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The Town that Fooled the British

By Linda Tancs

St. Michaels, Maryland, is a tony waterfront town on the Eastern Shore. Perhaps better known for its quaint inns, crab shacks and boutiques, it’s also, as legend goes, the town that fooled the British. That part of the story dates to the War of 1812. When residents were warned of an oncoming attack by the British, they dimmed the lights and hoisted lanterns into the trees above the city, creating blackout conditions that fooled the British into overshooting the town’s houses and shipyards. The ruse was largely successful, resulting in a single cannonball shot to the Federal-style home built for shipbuilder William Merchant. That house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, one of many stops on the town’s historical walking tour.

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