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justice to commodore Barney, we shall here introduce general Wilkinson's statement upon the subject. Cockburn," says the general, "with his barges, pursued Barney's flotilla, which had, by order of president Madison, been unfortunately abandoned, and was, without resistance, blown up; when it will be apparent to every competent judge, that, from the narrowness of the channel, the commodore could have defended himself, and repulsed any floating force the eneury could have brought against him; and his flanks were well secured, by the extent of the marches on both sides of the river.”*
Mr. Thomson has found out, that general Ross, while on his march, avoided an engage. ment with an inferior number of American troops. Having previously stated the British force at "about 6000 regulars, seamen, and marines,” being 1000 more than Mr. O'Connor, and 2000 more than doctor Smith makes them, Mr. Thom son says:"The enemy approached the wood yard, a position 12 miles only from the city, and at which general Winder's forces were drawn up. These consisted of about 5000 men, and offered battle to the British troops. But general Ross, upon reaching the neighbourhood of Nottingham, turned to his right, and took the road to Marlborough, upon which general Winder fell back to Battalion Old Fields, about eight miles * Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. I. p. 766.
from the city." the British were actually pursued, he, in the very next paragraph, declares, that "several prisoners" were taken. As general Ross, after stating the landing of the army, says merely"On the 21st it reached Nottingham," we should have only the improbability of the thing to oppose to Mr. Thomson's gasconade, had not general Wilkinson touched upon the subject. "On the morning of the 22d," says the general, "the cavalry of Laval and Tilghman, say 200 men, with the regular troops, under lieutenantcolonel Scott, about 400 strong, were ordered to advance towards Nottingham, and reached Oden's house, where they were soon followed by major Peter, with six 6-pounders, flying artillery, and a detachment of about 250 select men. General Ross marched from Nottingham, the same morning, by the chapel road leading to Marlborough; and, on discovering the American troops, made a detachment to his left to meet them, which advanced to the foot of the hill near Oden's house, when the American troops fell back, and the enemy resumed their march." t
To make it appear, also, that
On the afternoon of the 22d, general Ross, with the troops, arrived, and encamped, at the town of Upper Marlborough, situate about four Sketches of the War, p. 334.
+ Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. I. p. 705.
miles up the western branch of the Patuxent. The men, therefore, after having been nearly three months on board ship, had, in less than three days, marched 40 miles; and that in the month of August, when the sultriness of the climate could scarcely be tolerated. We may form some idea of the military obstacles that might have presented themselves during the march, by the observations of general Wilkinson. "Not a single bridge,” says he, “ was broken, not a causeway destroyed, not an inundation attempted, not a tree fallen, not a rood of the road obstructed, nor a gun fired at the enemy, in a march of near 40 miles, from Benedict to Upper Marlborough, by a route on which there are 10 or a dozen difficult defiles; which, with a few hour's labour, six pieces of light artillery, 300 infantry, 200 riflemen, and 60 dragoons, might have been defended against any force that could approach them: such is the narrowness of the road, the profundity of the ravines, the steepness of the acclivities, and the sharpness of the ridges."* While general Ross and his men were resting themselves at Upper Marlborough, generel Winder and his army, now joined by commodore Barney and the men of his flotilla, were lying at their encampment at the long Old Fields, only eight miles distant. With the full knowledge of what a fatiguing march the British *Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. I. p. 759.
had made, the hero of La Colle mill declares, that general Ross, with his " 4 or 5000 veteran troops, ought to have marched upon and routed" general Winder.* The latter, however, "rashly kept his position during the night;" and, on the next morning, the American troops were reviewed by Mr. Madison, "their commanderin-chief, whose martial appearance gladdened every countenance and encouraged every heart."* Soon after the review, a detachment from the American army advanced along the road to Upper Marlborough; and, after exchanging a few shots with the British skirmishers, fell back to the main body.
On the morning of the 23d, rear-admiral Cockburn, having left at Pig-point, directly opposite to the western branch,† the marines of the ships, under captain Robyns, and two divisions of the boats, crossed over, with the third division, to Mount Calvert; and proceeded, by land, to the British encampment at Upper Marlborough. The little opposition experienced by the army in its march from Benedict, and the complete success that had attended the expedition against commodore Barney's flotilla, determined majorgeneral Ross to make an immediate attempt upon the city of Washington, distant from Upper Marlborough not more than 16 miles.
At the desire of the major-general, the marine * Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. I. p. 766. See Plate V,
and naval forces at Pig-point were moved over to Mount Calvert; and the ship-marines, marineartillery, and a proportion of seamen, joined the army at Upper Marlborough. It is now time to give the numbers of the British, so fearlessly approaching the metropolis of the United States. Fortunately, the only American account which pretends to any accuracy upon that point, supplies us with the necessary information..
"Those," says Dr. Smith," who had the best opportunities of counting them, (the British,) calculated that their whole number was about 4000; and this calculation is warranted by the incidents in the field."* He then states, that
the British army, under major-general Ross, was distributed into three brigades; the first brigade, commanded by colonel Brooke, of the 44th, and composed of the 4th and 44th regiments; the second brigade, commanded by colonel Patterson, of the 21st regiment, and composed of that regiment, the second battalion of marines, and the ship-marines under captain Robyns; the third brigade, commanded by colonel Thornton, of the 85th light infantry, and composed of that regiment, the light companies of the 4th, 21st, and 44th regiments, one company of marine skirmishers, a detachment of colonial marines, also of royal artillery, with two 3-pounders and a howitzer, and a party of
* History of the United States, Vol. III. p. 298.