Bombs Bursting in Air: The War of 1812 in Virginia and Maryland

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Wednesday, June 13 (7:30PM) to Saturday, June 16, 2012  (5:00pm)
Led by John Quarstein
Tour Registration Fee 
(Single Occupancy): $795
Tour Registration Fee (Double Occupancy): $775

The War of 1812’s Bicentennial starts this year and America’s History is offering a tour led one of the foremost historian’s of the Chesapeake Bay, a significant theater of that war. A life-long resident of the Eastern shore, John Quarstein is steeped in the history of the Chesapeake area. He currently serves on the Advisory Council of the Virginia Bicentennial of the War of 1812 Commission.

Virginia and Maryland saw notable actions that rival those in Canada and New York. A collateral benefit of this tour is that we’ll be in the Hampton Roads area during Operation Sail as the tall ships cruise nearby. Opt-Sail will give you a visual image of Age of Sail, so important to understanding the naval actions of the war.

On our first day we’ll visit Fort Norfolk on the Elizabeth River, one of the best preserved examples of pre-1812 fortifications to survive largely unchanged since the War of 1812. After leaving Norfolk, we’ll see Craney island, the site of a British attack on June 22, 1813. Craney Island was an important American position because it defended Norfolk, Portsmouth, Gosport Navy Yard and the U.S.S. Constellation. We’ll also stop in the city of Hampton on the Roads, where 2,000 British troops attacked 450 Americans on June 25, 1813. Civil War and pirate tales will also be included while were near the famous site of the fight between the Monitor vs. the Virginia and Blackbeard’s Point. Our last stop of the day will be at Fort Monroe. Although the fort was built after the war to beef up American coastal defenses, there are plenty of War of 1812 stories that are associated with the area.

On our second day we’ll start off the Virginia Capes where the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair occurred on June 22, 1807, an attack by the HMS Leopard on the USS Chesapeake which is considered on the causes of the War of 1812. Another pre-war engagement we’ll discuss is that between the USS President and the HMS Little Belt. Our next stop will be a lesser known action of the war: Pungoteague Creek, where the British landed in the spring of 1814, but were repulsed by local militia. Next we’ll stop in St. Michael’s, Maryland, a town that twice defended itself against British attacks, and was known as “the town that fooled the British.” While in St. Michael’s we will visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and see other sites like the Mill Point Battery and the Cannonball House which has a truly unique story to tell. We’ll also stop at the North Point battlefield where on September 14, 1814 the British won a tactical victory but ultimately lost the battle for Baltimore. We’ll finish the day at the Flag House in Baltimore and have dinner in the city’s “Little Italy” neighborhood.

On the third day of the tour we will visit the USS Constellation in Baltimore’s inner harbor, then go to Fort McHenry National Monument, where the famous garrison flag was raised on September 14, 1814 as our “Star-Spangled Banner.” On our return to Virginia, we’ll make a stop at Bladensburg, Maryland where 4,000 British troops defeated a stronger force of Americans on August 24, 1814. The British marched on to burn the US Capitol building and the White House. We’ll also see James Madison’s birthplace at Port Conway, Virginia before returning to our headquarters hotel.

Participants who have experienced John Quarstein on previous America’s History tours know that many periods of our history are mentioned and discussed along the route, so your three days will be completely filled with valuable and interesting information.

Tour Registration Fee $775.00 (double occupancy) and $795 (single occupancy)

What’s included: motor coach transportation, one night’s accommodation in the Baltimore area, three lunches, two dinners, beverage and snack breaks, a map and materials package, all admissions and gratuities, and the services of an experienced tour guide- historian. Tour participants are responsible for transportation to the headquarters hotel, and for securing a room reservation, if necessary on June 13 and 14. Tour goes out rain or shine.

Hotel:  We have arranged with the Hampton Inn, 3101 Coliseum Blvd., Hampton, Va 23666 as our Virginia headquarters hotel at a group room rate of $109 per night plus tax.  Please call the Hampton Inn at 757-838-1400 and ask to reserve your room at the America’s History group rate for June 13 and14. The tour will return to the Hampton Inn in Hampton, VA on June 16. We have rooms reserved for the evening of June 16 at the same rate, if necessary.   This rate will be guaranteed until May 13, so please make your reservations as soon as possible. Your room on June 15 in Baltimore is included in the registration fee for the tour.

Our Tour Guide/Historian: Dr. John V. Quarstein, an award-winning author and preservationist, is an experienced tour leader and a much sought after speaker on all periods of American history. He is the author of ten books including A History of Ironclads: the Power of Iron Over Wood. His latest book is the CSS Virginia: Sink before Surrender. He is a consultant to the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia and serves of the boards of the Virginia Civil War Trails, Fort Monroe Area Authority and the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission Advisory Board. His most recent project is as screen writer for a four hour PBS special entitled “Pyrates of the Chesapeake.”

Dr. Bruce M. Venter, CEO of America’s History, LLC will also accompany the tour.


  1. Carol Dunlop says:

    Dear Sir/Ms,

    My husband and I are interested in attending your tour June 13th-16th “Bombs bursting in Air: The War of 1812 in VA and MD.” We would like to know the details of the tour and the lodging arrangements before we register. Please send me that information when you have it. Thank you.
    Sincerely, Carol Dunlop

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