8.27.2014

Report of Adm. Cockburn to Adm. Cochrane on the burning of Washington

August 27, 1814
REAR ADMIRAL GEORGE COCKBURN, R.N., TO VICE ADMIRAL SIR ALEXANDER F. I. COCHRANE, R.N.
His Majesty's Sloop Manly off Nottingham Patuxent 27 August 1814
Sir
…(describes at some length his actions from 23 August when he traveled by land to Upper Marlborough, then to Bladensburg, describes the battle and the British victory, then describes the march to Washington and the destruction there.)
On taking Possession of the City we also set fire to the Presidents Palace, the Treasury, and the War Office, and in the morning Captain Wainwright went with a Party to see that the Destruction in the Navy Yard was Complete, when he destroyed whatever Stores and Buildings had escaped the Flames of the preceding Night— A large quantity of Ammunition and ordnance Stores were likewise destroyed by us in the Arsenal, as were about Two hundred pieces of Artillery of different Calibres, as well as a Vast quantity of small Arms. Two Rope Walks of a very extensive Nature, full of Tar, Rope &c. Situated at a considerable distance from the Yard were likewise set Fire to and consumed, in short Sir I do not believe a Vestige of Public Property, or a Store of any kind which could be converted to the use of the Government, escaped Destruction; the Bridges across the Eastern Branch and the Potowmac were likewise destroyed.
This general Devastation being completed during the day of the 25th, we marched again at Nine that night on our Return by Bladensburg to Upper Marlborough. We arrived yesterday Evening at the latter without molestation of any sort, indeed without a Single Musket having been fired, and this Morning we moved on to this place where I have found His Majesty's Sloop Manly, the Tenders, and the Boats, and I have hoisted my Flag pro tempore in the former— The Troops will probably march tomorrow or the next day at farthest to Benedict for re-embarkation, and this (British) Flotilla will of course join you at the same time.

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