BALTIMORE (WJZ)– When the United States waged war against England 200 years ago, Baltimore was at its center.
As Mike Schuh reports, not only was the battle at Fort McHenry important, so too was what was being built in the Inner Harbor.
Looking at the shoreline these days, Fells Point and Canton are obscured by a tangle of plastic boats. But 200 years ago, wood, hemp and sail blotted the sun.
More than 100 ships, like the Pride of Baltimore II, built in Baltimore had licenses to harass British shipping & capture their cargo.
“What we all tend to forget, locally and in general, is that they came because of these vessels,” Jan Mile, captain of the Pride II, said.
Our city produced the most dangerous weapon of the war:
“Baltimore privateers caught more than 50 percent of all the captures for the 1812 war when there were privateers being built all up and down the coast,” Mile said.
Now, the Pride’s crew is showing the park rangers of Fort McHenry what it’s like to sail such a ship.
“You forget what you hear, remember what you see, but understand what you do,” Jim Bailey, a park ranger at Fort McHenry, said.
“So you can teach what you know from the books, but what you want to do when you talk to the visitors, it’s got to come from the heart,” Vince Vaise, the lead interpreter at Fort McHenry, said.
“It brings 1812 alive, brings history alive and I can use that when I’m talking to visitors from all over the country,” Bailey said.
Fifteen park rangers and 35 others who teach history in our area sailed the waters of the Chesapeake aboard the Pride Wednesday afternoon.