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In the War of 1812, the United States took on the greatest naval power in the world, Great Britain. Causes of the war included British attempts to restrict U.S. trade, the Royal Navy's impressment of American seamen and America's desire to expand its territory. The United States suffered many costly defeats at the hands of British, Canadian and Native American troops over the course of the War of 1812, including the capture and burning of Washington, D.C., in August 1814

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Maryland Tobacco Plantation House

Nonetheless, American troops were able to repulse British invasions in New York, Baltimore and New Orleans, boosting national confidence and fostering a new spirit of patriotism. The ratification of the Treaty of Ghent on February 17, 1815, ended the war; many in the United States celebrated the War of 1812 as a "second war of independence."

August 10, 1813, London Times, London, Middlesex, United Kingdom

British Ships Blockading Chesapeake Bay. 1812.

British Ships Blockading Chesapeake Bay at the Outset of the War of 1812

Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and lies off the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by Maryland and Virginia.

The American papers, of which we gave intimation yesterday, are arrived, to the 10th of July. The accounts which they present of our operations are still confused in the detail; though the sum-total of them may be comprised in a few words, and is intelligibleenough. Sir John B. Warren appears to have failed at Craney island, to have succeeded at Hampton, and taken that town, and still to keep the American coast in great alarm. The frigates at New London are secure adn the loss of Boerstler's corps, in Upper Canada, is confirmed. Upon thi slast subject we cannot help censuring the improper conduct of an American journal; which represents us as refusing to accept of the surrender of the defeated corps of Americans ourselves, but urging that it should be made to the Indians.

The Indian tribes of Upper Canada were at war with America before we were; and whatever they have fougth by our sides we have endeavoured to mitigate their ferocity. There is also a most singular report from General Dearborn, gving an account of an attack made by the whole of the British forces and Indians, as the General states it, upon the Americans at the head of the Lake of Ontario, on the 6th of June; the issue of which was, the same authentic author says, that though the Americans lost but few men (not more than thirty), yet Generals Chandler and Winder were taken prisoners, while we are stated to have lost 250 men; and, it is even rumoured against us, that General Vincent had been killed. Would our readers believe, that this is the very celebrated night action between the 5th and 6th of June, the account of which was published in the Extraordinary Gazette of Sunday, teh 25th ult.; wherein we, with 700 firelocks, dispersed a corps of 3,500 Americans, took the two Generals above mentioned prisoners, along with whom there also remained "upwardes of one hundred Officers and privates in our hands?" As to General Vincent, he has let the Americans know, since that date, that he is alive . . .

The (Admiral Warren) dispatch says that three of our largest boats were sunk, and that the Admiral's barge also went down, with 75 men on board, of whom only 20 were saved from a watery grave to be made prisoners. From the other sunk vessels, forty men, the American Commodore presumes, might be rescued by his countrymen; so that our whole loss being estimated,--that is, by our enemies, at 200 men, the killed and drowned will amount to 125.

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Fort McHenry and Baltimore
under British Naval Artillery Attack. 1814

It is a private letter from Richmond that gives the account of the capture of Hampton. We were bravely resisted, says this narralive, by the militia, 500 strong, whose loss only amounted to 40 at the most. We evacuated the place shortly after its capture, and proceeded up the James River with five frigates, three brigs, and four schooners.

In addition to these attacks at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, we may shortly expect to hear of others, directed by other officers; as we learn by intelligence from Halifax, that Admiral Cockburne had left that place on the l3th ult. with the Sceptre, Romulus, Fox and Nemesis, to assault town, near Cape Henry, in the Carrituck Inlet, named Oceanock. About 1400 marines will, it is thought, be sent from the fleet to Upper Canada.


May 30, 1889, Hagerstown Herald and Torch Light , Hagerstown, Maryland, U.S.A.

As to Baltimore.

The Mails draws a picture of the alleged decadence of Baltimore which would be startling if true. But happily for Baltimore it is not in a state of decadence at all. It keeps on growing and improving and there is no city in the world where the masses of the people live more comfortably, or where tbe rewards of labor are more steady and certain. The population has almost doubled in the last twenty years, and the best part of the city has been built during that period.

There have been changes in tbe course of trade which at times have operated tothe disadvantage of Baltimore, but in the long ran the city has more than held its own, and when one branch of industry has declined many others grown up and prospered. Last winter the receipts of grain at the Baltimore elevators greatly alarmed the Philadelphia merchants, and they actually asked the intervention of the Inter-State Commission to prevent Baltimore from getting ahead of Philadelphia. They claimed that they Pennsylvania Railroad Company was making discriminating rates in favor of Baltimore.

Fort, Baltimore, Maryland.

Over the course of several centuries, Baltimore evolved from a Colonial-era port city to a thriving and dynamic city of nearly a million people at the conclusion of World War II.

