Mary Young Pickersgill
Mary Pickersgill, was the maker of the Star Spangled Banner Flag hoisted over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. The daughter of another noted flag maker, Rebecca Young, Pickersgill learned her craft from her mother, and, in 1813, was commissioned by Major George Armistead to make a flag for Baltimore's Fort McHenry, so large that the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a great distance; the flag was installed in August 1813, and, a year during the Battle of Baltimore, Francis Scott Key could see the flag while negotiating a prisoner exchange aboard a British vessel, was inspired to pen the words that became the United States National Anthem. Pickersgill, widowed at the age of 29, became successful enough in her flag making business, that, in 1820, she was able to buy the house that she had been renting in Baltimore, became active in addressing social issues, such as housing and employment for disadvantaged women. From 1828 to 1851, she was president of the Impartial Female Humane Society, founded in 1802, incorporated in 1811, helped impoverished families with school vouchers for children and employment for women.
Under Pickersgill's leadership, this organization built a home for aged women and added an Aged Men's Home, built adjacent to it. These, more than a century evolved into the Pickersgill Retirement Community of Towson, Maryland which opened in 1959. Pickersgill died in 1857 and was buried in the Loudon Park Cemetery in southwest Baltimore, where her daughter erected a monument for her, where some civic-minded organizations erected a bronze plaque; the house where Pickersgill lived for 50 years, at the northwest corner of Albemarle and East Pratt Streets in downtown Baltimore, became known as the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in 1927. The house was saved through the efforts of many preservation-minded citizens who were motivated by the Centennial Celebrations of 1914. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 12, 1776, Mary Young was the youngest of six children born to William Young and Rebecca Flower, her mother, who became widowed when Mary was two years old, had a flag shop on Walnut Street in Philadelphia where she made ensigns, garrison flags and "Continental Colors" for the Continental Army.
Her 1781 advertisement in the "Pennsylvania Packet" read, "All kinds of colours, for the Army and Navy and sold on the most reasonable Terms, By Rebecca Young." Young moved her family to Baltimore, Maryland when Mary was a child, it was from her mother that Mary learned the craft of flag making. On October 2, 1795, at the age of 19, Mary married John Pickersgill, a merchant, moved back to Philadelphia with her husband. Of Mary's four children, only one survived a daughter named Caroline. Mary's husband traveled to London to work for the United States Government in the British Claims Office, but died in London on June 14, 1805, leaving Mary widowed at the age of 29. In 1807 Mary moved back to Baltimore with her daughter Caroline and her 67-year-old mother Rebecca; the small family rented a house at 44 Queen Street, where Pickersgill took in boarders and opened a flag-making business, selling "silk standards and division colours of every description." Her customers included the United States Army, United States Navy, visiting merchant ships.
In 1813 the United States was at war with Great Britain, Baltimore was preparing for an eventual attack as the fleet of the British Royal Navy had complete maritime control of the Chesapeake Bay. Major George Armistead, the U. S. Army commander of the Infantry and Artillery units that defended Fort McHenry in Baltimore, felt that the fort was prepared for an attack, except it lacked a flag. In a letter to the head of the Maryland Militia and military commander for Baltimore, Major General Samuel Smith, he wrote, "We, are ready at Fort McHenry to defend Baltimore against invading by the enemy; that is to say, we are ready except that we have no suitable ensign to display over the Star Fort and it is my desire to have a flag so large that the British will have no difficulty seeing it from a distance." A delegation consisting of Armistead, Brig. General John Stricker, Commodore Joshua Barney, Pickersgill's brother-in-law, visited with Pickersgill, discussed the particulars of the desired flag, they commissioned Pickersgill to make two flags, "one American ensign, 30 X 42 feet, first quality bunting" and another flag 17 by 25 feet."
A task as large as the making of these flags was beyond the capability of one person to complete, Pickersgill not only drew on members of her own household for help, but contracted labor from the immediate neighborhood. In early summer 1813, she began the job with the assistance of her daughter, her two nieces, Eliza Young and Margaret Young, a free African American apprentice, Grace Wisher, her elderly mother, Rebecca Young. An additional unnamed African American who boarded in the house is listed as helping in some sources, as were additional local seamstresses who were hired during the summer. Working late into the evening, until midnight at times, Pickersgill's team was able to complete the job in six weeks. Pickersgill's daughter, in an 1876 letter to Georgiana Armistead Appleton, the daughter of Major Armistead, wrote these particulars about the flag: The flag being so large, mother was obliged to obtain permission from the proprietors of Claggetts brewery, in our neighborhood, to spread it out in their malt house.
