This year (2014), the town of Wareham, Massachusetts, at the head of Buzzards Bay, will celebrate its 175th anniversary as a township. Coincidentally, 2014 also marks the 200th anniversary of the infamous attack on Wareham by the crew of the British gunship HMS Nimrod during the war of 1812.
In 1814, the Nimrod, commanded by Lt. George Hilton, along with several smaller vessels, was sent from New London to destroy American privateers berthed in Wareham, then a hotbed of anti-British activity (several privateers from the Cape Cod town of Falmouth were said to be hiding in the Wareham River).
After sailing up Buzzards Bay on June 14, the feared gunship anchored near Bird Island, whereupon barges containing 200 troops were sent up the Wareham River to Long Wharf, where the Narrows Bridge (Rte. 6) is located today. The soldiers set fire to a cotton factory (now the Tremont Nail Factory site on Elm Street) before proceeding to the house of one Captain Bumpus, where they seized stores of arms and powder. Before departing, the British burned and sank four schooners, 5 sloops, a ship at the wharf and a new brig being built at the Fearing Shipyard.
The bicentennial of the Nimrod attack will be commemorated on June 14 and 15 in and around Wareham Center. It will include a re-enactment of the arrival of the British, a fireworks display to symbolize the mill burning, a militia encampment exercise on the town green and the taking of hostages by the British before they rejoined the Nimrod. (The hostages were released on Cromesset Point once the troops were beyond musket range of shore.) You can learn more about the whole event at wareham2014.com.
Boaters wishing to attend can follow the approach of the British up the Wareham River, where they can secure a transient slip or mooring at Zecco Marina, just below the Narrows Bridge, where much of the action took place. Zecco is a full-service marina offering laundry, showers, haul out, repairs, WiFi and a fuel dock. You can contact them at (508) 295-0022 or zeccomarine.com.