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Rearadm. Cockburn joins
appearance gladdened every countenance and
** with the third division, to Mount Calvert; and pro
ceeded, by land, to the british encampment at Upper
Marlborough. The little opposition experienced by
the army in its march from Benedict, and the complete success that had attended the expedition against commodore Barney’s flotilla, determined major-general Ross to make an immediate attempt upon the city of Washington, distant from UpperMarlborough not more than 16 miles. At the desire of the major-general, the marine and naval forces at Pig point were moved over to Mount Calvert; and the marines, marine-artillery, and a proportion of the seamen under captains Palmer and Money,
joined the army at Upper-Marlborough.
As if by concert, the american army retired from the long Old-Fields, about the same time that the british army advanced from Upper-Marlborough; and the patroles of the latter actually occupied, before midnight, the ground which the former had abandoned. The american army did not stop until it reached Washington; where it encamped, for the night, near the navy-yard. On the same evening upwards of 2000 troops arrived at Bladensburg from Baltimore. On the 24th, at daylight, general Ross put his troops in motion for Bladensburg, 12 miles from his camp; and, having halted by the way, arrived, at about 11 h. 30 m. A. M., at the heights facing the village.
* Wilkinson's Mem, vol. i. p. 766.
'According to a letter of general Armstrong, the 1814. american secretary at war, to the editor of the “Balti- `. morePatriot,” general Winderhad under his command, including the 15000 militia he had been directed to call out, as many troops and seamen, as would make his total force, when assembled, 16300 men; but an american writer gives the details of the general’s force, in which he includes 600 seamen, and makes the total amount to only 7593 men. Of artillery, the american army had on the field not fewer than 23 pieces, varying from 6 to 18 pounders. This army was drawn up, in two lines, upon very commanding heights, on the north of the turnpike-road leading from Bladensburg to Washington; and, as an additional incitement to glory on the part of the american troops, their president was on the field. The affair (for it hardly deserves the name of Battle battle) of Bladensburg, ended, as is well known, in * the rout of the Americans; from whom 10 pieces of burg. cannon were taken, but not above 120 prisoners, owing to the swiftness with which the enemy went off, and the fatigue which the british army, about 1500 of whom only were engaged, had previously undergone. The retreating american troops proceeded, with all haste, towards Washington; and the british troops, including the rear-division, which, just at the close of the short scuffle, had arrived upon the ground, halted to take some refreshment. Had it not been for the american artillery, the loss of the British would have been very trifling. Under these Losson circumstances, the loss, on the part of the army, *: amounted to one captain, two lieutenants, five he, sergeants, and 56 rank and file killed, two lieute-" nant-colonels, one major, one captain, 14 lieutenants, two ensigns, 10 sergeants, and 155 rank and file wounded, total, 64 killed and 185 wounded. The loss sustained by the naval department amounted to only one colonial marine killed, one master's mate, (Jeremiah MoDaniel,) two sergeants, and three colonial marines wounded; making a total of 65 killed VOL. VI. 2 G
1814, and 191 wounded. The officers of the navy and of ‘.... the marines, who, besides rear-admiral Cockburn, were present in the battle, appear to have been captain Edmund Palmer, with his aide-de-camp, midshipman Arthur Wakefield, lieutenant James Scott, first of the Albion, acting as rear-admiral Cockburn's aide-de-camp, lieutenant John Lawrence, of the marine artillery, and lieutenant of marines Althestan Stephens. British As soon as the troops were refreshed, general ... Ross and rear-admiral Cockburn, with about 1000 M. men, moved forward from Bladensburg, and at 8 P.M. * arrived at an open piece of ground, two miles from the federal city. The troops were here drawn up, while major-general Ross, rear-admiral Cockburn, and several other officers, accompanied by a small guard, rode forward to reconnoitre. On arriving opposite to some houses, the party halted; and, just as the officers had closed each other, in order to consult whether or not it would be prudent to enter the heart of the city that night, a volley was fired from the windows of one of two adjoining houses, and from the capitol: which volley killed one soldier, and general Ross's horse from under him, and wounded three soldiers. Rear-admiral Cockburn instantly rode back to the detachment stationed in advance, and soon returned with the light companies. The house was then surrounded; and, after some prisoners had been taken from it, set on fire: the adjoining house fell with it. The capitol, which was contiguous to these houses, and which, according to an american writer, was “capable of being made an impregnable citadel against an enemy, with little artillery, and that of the lighter class,” was also set on fire. oport. We are obliged to pause an instant, in order to is correct a very serious mistatement, which, as the ... book, along with two or three others, lay open before ofort. us, we at first took to be the splenetic effusion of an !..." american writer. But we owe an apology to the Americans; for the statement emanates from thepeñof
abritish naval officer,and hereitis: “A little musketry 1814, from one of the houses in the town, which killed the R. general's horse, was all the resistance they met with. This was quickly silenced; the house burnt, and the people within it put to death.” When it is considered, who are usually the inmates of a dwellinghouse, the statement, that “the people within it were put to death” and that for “killing a horse,” is calculated to fill the mind with horror, and to call forth execrations against the monsters who could perpetrate such an act. Fortunately for the fame of the general and admiral who presided on the occasion, the account we have just given, and the substance of which we published eight or nine years ago, is a faithful relation of all that occurred. Scarcely had the flames burst out from the capitol. and the two contiguous houses, than an awful explo-. sion announced, that the Americans were employed in. upon the same business in the lower part of the city.o, By this time the remainder of the british forces from * Bladensburg had arrived at the encampment. At 10 h. 30 m. P. M., after a party had been sent to destroy the fort and public works at Greenleaf's point, major-general Ross, and rear-admiral Cockburn, each at the head of a small detachment of men, numbering together not more than 200, proceeded down the hill towards the president's palace. Finding it utterly abandoned, and hearing probably that a guard of soldiers, with “two pieces of cannon, well mounted on travelling carriages,”H had been stationed at, and but recently withdrawn from, this the american “ commander in chief’s” head-quarters, rear-admiral Cockburn directed it to be set on fire. A log-hut, undersimilar circumstances, would have shared the same fate, and the justice of the measure not been disputed. Why, then, in a country where “equality of rights” is daily preached up, should the palace be
* Brenton, vol. v. p. 166. t Testimony of Mr. William Simmons, before the american committee of investigation.
held more sacred than the cottage? The loss of the one falls, where it ought, upon the nation at large; the loss of the other, a lamentable case at all times, solely upon the individual proprietor. To the building, containing the treasury and war offices, the torches of the conquerors were next applied. On arriving opposite to the office of the “National Intelligencer,” the american government-paper, rearadmiral Cockburn observed to the inhabitants near . him, that he must destroy it. On being told, however, that the adjoining buildings would be likely to take fire, he desisted. The rear-admiral, then, wishing
the inhabitants “good night,” and assuring them that
private property and persons should be respected,
measure, especially as the Americans had themselves # ,
* Wilkinson, vol. i. p. 791.