DELAWARE IN THE WAR OF 1812
As soon as it was known that the British fleet had entered the Delaware Bay, Delaware State rose in arms, almost to a man. Wilmington, New Castle, Smyrna were wild with excitement, Dover
was in a perfect fury. “Such were the descript of the citizens in their letters of the time”.
A Committee of Safety was formed in Wilmington, made up of James C. Bayard, George
Monroe, Outerbridge Horsey, James Tilton and Caesar Rodney. Several companies of troops were raised, amongst which were an artillery company in command of Caesar Rodney, a Cavalry company commanded by Captain Warner, two Infantry companies, one in command of Captain Shipley and the other by Captain Wilson.
A strong fort , Fort Union, was erected at the “Rocks”, the site of the old Fort Christiana.
Signals of alarm were agreed upon, which were to be the ringing of the Town Hall bell, the beating of drums, a two cannon discharges. The 'specie' of Wilmington and New Castle was transferred to Philadelphia banks.
The Wilmington Forces were under command of Allen McLane, Wilmington Port Collector
and a leader during the Revolution in the Delaware Line.
In New Castle they erected artillery batteries under the command of Captain Bemett eeho fought in the Revolution under Green in the south.
At Dover 500 men were put under arms, at Smyrna many citizens were also under arms, the whole State became a 'camp' under very strong militia law. The consequences were that whereever
the Briitsh would land on Delaware soil they would be met with bayonets and ball. Shot was returned for shot and in every instance the British were driven back to their ships, many times with a loss of prisoners or life.
The Lewestowne vessels, the Eliza and the Mary Robbins were captured and the Charlestown Packet was burned by the British at the mouth of Lewes Creek by four barges of men from the British
sloop of war Martin. . The Lewestowne militia had rushed to the scene of action but did not have the ammunition to save her. The enemy also tried to capture Mr. Paynter's schooner but were driven away by the Lewestowne and Milton militias.
The armed British ship Pilgrim sailed into the mouth of Little Creek , landed men on the marshes who shot some cattle but the Dover neighborhood militia met them , capture a good number, and drove the rest back to their vessels.
The principal State officials during the War of 1812, were; Governor Joseph Hazlett ,
Secretary of State Willard Hall, US Senators Outerbridge Horsey and William Hill Wells,
Congressmen Henry Ridgley and Thomas Cooper.
Cause of the War of 1812 which filled our Delaware River and Bay with armed enemy ships
was the seizure and capture of the US merchant vessels by the British . The sloop “Richard” of
Brandywine village, entering the bay at New York at Sandy Hook when a the British ship “Leander”
fired on her to stop and she did not, another shot killed an American sailor, John Pierce, of
Brandywine which caused great excitement and action on our part.
James A. Bayard delivered the following speech in 1811 to the United States Senate.
“ Great Britian has furnished cause of war an done enough to provoke it. She has given laws to the open seas of her own interest, destructive to our rights, taken by violence colonial trade, extended
blockade which leave us to her tenure of good will.
Wilmington News Journal, 10 May 1879. Article of Francis Vincent. Abstract 2017 Harrison,. H.