The Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the War of 1812

Students will examine the role played by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment (RNR) (known earlier as the Royal Newfoundland Regiment of Fencible Infantry) in the War of 1812.  Students will study geographical locations of battle sites where the RNR was involved during this period. After an examination of the lifestyle of these 19th century soldiers, students will draw conclusions about why men would leave their homeland to fight. Knowledge about battle engagements and the daily life of these men should reinforce empathy and allow comparisons with more recent soldiers of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

Teacher

Introduction

Lesson Preparation:

Become familiar with the websites listed in the Additional Resources section of the lesson plan.

Lesson:

Ask students,

“What causes different groups of people to become angry with each other?”.

Have students acknowledge that their answers can also be applied also to nations and that anger could lead to war.

Ask: “What might happen if there is a third group caught in the middle of a conflict and they are forced to take sides?”

Explain that this was what happened to the First Nations population during the War of 1812.

Discuss:

What are some factors that might make a person leave their homeland to fight in a far-off land?

What are some of the geographical challenges that 19th century soldiers had to overcome in this war?

Do you think modern-day soldiers face similar geographical challenges? How do they react to these challenges?

Lesson Development

Provide an outline of the causes of the War of 1812 using a computer and LCD projector, the internet or printed copies. (Websites listed in the Additional Resources section of this lesson plan might help.)

Distribute Worksheet #1: Causes and Outcomes of the War of 1812.  Ask students to conduct research about the causes of the war from opposing sides and viewpoints using the websites provided in the Additional Resources section of the lesson plan.

Distribute Worksheet #2: Historical Geography and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in the War of 1812 for completion. Review the instructions with students and assist with the maps as required.

Discuss the influence of geography during the war after students have completed the mapping activity.

Ask students:  “Who do you think had the more difficult task –soldiers of the 19th or 21st centuries? Why?”

Distribute Worksheet # 3: Then and Now. Ask students to complete the organizer that compares a 19th century soldier to a 21st century soldier.

Distribute Worksheet # 4: The Battle of Queenston Heights. Ask students to complete the activity.  Discuss issues including the impact of the environment on soldiers engaged in battle at this site. Point out that the picture is an artistic rendering of events.  Did the artist take liberties with historical facts?

Conclusion

Ask students to write a summary paragraph on the significance of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment to the War of 1812.

Student

Introduction

Discuss in class (as a whole or in small groups) the topic of anger and how it leads to conflicts.

This information is the starting point for the lesson.

Discuss factors that might make a third party fight in a conflict.

Present opinions about  factors that might make people leave home and fight in another country.

Discuss the challenges faced by 19th century soldiers compared to 21st century soldiers.

Lesson Development

View the information provided about the causes and outcomes of the War of 1812.

Complete Worksheet #1: Causes and Outcomes of the War of 1812.

Complete Worksheet #2: Historical Geography and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in the War of 1812.

Participate in the class discussion.

Compare 19th century soldiers to 21st century soldiers.

Complete Worksheet # 3: Then and Now.

Complete Worksheet # 4: The Battle of Queenston Heights.

Offer thoughts and conclusions.

Conclusion

Write a summary paragraph on the  significance of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment to the War of 1812.

Lesson Extension

  • Research interesting characters from the War of 1812, such as Andrew Bulger who was born in Newfoundland. Students may research the role played by the Regiment in the capture of the American ships, Tigress and Scorpion. Use various methods to present this information to the class.
  • If you visit Signal Hill National Historic Site in the summertime, you may see the Tattoo being performed.  Research the background of this event and report to your class about it.  Maybe you can interview someone who has participated in it.
  • Research and write an essay on other battles in which the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was involved.
  • Research Douglas Coupland’s sculpture in Toronto of the War of 1812 which uses the Royal Newfoundland Regiment as its model.