British fleet heads toward Baltimore for attack

9 September 1814
British soldier Gleig recounts:

(After having joined Admiral Cockburn and his “large flotilla of prizes and small craft”)
“…on the 9th (we) once more set sail and steered for a few hours in the direction of Alexandria, we suddenly put about, and favored by a fresh breeze, ran down to the bay, turning our heads upwards towards the Patapsco. Baltimore, it was now understood, was the point of attack; and towards the river upon which that town is built we hastened under a heavy press of sail..

The object of this maneuvering was evidently to deceive the enemy, and by keeping him in suspense as to the place threatened, to prevent his concentrating his forces, or throwing up works for its defense….the event proved that we were but partially successful. Certain it is, however, that the utmost consternation prevailed in every town or village opposite to which we made our appearance. In passing Annapolis, a considerable town built upon the bay, and possessing a tolerable harbor, we stood in so close as to discern the inhabitants flying from their houses; carts and wagons loaded with furniture hurrying along the roads, and horsemen galloping along the shore, as if watching the fearful moment when the boats should be hoisted out and the troops quit the vessels. Wherever a lighthouse or signal station was erected, alarm-guns were fired and beacons lighted. In a word, all the horrors of doubt and apprehension seemed to oppress the inhabitants of this devoted district..."

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