From the City of Havre de Grace Office of Tourism:
The City of Havre de Grace will kick off the Maryland State Chesapeake Campaign the first weekend in May 2013 with a three day festival marking the 200th year of prosperity since they were ransacked and burned by the British.
In 1813 Havre de Grace was a small fishing village; and with Post Road traversing through town, was a major source of land travel. The taverns and ferry made Havre de Grace, originally called Susquehanna Lower Ferry, a vibrant town in the early 19th century.
On May 3rd , 1813 British forces; led by Admiral Cockburn, arrived at early dawn and the residents of Havre de Grace woke to terrifying sounds of rockets hissing signaling the arrival of 400 British Marines. The marines went from house to house, burning and confiscating belongings along the way. Beds were ripped apart, and furniture and clothing were ruined. John O’Neil led a defense when the British raiders attacked and briefly manned cannons as other defenders fled.
Over the last two years the research on the accounts of the attack were put together in exhibits at six Heritage Museums of Havre de Grace. A remarkable partnership and funding from National Park Service and Maryland Heritage Authority has allowed the City to set the stage to tell the story of their involvement in the War of 1812 and how the British’s terror on the Chesapeake began. An interactive model circa 1813 highlights the homes that survived the burning and allows visitors to experience the way of life during 1813. Illustrations created by local artist Bill Watson depicts the savage attack and burning of Havre de Grace. Signage has created a interpretive trail along the parks and attractions throughout the City.
On January 31st the City of Havre de Grace held a reception honoring the achievements of Museums, National Park Service and all the volunteers who brought together the elements to tell the story of life in Havre de Grace during the War of 1812. Mayor Wayne Dougherty presented the National Park Service a Proclamation highlighting a grant that had been awarded in the amount of $99,000. With an additional $34,000 award from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, a comprehensive trail was created taking the visitor to all the City’s attractions to learn of the components of the attack on Havre de Grace.
“This is an excellent example of bringing various volunteers and organizations together to complete a common goal”, stated Brigitte Peters, City of Havre de Grace Office of Tourism “the work done by our Museums is a remarkable achievement.” You are encouraged to stop by the visitor center in Havre de Grace, walk the promenade, go to David Craig park, and experience our Museums to learn more and enjoy the exhibits that have been created to show our involvement in the War of 1812.