The RAID ON HAVRE DE GRACE was a seaborne military operation that
took place on 3 May 1813. A squadron of the British
Royal Navy under
Rear Admiral George Cockburn attacked the town of Havre de Grace ,
Maryland , at the mouth of the
Susquehanna River . Although the raid
resulted in just one American casualty, it catalyzed widespread hatred
of Cockburn by the Americans.
* 1 Background
* 2 Attack
* 3 Accounts
* 4 References
* 5 External links
Cockburn sailed for the upper
Chesapeake Bay from near
Spesutie Island on 23 April 1813. :25–27 After a successful
raid on Frenchtown on the Elk River on 29 April, Cockburn attempted to
venture further upriver until forces at Fort Defiance stopped him.
Cockburn had vowed to destroy any town that showed resistance. The
admiral had not initially planned to attack Havre de Grace but when he
American flag flying over the town and the local battery fired
shots, he decided to attack. :27, 29
Cockburn's fleet was anchored off Turkey Point, separated from Havre
de Grace by an area of shoal water too shallow for large ships to
navigate. :29 Cockburn therefore sent
Commander John Lawrence at the
head of a flotilla of sixteen :29 or nineteen boats to row across the
shoals, beginning at midnight on 3 May. A memorial to John
O'Neill featuring a
War of 1812
War of 1812 cannon marks the site of the Concord
Point battery in Havre de Grace.
Despite or because of intelligence warning of an impending attack,
most of the militia that had been in Havre de Grace had departed
before the raid. :30 Fewer than forty troops remained at the Concord
Point battery when the flotilla attacked at dawn. These troops briefly
returned fire until a
Congreve rocket killed a civilian. :30
George Augustus Westphal
George Augustus Westphal then stormed and captured the
Lieutenant John O'Neill single-handedly manned another
battery—the so-called "Potato Battery"—until his cannon's recoil
struck him. :30 O'Neill retreated to fire on the British with a musket
while he unsuccessfully signaled the militia to return. :30–31
The townspeople and remaining militia retreated as Westphal and his
troops drove them further from town. :32 The British looted the town
and burned 40 of its 60 houses. They spared the Episcopal church from
being burned but they did vandalize it. :32 Cockburn removed six
cannons from the town and took O'Neill and two other Americans back to
his flagship, HMS Maidstone . However, Cockburn released O'Neill upon
appeal from local magistrates. :34 Cockburn reported only one injury:
Westphal was shot in the hand.
After the raid on Havre de Grace, Cockburn sent troops up the
Susquehanna River to destroy a depot and vessels there. Forces also
navigated to nearby
Principio Furnace , a large ironworks and cannon
foundry, and destroyed the facilities there. :34
Cockburn's account of the raid appeared in the
London Gazette on 6
Jared Sparks —an educator, historian, and later president of
Harvard University —who was tutoring the children of a local family
also saw the attack. Sparks wrote an account of the attack that was
published in 1817 in the
North American Review
North American Review and Miscellaneous
James Jones Wilmer was living in Havre de Grace at the time and
published an account of the incident soon after it happened.
Benjamin Henry Latrobe did not witness the event but is known to have
Robert Fulton about it. :32
The raid was depicted in a near-contemporary etching by William
Charles , a Scottish -born engraver who immigrated to the United
States . The etching, Admiral Cockburn Burning -webkit-column-width:
30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">
* ^ A B C D E F "No. 16750". The
London Gazette . 6 July 1813. pp.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N George, Christopher T. (2000).
Terror on the Chesapeake: The
War of 1812
War of 1812 on the Bay. Shippensburg,
Pennsylvania: White Mane Books. ISBN 978-1-57249-276-9 .
* ^ A B C D Malcomson, Robert (2006). Historical Dictionary of the
War of 1812. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. pp. 241–242. ISBN
* ^ Adams, Herbert B. (1893). The Life and Writings of Jared
Sparks: Comprising Selections from His Journals and Correspondence.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company. p. 65.
* ^ "Conflagration of Havre de Grace".
North American Review
North American Review and
Miscellaneous Journal. 5 (14): 157–163. July 1817.
JSTOR 25121304 .
* ^ Wilmer, James Jones (1813). Narrative Respecting the Conduct of
the British from Their First Landing on Spesutia Island till Their
Progress to Havre de Grace ... By a Citizen of Havre de Grace.
Baltimore: P. Mauro.
* ^ Lanmon, Lorraine Welling (1976). "American Caricature in the
English Tradition: The Personal and Political Satires of William
Charles". Winterthur Portfolio. 11: 1–51.
JSTOR 1180589 .
* ^ "Admiral Cockburn Burning and Plundering Havre de Grace on the
1st of June 1813".
Maryland Historical Society. Retrieved May 7, 2011.