An indentured servant or indentured laborer is an employee within a system of unfree labor, bound by a signed or forced contract to work for a particular employer for a fixed time. The contract lets the employer sell the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit, or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage. On completion of the contract, indentured servants were given their freedom, plots of land. In many countries, systems of indentured labor have now been outlawed, are banned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a form of slavery; until the late 18th century, indentured servitude was common in British North America. It was a way for poor Europeans to immigrate to the American colonies: they signed an indenture in return for a costly passage. After their indenture expired, the immigrants were free to work for another employer, it has been argued by at least one economist that indentured servitude occurred as "an institutional response to a capital market imperfection".
In some cases, the indenture was made with a ship's master, who sold on the indenture to an employer in the colonies. Most indentured servants worked as farm laborers or domestic servants, although some were apprenticed to craftsmen; the terms of an indenture were not always enforced by American courts, although runaways were sought out and returned to their employer. Between one-half and two-thirds of white immigrants to the American colonies between the 1630s and American Revolution had come under indentures. However, while half the European immigrants to the Thirteen Colonies were indentured servants, at any one time they were outnumbered by workers who had never been indentured, or whose indenture had expired, thus free wage labor was the more prevalent for Europeans in the colonies. Indentured people were numerically important in the region from Virginia north to New Jersey. Other colonies saw far fewer of them; the total number of European immigrants to all 13 colonies before 1775 was about 500,000.
Of the 450,000 or so European arrivals who came voluntarily, Tomlins estimates that 48% were indentured. About 75% of these were under the age of 25; the age of adulthood for men was 24 years. Regarding the children who came, Gary Nash reports that "many of the servants were nephews, nieces and children of friends of emigrating Englishmen, who paid their passage in return for their labor once in America."Several instances of kidnapping for transportation to the Americas are recorded such as that of Peter Williamson. As historian Richard Hofstadter pointed out, "Although efforts were made to regulate or check their activities, they diminished in importance in the eighteenth century, it remains true that a certain small part of the white colonial population of America was brought by force, a much larger portion came in response to deceit and misrepresentation on the part of the spirits." One "spirit" named William Thiene was known to have spirited away 840 people from Britain to the colonies in a single year.
Historian Lerone Bennett, Jr. notes that "Masters given to flogging did not care whether their victims were black or white."Indentured servitude was used by various English and British governments as a punishment for defeated foes in rebellions and civil wars. Oliver Cromwell sent into enforced indentured service thousands of prisoners captured in the 1648 Battle of Preston and the 1651 Battle of Worcester. King James II acted after the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685, use of such measures continued in the 18th Century. Indentured servants could not marry without the permission of their master, were sometimes subject to physical punishment and did not receive legal favor from the courts. To ensure that the indenture contract was satisfied with the allotted amount of time, the term of indenture was lengthened for female servants if they became pregnant. Upon finishing their term they were set free; the American Revolution limited immigration to the United States, but economic historians dispute its long-term impact.
Sharon Salinger argues that the economic crisis that followed the war made long-term labor contracts unattractive. His analysis of Philadelphia's population shows how the percentage of bound citizens fell from 17% to 6.4% over the course of the war. William Miller posits a more moderate theory, stating that "the Revolution wrought disturbances upon white servitude, but these were temporary rather than lasting". David Galenson supports this theory by proposing that the numbers of British indentured servants never recovered, that Europeans from other nationalities replaced them; the American and British governments passed several laws that helped foster the decline of indentures. The UK Parliament's Passenger Vessels Act 1803 regulated travel conditions aboard ships to make transportation more expensive, so as to hinder landlords' tenants seeking a better life. An American law passed in 1833 abolished imprisonment of debtors, which made prosecuting runaway servants more difficult, increasing the risk of indenture contract purchases.
