Bladensburg in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Joshua Barney's Barge and the Chesapeake Flotilla
When ships of the British Navy entered the Chesapeake Bay in 1813 as part of an offensive aimed at Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Annapolis, and American naval unit called the United States Chesapeake Flotilla was quickly formed to serve as the principal American defense. The flotilla was commanded by American Revolutionary War hero Commodore Joshua Barney. It was Barney himself who had convinced the United State Government to authorize the formation of the Chesapeake Flotilla. Along with the unit's flagship, a sloop, the flotilla was composed almost entirely of oar- and sail-powered gunboats and barges. Commodore Barney referred to
On Jun 1, 1814, superior British naval forces compelled the Chesapeake Flotilla to retreat into the waters of the Patuxent River. By June 7, Barney had withdrawn his naval forces up the Patuxent to the mouth of St. Leonard's Creek with the British in fierce pursuit. At St. Leonard's Creek several naval battles were fought, with the British trying their best to destroy the flotilla. Conventional wisdom would have predicted a conclusive British victory; however, on June 26, the cunning Commodore Barney pulled off a daring couterattack that allowed the Chesapeake Flotilla to escape further up the Patuxent River, thus delaying the flotilla's inevitable destruction for almost two months.
Ironically, in the end the Chesapeake Flotilla was destroyed not by the British, but by its own American sailors. On August 22, 1814, following orders from the Secretary of the Navy, Commodore Joshua Barney commanded his men to blow up the Chesapeake Flotilla at Pig Point to avoid its being captured by the enemy. Barney and his men then took to land and fought courageously two days later at the Battle of Bladensburg.
Text with lower-left photo: Commodore Joshua Barney
Text with lower-middle photo: Students, shipwrights, and M-NCPPC staff worked together
Text with middle-right photo: Early Construction of the barge replica
Text with lower-right drawing: Drawing after Howard I. Chappelle Courtesy of Donald G. Shomette.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War of 1812 • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 38° 56.065′ N, 76° 56.301′ W. Marker is in Bladensburg, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Annapolis Roade (Maryland Route 450) and 46th Steet. Marker is in Bladensburg Waterfront Park, .2 miles south of the entrance at this intersection. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bladensburg MD 20710, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bladensburg Floods (1742-1954) (a few steps from this marker); The First Telegraph Line (1844) (within shouting distance of this marker); Colonial Ropemaking (within shouting distance of this marker); Encampment of Coxey's Army (1894) (within shouting distance of this marker); The Incidental Cause of the Star-Spangled Banner (1814) (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Railroad History in Bladensburg (about Dinosaur Alley (about 300 feet away); Duels and the Bladensburg Dueling Grounds (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bladensburg.
Also see . . . Wikipedia entry for Joshua Barney. (Submitted on July 24, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 8, 2008, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 3,373 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on June 8, 2008, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. 2, 3. submitted on July 18, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 4. submitted on June 8, 2008, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. 5. submitted on July 18, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 6, 7, 8. submitted on June 14, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.