During The War of 1812 Block Island was briefly occupied by the British Navy under the command of Sir Thomas Hardy. British vessels included HMS Dispatch, HMS Terror, HMS Nimrod, HMS Pactolus and HMS Ramillies. Hardy took the fleet to Block Island in search of food and to establish a strategic position at the mouth of Long Island Sound. The British were enraged to discover that virtually all Block Island livestock and food stores had been transferred to Stonington, Connecticut in advance of their arrival. On August 9, 1814, Hardy and his fleet departed Block Island for Stonington Harbor in part to lay claim to the Block Island food stores and livestock. Hardy’s pre-dawn raid on 10 August was repulsed with damage to his fleet in a battle that has since become known as The Battle of Stonington.
On the north end of the island is “Wash Pond” named for the location the British did their laundry. Beacon Hill was also used as a look out at that time. Visit the Museum to see our slide show on the history of the Beacon Hill tower and home. The mapping exhibit room has a DeBeers map from 1774 showing the depths around the island produced for the British navy.