Sailors, Marines Help Clean Up War of 1812 Historic Site

Story Number: NNS120616-05Release Date: 6/16/2012 11:14:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeremy Johnson, Navy Operational Support Center Baltimore Public Affairs

BALTIMORE (NNS) -- Fifty Sailors and Marines volunteered, June 15, for a cleanup project with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at Todd's Inheritance, a historic site with ties to the War of 1812.

Sailors from USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), and USS San Antonio (LPD 17), as well as Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 26, stepped outside the city of Baltimore and into a rural coastal area of Baltimore County to tackle a slim piece of property that had been neglected for at least two decades. The work was part of a series of community relations events taking place during Navy Week Baltimore.

The site is more than 350 years old and played a role in the War of 1812 by way of the family who lived there. Two members of the Todd family were part of the militia that fought back the British when Baltimore came under attack in 1814.

Todd's Inheritance Historic Site representative Larry Leone, a retired Army Major, said the project was critical for both aesthetic and safety reasons.

"Right now, you can't really see the property from the road; it just gives a bad appearance," he said. "So what we're trying to do is clear this fence line so we can get it repaired. There's a tree fallen, there's stuff overgrown, the wood's rotten; this is going to be an Eagle Scout project once it gets cleared."

During a break from pulling out vines and overgrowth, Marine Lance Corporal Justin Murphy said hearing about that, combined with pieces of the property's history, left him in awe of the place.

"I didn't know much about the War of 1812 before we came up here. So far I've enjoyed it. The history is amazing," said Murphy. "The fact that the British burnt it down, and then the family rebuilt it using just what they had on their own land, that's pretty amazing."

The sea service volunteers were led in their efforts by Park Rangers from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Ranger Bob Iman said he was glad to have them there.

"I like working with them, and with the tie-in with what the British did here, they walked the same identical road here right in front, and the British burnt it on the way out," Iman explained. "I think it's pretty cool and these guys ought to take pride in being here."

Despite the significance of the place, some volunteers came out simply to lend a hand where it was needed. Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Phillip Rin, assigned to USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), said history was not on his mind when he signed up, but he also enjoyed working on site.

"It's a historical place and I learned a lot, but I enjoy doing these events. I like to help out," Rin said.

Navy Week Baltimore is one of the signature events around the country commemorating the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner. The Navy week is part of Baltimore's Star Spangled Sailabration and commemorates the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. The United States Navy and its partners will commemorate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 from 2012 to 2015, honoring all who fought and continue to defend safe passage on the sea.

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