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He was afterwards cashiered by sentence
of court martial. On the 29th, Captain Gordon, the senior officer,
anchored his force before Alexandria, of which he kept possession for
three days. Upon withdrawing, he carried away all the merchantmen that
were seaworthy, having loaded them with merchandise awaiting
exportation. Energetic efforts were made by Captains Rodgers, Perry,
and Porter, of the American Navy, to molest the enemy's retirement by
such means as could be extemporized; but both ships and prizes
escaped, the only loss being in life: seven killed and forty-five
wounded.

After the burning of Washington, the British main fleet and army moved
up the Chesapeake against Baltimore, which would undoubtedly have
undergone the lot of Alexandria, in a contribution laid upon shipping
and merchandise. The attack, however, was successfully met. The
respite afforded by the expedition against Washington had been
improved by the citizens to interpose earthworks on the hills before
the city. This local precaution saved the place. In the field the
militia behaved better than at Bladensburg, but showed, nevertheless,
the unsteadiness of raw men. To harass the British advance a body of
riflemen had been posted well forward, and a shot from these mortally
wounded General Ross; but, "imagine my chagrin, when I perceived the
whole corps falling back upon my main position, having too credulously
listened to groundless information that the enemy was landing on Back
River to cut them off."[383]

The British approached along the narrow strip of land between the
Patapsco and Back rivers. The American general, Stricker, had
judiciously selected for his line of defence a neck, where inlets from
both streams narrowed the ground to half a mile. His flanks were thus
protected, but the water on the left giving better indication of being
fordable, the British directed there the weight of the assault. To
meet this, Stricker drew up a regiment to the rear of his main line,
and at right angles, the volleys from which should sweep the inlet.
When the enemy's attack developed, this regiment "delivered one random
fire," and then broke and fled; "totally forgetful of the honor of the
brigade, and of its own reputation," to use Stricker's words.[384]
This flight carried along part of the left flank proper. The remainder
of the line held for a time, and then retired without awaiting the
hostile bayonet. The American report gives the impression of an
orderly retreat; a British participant, who admits that the ground was
well chosen, and that the line held until within twenty yards, wrote
that after that he never witnessed a more complete rout. The invaders
then approached the city, but upon viewing the works of defence, and
learning that the fleet would not be able to co-operate, owing to
vessels sunk across the channel, the commanding officer decided that
success would not repay the loss necessary to achieve it. Fleet and
army then withdrew.

The attacks on Washington and Baltimore, the seizure of Alexandria,
and the general conduct of operations in the Chesapeake, belong
strictly to the punitive purpose which dictated British measures upon
the seaboard. Similar action extended through Long Island Sound, and
to the eastward, where alarm in all quarters was maintained by the
general enterprise of the enemy, and by specific injury in various
places. "The Government has declared war against the most powerful
maritime nation," wrote the Governor of Massachusetts to the
legislature, "and we are disappointed in our expectations of national
defence. But though we may be convinced that the war was unnecessary
and unjust, and has been prosecuted without any useful or practicable
object with the inhabitants of Canada, while our seacoast has been
left almost defenceless, yet I presume there will be no doubt of our
right to defend our possessions against any hostile attack by which
their destruction is menaced." "The eastern coast," reports a journal
of the time, "is much vexed by the enemy. Having destroyed a great
portion of the coasting craft, they seem determined to enter the
little outports and villages, and burn everything that floats."[385]
On April 7, six British barges ascended the Connecticut River eight
miles, to Pettipaug, where they burned twenty-odd sea-going
vessels.[386] On June 13, at Wareham, Massachusetts, a similar
expedition entered and destroyed sixteen.[387] These were somewhat
large instances of an action everywhere going on, inflicting
indirectly incalculably more injury than even the direct loss
suffered; the whole being with a view to bring the meaning of war
close home to the consciousness of the American people. They were to
be made to realize the power of the enemy and their own helplessness.

An attempt looking to more permanent results was made during the
summer upon the coast of Maine. The northward projection of that
state, then known as the District of Maine,[388] intervened between
the British provinces of Lower Canada and New Brunswick, and imposed a
long détour upon the line of communications between Quebec and
Halifax, the two most important military posts in British North
America. This inconvenience could not be remedied unless the land in
question were brought into British possession; and when the end of the
war in Europe gave prospect of a vigorous offensive from the side of
Canada, the British ministry formulated the purpose of demanding there
a rectification of frontier. The object in this case being
acquisition, not punishment, conciliation of the inhabitants was to be
practised; in place of the retaliatory action prescribed for the
sea-coast elsewhere.

