8.19.2014

British soldier's description of British troops disembarking at St. Benedict's

19 August 1814
British soldier describes scene when British troops disembark at St. Benedict's on the eastern shore of the Patuxent River in Maryland:
“As soon as the dawn began to appear on the morning of the 19th, there was a general stir throughout the fleet. A gunbrig had already taken her station within a hundred and fifty yards of a village called St. Benedict’s….where…the disembarkation should be effected. Her broadside was turned toward the shore and her loaded with grape and round shot, were pointed at the beach, to cover the landing of the boats;…the boats were quickly hoisted…and the river as covered in a trice with a well-manned and warlike flotilla. …disembarkation was conducted with the greatest regularity and dispatch…..some…were obliged to row fourteen or fifteen miles backwards and forwards…by three o’clock in the afternoon the whole army was landed and occupied a strong position about two miles above the village….
…all things were in readiness to meet and repel opposition, should such be offered. Her broadside being pointed directly towards the village, whilst it hindered the enemy from bringing down troops in that direction, gave to our people an opportunity of forming…….
…three brigades…the first, or light brigade, consisted of the 85th…4th, 21st, and 44th regiments, with the party of disciplined negroes, and a company of marines, amounting to in all about eleven hundred men;….the second brigade, composed of the 4th and 44th regiments, which mustered together fourteen hundred and sixty bayonets….and the third, made up of the 21st and the battalion of marines equaling in number the second brigade…The whole of the infantry may, therefore, be estimated at four thousand and twenty men. Besides these, there were landed about a hundred artillery-men, and…drivers….there was not a single horse in the whole army. To have taken on shore a large park of artillery would have been, under such circumstances, absolute folly…(additional sailors landed ) and the whole number of men landed at St. Benedict’s may be computed at four thousand five hundred.”

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