to see author tracy leonard’s magnificent collection
of authentic maps and paintings from the War Of 1812,
see this article online:
More information can be found at www.NPS.
gov/pevi/ index.htm. Dockage and moorings
are available; boaters must hail and register
with the Put-in-Bay harbormaster when they
arrive. A number of launches dot the Ohio
shoreline; information can be found at www.
engraving of the White
house after the invading
British troops set fire to it.
aBOve: engraving of perry
in a rowboat leaving Law-
rence for Niagara.
aBOve Right: a map of
north america at the time
of the War of 1812.
RetRacing the cheSapeake
caMpaign Of 1814
Following the defeat of Napoleon in 1814,
the British turned their full attention to the
war with the Americans and planned a three-pronged offensive to: 1) cut New England off
from the rest of the country; 2) control the
Mississippi River by seizing New Orleans;
and 3) attack towns along the Chesapeake
corridor, with particular attention directed
toward Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.
Only the Chesapeake campaign achieved
some degree of success.
In the summer of 1814, the British executed their plan to capture Washington,
D.C. Some of the British fleet sailed up the
Potomac River while the main British force
sailed up the Patuxent River. Along the way,
Commodore Joshua Barney’s flotilla of gun
barges offered fiery resistance in two battles
on St. Leonard’s Creek. Despite damaging
the British fleet, neither there nor later at
the Battle of Bladensburg could Barney and
the other Americans stop the British march
into Washington. Representatives of the
United States government had already fled,
including First Lady Dolley Madison, taking
with her Gilbert Stuart’s painting of George
Washington and a copy of the Declaration
of Independence. The British burned the
White House, the Capitol, and other buildings as they ransacked the town. The burning of Washington, D.C., while marking the
low point of the war for the Americans, also
galvanized patriotic support and helped turn
the tide of the war against the British. After
Washington, D.C., the British didn’t win
another major battle throughout the war.
Scorches from the burning still mark
the walls of the Capitol while the National
Museum of American History has the Star-Spangled Banner, with its 15 stars and
stripes, on permanent display. Marinas with
transient dockage and public-access boat
ramps line the shores of the Potomac and
Patuxent, enabling boaters to follow the
British fleet’s path along both rivers. Some
interesting stops include Alexandria, Fort
Washington, and Jefferson Patterson Park