“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Chesapeake Campaign & The War of 1812

Fell's Point National Register Historic District and Ft. McHenry National Monument

The Chesapeake Campaign & The War of 1812 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, June 25, 2011
1. The Chesapeake Campaign & The War of 1812 Marker
Inscription. A “nest of pirates”—that’s what the British admiralty once dubbed Baltimore’s historic Fell’s Point, then one of the most important shipbuilding centers in the nation and the home port of courageous privateers who sailed speed Chesapeake Bay pilot boat schooners, to assure American freedom on the seas.

Privateers had government licenses called “Letters of Marque and Reprisal,” authorizing the capture of enemy merchant ships as “prizes” for their owners. These privately-owned, armed schooners ran blockades, harassed British convoys, and captured merchant ships, actions that caused great frustration and financial loss.

122 Fell’s Point privateers captured more than 500 British ships, wrought havoc on British trade, and secured millions of dollars in prizes. Their audacity and success caused the British to attack the city in 1814, only to be turned away at the Battle of Baltimore and Fort McHenry.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is home to two of America’s most powerful symbols-the National Anthem and the American Flag. It was here in 1814, at the height of the War of 1812, that this embattled garrison held off a massive bombardment and attempted invasion by a British naval fleet---and defended a greater prize-Baltimore

Francis Scott Key, who witnessed the attack, was so overjoyed to see the flag still flying “by the dawn’s early light” that he wrote the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Hop on a water taxi and visit the Fort to take part in the twice-a-day Flag Change, where you can help fold or hoist the flag right where the original flagpole stood. As you stand on the ramparts of the Fort looking down toward the Bay, you stand at the crossroads of history.

Chesapeake Connection
For the Chesapeake Bay’s ship owners and their crews, privateering was a risky business, but also lucrative. Owners fronted as much as $40,000 ($643,000 in today’s dollars) to build and outfit a privateer. However, if a privateer captured several enemy vessels on a single voyage, the return could be as much as five times that initial investment.
Location. 39° 16.908′ N, 76° 35.586′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is at the intersection of Thames Street and Broadway on Thames Street. Touch for map. The marker is located in the Fell's Point Section of Baltimore, MD. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21231, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fells Point (a few steps from this marker); On Thursday, September 18, 2003 (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Fells Point (a few steps from this marker); In This Building From 1992 - 1999 (within shouting distance of this marker); National Bohemian Beer (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); War in the Chesapeake (about 400 feet away); “Baltimore must be tamed…” (about 400 feet away); It is now the world's largest music event. (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
Categories. War of 1812Waterways & Vessels

Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 12, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 563 times since then and 45 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on November 12, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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