Moose Island, in Passamaquoddy Bay, though held by the United States,
was claimed by Great Britain to have been always within the boundary
line of New Brunswick. It was seized July 11, 1814; protection being
promised to persons and property. In August, General Sherbrooke, the
Governor of Nova Scotia, received orders "to occupy so much of the
District of Maine as shall insure an uninterrupted communication
between Halifax and Quebec."[389] His orders being discretional as to
method, he decided that with the force available he would best comply
by taking possession of Machias and the Penobscot River.[390] On
September 1, a combined naval and army expedition appeared at the
mouth of the Penobscot, before Castine, which was quickly abandoned. A
few days before, the United States frigate "Adams," Captain Charles
Morris, returning from a cruise, had run ashore upon Isle au Haut, and
in consequence of the injuries received had been compelled to make a
harbor in the river. She was then at Hampden, thirty miles up. A
detachment of seamen and soldiers was sent against her. Her guns had
been landed, and placed in battery for her defence, and militia had
gathered for the support necessary to artillery so situated; but they
proved unreliable, and upon their retreat nothing was left but to fire
the ship.[391] This was done, the crew escaping. The British
penetrated as far as Bangor, seized a number of merchant vessels, and
subsequently went to Machias, where they captured the fort with
twenty-five cannon. Sherbrooke then returned with the most of his
force to Halifax, whence he issued a voluminous proclamation[392] to
the effect that he had taken possession of all the country between the
Penobscot and New Brunswick; and promised protection to the
inhabitants, if they behaved themselves accordingly. Two regiments
were left at Castine, with transports to remove them in case of attack
by superior numbers. This burlesque of occupation, "one foot on shore,
and one on sea," was advanced by the British ministry as a reason
justifying the demand for cession of the desired territory to the
northward. Wellington, when called into counsel concerning American
affairs, said derisively that an officer might as well claim
sovereignty over the ground on which he had posted his pickets. The
British force remained undisturbed, however, to the end of the war.
Amicable relations were established with the inhabitants, and a brisk
contraband trade throve with Nova Scotia. It is even said that the
news of peace was unwelcome in the place. It was not evacuated until
April 27, 1815.[393]

FOOTNOTES:

[348] "Some Account of the Life of Sir George Prevost." London, 1823,
pp. 136, 137. The author has not been able to find the despatch of June
3, 1814, there quoted.

[349] Warren to Croker, Feb. 26, 1813. Admiralty In-Letters MSS.

[350] Croker to Warren, March 20, 1813. Admiralty Out-Letters.

[351] Warren to Croker, Jan. 28, 1814. Canadian Archives MSS.

[352] Cochrane to Bathurst, July 14, 1814. War Office In-Letters MSS.

[353] Bathurst's Instructions to the officer in command of the troops
detached from the Gironde. May 20, 1814. From copy sent to Cochrane.
Admiralty In-Letters, from Secretary of State.

[354] Gallatin to Monroe, London, June 13, 1814. Adams' Writings of
Gallatin, vol. i. p. 627.

[355] Sinclair, Erie, May 13, 1814. Captains' Letters.

[356] Cruikshank's Documentary History of the Campaign of 1814, p. 18.

[357] Ibid., p. 74.

[358] Cruikshank's Documentary History, pp. 414, 415.

[359] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, vol. iii. pp. 693, 694.

[360] Cochrane to Prevost, July 26, 1814. Canadian Archives MSS., C.
684, p. 231.

[361] Report on Canadian Archives, 1896, p. 54.

[362] Life of Sir Edward Codrington, vol. i. p. 313.

[363] See Map of Chesapeake Bay, ante, p. 156.

[364] This account of Barney's movements is summarized from his letters,
and others, published in Niles' Register, vol. vi. pp. 244, 268, 300.

[365] Report of Admiral Cochrane, Naval Chronicle, vol. xxxii. p. 342.

[366] Report of Admiral Cochrane, Naval Chronicle, vol. xxxii. p. 342.

[367] American State Papers, Military Affairs, vol. i. p. 524.

[368] The finding of the Court of Inquiry was published in Niles'
Register for Feb. 25, 1815, from the official paper, the National
Intelligencer. Niles, vol. vii. p. 410.

[369] Report of Secretary Armstrong to a Committee of the House of
Representatives.



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