8.20.2014

British march from Benedict to Nottingham

August 20, 1814
British March from Benedict, MD to Nottingham, MD
British soldier on the march from St. Benedict’s to Nottingham in search of Joshua Barney’s flotilla:
“” A rumour, indeed, prevailed, that a flotilla of gun-boats upon the Patuxent, commanded by the American Commodore Barney, was the point of attack; and that while the land force advanced up the river to prevent their retreat, armed boats from the fleet were to engage them in front……circumstances afterwards (caused) a change in the plan…...four o’clock in the afternoon,…the General …made his appearance… and the army began to move, (toward) Nottingham, a town situated on the river, where it was understood that the flotilla lay at anchor…..
Our march today was….extremely short, not more than six miles…It may seem strange, but it is nevertheless true, that during this short march of six miles a greater number of soldiers dropped out of the ranks, and fell behind from fatigue than I recollect to have seen in any march in the Peninsula of thrice its duration. The fact is that the men, from having been so long cooped up in ships, and unused to carry their baggage and arms, were become relaxed and enervated to a degree altogether unnatural; and this, added to the extreme sultriness of the day, which exceeded anything we had yet experienced, quite overpowered them. The load which they carried…was far from trifling, since, independent of their arms and sixty rounds of ball-cartridge, each man bore upon his back a knapsack, containing shirts, shoes, stockings etc, a blanket, a haversack, with provisions for three days, and a canteen or wooden keg filled with water…”

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