U.S. NAVAL COMMAND: Baltimore - September 1814
On August 25, 1814, Commodore John Rodgers arrived in Baltimore with the officers, seamen and Marines from the U.S. Frigate Guerriere in Philadelphia. Captain O. H. Perry was then in Baltimore to take command of the new frigate Java, recently launched at Fells Point. On the 28th, Rodgers issued his "General Orders" concerning the naval command in Baltimore. Rodgers divided his "Naval brigade" of 1000 men into two regiments, one of which was commanded by Perry.
HEADQUARTERS, NAVAL COMMAND
Commodore John Rodgers
Master Commandant Robert T. Spence, Adjutant
Masters' Mate Robert Stockton, Aide-de-Camp
Purser Samuel Hambelton, Commissary
Col. John S. Skinner, Assistant Commissary
FIRST REGIMENT (Officers, Seamen & Marines of the Guerriere)
14 guns, 312 men, 170 U.S. Marines
Lt. Thomas Gamble, USN & Captain Alfred Grayson, USMC
7 guns, 80 seamen
Lt. Henry S. Newcomb, USN
SECOND REGIMENT (Officers, Seamen of the U.S. Chesapeake Flotilla)
(6) 18 Pdrs., 50 men
Sailing Master John A. Webster
22 guns, 338 men
Lt. Solomon Rutter, Senior Officer
(3) 18 Pdrs., 45 men
Lt. Solomon Frazier
Fort McHenry Water Battery:
(18) 18 Pdrs., 60 men
Sailing Master Solomon Rodman
(7) 18 Pdrs., 30 men
Lt. George Budd, USN
(1) 6 Pdr.
Sailing Master Leonard Hall, USN
U.S. Sloop of War Erie:
32 Guns, 24 men
Midshipman George N. Hollins
U.S. Sloop of War Ontario:
U.S. Frigate Java:
United States Chesapeake Flotilla 1813 - 1815
Revolutionary War naval hero and 1812-privateer captain, Joshua Barney submitted a plan for the defense of the Chesapeake Bay to the Secretary of the Navy on July 4, 1813. It called for a squadron of light-draft gunboats and barges armed with long guns or carronades. Such a force could engage British landing parties in the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The flotilla would be a special auxiliary unit of the U.S. Navy. The flotilla was approved and assembled.
In May, 1814, the flotilla sailed from Baltimore toward the mouth of the bay, finally encountering the enemy on the morning of June 1, 1814. After a brief engagement against the superior British force, the flotilla retired into the mouth of the Patuxent River where, at St. Leonard's Creek:
"Beginning on June 7, 1814, the Royal Navy dispatched wave after wave of armed barges, schooners, and rocket boats armed with a new weapon of terror, the Congreve Rocket, into the creek to destroy the flotilla on June 8th, 9th and 10th, they were soundly rebuffed each time."
(War on the Patuxent, 1814: A Catalog of Artifacts, By Fred W. Hopkins & Donald G. Shomette)
Barney and his flotillamen then enjoyed a brief respite. Finally, on August 19th, the arrival of the main British expeditionary forces forced the flotilla to retreat slowly up the Patuxent River. On August 22nd, Barney blew up the flotilla at Pig Point to prevent its capture.
The flotillamen then moved towards Bladensburg and, on August 24th, helped defend the city of Washington. They were overwhelmed and forced to retire with the remainder of the American army. Barney was wounded and captured by the British, but was allowed to return to his home where he recuperated for the remainder of the war.
After the capture of Washington, the 500 flotillamen rushed to Baltimore to help defend Fort McHenry and the city.
On February 15, 1815, the short-lived Flotilla Act was repealed by Congress.
******** AN AD FOR GOOD MEN ***********
Where an honorable and comfortable situation offers to men out of employ during the Embargo; where Seamen and Landsmen will receive two months pay advanced for aged parents, and widows for helpless children, the same manner; with the advantage of being near their families, and not to be drafted into the militia, or turned over into any other service, Apply to the recruiting officer, or JOSHUA BARNEY, Com'dt of the U.S. Flotilla. [Baltimore Federal Gazette, February 1814]
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