Statement of American Cavalry Commander at Bladensburg

October 31, 1814

Statement of Lt. Col. Lavall, commander of the American cavalry at Bladensburg:

“Our being elevated, and in a conspicuous position, the balls and rockets soon showered around us. I had no other chance to form any idea, having never been at the place before. We were too late to form any judicious arrangements, not knowing how the troops and batteries were disposed at Bladensburg…. Yet it has been wondered at why I did not cut to pieces four or five thousand British veteran troops with fifty-five men, all recruits, and upon raw horses; the most of them had not yet been purchased two weeks; the consequences are so obvious that I did not think myself justifiable to make so certain, so inevitable a sacrifice, without a hope of doing any good; there is a distinction between madness and bravery.

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