Fort from War of 1812 dedicated in Sag Harbor
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For a Sag Harbor history buff, there's something frustrating in discovering that one of the most important events in your village -- a battle during the War of 1812 -- just hasn't been properly recorded.
"I had to gather little bits and pieces . . . there's no definitive word," said village Dockmaster David Thommen. "Just Google it -- the War of 1812 and Sag Harbor . . . it's almost nonexistent."
But the bits and pieces he found in old newspapers, in the local library and from other sources put together enough of a picture that he was able to hold a dedication this week on a no-longer-existing fort on High Street, precisely 200 years after the July 11, 1813, Battle of Sag Harbor.
Several vessels carrying 100 British soldiers were headed for Sag Harbor when they were spotted by a 16-year-old from Amagansett, who carried a warning to the fort near High Street -- it may have been called Turkey Hill -- manned by about 60 troops with 9- and 18-pound cannons.
The Americans fired at the flotilla, setting fire to one barge and heavily damaging two others. The British retreated, with no loss of American lives.
Thommen marked the site with a replica of the flag that flew above Fort McHenry in 1814, when that much larger fort on Baltimore Harbor defended that city from a British fleet, inspiring Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Now, that flag waves over the hill in Sag Harbor where the old fort used to stand, marking the village's role in the War of 1812.
"A stone was placed there by the historical society in 1902, but we never had a dedication," Thommen said. "It [the land where the fort once stood] was preserved as a village green . . . but we never had a dedication."