Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Oxon Hill in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Capture of Alexandria

Oxon Cove Park

 
 
The Capture of Alexandria Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 22, 2011
1. The Capture of Alexandria Marker
Inscription.
It was indeed a day and night of horrors, the fleet … lay directly before our house.
Mary DeButts, writing to her sister Millicent on March 18, 1815.

From this farm, Mary DeButts saw a small fleet on the Potomac River on August 29, 1814. On that day during the War of 1812, the British Navy Capt. James Gordon accepted the surrender of Alexandria – without firing a shot. From here, you can see the Alexandria wharves and some of the same buildings.

About two weeks earlier, the British commander had started his seven ships up the Potomac to distract American soldiers and militia from the land attack on Washington. The British chased the American defenders from Fort Washington on the Maryland shore. Then nothing stood between Gordon’s ships and Alexandria, the busiest port city on the Potomac.

Gordon anchored his ships off the Alexandria wharf and promised to spare the city as long as no one fired on his sailors and marines. Over the next five days, the British took roughly 16,000 barrels of flour, 1,000 hogsheads of tobacco, 150 bales of cotton, several ships, and much else. Fearing a counterattack, Gordon gave orders to heave anchor and sail back down the river on September 3.

Illustration Captions:
[Chart of the “Potomack”
The Capture of Alexandria Marker above the Oxon Cove meadow image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 22, 2011
2. The Capture of Alexandria Marker above the Oxon Cove meadow
River above Great Hunting Creek] Alexandria, Virginia in 1798. Courtesy of Library of Congress.

Dennis Griffith, Map of the State of Maryland 1794, Maryland State Law Library, MdHR G 1213-356 [tracing the] British feint up the Potomac River and their advance on the City of Washington across Prince George’s County in August 1814 - with “Mount Welby” highlighted.

[Contemporary cartoon, “Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians”] The citizens of Alexandria were ridiculed in cartoons like this for surrendering to a small British fleet without firing a shot, even though the city’s militia was fighting elsewhere at the time.

[Portrait] Admiral Sir James Gordon, 1860s. Courtesy of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 38° 48.254′ N, 77° 0.698′ W. Marker is in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker is on Oxon Hill Farm Trail west of Bald Eagle Road, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is northwest of the Oxon Hill Farm - at the curve in the Oxon Hill Farm Trail, below Mount Welby on the wooded hill overlooking the Oxon Cove Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6411 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill MD 20745, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Close-up of illustrations on The Capture of Alexandria Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 22, 2011
3. Close-up of illustrations on The Capture of Alexandria Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Oxon Cove, the Potomac, and the Chesapeake (within shouting distance of this marker); The Potomac Highway (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); "Rockets on the Hill" (about 700 feet away); War Comes to Mount Welby (approx. 0.2 miles away); The DeButts Family Comes to Maryland - Mount Welby (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Burning of Washington, D.C. (approx. 0.2 miles away); Root Cellar (approx. 0.2 miles away); Wheat and Tobacco (approx. ¼ mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Oxon Hill.
 
Additional keywords. Royal Navy
 
Categories. Notable EventsNotable PersonsWar of 1812Waterways & Vessels
 
The Capture of Alexandria Marker on hiker trail leading to Oxon Cove image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 30, 2011
4. The Capture of Alexandria Marker on hiker trail leading to Oxon Cove
Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
5. Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians
The citizens of Alexandria were ridiculed in cartoons like this for surrendering to a small British fleet without firing a shot, even though the city’s militia was fighting elsewhere at the time.
Admiral Sir James Gordon, 1860s image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, September 17, 2011
6. Admiral Sir James Gordon, 1860s
Close-up of portrait on marker
Alexandria, Virginia in 1798 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, September 17, 2011
7. Alexandria, Virginia in 1798
Close-up of map on marker
View to the west from near the marker - with the Potomac River and the skyline image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 22, 2011
8. View to the west from near the marker - with the Potomac River and the skyline
of Alexandria, Virginia visible beyond the trees.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 492 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   8. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on December 29, 2016.
Paid Advertisement