Page 18

to cross, his men provided a wirhering fire direcrly inro rheir orderly line of m arch. Wirh a dererminarion rypical of Brirish officers, rhe Royal Marines and Army repearedly ar racked rhe bridge, ulrimarely making ir across afre r suffering a huge number of casualries and marching over rhe bodies of rheir fa llen comrades. To more acc urarely pur rhis efforr in perspecrive, consider rhar rhese tough, commirred soldiers had marched more rhan rwenry miles from Benedicr in Maryland 's Augusr hear, in wool uniforms, dragging arrillery pieces-each man carrying, in addirion to his own pack and rifle, rwo iron cannonballs of eighreen pounds! Almosr as many fell from hear prosrrarion and exhausrion on rhe march as were losr in rhe Barrie of Bladensb urg. Small wonder rhe unrrained, undisciplined miliria was no march for them. Only Joshua Barney's sailors and Marines held rheir gro und. As soon as rhe enemy had crossed rhe bridge, rhe defending miliria broke and ran, sca rrering like field mice under a circl ing h awk. Barney's Marines, however, remained ar rheir posrs, conrinuing to fire and evenrually fighring h and-to-hand. The teamsrers whose wagons carried rhe powder and shor ran from rhe fighr, raking the loaded wagons wirh rhem and leaving Barney's men unsupporred . When Barney himself took a ball in rhe leg, he ordered his men to disperse and rry to ger to Was hi ngton ahead of rhe Brirish to help defend the ciry. He rhen sar down under a rree, where rhe Brirish di scovered him and took him prisoner afrer providing him wirh medical arrenrion. While rhe Brirish complimenred Barney for his bravery and skill- his was rhe only unir rhar did nor rum rail and run- rhe newspapers of rhe rime, especially rhose of a Loyalisr benr, referred to rhe rour as "rhe Bladensburg Races." Apparenrly a very apr descriprion! Whar is curious abour rhis conresr was rhar rhe Brirish suffered many more casualries rhan did rhe Americans and were very nearly defeared . In fac r, General Ross is reporred to h ave told Commodore Barney rhar, unril rhe miliria ran, his own rroops were abour to surrender! None rheless, by nighrfall, Ross, Cockburn, and rheir men had marched inro Washington. The cirizenry and mosr of rhe poliricians, including Presidenr Madison, h ad

16

deparred , unwilling or unable to face rhe an editorial rhe fo llow ing d ay-fro m invaders. Secrerary Armsrrong had issued anorher venue-praising rhe Brirish for orders to Capr. Thomas Tingey, comman- rheir resrrainr! W hile orhers castigared danr of rhe Washington Navy Ya rd, to burn rheir brurish beh avior, rhe editors of rhe ir rarher rhan let rhe ships and rhe ropewalk National Intelligencer offered rhar more of fa ll into enemy hands. In rhe shipyard rhe losses were rhe resulr oflocal plunderers were several as-yer-uncommissioned ships and opporrunisrs rhan En glish soldiers. The Brirish rroops remained in Washawairing final firring our along wirh rhe old frigare New York, one of rhe so-called ington, conrinuing rheir work rhroughour "Subscriprion Frigares" from rhe Quasi rhe nighr. Fires burned across rhe ciry, War2 againsr France, and Tingey's men pur illuminaring the skyline. The fo llowing rhem and rhe ropewalk to rhe torch. On ly day, 25 Augusr, a fero cious srorm-some rhe warerlogged New Yo rk, rorring ar rhe even labeled ir a hurricane-broughr fi erce pier, remained unscarhed, as she was too winds and heavy rains rhar pur our rhe fires wer to burn. The Brirish took care of rhe and , in one case, acrually knocked down resr of rhe Navy Yard. a building, killing a number of Brirish They also successfully burned mosr soldiers raking shelrer inside. 3 Having of rhe public buildings in rhe ciry: rhe accomplished whar rhey ser our to do, Capitol, including the Library of Con- rhe Brirish lefr rhe ciry larer rhar day and gress, rhe Treasury, and rhe repository of rerurned, unopposed, to Benedicr, where Srare and War D eparrmenr records. The rhey arrived on 30 Augusr to re-embark unfinished Presidenr's House came under on rheir ships.

British Troops torched the Capitol and the White House on 24 August 1814.

Cockburn's personal arrenrion; he enrered rhe empry building wirh his guard and, finding dinner ser and ready to ear, helped h imself, enjoying some "fine wine" wirh ir, according to his personal diary. Afrer remov in g som e so uve nir s, Cockburn and his men lefr rhe mansion and pur ir to rhe torch . No personal properry in the ciry suffered rhe depredarions of rhe Brirish forces save rhe offices of rhe semi-official National Intelligencer newspaper, wh ich Cockburn personally ordered burned. Surprisingly, rhe edirors published

When word reached England of rhe success enjoyed by Cockb urn and Ross, rhe people rejoiced, celebraring rhe superioriry of rhe English rroops, rhe embarrassmenr of rhe Americans, and rh e successful reraliarion for rhe depredarions broughr by American rroops on Canadian soil the previous year. General Ross was officially commended for his brillianr Chesapeake Campaign and, in celebrarion of rhe asyer- unfinished operarion, rhe guns in rhe Tower of London were fired ar noon on rhree successive days. Their celebrarions

SEA HISTORY 140, AUTUMN 2012

Sea History 140 - Autumn 2012  

10 A Forest of Assassins: The US Merchant Marine Under Fire During the Vietnam War, by Salvatore R. Mercogliano, PhD • 14 The War of 1812:...

Sea History 140 - Autumn 2012  

10 A Forest of Assassins: The US Merchant Marine Under Fire During the Vietnam War, by Salvatore R. Mercogliano, PhD • 14 The War of 1812:...

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded