New England War of Independence

March 9, 1815


February 16, 1816


western New England, Atlantic Ocean


New England Independence


United States of America

Republic of New England


James Madison

Harrison Otis


4,600 Soldiers

600 Navy men

5600 total

3500 Soldiers

500 Navy men

4000 total

Casualties and Losses

356 dead

1300 wounded

500 captured

1956 total

272 dead

800 wounded

1072 total

The New England War of Independence was a short war between the Republic of New England and the United States of America. During this 11 month war, the newly declared Republic of New England was forced to prove its sovereignty against the far larger forces of the USA.

Fortunately for the new nation, few in the US were willing to fight a war and after a few halfhearted campaigns new US president Rufus King made peace with New England on February 16, 1816. The New England states seceded for a number of reasons. These included the rise of the Democratic-Republican party, various inefficiencies in the government, and the loss of Maine to the British.

After losing the war, the various New England states gathered at the Boston Conference. There they decided to secede. On March 9 Massachusetts seceded, starting the war. From then until May 2 the remaining New England states would join the new republic, but it would be for months that the Americans took steps to eliminate the rebellion.

The Republic gained recognition from Britain almost immediately, glad to see the US weakened even further. The French and other major powers waited for confirmation of the Republic victory before giving their recognition.


While New England had felt separatist movements for years, it was now out of control. The War of 1812 had destroyed large parts of their economy and lost Maine to the British. The Boston Conference, held in January and February, decided that they must secede before the US brings more harm to their lands. Several of the states were undecided on the issue, particularly Vermont. However, seeing that the other Federalist states were seceding, they realized they would always be under the opposing party unless they joined New England.

And so on March 9, 1815, Massachusetts seceded from the United States of America. While this is usually said to be the beginning of the war, no actions would be taken until May.


On March 9 Massachusetts, particularly Boston, celebrated their new nation. However, many were worried the other states would join, and they would soon be crushed. Luckily for them on March 19 New Hampshire joined the Republic of New England as well. While they were weak, it showed the other states would secede. Previously the states had all received the "starter packet", which contained all the basic information such as the Constitution, state symbols, government functions, and major laws. Upon signing this, they accepted all of it in full.

Once New Hampshire joined and set their representatives to Boston, the new Capital, news laws would be made. To prevent anarchy, a law had been passed saying all laws of the USA would apply unless states otherwise. When Connecticut joined in April 11, and Rhode Island on April 16, they got around to the "otherwise", passing dozens of laws. By the time Vermont joined on May first, many laws were already in place.

On May 3 American forces numbering 2000 invaded Connecticut. At first they win at Danbury, but lose a few days later at New Haven and Newport. They retreated back to Danbury after guerrilla warfare damaged their supplies, and at a last battle lost 2nd Danbury. While several minor skirmishes did happen, they weren't enough and on May 25 the last American soldiers had fled New England. This raised their morale as it showed they could militarily defend themselves. They knew they only had to hold on well until January, when the next president ended the war. So far it looked good.


On June 5 the New England Navy proved its worth at the Battle of Cape Cod, where a fleet of four New England ships sank one American ship and captured another. By defeating the American navy New England proved it would be able to access the trading it needed. It also showed a war of attrition would fail. This is why on June 25 an American army of 1600 invaded Vermont.

The hope was that the citizens of Vermont, who had been the most divided on which side to pick, would welcome the American forces and not harass them. While this was partially true, most still were far from happy to see the Americans. The army won the Battle of Poultney and later Proctor, and advanced to the Winooksi river. They lost the Battles of Woodstock and Winooski, forcing their retreat. They did win the Battle of Bethel, solidifying their controlled areas. A second battle from the north, the Battle of Nowhere, drove them back to the river. The armies on the South did the same when Manchester fell.

The Americans won the 2nd Battle of Poultney but lost the battle of West Pawlet. By doing so they were cut off and forced back. The Battle of Berlington forced them out of Vermont. Meanwhile earlier on July 5, another army had invaded Massachusetts. This invasion was short lived and by August 2 the Battle of Pittsfield pushed them out of Massachusetts save for a small fort called Fort Madison. This fort surrendered on August 12, ending control in New England.


Most of September went by without action. On September 12 a minor skirmish occurred, killing three New Englanders and wounding six. One American was killed and four wounded. And on September 29, the famous Battle of Nantucket was held. Here the entire navies of New England and the US faced off in a bloody battle. The entire US Navy was destroyed, while only half of New England's was.

On October 14 a last invasion is launched into Connecticut. This was the last campaign of the war. In a series of guerrilla warfare and bloody, brief fights the US is forced to retreat at the Battle of New Haven on November 9. A Battle of Danbury on the 14 completed that retreat. This is the last battle of the entire war, as Rufus King is elected President of the United States. While James Madison refuses to make peace, the war is for all purposes but name over.


On January 20 Rufus King is officially sworn into office. His first act was to call a ceasefire with New England and head to Newport. Upon arriving he quickly began to negotiate with New England, who fortunately wanted little other than independence. As such the negotiations were short and the Treaty of Newport was signed on February 16, 1816.

Under the treaty the USA would recognize the Republic of New England. They would par minor war reparations, return all prisoners of war (although not supplies), and agreed to begin immediate diplomatic relations. The treaty was ratified by New England on February 21, and by Congress on March 3rd. the war had finally come to an end, with both sides glad to end the bloodshed.


The most obvious result of the war was the independence of New England. It also further weakened the Democratic-Republicans, the view of the US around the world, and the idea of democracy. It also damaged the economy of the United States, for who New England had been a large trading area. One of the most important effects of the war was the near immediate economic boost New England had, making them one of the leading trading powers of the Americas and Atlantic. For the first time a North American nation wielded considerable influence in a European one.


United States of America

The United States of America was devastated by the war. Not only by the loss of a major economic center, which New England was, but by morale. They had just lost the War of 1812, and now had lost to a smaller, less trained nation. Admittedly a large part of that was  because they simply fought halfheartedly, but to the world it seemed like they couldn't hold their own nation together. This also brought many to believe democracy was a failure.

Politically, the Federalist became the biggest party. Despite losing their main base, the Democratic-Republicans now looked like fools. The Federalist had come into power in the United States and would remain for many years. The Democratic-Republicans splintered off into the Federalist group, independents, and several minor groups. While they remained the second largest party in the US for a while, they were crippled and certain to die.

Republic of New England

The Republic of New England was rejoiced by the ending of the war. Now with independence secured, they could begin to act as they pleased. This involved a number of diplomatic and economic deals with the powers. One of their first acts was to repair all damage caused by the war, including paying every family that had lost a man to the conflict.

They also began building a trading fleet. To the New Englanders this was a major goal, to control the trade routes of the world. Under the Trading Ships Law every state was to begin construction of their own trading fleet, and a larger one was made for the whole nation. This was of major importance for turning New England into an important economic powers in the coming decades. The only jobs they would do were smuggling, drug trading, and slavery, which they had banned. 


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