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'Chastising Jonathan': British Views of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake
Christopher T. George

In retrospect, we can see that the United States fought the War of 1812 for reasons on national pride, maritime rights, and manifest destiny. However, to the British, the war was very much a sideshow compared with their worldwide contest with Napoleonic France.

The Prince Regent
The Prince Regent in addressing Parliament on November 4, 1813 stated:

Whilst Great Britain, in conjunction with her allies, is exerting her utmost strength against the common enemy of independent nations, it must be matter of deep regret to find an additional enemy in the government of a country whose real interest in the issue of this great contest must be the same as our own.1

The British meant to chastise the Americans for declaring war at such a precarious time. "John Bull" would punish "Jonathan" for his impertinence. The Times demanded that Britain "not only chastise the savages into present peace, but make a lasting impression on their fears." President James Madison's peace commissioner in London, Albert Gallatin, wrote fearfully, "they mean to inflict on America a chastisement that will teach her that war is not to be declared against Great Britain with impunity." 2

On April 15, 1814, The Times declared, "Now that the tyrant Bonaparte has been consigned to infamy, there is no public feeling in this country stronger than that of indignation against the Americans." 3 In the view of The Times, now that Napoleon Bonaparte had been sent to exile on Elba, the British should teach the Americans a lesson for their impertinence in becoming the tool of the "Monster" Napoleon. Shortly, war would be brought to the very seat of President Madison's government as an expeditionary force under Major General Robert Ross comprising Peninsula War veterans sailed for the Chesapeake Bay. 4

Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, British commander-in-chief during the attacks on Washington and Baltimore candidly wrote of the Americans, "They are a whining, canting race much like the spaniel and require the same treatment--must be drubbed into good manners." 5

Scots-born Admiral Cochrane was the younger son of Thomas, Eighth Earl of Dundonald. Possibly his hatred of Americans had a personal basis: his elder brother Major Charles Cochrane had been killed at Yorktown. An aide to Lord Cornwallis, Major Cochrane had been standing next to Cornwallis on October 17, 1783, two days before the British surrender, when his head was shot off by a cannonball.6

Rear Admiral George Cockburn had a particular disdain for the Yankee militia.
Cochrane's subordinate was Rear Admiral George Cockburn, a Lowland Scot with a high voice who had been operating in the Chesapeake the previous year under Cochrane's predecessor, Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren. Cockburn did not hate Americans as Cochrane did but he had little regard for them, particularly for the American militia, which had the burden of trying to defend the Chesapeake while the bulk of the U.S. regulars were fighting the British on the Canadian border.7

Cockburn's modus operandi was that if a town offered resistance, it would be considered a fortified post and the male inhabitants soldiers. Then the town was free to be destroyed, its property confiscated, the cattle and stock taken. In this era, the accepted law of the sea was that if you were an enemy, your property could be condemned and taken, and Cockburn adopted a similar code while on land in the Chesapeake. He wrote to Admiral Warren, "should resistance be made, I shall consider [what I take] as a prize of war."8

Although some of the British in the Chesapeake viewed Admiral Cockburn as a shining hero of the Royal Navy, others had disliked his methods. Midshipman Frederick Chamier of H.M.S. Menelaus, who watched Cockburn at work in southern Maryland in the summer of 1814, identified the inequities of how Cockburn determined if an American was a militiaman:

If by any stretch of argument we could establish the owner of a house, cottage, hut, &c. to be a militia-man, that house we burnt, because we found arms therein; that is to say, we found a duck gun, or a rifle. It so happens, that in America every man must belong to the militia; and, consequently, every man's house was food for a bonfire. . . .9

In other words, as Chamier facetiously though accurately puts it, the Americans were punished for "the unnatural sin of protecting their own country."10

Militia often wore civilian clothes, as did a number of the English militiamen shown in a contemporary cartoon.
If an American was deemed not to be hostile, the admiral would pay for what he took. In this event, as Cockburn told Warren, "I shall give the owner bills on the Victualling Office for the fair value of whatsoever is taken. . . ." The admiral did not mention that such bills would not be redeemable until after the war was over. 11

Chamier revealed the truth of the "deals" the admiral offered the people of the Bay:

