Defense of Baltimore — and Crab Feast
This Sunday, I again participated in the annual Defender’s Day reenactment commemorating the battle of North Point (September 12, 1814).
Not many Americans know about this battle (more famous is the defense of Fort McHenry across the harbor — which gave inspiration for the writing of our National Anthem), but it’s an important story, and one that should get better play in the American consciousness.
On that hot day, 4,000 British troops landed at North Point, while the assault on Fort McHenry went on. The goal of the redcoat soldiers, Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines (a unit that I portray) was to smash Baltimore, which was a haven for privateers (pirates).
The American populace knew the British were coming, and knew which way they were likely to come. They also knew that Federal reinforcements were unlikely.
Citizens from all walks of life rolled up their sleeves and dug a series of fortifications blocking the North Point approach to Baltimore, ultimately turning the redcoats back.
Today, the event is commemorated at Fort Howard Park on the thin penninsula sticking out into the Chesapeake Bay with a battle reenactment and living history encampment.
After the event, when the public returns home, the reenactors all gather for hamburgers, hotdogs and that most Maryland of foods, steamed crabs with ample amounts of Old Bay seasoning.
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