“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Colmar Manor in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Dueling Grounds

Dueling Grounds Marker image. Click for full size.
By F. Robby, January 28, 2008
1. Dueling Grounds Marker
Inscription.  On this site, now part of Anacostia River Park, more than 50 duels were fought during the first half of the 19th century. Here, on what became known as "the dark and bloody grounds," gentlemen of Washington settled their political and personal differences. One of the most famous disputes was that between commodores Stephen Decatur and James Barron which was settled here on March 22, 1820. Commodore Decatur, who had gained fame as the conqueror of the Barbary pirates, was fatally wounded by his antagonist. Although Congress passed an anti-dueling law in 1839, duels continued here until just before the Civil War.
Erected by The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
Location. 38° 56.043′ N, 76° 57.144′ W. Marker is in Colmar Manor, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker is at the intersection of Bladensburg Road (Maryland Route 450) and 38th Avenue, on the left when traveling south on Bladensburg Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brentwood MD 20722, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance
Dueling Grounds Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 18, 2010
2. Dueling Grounds Marker
of this marker. The Road to the Capital (here, next to this marker); Second Line Falls (was here, next to this marker but has been reported missing. ); Bladensburg Dueling Grounds (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Dueling Grounds (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Marines & Flotillamen (about 400 feet away); A Valiant Stand (about 400 feet away); The Road to the Capitol (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Second Line Falls (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Colmar Manor.
Regarding Dueling Grounds. The marker sits within the Historic Fort Lincoln Cemetery. Among others to lose their lives at the Dueling Grounds, General Armistead Mason and Daniel Key, the son of Francis Scott Key. The site of the marker sits very close to the border with the District of Columbia, where dueling was already illegal. DC residents challenging one another to a duel would cross over the border here to face each other.
Categories. Parks & Recreational AreasWaterways & Vessels
Dueling Grounds Today image. Click for full size.
By F. Robby, January 28, 2008
3. Dueling Grounds Today
Along a tributary of the Anacostia River, now part of Anacostia River Park, is the location of the "dark and bloody grounds", just north of Fort Lincoln Cemetary at Bladensburg Road (MD 450) and 38th Avenue.
Commodore Stephen Decatur image. Click for full size.
4. Commodore Stephen Decatur
Commodore Stephen Decatur rose to fame as a hero of the Barbary Wars. Decatur's naval campaigns in the Mediterranean both before and after the War of 1812 led to the end of a long-standing international practice of paying tribute to the pirate states of Barbary. Library of Congress photo, LC-DIG-npcc-19686.
Commodore James Barron image. Click for full size.
5. Commodore James Barron
Commodore James Barron felt humiliated after his court martial for allowing the British to attack and board the U.S.S. Chesapeake, a ship he commanded. Barron challenged Commodore Stephen Decatur, who had served on the court, to a duel to uphold his honor. Wikipedia photo.

More. Search the internet for Dueling Grounds.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 22, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 17, 2007, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 3,482 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on November 17, 2007, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland.   2. submitted on July 18, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3, 4, 5. submitted on January 29, 2008, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Period newspaper woodcuts of duels fought here • Replacement photo • Photos of the park • Can you help?
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