As the city grew, a wide variety of industries were established. Railroads, ports, manufacturing sites, and public infrastructure, such as power plants, fundamentally transformed large swaths of Baltimore's landscape. However, the second half of the 20th century saw a dramatic and often traumatic restructuring of the city's economy; individual businesses and entire industrial sectors downsized, relocated, or completely collapsed. Today many such areas of Baltimore have changed radically as abandoned manufacturing sites have been demolished or converted to new uses. Industrial Baltimore documents a vital component of the city's working past through historic photographs of the people and sites that made the city an essential economic engine of the Industrial Revolution. Over the course of several centuries, Baltimore evolved from a Colonial-era port city to a thriving and dynamic city of nearly a million people at the conclusion of World War II.

Baltimore Harbor. Robert C. Keith.

Robert Keith, in Baltimore HarborBaltimore Harbor, Robert Keith. provides a lively, heavily illustrated history of a vital American port that connects the Chesapeake Bay with the rest of the world. Using photographs, historic illustrations, and stories, Robert Keith traces the harbor's fascinating history.

An ideal hub for the bay's network of paddlewheel steamers, the working port grew quickly alongside the shipbuilding industry at Fells Point and Federal Hill. This growth continued as the nation's first public carrier railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio, linked the wharves of the Patapsco River with the coal fields of Appalachia and the towns and farms of the Midwest.

Chesapeake Bay

October 16, 1875, Iowa South West, Bedford, Iowa

Some Facts About Tides.

Barnes's Geography: Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware. Monteith, 1875.Historical map of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Dealware. 1875. Monteith.

The Alexandria (Va.) Gazette gives the following information about some peculiarities in the tides of the Chesapeake bay: A curious fact is that it is always high tide at New Point Comfort at moon rising or setting; it is always low tide at Hooper's straits at moon rising or setting, and high tide at Sandy Point when the moon rises and sets. A vessel entering the capes with a strong, fair wind at the beginning of the flood may carry the same tide to Alexandria. But a vessel leaving Alexandria for the capes will encounter these flood tides on her way, no matter how fast she may sail, and it may be she will have to contend against several more if she has a head wind. Every flood tide that enters the Chesapeake bay goes to the head ot every tide water stream or tributary of the bay, while the same ebb tide does not run more than sixty miles, and sometimes a good deal less, so that there are always two ebb tides and two flood tides in the Chesapeake bay at the same time, and sometimes three of one or the other. The flood tide runs about six hours, the ebb a little longer, so that 12 hours and 40 minutes are required for a flood tide and ebb to pass the same point. It is always flood tide in the Wicomico River on the morning of Easter and the same at Whitsuntide.

Coast Survey.

The 1855 U.S. Coast Survey's progress chart of the Chesapeake Bay covers the Bay from the mouth of the Susquehanna River southwards as far as Cape Henry and Norfolk.

It includes both the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay in full, as well as small portions of the Potomac River, Rappahannock River, York River, James River, Patapsco River, and Patuxent River. Identifies Washington D.C, Cape May, Charleston, Baltimore, Annapolis, Chestertown, Easton, Cambridge and Norfolk. This rare map was prepared under the supervision of A. D. Bache 1855 Superintendent's Report.

Fell's Point

Baltimore Oysters.

Fell's Point, Baltimore's original deep-water port, was founded in 1726 by William Fell, a shipbuilder from England.

The War of 1812 kept Baltimore shipyards busy. Since the early 1800s, the city had been building small, fast schooners such as pilot boats, which carried pilots familiar with local waters out to guide larger vessels in Chesapeake Bay. When war broke out, an area of Baltimore's waterfront known as Fells Point began building slightly bigger schooners that could raid enemy shipping and outrun enemy blockades. The community's shipyards developed the famed Baltimore Clippers; built two of the first ships in the United States Navy, the USS Constellation and the USS Enterprise; and financed the privateers that helped win the War of 1812.

In the late 19th century, Baltimore was second only to Ellis Island as an entry port for European immigrants, many of whom initially settled in Fell's Point. When the Great Fire of 1904 swept through Baltimore, Fell's Point was the only historic neighborhood that survived.

The Atlantic Transport Line, 1881-1931:
A History with Details on All Ships

Jonathan Kinghorn
Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports. Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.

In 1881, the dynamic Baltimorean Bernard N. Baker established the Atlantic Transport Line, an American-owned but British-operated steamship company with service from London to New York that became famous for shipping expensive livestock and for carrying only first-class passengers. Although moderately sized, the company remained a significant presence in international shipping until World War I caused major business disruptions, followed by changed priorities during peacetime. Finally, the Great Depression led to its closure. This volume chronicles the history of the line and its absorption into J.P. Morgan's International Mercantile Marine Company against the background of efforts to revive the American mercantile marine. Descriptions of life on board Atlantic Transport Line vessels, individual histories of every vessel owned by the line, and biographies of key figures associated with the company make this the most complete account of this important player in the history of American trade.

Author Jonathan Kinghorn served as a senior regional curator for English Heritage, responsible for collections at more than 50 historic sites in Britain. His great-grandfather was the engineering superintendent for the Atlantic Transport Line and responsible for the mechanical operation of the entire fleet.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Sea Captains, Ships, Merchants, Merchandise, Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.


Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California.

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