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What did Salem Harbor look like in 1812?

Salem was one of the busiest harbors in the country in 1812. There were several long wharves and piers stretching far out into the harbor. These wharves were covered with warehouses and work sheds. During the War of 1812, the fort on Winter Island was put back into fighting shape, and vessels entering the port would salute the fort by firing a cannon (but not a cannonball) as they entered the harbor.

a group of clouds in the sky over a body of water

During the years before the war, there were as many as 250 ocean-going square-rigged vessels sailing out of Salem. But since these vessels were usually absent on long voyages all over the world, a typical day might see only one or two large vessels arriving or departing. There would be plenty of smaller boats, of course: fishing boats and “coasters” — smaller vessels carrying cargo up and down the coast.

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