The United States declared war against Great Britain in 1812 for several reasons, including England’s refusal to withdraw from American territory along the Great Lakes; its support of Indians on America’s frontiers; and British harassment of U.S. ships.
The war was fought along the Canadian border, in the Chesapeake Bay region, along the Gulf of Mexico and at sea.
The coast of Virginia figured prominently in the Atlantic theater of operations: More than 70 armed encounters with the British took place in Virginia during the war. An estimated 70,000 Virginians served during the War of 1812, fighting not only at home but also in Maryland, Ohio and naval engagements.
One small battle was at Chesconessex Creek. Captain John R. Joynes of the 2nd regiment had a camp of 32 men at Chesconessex Creek (bayside mid-Accomac County Virginia.) On June 25, 1814, British Barges were spotted by the sentinel at about 2:45 AM. Early on a stormy morning 450 British Royal Marines and 50 Negros from the Colonial Marines rowed up Chesconessex Creek and disembarked.
Joynes had his men open fire with muskets and a 4 pound cannon. The British returned fire with their 18 pound cannon. Joynes retreated leaving his cannon behind. The British did some plundering and took the cannon back with them. By 6 AM the British had returned to their 83 gun ship Albion. Besides the Albion there were the Dragon, Endimyon, and several tenders and barges. Satisfied with the situation the British did not attempt to land again.
The Treaty of Ghent, the peace treaty that ended the war, was signed in Europe in December 1814. The treaty largely restored relations between the United States and Britain to what they were before the war.