A bullock was estimated at five dollars, although it was worth twenty; and sheep had the high price of a dollar attached to them, they being in reality worth six at least. . . . But supposing, and I have seen it one hundred times, that the farmer refused the money for his stock; why then we drove sheep, bullocks, and geese away, and left the money for the good man to take afterwards. 12

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Napier, a Peninsula War veteran who worked with Cockburn in the summer of 1813 during the attack on Norfolk, as well as in other operations in the Chesapeake and on the North Carolina coast, felt similar qualms about the type of warfare being conducted by Cockburn and his sailors:

Strong is my dislike to what is perhaps a necessary part of our job, viz. plundering and ruining the peasantry. We drive all their cattle and of course ruin them; my hands are clean, but it is hateful to see the poor Yankees robbed, and to be the robber. If we should take fairly it would not be so bad, but the rich escape; for the loss of a few cows and oxen is nothing to a rich man, while you ruin a poor peasant if you take his only cow. 13

Cockburn's sailors became experts at the art of burning Yankee property. Midshipman Chamier says "we most valiantly set fire to unprotected property." He admits that the sailors, "from constant practice, were most consummately skilled in the art of house-burning" even to the point of dancing round the burning houses "like a parcel of savages":

It is quite a mistake to set fire to a house to windward; it should always be fired to the leeward side: the air becoming rarified by the heat, the wind blows the flames round the angles, one half their force is lost, and consequently time is consumed as well as the house. My readers may rely upon this interesting information being correct, for we tried the effect on two houses at the same time; and it was admitted, even by the owners, who had been guilty of the gross inconsistency and folly of defending their native land, that "the firing to leeward" was equally as efficacious, and doubly expeditious. 14

In fact, some British servicemen who fought in the Chesapeake expressed ambivalence about fighting Americans at all because they realized the close kinship between the British and Americans. Lieutenant Colonel Napier wrote, "There are numbers of officers, of the navy in particular, whose families are American, and their fathers in one or two instances are absolutely living in the very towns we are trying to burn."15

In a partial notebook found on the battlefield after the Battle of North Point, a British Redcoat bemoans that fact that he and his comrades had "to fight our own Reletions [sic] in the north of America."16

It was one thing to fight the French, who, because they spoke a different language, could seem alien and therefore a faceless enemy. Americans seemed too much like one's own flesh and blood. Napier tells of being disturbed by the affinity of language: "It is quite shocking to have men speak our own language brought in wounded: one feels as is they were English peasants and that we are killing our own people." 17

Although Napier thought that the Yankees were beatable, he found the way the Americans fought to be unfair:

[M]y opinion is, that if we tuck up our sleeves and lay our ears back, we might thrash them: that is if we caught them out of their trees, so as to slap at them with the bayonet. They will not stand that. But they fight unfairly, firing jagged pieces of iron and every sort of devilment, nails, broken pokers, old locks of guns, gun-barrels, everything that will do mischief. On board a 20-gun ship that we took, I found this sort of ammunition regularly prepared. This is wrong. Man delights to be killed according to the law of nations. . . . A 24 lb. shot in the stomach is fine, we die heroically: but a brass candlestick for stuffing, with a garnish of rusty twopenny nails makes us die ungenteelly, and with the cholic. 18

Napier was a critic of Cockburn's impetuosity and trust in luck, noting, "Cockburn's confidence in his luck is the very thing most to be feared; it is worse than 1,000 Yankees." 19 He thought that the admiral's ill-prepared attacks on American positions could one day result in disaster:

Nothing was done with method, all was hurry, confusion, and long orders. If the Yankees are worth their salt they will give us a thrashing yet in one of our landings, going as we do like a flock of sheep instead of rowing ashore in lines. . . . had Jonathan come down to the water's edge or to his waist in it, he would have destroyed half our men. 19

Indeed, lack of preparation, abetted by Cockburn's arrogance and lack of regard for the American militia, would lead to several British disasters around the Chesapeake. Cockburn's easy "victories" in capturing and burning small towns and chasing away the local militia lulled the British into a false sense of confidence. On a number of occasions, the militia performed their job when well led or when backed by veteran Navy gunners. Such an instance happened at Craney Island, Virginia, on June 22, 1813, where the British force of around 2,500 men attempted a joint land and sea assault on the island in order to force a way toward Norfolk, to capture the Gosport Navy Yard and destroy the frigate Constellation. Troops led by army commander Colonel Sir Sidney Beckwith tried to ford across to the island but found the tide was in. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy barges grounded in shallow water and were easy targets for the U.S. Navy gunners and militia artillerymen on the island. Napier wrote, "a large creek stopped our progress by land, and shoal water stopped the boats by sea. A sharp cannonade from the works on the island cost us seventy-one men, without returning a shot! . . . We despise the Yankee too much." 20

