18 Jun 1812 Following a close vote in Congress, President James Madison declares war on Great Britain
26 Dec 1812 The British declare a blockade of the Chesapeake Bay and begin destroying ships entering, departing or sailing upon the bay. Several hundred encounters between the British and merchant vessels during the blockade have been documented. Most vessels were captured or destroyed by the British (some after fierce battles) but a few outran them and escaped.
11 Feb 1813 The first of over 40 documented engagements between British troops and the Virginia militia occurred in Princess Anne County.
3 Apr 1813 After a battle of several hours, the British capture four armed American schooners off Carters Creek in the Rappahannock River.
22 Jun 1813 Several thousand British troops attack Craney Island in an attempt to capture Norfolk. They are repulsed by American defenders.
25 Jun 1813 British capture and sack Hampton for three days but sustain significant combat losses.
2 Apr 1814 British Admiral Cockburn offers freedom and protection to escaping slaves.
5 Apr 1814 British capture Tangier Island and build barracks, two hospitals & breastworks. They use the island until the end of the war to support operations in the Chesapeake (including the attack on Baltimore) and to house escaped slaves. In 1821 all traces of their fort and graveyard were destroyed by a severe hurricane and that portion of the island was subsequently washed away.
6 Apr 1814 Napoleon’s abdication releases British troops and ships for service in North America.
31 May 1814 500 British troops land and engage Accomac County militia at Pungoteague Creek. The British break off the engagement and return to their ships. Both sides claim victory.
18 Jul 1814 Canadian General Prevost calls for British commanders to retaliate for the burning of York (Toronto).
25 Jun 1814 500 British troops land and engage Accomac County militia at Camp Chesconessix & Deep Creek. Militia is overwhelmed and retreats.
20 – 22 Jul 1814 British force of 1200 raids Westmoreland County along Nomini Creek. Although the militia attempts to harass, the British are able to remove or destroy property at will.
26 Jul 1814 Twelve hundred British troops land at Narrows between Machodoc and Nomini Creeks in Westmoreland County and plunder homes in the area. Militia arrives but does not engage.
29 Jul 1814 Over 4,000 Napoleonic war veterans destined for the Chesapeake arrive in Bermuda.
3 Aug 1814 Over 1000 British enter the Yeocomico River with the assistance of escaped slaves. They land at Mundy’s Point & Cherry Point in Northumberland County and Kinsale in Westmoreland County. Although engaged by the militia at each location, at Mundy’s Point the British break out and proceed inland as far as Richmond County, seizing and destroying property along the way.
7 Aug 1814 Over 1,000 British troops land on both sides of the Coan River in Northumberland County and proceed inland, plundering and burning houses at Northumberland Court House and occupying Wicomico Church.
24 Aug 1814 Augmented by the recently arrived Napoleonic war veterans, 5,000 British troops capture and burn Washington, D. C. following the American loss at the Battle of Bladensburg.
27 Aug 1814 Alexandria surrenders to British fleet which plunders the city for 4 days.
1 Sep 1814 Captain David Porter establishes a battery at what is now Fort Belvoir to harass the British as they sail downriver from Alexandria. After two days of bombardment, the battery is destroyed and the British fleet sails back to the Chesapeake Bay.
11 Sep 1814 The British fleet was defeated in a sea battle on Lake Champlain and their ground attack was turned back at Plattsburg, NY
12 Sep 1814 British commence attack on Baltimore (North Point and Fort McHenry), but subsequently withdraw.
4 Oct 1814 British land 3,000 troops at Black & Ragged Points on the Coan River in Northumberland County. They overrun the militia and proceed to Heathsville, plundering, destroying property and burning homes for two days.
2 Dec 1814 British occupy Tappahannock in Essex County for several days, capturing arms & ammunition and burning several buildings. The militia retreat without engaging.
6 Dec 1814 The British cross the Rappahannock River and march towards Warsaw in Richmond County, where they are met by the militia at North Farnham Church. Though the militia retreats after a short engagement, the British return to their ships without reaching Warsaw.
24 Dec 1814 The Treaty of Ghent is signed.
8 Jan 1815 General Andrew Jackson defeats the British at the Battle of New Orleans.
17 Feb 1815 Congress ratifies the Treaty of Ghent – the War is over.
Source: Encounters with the British in Virginia During the War of 1812 by Myron (Mike) E. Lyman, Sr. and William W. Hankins, published by The Society of the War of 1812 in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Copyright 2008-2009 by The Society of the War of 1812 in the Commonwealth of Virginia.