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Casebook: The War of 1812
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Rear Adm. George Cockburn
Rear Adm. George Cockburn
 Rear Adm. George Cockburn 
Cockburn, Rear Adm. George
b. 1772 - d. August 1853

Nationality: British

Allegiance: British

Category: Soldier

Summary:

   Before 1813, George Cockburn distinguished himself in the wars against France, eventually rising to the rank of rear admiral. He arrived in Chesapeake Bay in February of 1813, and immediately began a series of raids on coastal towns. Under his command, the British Navy seized Frenchtown, Havre de Grace, Georgetown, and Fredericktown, They confiscated the merchandise in the warehouses and stores before burning them. Following a similar attack on Hampton, Virginia, Cockburn was accused by some American journalists of turning a blind eye while some of his sailors looted private property and even committed rape. In August of 1814, Cockburn cornered Commodore Joshua Barney's fleet of gunboats up the Patuxent River with the intention of destroying them, a task Barney spared him by blowing up his own boats. Cockburn then accompanied General Ross on the overland march on Washington. When overall commander of the expedition, Admiral Cochrane recalled Ross's force, Cockburn convinced Ross to go on since there had been no appreciable American resistance this far. During the subsequent burning of Washington, Cockburn personally oversaw the destruction of the virulently anti-British newspaper, the National Intelligencer's offices. "Make sure that all the C's are destroyed," Cockburn reputedly told the soldiers, "so that the rascals can have no further means of abusing my name." Following the British failure to take Baltimore, Cockburn continued raiding in the Chesapeake area until the end of the war. After the famous British victory at Waterloo, Cockburn was charged with the command of the ship that took Napoleon to exile on St. Helena. He remained as the governor of that island until 1816. Cockburn became admiral of the fleet in 1851.

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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: Francis Scott Key 
       People: Lt. George R. Gleig 
       People: Mary Young Pickersgill 
  Ross, Robert
       Battles: Battle of Baltimore 
       Battles: Battle of Bladensburg 
       Dissertations: 'Chastising Jonathan': British Views of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake 
       Documents: Brig. Gen. John Stricker to Maj. Gen. Samuel Smith: Report on the Battle of North Point 
       People: Maj. Gen. Robert Ross 

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Copyright © Christopher T. George, 2012