British invasion and burning of Washington - 1814

Discussion in '1800-1914' started by James Pickering, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. James Pickering

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  2. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I'm given to understand that Washington was captured and burnt as a reply for US forces burning the town of Niagara on the Lake then known as Newark (first capital of Upper Canada) and Fort George. Interesting facts about this front are when war was declared the officers at Fort George were having a mess dinner with the American officers across the Niagara River in Fort Niagara they agreed to finish meal and start the war the next day . When Fort Niagara was captured it was only due to the fact that they neglected to lock the gate.
     
  3. James Pickering

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    Check out the above links -- Rear Admiral Cockburn (co-commander of the British forces) in particular insisted in the burning of Washington in retaliation for the American burning of York (present day Toronto) in 1813.
     
  4. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    This is from memory but i 'm pretty sure it was because of Newark if you get the opportunity you might try reading two books by an author called Pierre Berton which ilent but rere not returned
    The Invasion of Canada or Flames across the Border its the best I've read on the subject which is of interest to me because of my geograpic location as i live a rocks throw away from the Battle of Lundys Lane which was the most costly battle casualty wise in the war if there is anything in particular you wish ti know i might get ambitious and walk over to the war of 1812 museun
     
  5. James Pickering

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    No, it was as I outlined. It was to be a campaign of reprisal for perceived American atrocities the year before in York, capital of upper Canada, where they had burned and plundered public buildings and private property. The overall British commander was Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane and his orders were "to destroy and lay waste such towns and districts as may be assailable".

    The definitive reference is the award winning historical treatise:

    THE BURNING OF WASHINGTON, The British Invasion of 1814; Anthony S. Pitch; Naval Institute Press; Annapolis, Maryland; 1998.

    An excellent reference, which encapsulates the Canadian perspective, is:

    THE INCREDIBLE WAR OF 1812, A Military History; I. Mackay Hitsman; Robin Brass Studio; Toronto; 1999.
     
  6. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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  7. James Pickering

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    I personally would like to discuss Chippewa, Lundy's Lane and the naval battle on Lake Champlain in a separate thread in order to avoid "thread drift" here.
     
  8. James Pickering

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    The entire Chesapeake campaign, who's major objectives were the razing of Washington and the capture of Baltimore, was a combined navy/army operation under the shared command of Rear Admiral George Cockburn and Major General Robert Ross, with Cockburn functioning as senior commander on the water and Ross as senior commander on land. It is a great tribute to the military professionalism of both officers that they performed in complete accord and harmony until the unfortunate demise of Ross at the hand of an American sniper at the battle of North Point.
     
  9. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    It was a strange war at the battle of Queenston Heights the US forces crossed the niagara river took the heights which is about a 150 ft steep incline that stretches for miles but the US troops second wave refused to cross as they had only signed up on the condition that they were to remain in the US leaving the US troops that had crossed isolated.
     
  10. James Pickering

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    Commodore Joshua Barney and his gunboat flotilla played an important role in the defense of Washington, not so much on the water, but on land at the battle of Bladensberg where his sailors and marines were the most disciplined and stalwart defenders. His gunboats did, however, harass and impede the British amphibious operations. The American gunboats were a hodgepodge of the myriad designs (164) adopted over the years since President Jefferson prescribed the (ineffective) "gunboat navy" for coastal defense.

    The most advanced design was the twin "Mediterranean" galley gunboat (twin sail and rowing frame), 75ft between perpendiculars and armed with an 18 pounder long gun forward and a 24 pounder carronade aft:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Photos courtesy and permission of Giampaolo (JP) Cusati -- Italian master model builder


    The definitive on-line Joshua Barney web site is .....

    http://mason.gmu.edu/~chughes3/projecthome.html
     
  11. James Pickering

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    The later numbered gunboats were fitted with "turntable" pivot gun mounts which afforded 360 degree traverse. 18 pounder guns were favored because the recoil of 24 pounder guns proved to be excessive for boat stability when fired in broadside.

    [​IMG]
    Forward long gun

    [​IMG]
    Aft carronade

    Photos courtesy and permission of Giampaolo (JP) Cusati -- Italian master model builder
     
  12. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    There was also alot of Militia involved with that incident, so by this day they should mention us as well, whatever Im canadian im used to it.
     
  13. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    good info on the gunboats here some pics from Lundys Lane and Chippawa and Fort Erie
     

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  14. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    and some more
     

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  15. Nonskimmer

    Nonskimmer Active Member

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  16. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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  17. John Kory

    John Kory New Member

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    check out Flames Across the Border by Pierre Burton excellent book about cross border wars, great lake supremacy, and the burning of Washington.
     
  18. Karl Sitts

    Karl Sitts Member

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    All Canadian and British Members, Considering how things are going in Washington with President Bush, could we talk you all into burning Washington again?
     
  19. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Forget Bush, when you get to the crime in the Capital and mindless spending of Congress, burning the whole district would be a pretty good idea.
     
  20. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    :lol:
     
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