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May 16, 2013

Maryland port attacked

From the Otsego Heraldfor Saturday, May 15, 1813

Compiled, with comments

by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL

British Raid Havre de Grace

Havre de Grace, May 3. “This morning, a little after the break of day, a British armed force, under cover of armed vessels which anchored in front of this town ... landed below a small breast work which had been roughly thrown up, and in which were one 9 and two 4 pounders, manned by 50 militia.

“The vessels in front of the town threw three Congreve rockets, one of which passed through a frame house without further damage; another struck a Mr. Webster on the left side of his head, and killed him on the spot; the attack was a surprise, and there was neither an organized resistance nor defence. About six o’clock, a few of the militia, who had occupied the small redout, evacuated it & abandoned the town; the enemy possessed itself of the 9 pounder and two four pounders, & afterwards proceeded with torches and other combustibles prepared for the purpose, to conflagrate several of the houses.

“The two taverns and thirteen houses were burnt to the ground, two stables and several stacks of hay were also burnt; they plundered all the inhabitants whom they found, women and children indiscriminately, ripping open feather beds and throwing the feathers to the winds, and taking with them the ticking; women and children’s clothes were also taken from their persons; they burnt every vessel here except one which lay sunk on the east side of the Susquehanna.

“In the afternoon, between 2 and 3 o’clock, there were four vessels on fire, three schooners & a sloop. After having this specimen of their religion & mode of warfare, worthy of their ancient and established character, marauding and burning, they crossed the river and burnt Cecil Furnace, a blacksmith’s shop, a grist and saw mill, and with their characteristic malignity, they burnt the bridge [by] which alone travelling in carriages can be effected on the post road.

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