THE BOMBARDMENT OF LEWES
THE BOMBARDMENT OF LEWES In March of 1813, the Royal Navy established a blockade of the Delaware Bay and River. The British squadron, under the command of Commodore John P. Beresford, RN, took up stations off Lewes and the Delaware Capes, and began to conduct raids along the coast in an effort to disrupt maritime commerce and shipping. Many small actions resulted with numerous vessels being captured and destroyed. On this location was one of two fortifications that were built to protect the town of Lewes. These earthworks mounted several cannon, and were manned by militia under the command of Colonel Samuel Boyer Davis. After Delaware authorities refused a demand to provide supplies, the British ships took up bombardment positions off the town. From April 6th into the 7th, Lewes was shelled for twenty-two hours, with the British firing as many as 800 projectiles into the town. This was the first use of the Congreve rocket against the Americans during the War of 1812. Naval fire was successful in striking and damaging the fortifications and many buildings in the town. Although short of ammunition, the American batteries were able to effectively reply and cause damage to enemy vessels. On April 7th the British withdrew to more distant positions. They continued to maintain the blockade until 1815.
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The Delaware Public Archives operates a historical markers program as part of its mandate. Markers are placed at historically significant locations and sites across the state. For more information on this program, please contact Sarah Denison at (302) 744-5016 or via email at Sarah.Denison@state.de.us.
LOCATION: Lewes, located at 1812 Park