Lewes marks bicentennial of siege

April 2, 2013

It appears to have taken 200 years for historians and naval experts to figure out what many in the Cape Region have always known: the people of our Sussex County towns are a tough lot, unafraid to take a stand – even when the opponent is the best navy in the world.

The War of 1812 is sometimes known as the forgotten war. For many Americans, it’s most famous for producing “The Star Spangled Banner” and the fact that before it was all over, the British would invade Wash­ington D.C., and burn the White House to the ground. Then there are more than a few people who might remember a song about a soldier who in 1814 took a little trip along with Col. Jackson down the mighty Missisip.

While the war is most often remembered in a couple of songs, some historians call it the second revolutionary war – a war that estab­lished America’s commercial independence and propelled the nation’s westward expan­sion.

One of the most remarkable battles of that war occurred in Lewistown, as Lewes was then known, when the people of Lewes, re­inforced by federal troops, held off a 22-hour bombardment by British navy ships.

Even some people who live in Lewes and walk by the Cannonball House every day don’t really know the story of people who picked up the cannonballs fired by the British and fired them right back.

While the British would eventually make their way north of Lewistown, they never did reach the DuPont powder mills on the Bran­dywine River, or Philadelphia, then the com­mercial center of the colonies. Some accounts say it was the stand made by the people of Lewes that slowed their advance.

Lewes has much to celebrate, and two days of events are planned to mark the bicenten­nial of the bombardment, most of them free.

The Fort McHenry Guard will be on hand to fire cannons similar to those used in 1812, and regionally and nationally known scholars will discuss what happened and why it matters.

It’s a great time to learn about the role Lew­istown played in a war that perhaps now will not be quite so forgotten.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Nick Roth, sports editor.

Welcome to The Cape Gazette Archive.
This content is provided free of charge
thanks to our sponsor:

Close ad in...

Close Ad