In his report to London, Admiral Warren only reported one man from the naval attack force seriously wounded--Captain J. M. Hanchett, an illegitimate son of George III. Hanchett had been seated in the stern of one of the boats holding an umbrella over his head as a mark of disdain for the Yankees. Colonel Beckwith submitted a casualty report that showed three killed, eight wounded, and 52 missing. 21

Forty-five of the 52 missing listed on Beckwith's report were "Canadian Chasseurs," a controversial corps of some 400 men who were not Canadian at all but French prisoners of war who preferred serving in British uniform to rotting in British prisons. Beckwith claimed that around 30 of the men from this corps were massacred in one of the barges, a claim hotly denied by Brigadier General Robert B. Taylor, the U.S. commander at Norfolk. On June 25, three days after the repulse at Craney Island, supposedly in revenge for the alleged massacre of their comrades, the remaining Frenchmen went on a rampage of killing, looting, and raping after the British capture of Hampton, Virginia. At first Beckwith sought to deny the atrocities (he praised the Frenchmen in his initial report on the fighting at Hampton). The colonel later promised Captain John Myers, an aide to General Taylor, that he would not again employ the men on the coast of the United States. 22

Years later, looking back on his involvement in the depredations in the Chesapeake in 1813, Napier, who would become a noted general in India, noted the futility and absurdity of the operations: "We were five months cruising along that hostile coast, acting with so much absurdity, and so like buccaneers, that I [am] ashamed to refer to it. . . ." 23

Maj. Gen. Robert Ross (1766-1814). The aggressive general was killed leading his troops toward Baltimore.
In 1813, the weak force under Warren and Beckwith shied away from attacking Washington and Baltimore. However, in 1814, Major General Ross, with his stronger force of around 4,000 men, attempted both targets. Cockburn devised a plan to attack the capital by way of Benedict on the Patuxent. He assured the general that he would find the capital unprotected. As it turned out, he was proved correct. A weak, arrogant, and unprepared Secretary of War, John Armstrong, kept denying that Washington could be a target. The man selected to command the force of mainly Maryland and District Columbia militia named in early July to defend the capital was equally incompetent--Brigadier General William H. Winder, nephew of the governor of Maryland. The general had been captured at Stoney Creek in Canada in July 1813 in virtually his first real taste of battle.24

The British found it hard to conceive that they were able to so easily invade the country without encountering opposition. Captain of the Fleet Admiral Edward Codrington thought it remarkable that they were able to sail unharassed so many miles up the Patuxent:

I think it may. . . be considered a comparatively extraordinary circumstance that we have not found an enemy to assail us in the course of sixty miles that we have explored, although the cliffs which occasionally arise on either bank offer facilities apparently irresistible to a people so disposed to hatred and so especially hostile to the navy of England.25

A few days later, after the resignation of Secretary of War John Armstrong, the invaders faced quite a different situation when Secretary of State James Monroe took over the War Department, and Commodores Perry, Porter, and Rodgers harassed the British squadron on the Potomac that had forced Alexandria to surrender and lay itself open to ransom.26

Winder proved unable to marshal his forces to intercede the British on their 50-mile march to the capital. He was forced into battle at Bladensburg, at the gates of Washington, where he failed to deploy his numerically superior forces of 6,000 militia and around 300 newly trained regulars in a fashion to repel the invaders. Hours before, General Ross had been reluctant to go against orders from the high command for him to stay near the shipping. But under pressure from the ever aggressive Admiral Cockburn, and in view of the tentativeness of the Americans opposing him, the Dublin-born British general caved in and attempted an attack on the capital.27

