Life During Wartime

Life During Wartime > Women > Kitty Knight

Kitty Knight, according to local legend, helped save two private homes in Georgetown, Maryland, from British destruction. In May of 1813 Knight is said to have confronted British forces led by Rear Admiral George Cockburn. Most able-bodied men in the town had that morning manned Fort Duffy and earthworks at Pearce Point, but they ran away when attacked by the British, leaving mostly older men, women, and children.

As the legend goes, Knight pleaded with Cockburn to spare her home and the neighboring house of an elderly woman from burning. Legend says that Knight “stamped the flames out twice” before she was able to successfully persuade the British to spare them. Knight’s act of bravery was celebrated in an obituary published in 1855, which provides the legend of her heroism.

Other women of the Chesapeake also acted bravely when they were confronted by the enemy, not always successfully, but the Kitty Knight legend is the one still celebrated today.

Visit the Kitty Knight House Inn and Restaurant on the Sassafras River, where Kitty watched the British ships approach.

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