8.30.2014

Letter From Captain Peter Parker To His Wife The Night Before He Died

30 August 1814

Letter from Sir Peter Parker to his wife the night before he died in the Battle of Caulk’s Field:

H.M.S. Menelaus

August 30, 1814

My Darling Marianne:

I am just going on desperate service and entirely depend upon valor and example for its successful issue. If anything befalls me I have made a sort of will. My country will be good to you and our adored children. God Almighty bless and protect you all. Adieu, most beloved Marianne, Adieu!

Peter Parker

P.S. I am in high health and spirits

Letter From George Douglas on the Burning of Washington

August 30, 1814

Letter from George Douglas, Baltimore merchant and Private, Baltimore Fencibles to a friend in Boston and commenting on the burning of Washington and defense preparations in Baltimore:

“Every American heart is bursting with shame and indignation at the catastrophe… [at Washington].  All hearts and hands have cordially united in the common cause. Everyday, almost every hour, bodies of troops are marching in to our assistance… At this moment we cannot have less than 10,000 men under arms. The whole of the hills and rising grounds [Hampstead Hill] to the eastward of the city are covered with horse-foot and artillery exercises and training from morning until night…”


Captain Peter Parker (a British aristocrat) to his wife the night before he died


30 August 1814

Letter from Sir Peter Parker to his wife the night before he died in the Battle of Caulk’s Field: 

H.M.S. Menelaus
August 30, 1814

My Darling Marianne:

I am just going on desperate service and entirely depend upon valor and example for its successful issue. If anything befalls me I have made a sort of will. My country will be good to you and our adored children. God Almighty bless and protect you all. Adieu, most beloved Marianne, Adieu!

Peter Parker

P.S. I am in high health and spirits

Burning of Washington and Baltimore preparations


August 30, 1814

Letter from George Douglas, Baltimore merchant and Private, Baltimore Fencibles to a friend in Boston and commenting on the burning of Washington and defense preparations in Baltimore:

“Every American heart is bursting with shame and indignation at the catastrophe… [at Washington].  All hearts and hands have cordially united in the common cause. Everyday, almost every hour, bodies of troops are marching in to our assistance… At this moment we cannot have less than 10,000 men under arms. The whole of the hills and rising grounds [Hampstead Hill] to the eastward of the city are covered with horse-foot and artillery exercises and training from morning until night…”

British return to, and sail from, St. Benedicts, MD


30 August 1814
British soldier G.R. Gleig recounts:

“…(return to St. Benedict’s and) ...the boats of the fleet being ready to receive us, the regiments, one by one, marched down to the beach. We found the shore covered with sailors from the different ships of war, who welcomed our arrival with loud cheers; and having contrived to bring up a larger flotilla than had been employed in the disembarkation, they removed us within a few hours, and without the occurrence of any accident, to our respective vessels.

We cannot deny to General Ross the praise which is his due, of having planned and successfully accomplished an expedition (to overpower Washington) which none but a sagacious mind could have devised, and none but a gallant spirit carried into execution. Among the many important transactions which then occupied the public attention, the campaign at Washington was, I believe, but little spoken of; and even now, it is overwhelmed in the recollections of the all-engrossing Waterloo; but the time will probably come, when he who at the head of four thousand men penetrated upwards of sixty miles into an enemy’s country; overthrew an army more than double his own in point of numbers; took possession of the capital of a great nation, and having held it as long as it suited his own purposes to hold it, returned again in triumph to his fleet, will be ranked, as he deserves to be ranked, among the number of those who have most successfully contributed to elevate Great Britain to the height of military glory on which she now stands…

It has been said that the entire merit of this …is due, not so much to the brave man who conducted it, as to Sir George Cockburn, at whose suggestion it was undertaken. To the great gallantry and high talents of(Cockburn) no one who served within the compass of the Bay of Chesapeake will refuse to bear testimony…. But with whomsoever the idea first originated, to General Ross belongs the undivided (praise)of having carried it into effect. From Sir George Cockburn, and indeed from the whole fleet, the army received every assistance which it was in the power of the fleet to bestow; but had not Ross been at the head of the land forces, the capital of the United States would have suffered no insult.”

