On 2 Dec. 1814, British naval forces commanded by Capt. Robert Barrie shelled and seized the town of Tappahannock during the War of 1812. Aiding the British were three companies of African American Colonial Marines composed of escaped slaves. By 4 Dec., when the British departed and Essex County militia reentered the town, the raiders had ransacked private houses, blown up a tannery, and burned two jails, the customs warehouse, and the courthouse. They also desecrated the burial vault of the prominent Ritchie family. This was one of the last British raids before the Treaty of Ghent was signed on 24 Dec. 1814.
Original Sponsor: Department of Historic Resources
Geographic Location: Essex County
Physical Description of Location: Route 360, at Tappahannock; next to marker N-21
Display on Google Maps
Display on Google Earth