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The Union Jack flying atop New Point Comfort

Most schoolchildren are familiar with the story of how the British burned and briefly occupied Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812. But how many knew that British troops conducted a similar raid (although on a much smaller scale) in Mathews County?

During the war, British warships were up and down and all around the Chesapeake Bay, including local waters. The Norfolk Herald of Jan. 25, 1814 told its readers about a local occupation:

“The enemy landed at New Point Comfort on Friday, the 29th ult. and destroyed the oil used for the light house; they nearly demolished the dwelling house of the keeper, and fixed the British flag on top of the light house!”

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