On a beautiful morning in May 1813, the people of Havre de Grace awoke to a terrifying sight.
Out on the bay were the towering masts of a British fleet, and rowing toward them were landing craft filled with Redcoats. Admiral Cockburn, “the scourge of the Chesapeake,” had brought his reign of terror to the place the Marquis de Lafayette had named "Harbor of Mercy". As his raiders swept ashore, the American militia fled, leaving only one defiant Irishman standing in their way. This is his story.
How More Than 700 Maryland Slaves Escaped During The War of 1812
In Maryland, the War of 1812’s dominant image is of Francis Scott Key writing down lyrics as bombs burst over Baltimore Harbor. A less-remembered image is that of slave families fleeing plantations for British ships in the middle of the night. Clearly, for Maryland slaves, the War of 1812 was not “America’s second war of independence.” They waited another 50 years before the state constitution abolished slavery.