Here are some one liners...
The War Napoleon Cannot Afford to Win -- Russia has been cheating on its treaty regarding commerce so Napoleon takes over 600,000 troops into Russia and returns with less than 120,000. He was defeated by General Winter.
Mr. Madison's War -- The War of 1812 was a mistake of politics, and misinterpretation of evidence. There were real grievances, but slow communication allowed the two sides to go to war before they could resolve their differences.
In Other News -- Louisiana, Grimm's Fairy Tales, and mining lamps.
The War Napoleon Cannot Afford to Win
- "It is possible, and even probable, that Napoleon will defeat us, but that will not bring him peace... We shall leave it to our climate, to our winter, to wage our war." -- Czar Alexander the First.
Mr. Madison's WarGreat Britain is at war with Napoleon and they need experienced sailors to man their warships. Over 12,000 sailors from vessels flying the American flag are impressed into the British Navy. "Impressed" is a nice way of saying "Shanghaied". Most of these impressed sailors are American citizens. The American government has officially complained and so far, Britain has flipped America the bird. In May of last year, the American frigate USS President opened fire on HMS Little Belt which was followed in November by the Battle of Tippecanoe. The aftermath revealed that the British are equipping Indians for war. (Really?) And then President James Madison uncovers a secret plot by the British government to encourage New England (mostly Federalists) to secede from the Union! (FYI, this is a mistake. Britain couldn't care less.) Meanwhile Congress has authorized increases in militia enlistments up to 80,000. To ease the tension, the British Parliament concedes that it must make concessions to America if for no other reason than to free itself up to concentrate on its war with Napoleon (the real threat). Due to the slowness of communication, the American Congress starts debating a declaration of war at the same time. Madison submits his war message to Congress, and on June 17th, 1812, the Senate votes 19 to 13 for war, but their hearts are not in it.  
In Other News
- Louisiana becomes the 18th state. Not all of it. They will add a few pieces here and there along the way. 
- The Felling mine explosion prompts the invention of the mining lamp. Currently they are using candles and a device that throws off sparks. (Do I have to say it?)