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

War of 1812

Benedict—Charles County, MD

— Site of the First Foreign Invasion of the United States of America —

War of 1812 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By David Lassman, October 13, 2018
1. War of 1812 Marker
Inscription.  War of 1812
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.

First Invasion
In a summer heat wave, on August 19, 1814, British Rear Admiral Cockburn, under the command

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of Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, debarked 4,500 troops on the shores of the Patuxent River at Benedict, MD. The troops camped on about 3 miles of shoreline and legend holds that British officers may have occupied nearby Maxwell Hall. On the 20th, with General Ross, British troops began their march to Washington,shadowed by Cockburn's fleets sailing upstream. Successfully engaging the Americans at Bladensburg, the British marched into a deserted capital and proceeded to burn the city. After burning the city and being surprised by a horrific summer storm, the troops marched back to Benedict and set sail for Baltimore, their next target.

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

Markers on the front porch of the house. image. Click for full size.
National Park Service, Thomas Stone National Historic Site, October 13, 2018
2. Markers on the front porch of the house.
Top: The National Society United States Daughters of 1812 Bottom: The National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century
to scuttle their fleet to keep it out of the hands of the enemy. Barney and his flotillamen then marched to Bladensburg to reinforce American troops and fought valiantly but in vain.

(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,

Maxwell Hall Exterior image. Click for full size.
National Park Service, Thomas Stone National Historic Site, October 13, 2018
3. Maxwell Hall Exterior
Ross's orders were to take Baltimore. En route, just prior to the Battle of North Point, Ross was morally wounded by American sniper fire.

(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 1812Waterways & 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.

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Follow access road for 1/4 mile. Marker is on the east side of the house. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 17388 Teagues Point Road, Hughesville MD 20637, United States of America. Touch for directions.
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.

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Dec. 10, 2023