War of 1812
Benedict—Charles County, MD
— Site of the First Foreign Invasion of the United States of America —
Great Britain had been at war with France since 1793 and imposed several trade restrictions that the newly formed United States of America found unbearable.
On June 18, 1812, the United States of America declared War on Great Britain based in part on the impressment of America soldiers into the British Navy, restraints on neutral trade, and anger at British support of American Indians.
President James Madison thought attacking Canada would compel Britain to change her policies. Neither country was prepared for war, as Britain had been fighting France, and the United States had only a 20 years old Navy with just 12 vessels to fight the largest Navy in the world at the time.
The War of 1812 was fought on many fronts from the defeat at Toronto, to the last battle in New Orleans in 1815. The Treaty of Ghent was ratified February 17, 1815. Little had changed, except this war gave the United States a greater status on the world stage. it has been called the Second War of Independence.
In a summer heat wave, on August 19, 1814, British Rear Admiral Cockburn, under the command
The Chesapeake Campaign
The Delaware River and the Chesapeake Bay were declared in a state of blockade on December 16, 1812. The strategic location of the Bay to the Capital City made it a prime target. Beginning in March 1813, British Read Admiral George Cockburn blockaded the Bay and raided town and farms up and down the shores and rivers.
On July 4, 1813, Joshua Barney, a decorated Revolutionary War hero, finally convinced the United States Navy to build a Chesapeake Flotilla. Twenty ships were built and while successful in harassing Cockburn's fleet, they could not hold back the British invasion.
Barney's Flotilla withdrew up the Patuxent River but in the face of capture were ordered by the secretary of the navy
(Black & white image of James Madison)
President James Madison
On June 1, 1812, Madison asked Congress for a Declaration of War against the British. At the time, the U.S. was ill-prepared for war and suffered initial defeats.
(Color image of James Monroe)
Secretary of State James Monroe
Monroe rides to Benedict with an escort of cavalrymen. His mission is to count the British ships and soldiers. He warns President Monroe that 4,500 British troops are preparing to march on the Capital.
(Color image of Joshua Barney)
Commodore Joshua Barney
Commander of a flying squadron of thirty-six barges, whose mission was to defend the Chesapeake Bay against British attack.
(Color image of flotilla)
Barney's Barges in action at St. Leonard's Creek—10 June 1814.
(Map of Chesapeake Bay shows British military activity.)
(Color image of U.S. Capitol)
Smoke and scorch marked U.S. Capital
Torched by British troops
—24 August 1814
(Black & white image of boats)
Barge sketch made by Joshua Barney—4 July, 1813.
(Color image of Robert Ross)
Major General Robert Ross
After his invasion of Washington,
(Black and white image of Alexander Cochrane)
British Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane
Later responsible for the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, the event which gave rise to Francis Scott Key's poem which became the "Star Spangled Banner".
(Black and white image of George Cockburn)
British Rear Admiral George Cockburn
Relentlessly cruised up and down the Chesapeake Bay in 1813-1814, seizing American shipping, disrupting commerce and raiding local ports.
Erected by Maryland Office of Tourism, Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War of 1812 • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #04 James Madison, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #05 James Monroe series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is June 18, 1812.
Location. 38° 32.067′ N, 76° 41.983′ W. Marker is in Hughesville, Maryland, in Charles County. Marker can be reached from Teagues Point Road, 0.1 miles south of Fairfax Court. When traveling northwest on Point Teagues Road, the entrance to Maxwell Hall will be on the left.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Maxwell Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Begin Your Adventure (within shouting distance of this marker); Test of a New Nation (within shouting distance of this marker); Enemy Camp (approx. 1.3 miles away); On This Farm (approx. 1.3 miles away); Camp Stanton (approx. 1.3 miles away); Solid Ground (approx. 1.4 miles away); a different marker also named Camp Stanton (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hughesville.
Also see . . . Star-Spangled Banner Byway, Maryland Scenic Byways. (Submitted on January 16, 2019, by David Lassman of Waldorf, Maryland.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 16, 2019, by David Lassman of Waldorf, Maryland. This page has been viewed 358 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 16, 2019, by David Lassman of Waldorf, Maryland. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.