The 13th Amendment, passed in the wake of the American Civil War, made indentured servitude illegal in the United States. Through its introduction, the details regarding indentured labor varied across import and export regions and most overseas contracts were made before the voyage with the understanding that prospective migrants were competent enough to make overseas contracts on their own account and that they pre
Fort McHenry is a historical American coastal pentagonal bastion fort located in the Locust Point neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. It is best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy from the Chesapeake Bay on September 13–14, 1814, it was first built in 1798 and was used continuously by the U. S. armed forces through World War I and by the Coast Guard in World War II. It was designated a national park in 1925, in 1939 was redesignated a "National Monument and Historic Shrine". During the War of 1812 an American storm flag, 17 by 25 feet, was flown over Fort McHenry during the bombardment, it was replaced early on the morning of September 14, 1814 with a larger American garrison flag, 30 by 42 feet. The larger flag signaled American victory over the British in the Battle of Baltimore; the sight of the ensign inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry", set to the tune "To Anacreon in Heaven" and became known as "The Star Spangled Banner", the national anthem of the United States.
Fort McHenry was built on the site of the former Fort Whetstone, which had defended Baltimore from 1776 to 1797. Fort Whetstone stood on Whetstone Point peninsula, which juts into the opening of Baltimore Harbor between the Basin and Northwest branch on the north side and the Middle and Ferry branches of the Patapsco River on the south side; the Frenchman Jean Foncin designed the fort in 1798, it was built between 1798 and 1800. The new fort's purpose was to improve the defenses of the important Port of Baltimore from future enemy attacks; the new fort was a bastioned pentagon, surrounded by a dry moat -- a broad trench. The moat would serve as a shelter. In case of such an attack on this first line of defense, each point, or bastion could provide a crossfire of cannon and small arms fire. Fort McHenry was named after early American statesman James McHenry, a Scots-Irish immigrant and surgeon-soldier, he was a delegate to the Continental Congress from Maryland and a signer of the United States Constitution.
Afterwards, he was appointed United States Secretary of War, serving under Presidents George Washington and John Adams. Beginning at 6:00 a.m. on September 13, 1814, British warships under the command of Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane continuously bombarded Fort McHenry for 25 hours. The American defenders had 24 - and 32-pounder cannons; the British guns had a range of 2 miles, the British rockets had a 1.75-mile range, but neither guns nor rockets were accurate. The British ships were unable to pass Fort McHenry and penetrate Baltimore Harbor because of its defenses, including a chain of 22 sunken ships, the American cannons; the British vessels were only able to fire their rockets and mortars at the fort at the weapons' maximum range. The poor accuracy on both sides resulted in little damage to either side before the British, having depleted their ammunition, ceased their attack on the morning of September 14, thus the naval part of the British invasion of Baltimore had been repulsed. Only one British warship, a bomb vessel, received a direct hit from the fort's return fire, which wounded one crewman.
The Americans, under the command of Major George Armistead, lost four killed—including one African-American soldier, Private William Williams, a woman, cut in half by a bomb as she carried supplies to the troops—and 24 wounded. At one point during the bombardment, a bomb crashed through the fort's powder magazine. However, either the rain extinguished the bomb was a dud. Francis Scott Key, a Washington lawyer who had come to Baltimore to negotiate the release of Dr. William Beanes, a civilian prisoner of war, witnessed the bombardment from a nearby truce ship. An oversized American flag had been sewn by Mary Pickersgill for $405.90 in anticipation of the British attack on the fort. When Key saw the flag emerge intact in the dawn of September 14, he was so moved that he began that morning to compose the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry", set to the tune "To Anacreon in Heaven" which would be renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner" and become the United States' national anthem. During the American Civil War the area where Fort McHenry sits served as a military prison, confining both Confederate soldiers, as well as a large number of Maryland political figures who were suspected of being Confederate sympathizers.
The imprisoned included newly elected Baltimore Mayor George William Brown, the city council, the new police commissioner, George P. Kane, members of the Maryland General Assembly along with several newspaper editors and owners. Francis Scott Key's grandson, Francis Key Howard, was one of these political detainees; some of the cells used still can be visited at the fort. A drama beginning the famous Supreme Court case involving the night arrest in Baltimore County and imprisonment here of John Merryman and the upholding of his demand for a writ of habeas corpus for release by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney occurred at the gates between Court and Federal Marshals and the commander of Union troops occupying the Fort under orders from President Abraham Lincoln in 1861. Fort McHenry served to train artillery at this time. During World War I, an additional hundred-odd buildings were built on the land surrounding the fort in order to convert the entire facility into an enormous U. S. Army hospital for the treatment of troops returning
The Patapsco River mainstem is a 39-mile-long river in central Maryland which flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The river's tidal portion forms the harbor for the city of Baltimore. With its South Branch, the Patapsco forms the northern border of Maryland; the name "Patapsco" is derived from the Algonquian pota-psk-ut, which translates to "backwater" or "tide covered with froth." Captain John Smith was the first European to explore the river noting it on his 1612 map as the Bolus River. The "Red river", was named after the clay color, is considered the "old Bolus", as other branches were labelled Bolus on maps; as the river was not navigable beyond Elkridge, it was not a major path of commerce with only one ship listed as serving the northern branch, four others operating around the mouth in 1723. The Patapsco River is referred to as The River of History as it is regarded as the center of Maryland’s Industrial Revolution beginning in the 1770s. Milling and manufacturing operations abounded along the river throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries relying on water power generated by multiple small dams.
The nation’s first railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's original main line was constructed in 1829 and ran west along the Patapsco Valley. Many old railroad bridges were constructed in the valley, most notably the Thomas Viaduct, still intact, the Patterson Viaduct, of which ruins remain. Flour mills and the hydropower dam, Bloede Dam, built in 1907, were powered by the river; the valley is prone to periodic flooding. Modern floods include the 1868 flood that washed away 14 houses and killed 39 people around Ellicott City. A 1923 flood topped bridges while in 1952, an eight-foot wall of water swept the shops of Ellicott City. A 1956 flood inflicted heavy damage at the Bartigis Brothers plant. In 1972, as a result of rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Agnes, Ellicott City and the Old Main Line sustained serious damage; the July 2016 Maryland flood ravaged Main Street leaving two dead, followed just two years by a flash flood on May 27, 2018 that took the life of one rescuer. The mouth of the Patapsco River forms Baltimore harbor, the site of the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812.
This is where Francis Scott Key, while aboard a British ship, wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner," a poem set to music as the national anthem of the United States. Today, a red and blue buoy marks the spot where HMS Tonnant was anchored; the Patapsco has a watershed area of 950 square miles. Through most of its length, the Patapsco is a minor river, flowing for the most part through a narrow valley; the last 10 miles, form a large tidal estuary inlet of Chesapeake Bay. The inner part of this estuary provides the harbor of Baltimore, composed of the Northwest Harbor and the Middle Branch including Thoms Cove; the Patapsco estuary is north of the Magothy River. The Patapsco River forms the harbor. Besides Baltimore, the river flows through Ellicott City and Elkridge; the Patapsco River mainstem begins at the confluence of the North and South Branches, near Marriottsville 15 miles west of downtown Baltimore. The 19.4-mile-long South Branch rises further west at Parr's Spring, where Howard County, Carroll and Montgomery counties meet.
The latter begins at elevation 780 feet on Parr's Ridge, just south of Interstate 70 and east of Ridge Road, two miles south of Mount Airy, Maryland. The South Branch Patapsco River traces the southern boundary of Carroll County and the northern boundary of Howard County; the first land record regarding Parr's Springs dates from 1744, when John Parr laid out a 200 acres tract he called Parr's Range. During the Civil War, Parr's Spring was a stop for the Army of the Potomac's Brig. Gen. David M. Gregg's cavalry, on June 29, 1863, while en route to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Parr's Spring was dug to form a 1.75 acres pond in the 1950's, filled by seven spring heads that form the headwaters of the South Branch of the Patapsco River. The North Branch flows 20.9 miles southward from its origins in Carroll County. Liberty Dam and its reservoir, located on the North Branch, is a major component of the Baltimore city water system. Patapsco Valley State Park extends along 32 miles of the Patapsco and its branches, encompassing a total of 14,000 acres in five different areas.
The river cuts a gorge 100–200 feet deep within the park, which features rocky cliffs and tributary waterfalls. Bloede's Dam,a hydroelectric dam built in 1906, was located on the Patapsco River within the Park, it was a nearly complete barrier to anadromous fish passage. Although a fish ladder was installed in 1992, it blocked five of six native fish species trying to run upstream to spawn. Impetus to remove Bloede's Dam began in the 1980s when nine drowning deaths occurred, to restore fish passage to a large portion of the Patapsco River watershed. Dam demolition began on September 12, 2018, opening the fishery and creating a rocky rapid for kayaking. Two dams upstream of Bloede's Dam and Union, were removed in 2010; the removal of Bloede's Dam leaves Daniels Dam, 9 miles upstream, as the last remaining dam along the mainstem Patapsco River. Removal of Bloede's Dam in September, 2018 opened up 65 miles of the Patapsco River watershed which will restore spawning runs of at least six species of native anadromous fish: alewife, blueback herring, American shad (Alosa sapid
The Smithsonian Institution, founded on August 10, 1846 "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge," is a group of museums and research centers administered by the Government of the United States. The institution is named after British scientist James Smithson. Organized as the "United States National Museum," that name ceased to exist as an administrative entity in 1967. Termed "the nation's attic" for its eclectic holdings of 154 million items, the Institution's nineteen museums, nine research centers, zoo include historical and architectural landmarks located in the District of Columbia. Additional facilities are located in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York City, Texas and Panama. More than 200 institutions and museums in 45 states, Puerto Rico, Panama are Smithsonian Affiliates; the Institution's thirty million annual visitors are admitted without charge. Its annual budget is around $1.2 billion with two-thirds coming from annual federal appropriations. Other funding comes from the Institution's endowment and corporate contributions, membership dues, earned retail and licensing revenue.
Institution publications include Air & Space magazines. The British scientist James Smithson left most of his wealth to his nephew Henry James Hungerford; when Hungerford died childless in 1835, the estate passed "to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men", in accordance with Smithson's will. Congress accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation, pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust on July 1, 1836; the American diplomat Richard Rush was dispatched to England by President Andrew Jackson to collect the bequest. Rush returned in August 1838 with 105 sacks containing 104,960 gold sovereigns. Once the money was in hand, eight years of Congressional haggling ensued over how to interpret Smithson's rather vague mandate "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge." The money was invested by the US Treasury in bonds issued by the state of Arkansas, which soon defaulted.
After heated debate, Massachusetts Representative John Quincy Adams persuaded Congress to restore the lost funds with interest and, despite designs on the money for other purposes, convinced his colleagues to preserve it for an institution of science and learning. On August 10, 1846, President James K. Polk signed the legislation that established the Smithsonian Institution as a trust instrumentality of the United States, to be administered by a Board of Regents and a Secretary of the Smithsonian. Though the Smithsonian's first Secretary, Joseph Henry, wanted the Institution to be a center for scientific research, it became the depository for various Washington and U. S. government collections. The United States Exploring Expedition by the U. S. Navy circumnavigated the globe between 1838 and 1842; the voyage amassed thousands of animal specimens, an herbarium of 50,000 plant specimens, diverse shells and minerals, tropical birds, jars of seawater, ethnographic artifacts from the South Pacific Ocean.
These specimens and artifacts became part of the Smithsonian collections, as did those collected by several military and civilian surveys of the American West, including the Mexican Boundary Survey and Pacific Railroad Surveys, which assembled many Native American artifacts and natural history specimens. In 1846, the regents developed a plan for weather observation; the Institution became a magnet for young scientists from 1857 to 1866, who formed a group called the Megatherium Club. The Smithsonian played a critical role as the U. S. partner institution in early bilateral scientific exchanges with the Academy of Sciences of Cuba. Construction began on the Smithsonian Institution Building in 1849. Designed by architect James Renwick Jr. its interiors were completed by general contractor Gilbert Cameron. The building opened in 1855; the Smithsonian's first expansion came with construction of the Arts and Industries Building in 1881. Congress had promised to build a new structure for the museum if the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition generated enough income.
It did, the building was designed by architects Adolf Cluss and Paul Schulze, based on original plans developed by Major General Montgomery C. Meigs of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, it opened in 1881. The National Zoological Park opened in 1889 to accommodate the Smithsonian's Department of Living Animals; the park was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The National Museum of Natural History opened in June 1911 to accommodate the Smithsonian's United States National Museum, housed in the Castle and the Arts and Industries Building; this structure was designed by the D. C. architectural firm of Hornblower & Marshall. When Detroit philanthropist Charles Lang Freer donated his private collection to the Smithsonian and funds to build the museum to hold it, it was among the Smithsonian's first major donations from a private individual; the gallery opened in 1923. More than 40 years would pass before the next museum, the Museum of History and Technology, opened in 1964.
