WASHINGTON (WNEW) — The Washington Navy Yard is marking its history with the War of 1812.

200 years ago, the Chesapeake region did to ship-making what Detroit did for cars. But with the British blockade of the Atlantic hurting American trade, American-made schooners proved to be too fast, and so one from Baltimore imposed its own blockade in Europe.

The War of 1812 sailed up the Anacostia, the British wreaking havoc first in Bladensburg and then all over D.C.

Burned to the ground after the Americans were defeated at Bladensburg, an important lesson was learned in the aftermath of those battles that ultimately won the war.

Back then, the British had a fleet of about 600 ships, and they were at war with France and Napoleon. They set up the American blockade with about 100 ships so France couldn’t benefit from trade with the new world.

This upset the Americans, starting the war, and that particular bold schooner ship went over there and started wreaking havoc with British cargo ships. Riffing on a British warning about the blockade, the Chasseur talked about imposing it’s own “blockade” more out of bluster than actual ability, since it was only one pretty small ship.

But its exploits in privateering were successful enough that it earned the Pride of Baltimore nickname.

The British marched from the Patuxent River to Bladensburg, then DC before going to Baltimore a few weeks later.

The Pride of Baltimore II, a reproduction privateer from the War of 1812 era, will visit the Navy Yard Wednesday to Monday. Free tours for the public are available 1-5 p.m. on those days.


The ship will also be open to the public from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday to Monday.

The public can access the ship via riverwalk along the Anacostia River.

There are several other events that will take place Sunday:

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Museum (Bldg. 76) open for visitation
Noon to 4 p.m. — Family day craft activities (inside Bldg. 76)
Noon — Chanteymen perform (inside Bldg. 76)
12:45 p.m. — Gundeck demonstration (inside Bldg. 76) (demonstration only, non-firing event)
1:15 p.m. — Cannon demonstration (along riverwalk)
2 p.m. — Chanteymen perform (inside Bldg. 76)
2:45 p.m. — Gundeck demonstration (inside Bldg. 76) (demonstration only, non-firing event)
3:15 p.m. — Cannon demonstration (along riverwalk)
4 p.m. to 5 p.m. — “Burning of the Washington Navy Yard” walking tour (reservations needed. Call 202-433-6897)

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WNEW’s John Domen contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.


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