North Carolina in the War of 1812
North Carolina's service in the War of 1812 was more in a supporting role. Only one raid occurred in the state, although England did blockade most of the United State's Atlantic coast, which did impact North Carolina as much as it impacted many of the other states. However, it can be assumed that many served in Virginia, which had many battles along the Atlantic coast. It can also be assumed that the blockade caused many to traverse overland routes to get their products to market and more entrepreneuring individuals to use other means of making ends meet. Piracy and privateering also flourished.
On 11 Jul 1813 a British Royal Navy fleet under the command of Admiral George Cockburn appeared off the coast of Ocracoke Island. They landed 12 Jul at Ocracoke and Portsmouth as part of a surprise attack. The invaders pillaged hundreds of livestock. The British objective was to take New Bern and the state's interior. The U S Revenue Cutter Mercury, built at Ocracoke in 1807, under the command of Captain David Wallace, received word of the invasion and set course for New Bern to deliver a warning of the fleet's presence. Several British ships chased but didn't catch the Mercury, which only escaped by running up all its sails. The timely warning allowed the state to prepare a defense, preventing a full-scale invasion. With the news, militia units from across the state gathered at New Bern. Once the element of surprise had been compromised, British commanders abandoned their mission to invade North Carolina. The Revenue Service was the forerunner of the US Coast Guard.
On 1 May 1814, the USS Wasp, captained by Johnston Blakeley, set sail with a 173-man crew and orders to harass British merchant ships. The ship was successful, sinking the HMS Reindeer. Blakeley was awarded a gold medal for the victory and promoted to captain. However, the Wasp was lost at sea and Blakeley never learned about his promotion. Believed to have been sunk in an Atlantic storm, the last sighting of the ship was by the Swedish vessel Adonis 9 Oct 1814. Maria Blakeley, daughter to the captain was born Jan 1815. The State of North Carolina voted to bestow upon his widow a sword in honor of her husband's service, but Jane Ann Blakeley suggested that a silver tea service be given to Maria. An elegant service was crafter by Anthony Rasch of Philadelphia in 1818 and presented to the child. The tea service is now part of the collection at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
On 30 Jun 1814, Snap Dragon, temporarily under the Command of Captain W R Graham, was captured near Halifax, Nova Scotia by the British. The owner, Otway Burns, was at home suffering from rheumatism. Snap Dragon had six mounted guns and a crew of 70 men when it was captured. This was the vessel's fourth privateering voyage. On the previous voyage they had captured the schooner Linnet and it's load of fish and oil and another schooner full of fruit. Snap Dragon had been outfitted for privateering through the sale of stock. Investors came from New Bern and Beaufort. She made three important runs during the War of 1812, two to the West Indies and one to Nova Scotia. Newspapers reported the prizes Burns brought back to North Carolina. Burns, born near Swansboro, was adept at sea and at leading men. In Carteret County, the village of Otway is named for Burns, as is the Yancey County seat. During the War of 1812, Snap Dragon was one of the most successful North Carolina privateers during the war.
On June 30, 1814, Otway Burnsí privateering ship Snap Dragon, temporarily under the command of Captain W. R. Graham, was captured by the British near, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Burns was at home suffering from rheumatism. The Snap Dragon mounted six guns and was carrying 70 men at the time it was seized. The vessel was on its fourth privateering voyage, and had recently captured the schooner Linnet laden with fish and oil and another schooner full of fruit.
Burns had the vessel outfitted for privateering through the sale of stock. Hefty subscribers came from New Bern and Beaufort. Burns, who was born near Swansboro, made three lucrative privateering runs on the Snap Dragon during the War of 1812, two to the West Indies and one to Nova Scotia. The prizes and captures he brought into the state were reported in several newspapers.
Stories were told of Burnsís adeptness at sea as well as his ability to lead men. The village of Otway in Carteret County bears the captainís name as does the Yancey County town of Burnsville. Snap Dragon was the most successful North Carolina privateer during the war period.
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Pensioners in 1883 from War of 1812
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