The U.S. Frigate Constitution commanded by Isaac Hull

The U.S. Frigate Constitution commanded by Isaac Hull, undated, etching – Yale University Art Gallery

From June 1812 to January 1815, the United States entangled itself in a foreign war by siding with France against Great Britain. Federalists in Connecticut viewed it as an unconstitutional aggression that jeopardized the state’s economic stability by turning Atlantic trade routes into a war zone. In time, naval blockades of vital ports, like New London, and assaults on Essex and Stonington garnered increased support for the war. Arms, munitions, and textile manufacturers in the state benefited, as did privateers, by meeting wartime needs. Connecticut also supplied a national hero: Isaac Hull, whose exploits as captain of the USS Constitution, aka Old Ironsides, became the stuff of legend. As late December 1814, however, opposition to the war remained and was voiced at the Hartford Convention, where Republicans feared New England would secede from the Union. This did not transpire and the war’s conclusion also spelled the end of the Federalist’s political clout.


Amos Doolittle, The looking glass for 1787. A house divided against itself cannot stand

The War Connecticut Hated

For most Connecticans, the War of 1812 was as much a war mounted by the federal government against New England as it was a conflict with Great Britain. …[more]

Learn More


New London County Historical Society. “Connecticut and the War of 1812,” 2016. Link.


“Connecticut River Museum,” 2016. Link.
“The Stonington Historical Society,” 2016. Link.


Connecticut State Library Digital Collections. “Chauncey Hosford War of 1812 Papers,” 2012. Link.
Connecticut Historical Society. “Guide to the Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. Papers,” 2016. Link.
Marsh, Major Ely. “Manuscript: Request for Surrender,” April 8, 1814. Connecticut Historical Society.
Connecticut State Library. “Research Guide to War of 1812 Sources,” 2016. Link.
Charles, William. “The Hartford Convention or Leap No Leap,” ca 1814. Library of Congress. Link.


Dwight, Theodore. History of the Hartford Convention: With a Review of the Policy of the United States Government Which Led to the War of 1812. New York; Boston: N. & J. White; Russell, Odiorne, & Company, 1833. Link.
Buckley, William E. Letters of Connecticut Federalists, 1814-1815. Southworth Press, 1930.
Connecticut. Adjutant-General’s Office, and Henry Phelps Johnston. Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the I. War of the Revolution, II. War of 1812, III. Mexican War. Hartford, CT: Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, 1889. Link.
Roberts, Jerry. The British Raid on Essex the Forgotten Battle of the War of 1812. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2014.
Anderson, Russell F., Albert Dock, and Essex Historical Society. The British Raid on Essex: April 8, 1814. Essex, CT: Essex Historical Society : Hills Academy, 1981.
Trumbull, J. Hammond. The Defence of Stonington (Connecticut): Against a British Squadron, August 9th to 12th, 1814. Hartford, CT, 1864. Link.
Buckley, William E., and Tercentenary Commission of the State of Connecticut. The Hartford Convention. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1934.
Boylan, James, Meredith Mason Brown, Fred Calabretta, Frances Manwaring Caulkins, James T. De Kay, Andrew W. German, Glenn S. Gordinier, Jerry Roberts, Nancy Hathaway Steenburg, and Matthew Warshauer. The Rockets Red Glare: The War of 1812 and Connecticut. New London, CT: New London County Historical Society, 2012.