9.27.2014

Report of Admiral Cockburn on the destruction of Commodore Barney's flotilla


September 27, 1814
Resolution tender, off Mount Calvert 22nd August
Sir, I have the honour to inform you, that after parting from you at Benedict on the evening of the 20th inst. I proceeded up the Patuxent with the boats and tenders, the marines of the ships being embarked in them … being directed to follow us up the river, as far as might prove practicable. The boats and tenders I placed in three divisions…..about mid-day yesterday I…anchored …opposite Lower Marlborough, where I met the General (Ross), and where the army halted for some hours, after which he marched for Nottingham, and I proceeded on for the same place with the boats. On our approaching that town a few shots were exchanged between the leading boats and some of the Enemy’s cavalry; but the appearance of our army advancing caused them to retire with precipitation…..
On approaching Pig Point (where the Enemy’s flotilla was said to be), I landed the marines under Capt. Robyns, on the left bank of the river, and directed him to march round and attack , on the land side, the town situated on the point, to draw from us the attention of such troops as might be there for its defence and the defence of the flotilla; I then proceeded on with the boats, and as we opened the reach above Pig Point, I plainly discovered Commodore Barney’s broad pendant in the headmost vessel, a large sloop, and the remainder of the flotilla extending in a long line astern of her. Our boats now advanced towards them as rapidly as possible; but on nearing them, we observed the sloop bearing the broad pendant to be on fire, and she very soon afterwards blew up. I now saw clearly that they were all abandoned, and on fire, with trains to their magazines; and out of the 17 vessels which composed this formidable and so much vaunted flotilla, 16 were in quick succession blown to atoms, and the 17th (in which the fire had not taken) was captured. The commodore’s sloop was a large armed vessel; the others were gun-boats, all having a long gun in the bow and a carronade in the stern; the caliber of the guns and number of the crew of each differed in proportion to the size of the boat, varying from 32 pounders and 60 men, to 18 pounders and 40 men. I found here, lying above the flotilla, under its protection, 13 merchant schooners, some of which not being worth bringing away, I caused to be burnt; such as were in good condition I directed to be moved to Pig Point. While employed in taking these vessels, a few shot were fired at us by some of the men of the flotilla from the bushes on the shore near us; but Lieutenant Scott…. soon got hold of them, and made them prisoners. Some horsemen likewise showed themselves on the neighbouring heights, but a rocket or two dispersed them; and Capt. Robyns who had got possession of Pig Point without resistance, now spreading his men throughout the country, the Enemy retreated to a distance and left us in quiet possession of the town, the neighbourhood, and our prizes. – A large quantity of tobacco having been found in the town at Pig Pint, I have left Capt. Robyns, with the marines, and Capt. Nourse…. to hold the place and ship the tobacco into the prizes ….the major General, who has been good enough to send his aide-De-camp to inform me of his safe arrival with the army under his command at Upper Marlborough. – In congratulating you, Sir, which I do most sincerely on the complete destruction of this flotilla of the Enemy, which has lately occupied so much of our attention….
G. Cockburn, Rear-adm.

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