The Chesapeake Campaign & The War of 1812
Fell's Point National Register Historic District and Ft. McHenry National Monument
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
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.
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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War of 1812 • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1814.
Location. 39° 16.908′ N, 76° 35.586′ W. Marker is in Fells Point in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is at the intersection of Thames Street and Broadway on Thames
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); 1630 Shakespeare Street (within shouting distance of this marker); 1632 Shakespeare Street (within shouting distance of this marker); In This Building From 1992 - 1999 (within shouting distance of this marker); 1627 Shakespeare Street (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); 1628 Shakespeare Street (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fells Point.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 12, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 633 times since then and 6 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.