The Info List - Chesapeake Bay Flotilla

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War of 1812

Battle of St. Jerome Creek (1814) Battle of St. Leonard's Creek (1814) Battle of Queen Anne (1814) Battle of Bladensburg
Battle of Bladensburg
(1814) Battle of Baltimore
Battle of Baltimore


Notable commanders Commodore Joshua Barney

Chesapeake Campaign

Part of War of 1812

Date April, 1814 - February 15, 1815

Location Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, Washington D.C., Baltimore

Result American victory


 United States United Kingdom

Commanders and leaders

Joshua Barney Sir George Cockburn Sir John Warren Alexander Cochrane Robert Ross


4,370 sailors (with an additional 700 U.S. marines attached to naval force) Ships: Seven 75-foot (23 m) barges Six 50-foot (15 m) barges Two gunboats One row-galley One lookout boat and his flagship One 49-foot (15 m) sloop-rigged One self-propelled floating battery USS Scorpion, mounting two long guns and two carronades

Royal Navy British Army Royal Marines Colonial Marines 96 Ships: 11 ships of the line 34 frigates 52 other vessels

Casualties and losses

Artillery Scuttling
and burning of Flotilla
vessels minimal

The Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
was a motley collection of barges and gunboats that the United States
United States
assembled under the command of Joshua Barney, an 1812 privateer captain, to stall British attacks in the Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
which came to be known as the "Chesapeake Campaign" during the War of 1812. The Flotilla
engaged the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
in several inconclusive battles before Barney was forced to scuttle the vessels themselves on August 22, 1814. The men of the Flotilla
then served onshore in the defense of Washington, DC and Baltimore. It was disbanded on February 15, 1815, after the end of the war.

v t e

Chesapeake campaign

Havre de Grace Craney Island St. Michaels Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
Flotilla Bladensburg Washington Alexandria Caulk's Field North Point Baltimore Farnham Church


1 Formation 2 Flotillamen crews 3 Operations

3.1 Battle of St. Jerome Creek 3.2 Battle of St. Leonard's Creek 3.3 Battle of Queen Anne 3.4 Battle of Bladensburg 3.5 Battle of Baltimore

4 Flotilla
disbanded 5 Archeology 6 Honors 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Formation[edit] Joshua Barney
Joshua Barney
submitted a plan for the defense of the Chesapeake Bay to Secretary of the Navy William Jones on 4 July 1813. He estimated that a force consisting of gunboats and barges that could be sailed or rowed, manned by sailors and those in the shipbuilding industries, could engage British landing parties in the shallow waters of the Bay.[1] He set sail in April 1814 with these eighteen ships: seven 75-foot (23 m) barges, six 50-foot (15 m) barges, two gunboats, one row-galley, one lookout boat and his flagship, the 49-foot (15 m) sloop-rigged, self-propelled floating battery USS Scorpion, mounting two long guns and two carronades. Flotillamen crews[edit] The Flotillamen, totaling 4,370 men at their largest, were motley crews composed mainly of U.S. Navy sailors, merchant seamen, Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
watermen, privateers, free negros, and runaway slaves. Later, when they became shipless and on the march, from Benedict, Maryland, a battalion of 700 marines from the Washington Navy Yard, would join them, as they moved north to defend the Capital and make an abortive stand at Bladensburg, against the rapid British advance. Operations[edit] Battle of St. Jerome Creek[edit] On June 1, 1814, Barney's flotilla, led by Scorpion, were coming down Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
when it encountered the 12-gun schooner HMS St Lawrence (the former Baltimore
privateer Atlas), and boats from the 74-gun Third Rates HMS Dragon and HMS Albion near St. Jerome Creek. The flotilla pursued St Lawrence and the boats until they reached the protection of the two 74s. The American flotilla then retreated into the Patuxent River, which the British quickly blockaded. The British outnumbered Barney by 7:1, forcing the flotilla on June 7 to retreat into St. Leonard's Creek. Two British frigates, the 38-gun Loire and the 32-gun Narcissus, plus the 18-gun sloop-of-war HMS Jasseur, blockaded the mouth of the creek. The creek was too shallow for the British warships to enter; the flotilla outgunned, and hence was able to fend off, the boats from the British ships. Battles continued through June 10. The British, frustrated by their inability to flush Barney out of his safe retreat, instituted a "campaign of terror," laying waste to "town and farm alike" and plundering and burning Calverton, Huntingtown, Prince Frederick, Benedict and Lower Marlboro.[2] Among the British units that participated in the campaign were a battalion of Royal Marines
Royal Marines
and the Corps of Colonial Marines, a unit that the British had recruited from among former American slaves. Battle of St. Leonard's Creek[edit] On June 26, after the arrival of troops commanded by U.S. Army Colonel Decius Wadsworth, and U.S. Marine Captain Samuel Miller, Barney attempted a breakout. A simultaneous attack from land and sea on the blockading frigates at the mouth of St. Leonard's creek allowed the flotilla to move out of the creek and up-river to Benedict, Maryland, though Barney had to scuttle gunboats 137 and 138 in the creek. The British entered the then-abandoned creek and burned the town of St. Leonard, Maryland.[2] The British, under the command of Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, moved up the Patuxent, preparing for a landing at Benedict, Maryland. For several days the British Fleet bombarded the Flotilla
with cannon and Congreve rockets in an attempt to destroy it. August 11, 1814, the Flotilla
left St. Leonard’s Creek and sailed north up the Patuxent River. A plan had been discussed to transport the entire Flotilla overland from the port of Queen Anne to the South River and return it to the Bay. However, concerned that the Flotilla
would fall into British hands, Secretary of the Navy Jones ordered Barney to take his squadron as far up the Patuxent as possible, to Queen Anne, and scuttle the vessels should the British appear. On 22 August the British approached the Flotilla, and Barney ordered its destruction. He then force-marched the men from the flotilla and such cannons as were movable, to Washington D.C.
Washington D.C.
where they were to join the Battle of Bladensburg. Three active battalions of the Regular Army (1-4 Inf, 2-4 Inf and 3-4 Inf) perpetuate the lineages of the old 36th and 38th Infantry Regiments, both of which had elements that participated in the Battle of St. Leonard's Creek. Battle of Queen Anne[edit] On August 22, the British attempted to capture Barney's squadron at Queen Anne. In his report of the affair, the tactical commander, Admiral Sir George Cockburn wrote:

