Tappahannock in Essex County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
British Raid on Tappahannock / The War of 1812
British Raid on Tappahannock. On 2 Dec. 1814, British naval forces commanded by Capt. Robert Barrie shelled and seized the town of Tappahannock during the War of 1812. Aiding the British were three companies of African American Colonial Marines composed of escaped slaves. By 4 Dec., when the British departed and Essex County militia reentered the town, the raiders had ransacked private houses, blown up a tannery, and burned two jails, the customs warehouse, and the courthouse. They also desecrated the burial vault of the prominent Ritchie family. This was one of the last British raids before the Treaty of Ghent was signed on 24 Dec. 1814.
The War of 1812. Impressment of Americans into British service and the violation of American ships were among the causes of American War of 1812 with the British, which lasted until 1815. Beginning in 1813, Virginians suffered from a British naval blockade of the Chesapeake Bay and from British troops plundering the countryside by the Bay and along the James, Rappahannock, and Potomac Rivers. The Virginia militia deflected a British attempt to take Norfolk in 1813 and engaged British
Erected 2010 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number N-39.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War of 1812. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Department of Historic Resources series list. A significant historical date for this entry is December 2, 1814.
Location. 37° 55.811′ N, 76° 51.502′ W. Marker is in Tappahannock, Virginia, in Essex County. Marker is at the intersection of Queen Street (U.S. 360) and Newbill Drive (County Route T-1013), on the right when traveling west on Queen Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 135 Queen St, Tappahannock VA 22560, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Historic Tappahannock (a few steps from this marker); Blake-Brockenbrough Cemetery (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Enduring Records (about 400 feet away); Ritchie's Birthplace (about 600 feet away); Veterans Memorial (about 700 feet away); Essex County Confederate Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); USS Tappahannock AO-43 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Essex County Court House (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tappahannock.
Also see . . . On the Road in Essex County - N-39 British Raid on Tappahannock. 2019 article by Zorine Shirley in the River Country News. Excerpt:
Tappahannock received an unusual degree of destruction for a small town. There is some uncertainty as to why it was the target of such extensive damage. Speculation by some, in an essay by Robert Alexander Armour, posits several varying theories: it was the largest town between Urbanna and Fredericksburg where militia might be based; or possibly that the wharf held valuable hogsheads (barrels) of tobacco ready for transport; or some think that the militia may have thought the British would not attack in the bitter cold of winter but the British took advantage to attack when the troops were unprepared. Another theory was that the British were exacting revenge on the locally prominent Ritchie family for loyalty to the new American experiment.(Submitted on September 17, 2020.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 22, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 561 times since then and 53 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on May 27, 2019, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. 2. submitted on August 22, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. 3. submitted on May 27, 2019, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. 4. submitted on August 22, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.