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Did the Cape Fear region play any significant role in the War of 1812?

Merton Vance

No battles in the War of 1812 took place in North Carolina, although British naval forces did occupy Ocracoke and Portsmouth islands on the Outer Banks from July 12-16, 1813.

Wilmington produced a naval hero of the War of 1812. Johnston Blakeley, commanding the U.S. Navy sloop Wasp, captured the British warship HMS Reindeer.  For more about Blakeley and other military heroes of the Cape Fear region, see this related link: www.myreporter.com/?p=4515

Ship captain Otway Burns, from Onslow County, became the leading privateer during the War of 1812, plundering British ships all along the east coast.

He’s buried in Beaufort, in a tomb that is topped by one of the cannons from his ship, the Snap Dragon.

His desk and a model of the Snap Dragon are on display at the N.C. Maritime Museum www.ncmaritime.org

Brunswick County raised a company of volunteers to serve in the North Carolina Militia.

These are some links that provide genealogical information about North Carolinians who served in the army during the War of 1812:




The end of the war did lead to a decision with future implications for the region.

After the War of 1812, the United States set out to build a bigger navy. The first of seven new ships-of-the-line built as a result was a three-masted ship named the North Carolina. It was launched in 1820 and commissioned in 1824 to become the predecessor of the World War II battleship of the same name that is now a wartime memorial and museum in Wilmington.

For more about the history of the War of 1812:


User-contributed question by:
Kitty Fitzgibbon

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One Response to “ Did the Cape Fear region play any significant role in the War of 1812?”

  1. On April 20, 2010 at 8:21 pm Rob wrote:

    Fort Caswell was a result of the war of 1812 as well as other masonry fortications along the Eastern and Gulf Coast

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