"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 seventeen vessels which composed this formidable and so much vaunted flotilla sixteen were in quick succession blown to atoms, and the seventeenth, in which the fire had not taken, were 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, but the calibre of the guns and the number of the crew of each differed in proportion to the size of the boat, varying from 32 pdrs. and 60 men, to 18 pdrs. and 40 men. I found here laying above the flotilla under its protection, thirteen 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. Whilst employed taking these vessels a few shots were fired at us by some of the men of the flotilla from the bushes on the shore near us, but Lieutenant Scott whom I had landed for that purpose, soon got hold of them and made them prisoners. Some horsemen likewise shewed themselves on the neighbouring heights, but a rocket or two depended them without resistance. Now spreading his men across the country the enemy retreated to a distance and left us in quiet possession of the town, the neighbourhood and our prizes."[3]

U.S. Marines along side sailors manning the cannons on August 23, 1814 at Bladensburg, from the Washington Navy Yard
Washington Navy Yard
were attached to the Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
to protect the flank of the naval force

Battle of Bladensburg[edit] On August 24, Barney and the flotilla participated in the Battle of Bladensburg. The Flotilla
stood their ground and the British suffered heavy casualties at the hands of Barney’s cannoneers. Barney received a serious wound to his thigh from a musket ball and since they were about to be overwhelmed by British regulars, ordered the Flotilla
to retreat. The Flotilla, along with the United States Marines from the Marine Corps Barracks at 8th and I Streets in Washington, D.C., commanded by Lt. Miller, were the last two American units to leave the battlefield. Battle of Baltimore[edit] Approximately 500 of the flotilla men then marched to Baltimore, joining others there, and were assigned to the U.S. Naval Command Second Regiment. They manned the following posts in the defense of Baltimore:

Position Officer in Command Men at Position

Battery Babcock Sailing Master John Webster 50 Men

Gun Barges Lt. Solomon Rutter 338 Men

Lazaretto Battery Lt. Solomon Frazier 45 Men

Ft Mchenry Water Battery Solomon Rodman 60 Men

Lazaretto Barracks ------- 114 Men

The Flotilla
manned these positions throughout the Battle of Baltimore, pitting sailor against sailor in fighting the British Fleet. The Flotilla
inflicted numerous casualties on the attacking British ships, especially during the attempted night assault on Battery Babcock by a Royal Marine landing party. Lt. Col. David Harris reported that Charles Messenger was killed in action at the Water Battery, and three other flotilla men wounded. Flotilla
disbanded[edit] After the Battle of Baltimore, the Flotilla
did not participate in any further engagements. On February 15, 1815, Congress repealed the short lived Flotilla
Act, and the Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
was officially disbanded.[citation needed] Archeology[edit] In 1978, a survey of the upper Patuxent River
Patuxent River
using a proton precession magnetometer located the fleet. Further study of the wrecks, including one vessel dubbed the Turtle Shell Wreck', followed in 1979. The Turtle Shell was lying in the main river channel near Wayson's Corner, and covered by five feet of mud, the ship was well preserved, although it appeared the bow was torn off in an explosion.[2] When the new Route 4 Hills Bridge was built in 1990, remnants of Barney's ships were found buried more than five feet below the riverbed.[citation needed] A replica of one of Joshua Barney's gunboats today sits in Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Bladensburg, Maryland. Honors[edit]