It was designed by the world-renowned firm of Mead & White. The Anacostia Community Museum, an "experimental store-front" museum created at the initiative of Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley, opened in the Anacostia neighborhood of
Joshua Barney was an American Navy officer who served in the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War. He achieved the rank of commodore in the United States Navy and served in the War of 1812, he was born in Baltimore. He went to sea in 1771 at the age of 12. In 1775, he served as second-in-command to his brother-in-law aboard a merchant ship bound for Europe. Barney married twice, had children with both wives. While on his way to Kentucky, where he planned to retire, he died in Pittsburgh, his widow Harriet settled in Kentucky with their three children. His grandson Joseph Nicholson Barney was a United States Navy officer. Barney served in the Continental Navy beginning in February 1776, as master's mate of Hornet where he took part in Commodore Esek Hopkins's raid on New Providence, he served aboard Wasp and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant for gallantry in the action between Wasp and a British brig, the tender Betsey. While serving on Andrew Doria he took a prominent part in the defense of the Delaware River.
Barney was exchanged several times. In 1779, he was again taken prisoner and imprisoned in Old Mill Prison, England, until his escape in 1781, he wrote an account of this in The Memoirs of Commodore Barney, published in Boston in 1832. In April 1782, he was put in command of the Pennsylvania ship Hyder Ally, in which he captured the more armed warship HMS General Monk in the Battle of Delaware Bay, he was given command of Monk and sailed for France with dispatches for Benjamin Franklin, returning with news that peace had been declared. The ship carried a party of Austrian naturalists under the leadership of Franz Jozef Maerter and including Franz Boos. Barney was an original member of the Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati and transferred to the Maryland society. After the Revolution, Barney joined the French Navy. Between 1796 and 1802 Joshua Barney served as a captain in the French Navy. Between 7 June and 17 October 1796 he was captain of the French frigate Harmonie, he sailed her from Rochefort to ferry weapons and ammunition to Cap-Français.
He cruised in the Caribbean between Havana and Chesapeake Bay, returning to Cap-Français on 17 October. At the outbreak of the War of 1812, after a successful but unprofitable privateering cruise as commander of the Baltimore schooner Rossie, in which he captured the Post Office Packet Service packet ship Princess Amelia, Barney entered the US Navy as a captain, commanded the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla, a fleet of gunboats defending Chesapeake Bay, he authored the plan to defend the Chesapeake, submitted to Secretary of the Navy, William Jones and accepted on August 20, 1813. The plan consisted of using a flotilla of shallow-draft barges, each equipped with a large gun which would be used in large numbers to attack and annoy the invading British retreating to the safety of shoal waters abundant in the Chesapeake region. Barney was commissioned as a captain in the United States Navy on 25 April 1814. On 1 June 1814, Barney's flotilla, led by his flagship, the 49-foot sloop-rigged, self-propelled floating battery USS Scorpion, mounting two long guns and two carronades, were coming down Chesapeake Bay when they encountered the 12-gun schooner HMS St Lawrence, boats from the 74-gun third rates HMS Dragon and HMS Albion near St. Jerome Creek.
The flotilla pursued St Lawrence and the boats until they could reach the protection of the two third rates. The American flotilla retreated into the Patuxent River where the British blockaded it; the British outnumbered Barney by 7:1, forcing the flotilla on 7 June to retreat into St. Leonard's Creek. Two British frigates, the 38-gun HMS Loire and the 32-gun HMS Narcissus, plus the 18-gun sloop-of-war HMS Jasseur blockaded the mouth of the creek; the creek was too shallow for the British warships to enter, the flotilla outgunned and hence was able to fend off the boats from the British ships. Battles continued through 10 June; the British, frustrated by their inability to flush Barney out of his safe retreat, instituted a "campaign of terror," laying waste to "town and farm alike" and plundering and burning Calverton, Prince Frederick and Lower Marlboro. On 26 June, after the arrival of troops commanded by United States Army Colonel Decius Wadsworth, United States Marine Corps Captain Samuel Miller, Barney attempted a breakout.
A simultaneous attack from land and sea on the blockading frigates at the mouth of St. Leonard's creek allowed the flotilla to move out of the creek and up-river to Benedict, though Barney had to scuttle gunboats No. 137 and 138 in the creek. The British burned the town of St. Leonard, Maryland; the British, under the command of Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane moved up the Patuxent, preparing for a landing at Benedict. Concerned that Barney's flotilla could fall into British hands, Secretary of the Navy Jones ordered Barney to take the flotilla as far up the Patuxent as possible, to Queen Anne, scuttle it if the British appeared. Leaving his barges with a skeleton crew under the command of Lieutenant Solomon Kireo Frazier to handle any destruction of the craft, Barney took the majority of his men to join the American Army commanded by General William Henry Winder where they participated in the Battle of Bladensburg. Frazier scuttled all but one of the vessels of the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla, which the British captured.