Letter to William C.C. Claiborne from Andrew Jackson

Head Quarters--7th. M. District Mobile
Augt 30th. 1814--

Sir,

        I have this moment by return of my confidential Agent from Pensacola, as well as from letters intercepted, recd. information which makes it necessary that the exportation of flour, corn, or other provisions, be immediately prohibited.
       I have isued orders accordingly, a Copy of which are inclosed. Your aid, and best exertions, are required, to carry this Order into complete effect.
       The Present intention of Britain, and Spain, combined, is to make an attack on this Place, and New Orleans. Part of the British force for this purpose, has landed at Pensacola, and the ballance, hourly expected--five hundred Indians were armed with muskets, and furnished each with Sixty rounds of Cartridges, whilst my informant was there--
      You must Summon up all your energy, your quota of militia must be in the field without delay, and the most rigid rules adopted, with all, who refuse, or hesitiate, to obey the Call; The greatest care and circumspection ought to be used in selecting sound hearted men as officers to this regt.
      Our country swarms with spies and traitors, a number will be passing to New Orleans to give information, and corrupt your citizens. You ought to have every avenue well watched with confidential patroles; any person detected in holding correspondence with our enemies, or Supplying them with provisions, must be brought before a Court martial & punished under the 56th. & 7th. Articles of the rules and Articles of War--A few examples will deter the rest; Our friends must be separated from our enemies; The threatened danger with which our country is surrounded, requires all our exertions & all its energies for its defence; with energy and union we will be able to drive the enemy into the Ocean-They are in great want of Provisions at Pensacola. A large Top-Sail Schoner belonging to Mr. Spow or Spo of that place, has sailed for New Orleans for them, if she can be known she ought to be seized; She is sent by Colo. Nicholls of the Royal Marines who is at Pensacola in Command of the British forces; She passed through the lakes to New-Orleans, and intends to evade Mobile Point, by Passing out to sea through some of the outlets that avoid the Fort--
        No vessel therefore unless loaded for the contractor with stores and provisions for the Army, must be permitted to sail from New-Orleans through the lakes. I repeat again that no provisions must be permitted to pass out--On the due execution of this order may depend our safety until we can get a competent force in the field, to become the assailants at every point we can reach an Englishman, Which I hope will be shortly--I have every thing in motion---The Country must and shall be defended. We have more to dread from Spies, and traitors, than from open enemies--Vigilence and Energy is only wanting and all is safe. I am in haste, yours Respectfully

                                                                                                                Andrew Jackson
                                                                                                                Majr. Genl. Comdg.

