Battle of St. Micheals
August 13, 1813, St. Micheals, Maryland
Similar to the battle of Craney Island a month earlier American militia units were able to repulse a British landing attempt in the Chesapeake Bay.
After the British defeat at the battle of Craney Island and the failure to capture Norfolk, Adm. George Cockburn moved up the Chesapeake Bay. The shipyards at the small town of St. Michaels, Maryland became an inviting target. In early August, the British navy approached and Gen. Derry Benson called out the Talbot County Militia. Benson also had several artillery pieces for the defense; one battery was placed at the harbor and another was placed in front of the town.
After midnight on August 10, the militia units manning the harbor battery spotted the British landing party. The British quickly landed and fired on the battery. As soon as the British opened fire the militia units fled. Only Capt. William Dodson (commanding the battery) and one other man remained. They were able to get off one shot before they were forced to abandon the gun.
The British were now advancing on the town. Benson's battery guarding the town was able to hold off the attack and the British retreated. The naval guns had proved ineffective against the town because the townspeople had dimmed the lights in their homes and hang lanterns in trees beyond the town, causing the British gunners to overshoot the town and its defenses.
Like Craney Island, American militia units had won a decisive victory without a single casualty. The battle had been small but it saved the shipyards from falling to the British. Cockburn next landed a sizeable army in Maryland that would eventually capture and burn Washington, D.C .