U.S. Navy Honor Guard salute during August 23, 2014 dedication of official Battle Of Bladensburg Memorial by the State of Maryland, with the bronze relief sculpture showing a wounded Commodore Joshua Barney fighting alongside an unidentified marine and Flotilla
sailor, Charles Ball

See also[edit]

brown water navy small unit riverine craft Special
Boat Service Special
Operations Craft – Riverine (SOC-R) special warfare combatant-craft crewmen river gunboat United States
United States
Naval Special
Warfare Command Yangtze Patrol


^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-06-30.  Manacle,Rick+Brian Auer ^ a b c Shomette, Donald (1982). Shipwrecks on the Chesapeake. Centreville, Maryland: Tidewater Publishers. pp. 87–93. ISBN 0-87033-283-X.  ^ "Cockburn to Cochrane, August 22, 1814, Cockburn Papers, XXIV". 22 August 1814.  first1= missing last1= in Authors list (help)

External links[edit]

[1] Joshua Barney's Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
Flotilla The Road to Washington The Scorpion - Dictionary of American Fighting Ships Riverine Warfare: The U.S. Navy's Operations on Inland Waters

v t e

United States
United States
Navy Squadrons

19th Century

Africa Squadron Brazil Squadron Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
Flotilla East India Squadron Home Squadron Mediterranean Squadron Mosquito Fleet New Orleans Squadron Pacific Squadron West Indies Squadron

Civil War

Atlantic Blockading Squadron East Gulf Blockading Squadron Mississippi River Squadron North Atlantic Blockading Squadron Potomac Flotilla South Atlantic Blockading Squadron West Gulf Blockading Squadron West India Squadron

Post-Civil War

Asiatic Squadron Bering Sea Squadron European Squadron Flying Squadron North Atlantic Squadron North Pacific Squadron Pacific Station South Atlantic Squadron South Pacific Squadron Special
Service Squadron Squadron of Evolution

v t e

Conflicts of the War of 1812

Battles of the War of 1812

United States

Washington, D.C.

Burning of Washington


Battle of Fort Peter


Battle of New Orleans Siege of Fort St. Philip


Battle of Baltimore Battle of Bladensburg Battle of Caulk's Field Battle of North Point Battle of St. Michaels Raid on Havre de Grace


Battle of Hampden

New York

Battle of Big Sandy Creek Battle of Buffalo Battle of Ogdensburg Battle of Plattsburgh Capture of Fort Niagara Raid on Black Rock Second Battle of Sacket's Harbor


Battle of Fort Stephenson Copus massacre Siege of Fort Meigs


Battle of Craney Island Raid on Alexandria Skirmish at Farnham Church Battle of Rappahannock River

U.S. territories


Battles of Fort Bowyer


Battle of Fort Dearborn Battle of Rock Island Rapids Siege of Prairie du Chien


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Battle of Brownstown Battle of Frenchtown Battle of Mackinac Island Battle of Maguaga Siege of Detroit Siege of Fort Mackinac


Battle of Burnt Corn Battle of Callabee Creek Canoe Fight Battle of Holy Ground Battle of Horseshoe Bend Battle of Talladega Battle of Tallushatchee Battles of Emuckfaw and Enotachopo Creek Fort Mims massacre Kimbell–James Massacre


Battle of Credit Island Battle of the Sink Hole

British North America

Lower Canada

Battle of the Chateauguay First Battle of Lacolle Mills Second Battle of Lacolle Mills

Upper Canada

Battle of Beaver Dams Battle of Chippawa Battle of Cook's Mills Battle of Crysler's Farm Battle of Fort George Battle of Frenchman's Creek Battle of Longwoods Battle of Lundy's Lane Battle of Malcolm's Mills Battle of Queenston Heights Battle of Stoney Creek Battle of the Thames Battle of York Capture of Fort Erie Raid on Elizabethtown Raid on Port Dover Raid on Gananoque Siege of Fort Erie

Spanish Empire

Spanish Florida

Battle of Pensacola

Naval battles

Atlantic Ocean

Capture of HMS Boxer Capture of HMS Cyane Capture of HMS Epervier Capture of HMS Frolic Capture of HMS Penguin Capture of HMS Dominica Capture of USS Argus Capture of USS Chesapeake Capture of USS President Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
Flotilla USS Constitution vs HMS Java Sinking of HMS Avon Battle of Fayal Sinking of HMS Peacock Sinking of HMS Reindeer USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere USS United States
United States
vs HMS Macedonian

Caribbean Sea

Battle of La Guaira

Great Lakes

Battle of Lake Erie Battle of Fort Oswego Engagements on Lake Huron Engagements on Lake Ontario First Battle of Sacket's Harbor

Gulf Coast

Action of 13 December 1814 Battle of Lake Borgne

Pacific Ocean

Action off James Island Action off Charles Island Nuku Hiva Campaign Battle of Valparaiso (Capture of USS Essex)

See also: American Indian Wars, Creek War, Napoleonic Wars, and Tecumseh's War

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