Courtesy of the Andrew Jackson Papers Project

8.29.2014

Battle of Bladensburg

August 29, 1814

Captain Barney reports on the Battle of Bladensburg:
CAPTAIN JOSHUA BARNEY, FLOTILLA SERVICE, TO SECRETARY OF THE NAVY JONES
Farm at Elk ridge August 29th 1814
Sir,
This is the first moment I have had it in my power to make a report of the proceedings of the forces under my command since I had the honor of seeing you on Tuesday the 23d at the Camp at the "Old fields," on the afternoon of that day we were informed that the Enemy was advancing upon us.
General Winder came to my Quarters and we made some arrangements. In the morning I received a note from General Winder and waited upon him, he requested me to take command, and place my Artillery to defend the passage of the Bridge on the Eastern Branch as the enemy was approaching the City in that direction, I immediately put my guns in Position, leaving the Marines & the rest of my men at the Barracks to wait further orders.
I was in this situation when I had the honor to meet you, with the President & heads of Departments, when it was determined I should draw off my Guns & men and proceed towards Bladensburgh, which was Immediately put into execution; on our way I was informed the enemy was within a mile of Bladensburgh. We hurried on, The day was hot, and my men very much crippled from the se-
vere marches we had experienced the preceding days before, many of them being without (?), which I had replaced that morning, I preceded the men and when I arrived at the line which separates the District from Maryland the Battle began. I sent an officer back to hurry on my men, they came up in a
trot, we took our position on the rising ground, put the pieces in Battery, posted the Marines under Capt, Miller and the flotilla men who were to act as Infantry under their own officers, on my right to support the pieces, and waited the approach of the Enemy.
During this period the engagement continued the enemy advancing,— our own Army retreating before them apparently in much disorder, at length the enemy made his appearance on the main road,
in force, and in front of my Battery, and on seeing us made a halt, I reserved our fire, in a few minutes the enemy again advanced, when I ordered an 18 lb. to be fired, which completely cleared the road, shortly after a second and a third attempt was made by the enemy to come forward but all were destroyed.
The enemy then crossed over into an Open field and attempted to flank our right, he was there met by three twelve pounders, the Marines under Capt. Miller and my men acting as Infantry, and again was totally cut up. By this time not a Vestige of the American Army remained except a body of 5 or 600 posted on a height on my right from whom I expected much support, from their fine situation, The Enemy from this period never appeared in force in front of us, they pushed forward their sharp shooters, one of which shot my horse under me, who fell dead between two of my Guns; The enemy who had been kept in check by our fire for nearly half an hour now began to out flank upon the right, our guns were turned that way, he pushed up the Hill, about 2 or 300 towards the Corps of Americans stationed as above described, who, to my great mortification made no resistance, giving a fire or two and retired.
In this situation we had the whole army of the Enemy to contend with; Our Ammunition was expended, and unfortunately the drivers of my Ammunition Wagons had gone off in the General Panic, at this time I received a severe wound in my thigh, Capt. Miller, was Wounded, Sailing Master Warner Killed, acting Sailing Master Martin Killed, & sailing Master Martin wounded, but to the honour of my officers & men, as fast as their Companions & mess mates fell at the guns they were instantly replaced from the Infantry. Finding the enemy now completely in our rear and no means of defence I gave orders to my officers and men to retire.
Three of my officers assisted me to get off a Short distance—but the great loss of blood occasioned such a weakness that I was compelled to lie down. I requested my officers to leave me, which they obstinately refused, but upon being Ordered they obeyed, one only remained. In a short time I ob-
served a British soldier and had him called, and directed him to seek an officer. In a few minutes an officer came, on learning who I was, brought General Ross & Admiral Cockburn to me.
Those officers behaved to me with the most marked Attention, respect, and Politeness, had a Surgeon brought and my wound dressed immediately, After a few minutes conversation the General Informed me, (after paying me a handsome compliment) that I was paroled and at liberty to proceed to Washington or Bladensburgh, as also Mr. Huffington who had remained with me, offering me every assistance in his power, giving orders for a litter to be brought in which I was carried to Bladensburgh;
Capt. Wainwright first Capt. to Admiral Cochrane remained with me and behaved to me as if I was a brother.
During the stay of the enemy at Bladensburgh I received the most polite attention from the officers of the Navy & Army.
My wound is deep, but I flatter myself not dangerous, the Ball is not yet extracted. I fondly hope a few weeks will restore me to health, and that an exchange will take place, that I may resume my Command or any other, that you and the President may think proper to honour me with.
Yours respectfully
Joshua Barney

Alexandria, VA Surrenders

29 August 1814
With no attempt at resistance, Alexandria VA surrenders to the British;
The Terms of Capitulation:
Gentlemen -
In consequences of a deputation yesterday received from the city of Alexandria, requesting favorable terms for the safety of the city, the under mentioned are the only conditions in my power to offer. The town of Alexandria, with the exception of public works, shall not be destroyed, unless hostilities are commenced on the part of the Americans, nor shall the inhabitants be molested in any manner whatever, or their dwelling houses entered, if the following articles are complied with:
  1. All naval and ordinance stores, public or private, must immediately be delivered up.
  2. Possession will be immediately taken of all the shipping and their furniture must be sent on board by the owners without delay. 
  3. The vessels that have been sunk must be delivered up in the state they were, on the 19th of August, the day the squadron passing the Kettle Bottoms.
  4. Merchandise of every description must be instantly delivered up, and to prevent any irregularity, that might be committed in its embarkation, the merchants have it at their option to load the vessels generally employed for that purpose, when they shall be towed off by us. 
  5.  All merchandise that has been removed from Alexandria, since the 19th inst. is to be included in the above articles.
  6. Refreshments of every description to be supplied [to] the ships, and paid for at the market price, by bills of the British government. 
Officers will be appointed to see that article No. 2, 3, 4 and 5, are strictly complied with, and any deviation of non-compliance, on the part of the inhabitants of Alexandria, will render this treaty null and void.
I have the honor to be, John A. Gordon, Captain of H.M. ship Sea Horse, and senior officer of H.M. ships off Alexandria. To the Common Council of the town of Alexandria.