During the Battle of Bladensburg, Barney and 360 sailors and 120 Marines defended the national capital—f
Battle of Baltimore
The Battle of Baltimore was a sea/land battle fought between British invaders and American defenders in the War of 1812. American forces repulsed sea and land invasions off the busy port city of Baltimore and killed the commander of the invading British forces; the British and Americans first met at North Point. Though the Americans retreated, the battle was a successful delaying action that inflicted heavy casualties on the British, halting their advance allowing the defenders at Baltimore to properly prepare for an attack; the resistance of Baltimore's Fort McHenry during bombardment by the Royal Navy inspired Francis Scott Key to compose the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry", which became the lyrics for "The Star-Spangled Banner", the national anthem of the United States of America. Future President James Buchanan served as Private in the defense of Baltimore; until April 1814, Great Britain was at war with Napoleonic France, which limited British war aims in America. During this time the British used a defensive strategy and repelled American invasions of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada.
However, the Americans gained naval control over Lake Erie in 1813, seized parts of western Ontario. In the Southwest, General Andrew Jackson destroyed the military strength of the Creek nation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. Although Great Britain was unwilling to draw military forces from the war with France, it still enjoyed a naval superiority on the ocean, vessels of the North America and West Indies Squadron, based at Bermuda, blockaded American ports on the Atlantic throughout the war, strangling the American economy; the Royal Navy and Royal Marines occupied American coastal islands and landed military forces for raids along the coast around the Chesapeake Bay, encouraging enslaved blacks to defect to the Crown and recruiting them into the Corps of Colonial Marines. Following the defeat of Napoleon in the spring of 1814, the British adopted a more aggressive strategy, intended to compel the United States to negotiate a peace that restored the pre-war status quo. Thousands of seasoned British soldiers were deployed to British North America.
Most went to the Canadas to re-enforce the defenders, but a brigade under the command of Major General Robert Ross was sent in early July with several naval vessels to join the forces operating from Bermuda. The combined forces were to be used for diversionary raids along the Atlantic coast, intended to force the Americans to withdraw forces from Canada, they were under orders not to carry out any extended operations and were restricted to targets on the coast. An ambitious raid was planned as the result of a letter sent to Bermuda on 2 June by Sir George Prévost, Governor General of The Canadas, who called for a retaliation in response to the "wanton destruction of private property along the north shores of Lake Erie" by American forces under Colonel John Campbell in May 1814, the most notable being the Raid on Port Dover. Prévost argued that... in consequence of the late disgraceful conduct of the American troops in the wanton destruction of private property on the north shores of Lake Erie, in order that if the war with the United States continues you may, should you judge it advisable, assist in inflicting that measure of retaliation which shall deter the enemy from a repetition of similar outrages.
The letter was considered by Ross and Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane in planning how to use their forces. Cochrane's junior, Rear Admiral George Cockburn, had been commanding ships of the squadron in the operations on the Chesapeake Bay since the previous year. On 25 June he wrote to Cochrane stressing that the defenses there were weak, he felt that several major cities were vulnerable to attack. Cochrane suggested attacking Baltimore and Philadelphia. On 17 July, Cockburn recommended Washington as the target, because of the comparative ease of attacking the national capital and "the greater political effect to result". On 18 July, Cochrane ordered Cockburn that to "deter the enemy from a repetition of similar outrages..." You are hereby required and directed to "destroy and lay waste such towns and districts as you may find assailable". Cochrane instructed, "You will spare the lives of the unarmed inhabitants of the United States". In August, the vessels in Bermuda sailed from the Royal Naval Dockyard and St. George's to join those operating along the American Atlantic coast.
After defeating a US Navy gunboat flotilla, a military force totaling 4,370 under Ross was landed in Virginia. After beating off an American force of 1,200 on the 23rd, on the 24th they attacked the prepared defenses of the main American force of 6,400 in the Battle of Bladensburg. Despite the considerable disadvantage in numbers and sustaining heavy casualties, the British force routed the American defenders and cleared the path i