The battle began shortly after noon on a boiling hot August 24. The British sustained losses of around 300 men, many of them killed in storming a battery of naval guns manned by sailors and marines under the command of Commodore Joshua Barney in the closing stages of the battle. However, Barney's battery, deployed in a hasty fashion far behind Winder's front line, failed to halt the Redcoats. Most of the militia had already fled down the Georgetown Road in an affair that wags dubbed "The Bladensburg Races." The commodore, seriously wounded with a musket-ball in his thigh, was captured, paroled, and taken to a tavern in Bladensburg, where he was cared for by British and American medical staff along with the wounded British officers. That evening, Ross and his troops marched into Washington. They began to torch the public buildings, allegedly in retaliation for the American burning of York in Upper Canada (now Toronto) in April 1813. An additional reason for the destruction could have been that snipers shot at the lead party as they entered the city, killing Ross's horse and several enlisted men.28

British Soldiers Burning Washington, D.C.
Admiral Codrington wrote with relish of the burning of Washington, "the great Federal city, the capital and pride of the Virginians and all other supporters of the Jefferson and Maddison [sic] party, and haters of everything English. . . ." He extolled the fact that "like his friend Buonaparte [sic]" Madison had received his rightful punishment at the hands of the British.29

General Ross, writing to his wife Elizabeth a few days later, assessed the mood of the Americans following the fall of their capital:

I trust all our differences with the Yankees will shortly be settled. That wish is, I believe, very prevalent with them. They feel strongly the disgrace of having had their capital taken by a handful of men and blame very generally a government which went to war without the means or abilities to carry it on. . . . The injury sustained by the city of Washington in the destruction of its public buildings has been immense and must disgust the county with a government that has left the capital unprotected.30

The British were careful not to stay long in the capital. They decamped on the second night, leaving their camp fires burning. They feared an imminent American attack, however (though they did not know it), the Americans were too scattered and demoralized to mount such an attack. Colonel Arthur Brooke, leader of Ross's second brigade, noted in his diary, "we could scarce believe the Americans (from their immense population and a well trained artillery) would tamely allow a handful of British soldiers, to advance thro' the heart of their country and burn and destroy the capital of the United States."31

On the way back to the ships, the troops retraced their steps through Bladensburg, Upper Marlboro, and Nottingham. At Nottingham, the general ordered his "Cossacks," as the British jokingly called their soldiers mounted on captured American horses, to ride back to Upper Marlboro to arrest Dr. William Beanes, whom the general had been shocked to learn had cut off and arrested some British stragglers. The general's shock sprang from the fact that the same Dr. Beanes had allowed his house in Upper Marlboro to be used by Ross as his headquarters prior to the attack on Washington. The Irish-born general apparently felt personally insulted at the doctor's double-dealing.32

In retrospect, Beanes's duplicity may have struck the British as typical of American behavior. Lieutenant George Robert Gleig of the 85th Regiment, an 18-year-old subaltern who wrote a diary and two books on the British campaigns in the Chesapeake and at New Orleans, met Beanes and later formed an opinion of the man's cunning ways. He wrote that the doctor seemed all too accommodating to the invaders. The lieutenant wrote, "There was nothing about his house or farm to which he made us not heartily welcome; and the wily emigrant was no loser by his civility." In other words, as was their custom, the British compensated Beanes for the goods they took.

Lieutenant Gleig had decided views about Americans, possibly gleaned from fellow officers or English travel books. He wrote, "The low cunning which forms a leading trait in the American character, has long been proverbial." During the march from Benedict, he and a party of soldiers found two Americans "with bright firelocks, and bayonets, sitting under a tree." The men tried to persuade Gleig "that they were quiet country people, come out for no other purpose than to shoot squirrels." When Gleig asked them why they needed bayonets for squirrel hunting, the men were at a loss for reply, and were taken prisoner.33

Dr. Beanes paid dearly for his duplicity. The British threatened to send him in chains to Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was kept incommunicado in the hold of Admiral Cochrane's flagship, H.M.S. Tonnant. Although Georgetown lawyer Francis Scott Key and U.S. Agent for Exchange Colonel John S. Skinner successfully negotiated Beanes's release on the evening of September 7, they were forced to stay with the British fleet for the attack on Baltimore--leading to the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by the poetically inclined Key when he realized that despite a 25-hour bombardment by the British, the U.S. flag still flew above Fort McHenry.34

