During the War of 1812, Fell’s Point’s Market house, located at the site of the contemporary Broadway Market, served as an important gathering place. Twice a week, on market days, the streets teemed with shoppers, farmers, young boys, and the idle. Periodic food shortages took place when farmers stopped coming to market out of fear of losing their horses to defense efforts.
Baltimoreans were particularly tense throughout the spring and summer of 1813, as British raiding parties attacked and pillaged towns and villages of the upper bay before moving south towards Washington, DC. They twice sailed past Baltimore, taking soundings to gauge the Patapsco River’s depth. Marylanders reviled the man behind this strategy of terror, Rear Admiral George Cockburn.