The War of 1812 gave Suffolk County little trouble except for the worry of attack which threatened at all times from the sea.
In 1813, a British fleet occupied Gardiner's Bay, and from there made forays at different points. A draft was made upon the Militia for three-months service at Sag Harbor, where the danger of an attack seemed
greatest. Several frigates crossed the Sound and attacked the trading sloops plying between the ports along the north shore of the county and New York. This
interfered seriously with the shipping of cordwood from county forests to the New York market, which was in those days an important business. The shortage of wood in the New York area sent prices up so high that those who were daring enough to undertake risk, and fortunate enough to get through to New York with a Sloop load of wood received two or three times the
regular price for their cargo.
The British cruising frigates were on the alert and often captured a prize. Some of the vessels captured were held fora ransom, and others were burned. Considerable property was destroyed, but few, if any lives were lost during the wars.
At Port Jefferson during this time, shipping was attacked and considerably damaged by the British cruisers which sailed up and down the Sound. A Small fortification was erected at the northern end of Dwyer's Neck, overlooking the west side of the harbor and on this was mounted a single gun throwing a 32-pound ball. At one time seven sloops were taken from the harbor
working them out of the harbor one of the sloops ran aground on the flats and was set on fire, and burned to the water's edge. The rest were afterward ransomed by their owners.
During the war, an American cutter, closely pursued by a British man-of-war, was run ashore east of Baiting Hollow on the sound shore, and a determined fight took place between the militia. which had quickly gathered, and the pursuing barges from the ship. The American forces kept up such a hot fire from behind the bank that the British were several times thrown back, and although helped by , heavy cannon fire from the ship were forced to retreat. The ship sailed down the Sound to the British fleet at Orient. and returned the next day to renew the fight. This time she was able to capture the disabled and sinking American ship.
On one of the trips of the schooner Glorian, with Captain Joseph Robinson of East Patchogue in command, which was carrying cordwood to the New York market, Captain Robinson found 12 other boats waiting at Fire Island to cross the bar. The boats were discovered by a British man-of-war which was lying just Outside the bar. The British thought the schooners could be captured easily, and manned a barge with 12 men at the oars and a cannon at the bow. They sailed across the bar with the intention of capturing the schooners and destroying them.
The crews of the schooners went ashore and although unarmed swung their hats, inviting the British to come on with their boat. They answered by firing the cannon and as soon as they saw the smoke from the cannon, the schooner's crew dropped behind the sard dune on the ocean shore and escaped . injury. although the cannon balls struck the sand near them.
The British thought this was some kind of Yankee trick, and might end in their capture, so they abandoned their attempt and returned to their ship. This act of courage by the captains of the schooners saved their fleet, and kept up their reputation of bravery under fire.
The close of the war brought an end to trouble for the east end for the next 50 years, until the
Civil War and the County enjoyed a period of peaceful prosperity.
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