Battle of St. Leonard Creek


I’m back in the Maryland and Virginia area for the summer after spending some time in Pensacola. Brian is now here for a bit too while he’s in between phases so we’ve been having a grand old time. Our idea of a good time doesn’t usually involve waging war, but this was an exception because tomorrow is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of St. Leonard Creek, the largest naval battle in Maryland history.

kalmar-nyckel-tall-ship

On Sunday, a crew of us were sitting around the house when we heard cannon shots in the distance. Unphased, someone realized the War of 1812 was raging down the creek and it was quickly decided that we’d join in on the action. A few minutes later we were on the boat racing puttering toward the gunfire. (The boat needs some work.)

When we arrived there were several ships, including the Pride of Baltimore, the Kalmar Nyckel, the Sultana, and the Dove floating at the mouth of St. Leonard Creek near Jefferson Patterson Park. We had just missed the peak of battle, but smoke was still hanging in the air.

pride-of-baltimore-tall-ship

There was quite a crowd of other boats spectating which I’m guessing was not the case in 1814.

battle-of-st-leonard-creek-reenactment-bicentennial

After a good look we headed for shore, satisfied that the battle was over. We ended up hearing more cannon fire as we approached the pier but opted not to turn around. There’s been same bad luck with the boats lately so it was best not to take any chances.

boat-woes

For the interested history buffs, the Battle of St. Leonard Creek was fought during the War of 1812 between the Chesapeake Flotilla (on the U.S. side) and the Royal Navy. Earlier in June 2014, the Flotilla had retreated into the shallow creek where the British ships were too big to follow.

On June 26, under the command of Joshua Barney and with the help of land forces, the Flotilla made for freedom from the Creek. [Side note: after the Flotilla left St. Leonard Creek, the British penetrated there and pillaged then burned the area of St. Leonard, MD. So it’s hard to say who won in the end.]

In the end, the Flotilla headed up the Patuxent River where it was eventually scuttled at the sight of the approaching British Forces. But hey, the whole idea was only to stall them.

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