British naval raiding party looted and vandalized St. Inigoes chapel in St. Mary's county

30 October 1814

British loot and vandalize chapel in St. Mary’s County Maryland

Letter from Brother Joseph Mobberly to Farther Grassi of Georgetown College reporting on what happened at the St. Inigoes chapel:

“I ran to the Chapel, saw  4 or 5 ruffians at work, ran back and begged the Captain to interfere. He ran with me and ordered them out. But OH! Painful to relate. The sacred vestments thrown and dragged here and there, the Vessels consecrated to the service of God profaned, the holy altar cloth stripped naked, the tabernacle carried off and the most adorable Sacrament of the altar borne away in the hands of the wicked. Great God what were my feelings. 

I entreated the officer over and over again to protect the Church and have all things restored. He promised he would. He instantly ran with me to the barge – he stormed and swore if they did not restore the sacred vessels, the Sacrament and vestments, he would have all their plunder thrown on shore and deprive them of it. Seeing the Chalice I pointed it out to him and observed it was sacred. He ordered it to be restored – I received it from the hands of a villain and turning to the Captain observed: “What an indignity to the church.” …. After a short pause (the officer) replied:”Sir, the truth is I did not come on shore to plunder – I came for stock; but I cannot command these men. They are nothing but real ruffians”…. I begged him to restore the sacred vessels, etc. He promised he would, seated himself in the barge and ordered his men to move off without taking any more notice of us…. This is certainly the most outrageous attack that has been witnessed on our shores in the present war. The prophanation is distressing, our losses great….the cruets and plates were broken and scattered on the floor…..Never was there a mechanic more perfect in his trade than these villains. 

The whole was completed in about 10 or 15 minutes…Had nothing been said they would certainly have taken every article of any value that was in the House. They had no pity. They are men of no sensibility; they respect neither God nor man. Like ravenous blood hounds, they rushed forward with hellish fury, only intent on seizing their prey…..”

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