Thursday, June 13, 2013

Com. Barney, to the Secretary of the Navy, dated Patuxent, St. Leonard's Creek, June 9th, 1814

                                                                                          WASHINGTON, JUNE 11.
Extract of a letter from Com. Barney, to the Secretary of the Navy, dated Patuxent, St. Leonard's Creek, June 9th, 1814.[1]
               "Since mine of the 3d and 4th inst. the enemy has been reinforced with a Razee and a sloop of war brig; I then moved up to the mouth of this creek. _ At [5] A. M. yesterday we perceived one ship, a brig, two schooners, and 15 barges coming up the Patuxent, the wind at East.  I got the flotilla under way and moved up the creek about two miles, and moored in line, abreast, across the channel, and prepared for action.  At 8 A. M. the enemy's barges came up the creek; the ship, &c. anchored at the mouth of the Creek; a Rocket barge [2] was advanced upon us; we fired several shot to try the distance, which fell short.  I got my barges (13 in number,) under way, leaving the Scorpion [3] and gunboats at anchor[.] and rowed down upon them, when they precipitately fled from their position behind a point and sailed and rowed off with all their means.  We pursued them until near the shipping - fired several shot among them, when we returned to our morrings.  In the afternoon they came up again --again threw rockets, and were again pursued out of the creek.  The militia under col. Taney [4] are on the alert.  I am this moment informed the ship, &c, have entered the mouth if the creek.[5]  

The shape and arrangement of sails on an American privateer schooner, brig or brigantine, are quickly movable to much more radical angles. English seamen have written that they saw privateers escaping "sailing directly into the wind." -  
Credit:   US Navy Historical Center

[1] The First Battle of St. Leonard’s Creek: 10 June 1814. Naval History Blog. 2010. {accessed June 13, 2013]

"The battle off Cedar Point, Maryland, on 1 June ended in a draw with the Americans retreating to the safety of St. Leonard’s Creek, Maryland, and the British waiting in the Patuxent River for a reinforcement of smaller, more maneuverable vessels. The British took this potential threat to their naval supremacy in the bay very seriously.

Twice-daily attacks by the British on 8-9 June ended inconclusively. Barney, not relishing a defensive posture, planned a surprise counterattack. On the afternoon of 10 June, as soon as the British boats entered St. Leonard’s Creek, Barney ordered his barges (dismasted for greater speed) to attack the enemy. After a spirited fight, the British disengaged and the Americans pursued, catching the blockading force in the Patuxent unprepared for battle. For a brief time the Americans were ascendant, but soon the British flotilla chased the Americans back to their anchorage. Thus concluded the first battle of St. Leonard’s Creek or the battle of the barges.'"

[2] These are the famous Congreve rockets of "red glare" fame in the U. S. national anthem.

[3] USS Scorpion was a self-propelled floating artillery battery in commission with the United States Navy from 1812 to 1814. The Scorpion was sloop-rigged and could also be propelled by oars. She probably was built under contract for the U.S. Navy in 1812 for service during the War of 1812.  from Wikipedia

[4] Archives of Maryland  (Biographical Series) Michael Taney (b. 1750 - d. 1820) MSA SC 5496-050789
War of 1812 Claimant, Calvert County, Maryland

"Michael Taney was born in 1750 to Michael and Jane (Doyne) Taney in Calvert County, Maryland. He was commonly called Miles by his close family and friends. He attended the college of English Jesuits at St. Omer's and later at Bruge, France. Taney married Monica Brooke (1752-1814) on June 25, 1771, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in St. Mary's County. They had the following children: Michael, Roger Brooke (1777-1864), Augustus (1787-1823), Octavius C. (?-1832), Dorothy, Sophia Y., and Alice.

    Taney was involved in Calvert County society, working as a coroner from 1777-1785. He served as the first Lieutenant of the Calvert County Militia from 1776-1778, as a member of the Lower House, Calvert County, from 1781-82, 1784-88, and 1797-98, and as Lieutenant-Colonel, 31st Maryland Regiment, from 1812-1815. As a member of the House of Delegates, Taney moved to abolish property qualifications for voting or holding office in 1797. His sons Michael, Roger, and Octavius all later served in public offices.

    Michael Taney owned approximately twenty-seven slaves in Calvert County, employing an overseer named William Brinkley. In 1814, British officers under the command of Captain Joseph Nourse forcibly removed twenty-one of Taney's slaves from his property, lying on the Patuxent River. The slaves were taken to Captain Nourse's ship, the Severn. Taney believed that his slaves were carried down to the Tangier Islands. At the time Michael Taney relocated his family, furniture, and stock a safe distance away from the family home.

    On July 1, 1819, Taney killed his neighbor John Magruder in a duel. He fled to Virginia, and on July 15, 1819, he conveyed all of his property to his sons, Roger and Octavius C. They, in turn, were to pay him $1,000 a year from the profits of the estate. Michael Taney died circa March 1820, in Loudon County, Virginia, from injuries sustained in a fall from a horse. Two of Taney's slaves returned his body to Maryland for burial in the family cemetery in Calvert County, Maryland."

His son Roger Brooke Taney was born in Calvert County, Maryland, on March 17, 1777.

[5] Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser.; Date: 06-13-1814; Volume: 3; Issue: 139; Page: [2]; Location: Baltimore, Maryland.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, June 13th, 2013.

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