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Otsego Herald

June 26, 2014

Attack on Wareham undertaken

From the Otsego Herald

for Thursday, June 30, 1814

Compiled, with comments


Wareham [near New Bedford], June 14 ... Yesterday morning we were informed of the approach of the enemy, and at about eleven o’clock A.M. they landed at the village called the Narrows, with a flag. There were six barges containing two hundred and twenty men.

They demanded (before the proper authority could arrive) all the public property; and declared, that in case they were molested, every house within their reach should be consumed [i.e., burned].

We were not prepared to make any opposition, and promised not to. To prevent a violation on our part they detained a number of men and boys as prisoners for their security; declaring that if any of their men were injured they should be put to immediate death.

Having stationed sentries back of the village, they proceeded to fire the vessels and cotton manufactory.

Twelve vessels were fired, five of which were totally destroyed; the remainder were extinguished after the enemy departed. The cotton manufactory was also extinguished. Damage estimated at 20,000 dollars. It is supposed that the enemy came from the Nimrod brig, and Superb 74 [guns].

BENJA. BOURNE, BENJA. FEARING, Selectmen of Wareham.

COMMENT: With an ever tightening British naval blockade of the American coastline, now including New England, raids like this became almost a daily occurrence. Usually, as here, the locals allowed the British raiders a free hand rather than be killed themselves or have their homes destroyed

A modern account notes that a week later “two young men were arrested for treason for assisting the British. ... They were committed for trial at the Circuit Court in Boston.” This kind of cooperation was also not unusual, especially in Federalist New England which had opposed the war from the start.


Died — in this village, on Monday evening, last, very suddenly, Mr. JESSE H. STARR, about 28 years of age. Mr. Starr attended public worship on Sunday last, and appeared in good health, and went to bed on Sunday evening apparently well.

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