The British decision to attack Baltimore had been made hastily. General Ross told his aide Captain Harry Smith, who took his despatches on the attack on Washington to London, that he had no intention to attack the city.36 He let himself be persuaded by Cockburn to attempt the attack. He may have also been swayed by his victory at Bladensburg, feeling that the admiral was right and the militia could not stand up to his regulars. However, the general had made his decision to attack Baltimore based on scant intelligence of the situation in the city. Major General Samuel Smith, a Revolutionary War veteran, a wealthy merchant and U.S. senator with much to lose if the British sacked Baltimore, had energized the city, and extensive fortifications had been built to prevent Baltimore from suffering the same fate as Washington.37

On the morning of September 12, the British began to row ashore at North Point. Admiral Codrington wrote gleefully about the coming attack on Baltimore:

The work of destruction is now about to begin, and there will probably be many broken heads tonight. . . . I do not like to contemplate scenes of blood and destruction; but my heart is deeply interested in the coercion of these Baltimore heroes, who are perhaps the most inveterate against us of all the Yankees.38

Ross and Cockburn breakfasted at the Gorsuch house just north of Humphrey's Creek and an unfinished trench the Americans had begun across the peninsula. Here, the British took three American militia dragoons prisoner. Mr. Gorsuch's obsequiousness, reminiscent of the overly accommodating manner of Dr. Beanes, perhaps prompted the famous reply the general made to Gorsuch on whether he would be returning for supper: "I will sup in Baltimore tonight, or in hell!" Similarly, the relatively easy victory the British had obtained over the U.S. militia at Bladensburg may have led to him declaring to the three captured dragoons, "I don't care if it rains militia."

The British paid for their disdain for the American militia when General Ross was killed in a skirmish preceding the Battle of North Point on September 12, 1814
Ross's remark about the supposedly inept American militia would cost him dearly. Just after noon, he would be struck down by a bullet in a skirmish near the present-day Aquila Randall monument on Old North Point Road. The British had not counted on the fact that, unlike at Washington, the militia would come out to seek them out. General Smith had ordered Brigadier General John Stricker to march down to North Point with 3,200 militiamen the previous day. The Dublin-born general was struck down in a skirmish between his advance troops and men of the Fifth Regiment Maryland Militia.39

Colonel Brooke, who took over from the mortally wounded Ross, indicated by a later remark that he thought the shot that killed Ross was a lucky one. Listening to a Yankee boast that "our riflemen can shoot a duck through the head with a single ball at two hundred yards," he replied, "Very probably they are good shots, but you forget one thing--the poor duck was not a soldier with a red coat on his back, and a musket, with a bayonet at the end of it, in his hand, ready to fire and use the steel. That makes a deal of difference with regard to steady shooting."40

Brooke found Stricker's main troops drawn up in line facing him behind a fence and partly hidden by trees where the Patapsco Neck peninsula narrows between Bear Creek and Back River. Stricker had chosen his position well. The British had to advance over an open field to attack them. In the attack, Brooke's troops suffered losses of around 200, compared with 24 American dead and 139 wounded. Brooke sent the Fourth "King's Own" Regiment round to turn the American left flank, and although the Fourth got mired in the glutinous black mud by Back River the movement was enough to cause some collapse in the American line, with elements of the 39th and 54th Regiments beginning a retreat. However, encouraged by Stricker's aide, Major George Pitt Stevenson, the rest of Stricker's troops held, trading volleys with Brooke's seasoned Redcoats for some precious minutes. The Baltimorean citizen-soldiers had done their job, they had met the British Peninsula War veterans and caused them losses in a delaying action that the British had little expected. Stricker's brigade withdrew toward Baltimore in good order.41

The next day, in heavy rain, the British advanced toward Baltimore. Brooke viewed the extensive American entrenchments circling the eastern side of Baltimore. The sight startled him. He noted in his diary, "[I] found the enemy strongly posted, on a high hill, [with] a regular ditch, and strong redoubts, in short [I] saw it was impossible to attack them."42

The inadequacy of British intelligence concerning the defenses at Baltimore was now painfully obvious to the new British commander. Nevertheless, Brooke made plans for a night attack--until a note from Admiral Cochrane informed him that the Royal Navy had found it impossible to force a way past Fort McHenry. The admiral indicated it would be up to Brooke to decide whether to attack given the overwhelming force manning the Baltimore defenses--which the captured dragoons after the landing had told Ross amounted to 20,000 men, although the number was probably nearer 15,000. Cochrane also implied that such an attack might jeopardize other operations--possible attacks on New Orleans or Rhode Island. Not surprisingly, the colonel decided to withdraw. Brooke noted in his diary, "It would have been presumptuous in one, to say, I could take such a force without great loss, more especially, having only about four thousand men. . . . If I took the place, I should have been the greatest man in England. If I lost, my military character was gone forever."43

