This Month In County History

1813: British fleet scares Annapolis

August 05, 2005

Annapolis had some of its own War of 1812 history, though no anthems or battles happened here.

Like Baltimore, it was considered of strategic importance by the British as "a door of Washington," which they eventually sacked, setting fire to the White House and the Capitol.

On the evening of Aug. 3, 1813, three British enemy ships came up the Chesapeake Bay and anchored within three miles of Annapolis. With 19 other vessels visible from the State House, the small seaport braced for an attack. A large militia was in Annapolis, with detachments of regulars and volunteers. The city's families fled to the country and so the town quickly assumed the air of a military post awaiting the enemy's onset. But the British squadron in the Chesapeake Bay had its sights set somewhere else.

SOURCE: Elihu S. Riley, A History of Anne Arundel County in Maryland, 1905

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