June marked the bicentennial of the start of the War of 1812. Not many Kentuckians know much about the conflict, aside from the burning of the White House, and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Even fewer know about the role the Commonwealth played in it, despite the fact that if you live in the Jackson Purchase, you likely live in a county named for a soldier who fought and died in one battle of the War of 1812: Major Bland Ballard, Major Benjamin Graves, Captain Paschal Hickman, and Captain Virgil McCracken.
Photo by Craig Thweatt |
Pictured is the grave of James Warterfield (Waterfield), in Calloway County. The inscription partially reads: "Born, Apr. 16, 1786, a soldier of 1812, ... died June 11, 1878 and was buried June 12 with military honors)
The War of 1812 is sometimes called the second war for independence. It’s also called the forgotten war, as it was overshadowed fifty years later by a much bloodier war. Kentuckians were an important part of the 1812 war effort. The Commonwealth contributed more to the casualty list than any other state. Soldiers buried in western Kentucky fought in campaigns from Canada to New Orleans, with a few under the command of then-General and future president Andrew Jackson. Angela Hatton went searching for their graves.