Not knowing that Brooke had decided to withdraw, Admiral Cochrane ordered a diversion--an attack at one o'clock on the morning of September 14 by barges under Captain Charles Napier. Fort McHenry commander Major George Armistead later claimed that the barges carried ladders to scale the walls of the fort. In any event, as at Craney Island, the barge attack failed miserably. Sailing Master John A. Webster, in command of Battery Babcock, an earthen fort armed with six 18-pound cannons to the west of Fort McHenry, detected the sound of the barges in the rainy, dark night, and he ordered his gunners to open up on the British barges. Webster's fusillade was follow by salvoes from nearby batteries and from Fort McHenry itself. The British suffered at least three dead and the loss of two barges, and they had to beat a retreat back to their ships. The British attack on Baltimore had failed by both land and sea.44

Years later, the commander of that ill-fated barge attack, now Admiral Sir Charles Napier, would reflect on the achievements of the United States in the War of 1812:

[T]he Americans owed their success in a great degree to our Government and naval officers holding them too cheap. . . . We unfortunately considered them far below the French in naval knowledge and gunnery, when they were actually superior to ourselves, having devoted much attention to that science, which we had shamefully neglected. . . . The Americans behaved with great bravery (and why should they not? they are our children).45

Admiral Cochrane wrote to London that the attack on Baltimore had only been a "demonstration." Others knew better. The naval lieutenant who escorted the flag-draped body of General Ross down to North Point to be shipped out to H.M.S. Tonnant and eventual burial at Halifax, Nova Scotia, wrote, "These Americans are not to be trifled with--"46


1.  "The Prince Regent's Speech to Parliament," quoted in The Gentleman's Magazine, November 1813, 488.

2.  Quoted in Walter Lord, The Dawn's Early Light. New York: W. W. Norton, 1972, 35.

3.  Quoted in Lord, 33.

4.  Lord, 37.

5.  Quoted in Lord, 44.

6.  Benjamin Franklin Stevens, Clinton-Cornwallis Controversy. London: n.p., 1888, 2:420.

7.  Lord, 52-3.

8.  Rear Admiral George Cockburn to Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, April 29, 1813, Cockburn Papers, Library of Congress.

9.  [Frederick Chamier, R.N.], The Life of a Sailor by a Captain in the Navy. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1833, 1:201.

10.  [Chamier], 1:200.

11.  Cockburn to Warren, April 29, 1813, op cit.

12.  [Chamier], 1:201.

13.  Lt. Gen. William Napier, The Life and Opinions of General Sir Charles Napier, G.C.B. 4 vols. London: John Murray, London, 1857, 1:225. Hereinafter, "Napier, Life and Opinions."

14.  [Chamier], 1:205.

15.  Napier, Life and Opinions, 1:225.

16.  John O'Neill notebook or diary, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library, Baltimore, MS 1846. Based on internal evidence in the document, John O'Neill was a sergeant in the 21st Regiment from Fortney near Dublin. He seems also to have been a combatant in the American Revolution. Several notations in the manuscript refer to him landing at daybreak "on the fifteenth of November. . . at KingsBridge"--evidently a reference to the British landing at King's Bridge at the north end of Manhattan prior to the British capture of Fort Washington on November 15, 1776. In 1814, Sgt. John O'Neill must have been a man at the least in his fifties.

17.  Napier, Life and Opinions, 1:224.

18.  Ibid., 222.

19.  Ibid., 219.

20.  Ibid., 217.

21.  Col. Sir Sidney Beckwith, "General Return of Killed, Wounded, and Missing of the Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, Drummers, & Rank and File in the Affair with the Enemy near Crany Island [sic], June 22, 1813," Admiralty Papers, Public Record Office, London. The mid-19th century U.S. historian Charles J. Ingersoll put the British loss at Craney Island at "about two hundred in killed, wounded and deserted. . . ." He speaks of the totality of the defeat but characterizes the attack as a "feeble" performance: "They were totally defeated with considerable loss; loss not only in lives, but of credit, for their attack was neither vigorous nor well sustained." Charles J. Ingersoll, Historical Sketch of the Second War between the United States and Great Britain. . . . 2 vols. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1845, 1:200.

