Introduction to Stratford and The War of 1812:
This year marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812, a war often forgotten between the fame of the American Revolution and the Civil War. However, its importance in history cannot be overlooked – the naval victories and the iconic USS Constitution, the burning of Washington D.C., emerging heroes like William Henry Harrison and Andrew Jackson, the inspiration for “The Star-Spangled Banner” – all are associated with the War of 1812 and helped shape the identity of our nation.
In commemoration, Stratford Hall celebrates this year by exploring its more personal relationship with the war, focusing on the history of the Lee family involvement as well as that of the county of Westmoreland in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Two members of the Lee family were involved in the War of 1812: General “Light-Horse Harry” Lee and his son Major Henry Lee. Others were indirectly involved with the politics of post-war recovery and rebuilding of the nation’s capital. Stratford Hall itself also features in war stories, standing strong though surrounded by burning plantations in the Northern Neck while Westmoreland’s own local militia marched through the nearby town of Montross. The history of the War of 1812 has not been forgotten in the Westmoreland community, with significant events documented by the historical highway markers along the road, lingering reminders of these stories still present.