Captain Barney report to Sec'y Of the Navy W. Jones on the Battle of Bladensburg


Captain Barney reports on the Battle of Bladensburg:
CAPTAIN JOSHUA BARNEY, FLOTILLA SERVICE, TO SECRETARY OF THE NAVY JONES
Farm at Elk ridge August 29th 1814
Sir,

This is the first moment I have had it in my power to make a report of the proceedings of the forces under my command since I had the honor of seeing you on Tuesday the 23d at the Camp at the "Old fields," on the afternoon of that day we were informed that the Enemy was advancing upon us.

General Winder came to my Quarters and we made some arrangements. In the morning I received a note from General Winder and waited upon him, he requested me to take command, and place my Artillery to defend the passage of the Bridge on the Eastern Branch as the enemy was approaching the City in that direction, I immediately put my guns in Position, leaving the Marines & the rest of my men at the Barracks to wait further orders.
I was in this situation when I had the honor to meet you, with the President & heads of Departments, when it was determined I should draw off my Guns & men and proceed towards Bladensburgh, which was Immediately put into execution; on our way I was informed the enemy was within a mile of Bladensburgh. We hurried on, The day was hot, and my men very much crippled from the severe marches we had experienced the preceding days before, many of them being without (?), which I had replaced that morning, I preceded the men and when I arrived at the line which separates the District from Maryland the Battle began. I sent an officer back to hurry on my men, they came up in a trot, we took our position on the rising ground, put the pieces in Battery, posted the Marines under Capt, Miller and the flotilla men who were to act as Infantry under their own officers, on my right to support the pieces, and waited the approach of the Enemy.

During this period the engagement continued the enemy advancing,— our own Army retreating before them apparently in much disorder, at length the enemy made his appearance on the main road, in force, and in front of my Battery, and on seeing us made a halt, I reserved our fire, in a few minutes the enemy again advanced, when I ordered an 18 lb. to be fired, which completely cleared the road, shortly after a second and a third attempt was made by the enemy to come forward but all were destroyed.

The enemy then crossed over into an Open field and attempted to flank our right, he was there met by three twelve pounders, the Marines under Capt. Miller and my men acting as Infantry, and again was totally cut up. By this time not a Vestige of the American Army remained except a body of 5 or 600 posted on a height on my right from whom I expected much support, from their fine situation, The Enemy from this period never appeared in force in front of us, they pushed forward their sharp shooters, one of which shot my horse under me, who fell dead between two of my Guns; The enemy who had been kept in check by our fire for nearly half an hour now began to out flank upon the right, our guns were turned that way, he pushed up the Hill, about 2 or 300 towards the Corps of Americans stationed as above described, who, to my great mortification made no resistance, giving a fire or two and retired.
In this situation we had the whole army of the Enemy to contend with; Our Ammunition was expended, and unfortunately the drivers of my Ammunition Wagons had gone off in the General Panic, at this time I received a severe wound in my thigh, Capt. Miller, was Wounded, Sailing Master Warner Killed, acting Sailing Master Martin Killed, & sailing Master Martin wounded, but to the honour of my officers & men, as fast as their Companions & mess mates fell at the guns they were instantly replaced from the Infantry. Finding the enemy now completely in our rear and no means of defence I gave orders to my officers and men to retire.

Three of my officers assisted me to get off a Short distance—but the great loss of blood occasioned such a weakness that I was compelled to lie down. I requested my officers to leave me, which they obstinately refused, but upon being Ordered they obeyed, one only remained. In a short time I observed a British soldier and had him called, and directed him to seek an officer. In a few minutes an officer came, on learning who I was, brought General Ross & Admiral Cockburn to me.

Those officers behaved to me with the most marked Attention, respect, and Politeness, had a Surgeon brought and my wound dressed immediately, After a few minutes conversation the General Informed me, (after paying me a handsome compliment) that I was paroled and at liberty to proceed to Washington or Bladensburgh, as also Mr. Huffington who had remained with me, offering me every assistance in his power, giving orders for a litter to be brought in which I was carried to Bladensburgh; 

Capt. Wainwright first Capt. to Admiral Cochrane remained with me and behaved to me as if I was a brother.
During the stay of the enemy at Bladensburgh I received the most polite attention from the officers of the Navy & Army. 

My wound is deep, but I flatter myself not dangerous, the Ball is not yet extracted. I fondly hope a few weeks will restore me to health, and that an exchange will take place, that I may resume my Command or any other, that you and the President may think proper to honour me with.

Yours respectfully
Joshua Barney