, with some emphasis on its experiences in North America. More specific areas of focus include courts martial, rankers’ memoirs, and military musicians.
Having been fascinated by these subjects for over a decade, I hope to provide an interesting window into the period through the articles on this site. I served as Drum-Major of the Fort York Guard until 2016, leading a recreated fife and drum corps in daily summer demonstrations at Fort York, Canada’s best-preserved War of 1812 historic site in the heart of downtown Toronto.
I hope you enjoy this website.
– Eamonn O’Keeffe
Want to get in touch? Click here to contact me.
Check out links to some of my projects here:
New Light on Toronto’s Oldest Cold Case
An investigation into the infamous 1815 murder of John Paul Radelmüller, keeper of the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse.
Narrative of the Eventful Life of Thomas Jackson: Militiaman and Coldstream Sergeant, 1803-15
I researched and edited this fascinating Napoleonic-era military memoir, due to be published by Helion Books in early 2018. The author, Walsall-born Thomas Jackson, served in the Staffordshire Militia at Windsor Castle and lost a leg during the failed storming of Bergen-op-Zoom in 1814. His descriptions of post-war life as a disabled Chelsea pensioner are particularly rare and valuable.
No Common Man: Searching for Shadrack Byfield
This book project chronicles the life of the War of 1812’s most famous British veteran. A Wiltshire weaver, 41st Private Shadrack Byfield left several memoirs of his life for posterity.
The Old Halberdier: From the Peninsula to Plattsburgh with a Welshman of the 39th
An anonymous narrative of a soldier of the 39th Regiment was published in the North Wales Chronicle between 1845-48, detailing the author’s service in the Peninsular War and War of 1812. Having discovering this memoir in 2014, I succeeded in identifying the author: Private John Morris Jones of Llanrwst, Denbighshire. His edited account was published in three parts in the Journal of the Society of Army Historical Research (Spring, Summer and Autumn 2017).
The Winter March, co-produced by Patrick Y. Lee and Eamonn O’Keeffe, recreates the 1100km epic trek of the 104th (New Brunswick) Regiment during the winter of 1813. Based on the reminiscences of Lieutenant John Le Couteur, this short film won the Historica-Dominion Institute’s 2013 Heritage Minute Contest.
Links of interest:
War of 1812.ca – This website offers a series of well-researched articles on the 1812-era British Army.
The Society of Army Historical Research – Founded in 1921, this learned society promotes study of the history of the British Army and publishes a quarterly academic journal.
The War of 1812 Magazine – Part of the excellent Napoleon Series, this magazine offers up to date research by some of the leading experts on the War of 1812.
The Journal of Canadian Military History – Launched in 1992 and based at Laurier University, Canadian Military History regularly publishes insightful open access articles.
Gareth Glover Collection – Military historian Gareth Glover has authored and edited over 40 books on the period, publishing dozens of previously undiscovered first-hand accounts on the Napoleonic Wars.
Dr Adrian Goldsworthy – A respected author of ancient history, Dr Goldsworthy has turned his attention to writing an historical fiction series on the Peninsular War. His ‘Sources’ page also provides a useful reading list for those interested in the Napoleonic period.
I am pleased to have served as a researcher or consultant in the past for the following projects, historical societies and reenactment groups:
Cover photo credit: Brad Robb, CC License 3.0.