In conjunction with our new exhibit “Navigating Freedom: The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake" at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, our volunteer Model Guild worked like feverish Keebler elves on a special diorama to put on display. The idea was to depict a St Michaels shipyard as it would have looked during the conflict, with a ship in progress on the rails and the scores of craftsmen and workers necessary to complete the enormous task.
This busy scene would represent the frenzy of privateer-outfitting that exploded on the Eastern Shore of Maryland after Congress passed an 1812 act giving private ships the right to attack and seize enemy vessels. Legal piracy had a huge appeal and the Chesapeake was at the center of it, turning out nimble clipper ships that sailed at lighting speed and could outrun and outmaneuver their foes- the Chausseur (the later Pride of Baltimore) being a key example.
So enjoy these small-scale snippets of Chesapeake life, 300 years ago, when the Bay was the producer of some of the fastest and deadliest ships the world had ever seen. It’s a step into the life of a St Michaels shipwright in Lilliputian scale with all details intact- right down to the shipyard’s privy.
The shipyard’s rails, outbuildings, and wharves.
Timber arrives, to be shaped into the ship’s planks and frames.
The framing continues, with frame pieces being hoisted into place.
The boiler for shaping the planks.
The master shipwright oversees the construction.
Workers on the scaffolding.
Hoisting the mast with a horse-drawn capstan.
Shipwrights working on the rudder hinges.
The blacksmith’s shop.
War of 1812 boat builders- they’re just like us!
Want to see our new exhibit “Navigating Freedom: War of 1812 on the Chesapeake" for yourself, check out information and visiting hour here on our website: CBMM’s War of 1812 Special Exhibit