New! Oyster Cannon from the Oyster Wars!
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is partnering with the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum to exhibit historic cannon from now until September 2013. A relic of the Oyster Police of the 1800s, the cannon was used to protect the Chesapeake Bay’s oysters during the “oyster wars” of the 19th century.
The cannon was acquired by Hunter Davidson, the first Commander of the State Oyster Police Force, in 1868. It was installed on the original steam-powered patrol boat of Maryland’s “Oyster Navy,” the Leila. In 1884, this ship was replaced by the Governor R. M. McLane, which fought many spectacular battles against oyster pirates. The McLane was equipped with a 12-pound Dahlgren boat howitzer in 1888. While accounts are not definitive, authorities believe that this gun may have been the original cannon from the Leila.
DNR obtained the cannon in December 2010 from the American Legion Post 116, which owned it since the1950s. The legion regularly loaned it to a group of Civil War re-enactors who took part in North-South Skirmish Association competitions. The Cannon has been on display at the Delmarva Discovery Center in Worcester County , the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, the Calvert Marine Museum, the Annapolis Maritime Museum, and was part of larger exhibits at events across the State.
“This cannon signifies our State’s commitment to protecting our valuable natural resources,” said then DNR Secretary John Griffin at the time the cannon was acquired from the Legion. “We are honored to make this piece of Maryland history available for all to enjoy.
Naval History In The War of 1812
During the period of ongoing conflict between the British and French in the 1790s and early 1800s, American sailors were captured and impressed into the Royal Navy. This conscription of Americans into a foreign war lead to the Congress’ declaration of war against the British in June of 1812. The British attacked major coastal cities of Washington, Baltimore and New Orleans and were met at each by the American Navy, Army and militia forces. Throughout the war of 1812, the American Navy was instrumental in pushing back the significantly larger British forces leading to defeats of the Empire on the high seas as well along the coast and in land battles from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast. The Navy and Marines took part in actions with the Army to secure victory at Lake Erie by penetrating the British line in multiple attacks. The naval forces in Virginia slowed down the British advancement on New Orleans long enough for the American in the city to complete their defenses and defeat the attackers. Recognizing how critical the Navy’s role was in staving off the British, the Congress voted to expand the Navy shortly after the Treaty of Ghent, signed in 1814, ended the war.
The Rodgers Family and The War of 1812