1814 - Battle of Bladensburg


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1814 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 308

determined Major-general Ross to make an immediate attempt upon the city of Washington, distant from Upper-Marlborough not more than 16 miles. At the desire of the major-general, the marine and naval forces at Pig point were moved over to Mount Calvert ; and the marines, marine-artillery, and a proportion of the seamen under Captains Palmer and Money, joined the army at Upper-Marlborough.

As if by concert, the American army retired from the long Old-Fields, about the same time that the British army advanced from Upper-Marlborough ; and the patroles of the latter actually occupied, before midnight, the ground which the former had abandoned. The American army did not stop until it reached Washington ; where it encamped, for the night, near the navy. yard. On the same evening upwards of 2000 troops arrived at Bladensburg from Baltimore. On the 24th, at daylight, General Ross put his troops in motion for Bladensburg, 12 miles from his camp ; and, having halted by the way, arrived, at about 11 h. 30 m. a.m., at the heights facing the village.

According to a letter of General Armstrong, the American secretary at war, to the editor of the " Baltimore Patriot, " General Winder had under his command, including the 15,000 militia he had been directed to call out, as many troops and seamen, as would make his total force, when assembled, 16,300 men ; but an American writer gives the details of the general's force, in which he includes 600 seamen, and makes the total amount to only 7593-men. Of artillery, the American army had on the field not fewer than 23 pieces, varying from 6 to 18 pounders. This army was drawn up, in two lines, upon very commanding heights, on the north of the turnpike-road leading from Bladensburg to Washington ; and, as an additional incitement to glory on the part of the American troops, their president was on the field.

The affair (for it hardly deserves the name of battle) of Bladensburg, ended, as is well known, in the rout of the Americans ; from whom 10 pieces of cannon were taken, but not above 120 prisoners, owing to the swiftness with which the enemy went off, and the fatigue which the British army, about 1500 of whom only were engaged, had previously undergone. The retreating American troops proceeded, with all haste, towards Washington ; and the British troops, including the rear-division, which, just at the close of the short scuffle, had arrived upon the ground, halted to take some refreshment. Had it not been for the American artillery, the loss of the British would have been very trifling. Under these circumstances, the loss, on the part of the army, amounted to one captain, two lieutenants, five sergeants, and 56 rank and file killed, two lieutenant-colonels, one major, one captain, 14 lieutenants, two ensigns, 10 sergeants, and 155 rank and file wounded, total, 64 killed and 185 wounded. The loss sustained by the naval department amounted

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