Lion in the Bay

The British Invasion of the Chesapeake, 1813–14
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Binding:Hardback
Published:October 15, 2015
By Stanley L. Quick (Author), Chipp Reid (Author)

Recipient of the 2017 Royal Marines Historical Society Literary Award.

The story of Fort McHenry’s defense during the War of 1812 is well known, but Lion in the Bay is an intimate look at the events leading up to the battle that inspired our national anthem. As the War of 1812 raged on the high seas and along the Canadian border, the British decided to strike at the heart of the United States, the relatively undefended area of the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake was a fertile farm region, a place of renowned shipbuilding, and an area politically divided over the war. Plus, if the British succeeded in taking the bay, the nation’s capital was not far away. Admiral George Cockburn led the British into the bay following a failed attempt to take Norfolk, Virginia. Originally intended to relieve pressure on other fronts, the Chesapeake theater became a British campaign of retribution for the burning of York (present day Toronto) by the Americans in 1812. As a result, the Chesapeake region, once an economic engine for America, was transformed into a region of terrorized citizens, destroyed farms, and fears of slave insurrection.

In August 1814, President James Madison refused to bolster the defenses on the waterway that led to Washington, and the British took advantage. Cockburn again led a naval force into the bay, this time running into opposition from Commo. Joshua Barney and his Chesapeake Bay Flotilla. Barney put up a heroic, though doomed fight before the British sailed up the Patuxent River and landed at Benedict, Maryland, where over 4,000 troops disembarked to begin their advance toward Washington, D.C.

After defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, the British moved into Washington, burning the city, before returning to their boats and setting out for Baltimore. There, the British armada encountered a stalwart group of American defenders at Fort McHenry. Despite a massive bombardment, Baltimore’s defenses held, forcing the British to abandon their campaign to close the Chesapeake. More than just an in-depth look at one front of the War of 1812, Lion in the Bay is a story of resilience and triumph in the wake of catastrophe.

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Product Details
  • Subject: War of 1812
  • Hardback : 280 pages
  • Illustrations: 17 b/w illustrations; 4 maps
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (October 15, 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 1612512364
  • ISBN-13: 9781612512365
  • Product Dimensions: 6.125 X 9.25 in
  • Shipping Weight: 21.44 oz
Praise
  • Lion in the Bay is a fine history, well-researched and beautifully written, which tells its story through the actions of great men and individuals whose lives they influenced …Lion in the Bay is indeed a wonderful and set to become a standard reference work for this aspect of the War of 1812.”—Warships International Fleet Review
  • “…well-written and detailed book.”—Military Heritage Magazine
  • Lion in the Bay is a grand addition to the library of any military historian. Its illustrations are vivid, its maps are accurate and its contents are exciting…this publication from the Naval Institute Press will surely stand the test of time in the annals of the War of 1812 and American maritime history.”—The Daybook, a publication of the Hampton Roads Naval Museum
  • Lion in the Bay is an engaging narrative history. The authors tell their detailed story clearly; the numerous activities and colorful characters are easy to follow … Lion in the Bay is a worthy, entertaining, and recommended read.””—JAMP: The Journal of America’s Military Past
  • “In his thoroughly researched Lion in the Bay, Stanley L. Quick presents an intriguing integration of personal rivalries, inter-service maneuvering, conflicting strategic objectives and tactical operations that illustrate the confusing choices and challenges facing generals, admirals, privates, and sailors as they seek to carry out national defense policies. In the end, one is compelled to question whether the British raiding strategy achieved its objectives of turning Chesapeake residents against the Madison administration and diverting regular soldiers from the Canadian campaign. On the other hand, Quick's account leaves one asking whether the often inept American actions he depicts could have brought a response that would have better achieved a defense of this critical region.”—David Curtis Skaggs, author of A Signal Victory: The Lake Erie Campaign, 1812–13 and biographies of Thomas Macdonough, Oliver Hazard Perry, and William Henry Harrison
  • Lion in the Bay provides a fresh perspective and descriptive accounts of the smaller actions and raids that typified the war on the Chesapeake, complementing existing scholarship.”—The Journal of Military History
  • “Stanley L. Quick’s Lion in the Bay: The British Invasion of the Chesapeake, 1813–14 is a valuable and welcome addition to any reader’s War of 1812 bookshelf. Expertly edited and completed by Chipp Reid, Lion in the Bay details how battle-hardened British forces waged war against their usually outmatched American adversaries, both on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers and on the shores of its surrounding tidewater lands.”—Glenn E. Campbell, senior historian, Historic Annapolis
  • “This is a wonderful book. The combination of Stanley L. Quick’s unparalleled research and Chipp Reid’s splendid prose and impressive knowledge of the subject, gives the reader a unique insight into the fascinating history of the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812. Anyone interested in the early history of the republic will find this slice of it fascinating.”—George C. Daughan, author of 1812: The Navy’s War
  • “This bright and lively narrative of the Royal Navy’s 1813-1814 campaign in the Chesapeake Bay reads well and is a useful source for analysis. A strategic reading of Quick and Reid’s text provides a fine case study in the use of small and irregular forces, combined and amphibious operations, to confuse, confound and comprehensively defeat a far larger, land bound foe, on home soil.” —The Naval Review (UK)

The late Stanley Quick served on active duty in the U.S. Navy from 1944–47 before working for many years as a naval architect and civilian engineer. He received his PhD from Brooklyn Polytechnic in 1963 and began a long career with Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Upon his retirement in 1985, Dr. Quick formed his own company, Man-Tech Associates Inc., a consulting firm in management and technical programs. He died in 2008, survived by Marian, his wife of forty years.

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CHIPP REID is an award-winning reporter and editor, a licensed shp captain, historian, and Cold War veteran. His book Intrepid Sailors: The Legacy of Preble's Boys and the Tripoli Campaign was named a "Notable Naval Book of 2012" by Proceedings magazine.

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