22.  See J. Mackay Hitsman and Alice Sorby, "Independent Foreigners or Canadian Chasseurs," Military Affairs 1961;25(Spring):11-17. Also Col. Sir Thomas Sidney Beckwith to Admiral Warren, June 28, 1813, published in William S. Dudley, ed., The Naval War of 1812: A Documentary History. 3 vols. Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1988, 2:362-63, and Capt. John Myers to Brig. Gen. Robert B. Taylor, July 2, 1813 in T. H. Palmer, ed., The Historical Register of the United States. Part II. From the Declaration of War in 1812, to January 1, 1814. 4 vols. Washington, D.C.: T. H. Palmer, 2:267-69.

23.  Napier, Life and Opinions, 4:393.

24.  Lord, 21-25.

25.  Lady Bourchier, ed., Memoir of the Life of Admiral Sir Edward Codrington. 2 vols. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1:315.

26.  Lord, 197-209.

27.  Ibid., 59-130.

28.  Ibid., 130-83.

29.  Bourchier, ed., 1:316.

30.  Maj. Gen. Robert Ross to Elizabeth Ross, September 1, 1814, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast (hereinafter PRONI) D.2004/1A/3/8, quoted in Christopher T. George, "The Family Papers of Maj. Gen. Robert Ross, the Diary of Col. Brooke, and the British Attacks on Washington and Baltimore of 1814," Maryland Historical Magazine 1993;88(Fall):300-16.

31.  Brooke Diary, PRONI D.3004/D/2, quoted in George, op cit.

32.  Lord, 185-6.

33.  [G. R. Gleig], A Subaltern in America. Philadelphia: E. L. Carey & A. Hart, 1833, 45. Gleig understood Beanes to be a Scotsman, although Beanes was actually a fourth generation American of Scottish descent. See Caleb Clarke Magruder, Jr., "Dr. William Beanes, the Incidental Cause of the Authorship of the Star-Spangled Banner," Records of the Columbia Historical Society 1915;22:207-24.

34.  [G. R. Gleig], A Narrative of the Campaigns of the British Army at Washington, Baltimore, and New Orleans. Philadelphia: M. Carey and Sons, 1821, 105-6.

35.  Lord, 240-45, 292-93.

36.  G. C. Moore Smith, ed., The Autobiography of Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Smith Baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej G.C.B. 2 vols. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1902, 1:207.

37.  Lord, 227-39.

38.  Bourchier, ed., 1:319-20.

39.  Lord, 252-63.

40.  Vice-Admiral William Stanhope Lovell, R.N., K.H., Personal Narrative of Events, from 1799 to 1815. 2nd. ed. London: Wm. Allen & Co., London, 1879, 164.

41.  Lord, 264-69.

42.  Brooke diary, quoted in George, op cit.

43.  Ibid.

44.  Lord, 286-91.

45.  Maj. General Elers Napier, The Life and Correspondence of Admiral Sir Charles Napier, from Personal Recollections, Letters, and Official Documents. 2 vols. London: Hurst and Blackett, 1862, 1:74-5. Napier was the Scottish-born cousin of Irish-born Colonel Napier discussed earlier.

46.  Cochrane quote in Lord, 299. Lt. Gordon Gollie MacDonald, manuscript autobiography, New York Public Library.

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Related pages:
  Baltimore, Battle of
       Dissertations: 'The Hour of Peril ... is not yet past': Fall 1814 Baltimore Defense Plans 
       People: Brig. Gen. William H. Winder 
       People: Lt. George R. Gleig 
  George, Christopher T.
       Dissertations: A Real Mix-up: Who Tried to Blow up HMS Plantagenet? 
  Ross, Robert
       Battles: Battle of Baltimore 
       Battles: Battle of Bladensburg 
       Documents: Brig. Gen. John Stricker to Maj. Gen. Samuel Smith: Report on the Battle of North Point 
       People: Maj. Gen. Robert Ross 
       People: Rear Adm. George Cockburn 
  Star-Spangled Banner
       Documents: The Star-Spangled Banner 
       People: Francis Scott Key 
       People: Mary Young Pickersgill 

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Copyright © Christopher T. George, 2012