Battle of Bladensburg

On August 19th 1814 Major - General Robert Ross landed his troops and started marching up the Patuxent River, with Rear - Admiral George Cockburn and a naval division of light vessels in support. On the third day, Commodore Joshua Barney, U.S.N. had to destroy his own flotilla of gunboats to prevent them from being captured, he then withdrew his 400 seamen to defend the road leading from the village of Bladensburg to Washington.

Brigadier - General Winder who was captured at the Battle of Stoney Creek was in charge of the troops here. There were 120 dragoons and about 300 regular infantry as well as 1,500 militia. On August 24th, almost 5,000 additional American militia started to arrive on the battlefield that General Winder had selected to be on the Washington side of the village.

The American defensive position looked impressive, they were formed up in two lines on the heights. The advanced U.S. forces occupied a fortified house, and their artillery covered the bridge that the British would have to cross.

The American Secretary of War knew that a battle fought between militia and regular British forces would result in a British victory and he told President Madison this when the president rode out to view the battlefield.

The British fired some rockets and began crossing the bridge when the bulk of the American Militia broke and ran from the battlefield. Only Commodore Barney and his seamen made a real fight of it, until ordered by their badly wounded commander to withdraw to avoid being captured. The U.S. cannon took it's toll on the advancing British troops and cut large holes in the British lines crossing the bridge. But the British kept on advancing filling in the ranks where soldiers fell.

The charging British had 64 killed and 185 wounded while the U.S. forces lost 10 men killed and 12 wounded at what became known as "The Bladenburg Races"

After a few hours rest the British formed up and continued on toward Washington.

CLICK HERE to see the U.S. colours captured by the British and the Battle of Bladensburg.