Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The "War of 1812" Comes Closer to Bladensburg, Maryland, May 1814

                              Leonard town, Md May 3.

On Wednesday last, a part of the enemy's squadron, consisting of a 74 (perhaps the Dragon, captain Barrie,)[1] and three large schooners ascended the Potomac as high aa Montalbino, the seat of major Somerville.[2]  Some barges endeavored to burn a vessel in Britain's Bay but were repelled by the militia; they afterwards took possession of Blackstone's and St. George's Islands, for the purpose of watering; on Sunday another ship and brig came into the river, and at sun set last evening (Monday) then were all under way standing towards the Chesapeake.  About noon, yesterday, there was a severe skirmish between the barges, with two privateer schooners, and the Westmoreland militia near Pi[][]tone - the fire continued with great vivacity for at least an hour, after which the boats retired - N. Int. [3]

HMS Dragon (? labelled HMS Fame) off Endoume, Marseille 
24 July 1823 
Jean Meissonnier, Voiliers de l'Époque romantique, Edita Lausanne, 1991, ISBN 2-88001-273-2, p.53

[1] HMS Dragon was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 2 April 1798 at Rotherhithe. In the British Royal Navy, a third rate was a ship of the line which from the 1720s mounted between 64 and 80 guns, typically built with two gun decks (thus the related term two-decker). Years of experience proved that the third rate ships embodied the best compromise between sailing ability (speed, handling), firepower, and cost. So, while first rates and second rates were both larger and more powerful, the third-rate ships were in a real sense the optimal configuration. Sir Robert Barrie KCB, KCH (5 May 1774 – 7 June 1841) was a British officer of the Royal Navy noted for his service in the War of 1812. Barrie took command of the 74-gun third rate HMS Dragon in October 1812, and sailed to America during the War of 1812. He participated in the blockade of Chesapeake Bay. He served as the commodore of the squadron for several months, and captured over 85 vessels. His squadron blockaded the Patuxent River between June and August. In September 1814. from Wikipedia.

[2] William Clarke Somerville was born in St. Mary's County, Maryland on March 25, 1790. At different times in his life he owned: Mulberry Fields, which he inherited from his father; Sotterley, which he won from his brother in law in a dice game; and Stratford Hall, the birthplace of Robert E. Lee. He later renamed Mulberry Fields to Montalbino. During the War of 1812 Somerville served in the 12th Regiment of Maryland Militia, based in St. Mary's County, Maryland.  from Wikipedia.

[3] Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser.; Date: 05-07-1814; Volume: 3; Issue: 108; Page: [2]; Location: Baltimore, Maryland.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, May 7th, 2013. 

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