Bladensburg in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Undaunted In Battle
The Battle of Bladensburg
—August 24, 1814 —
War of 1812
This Monument Stands as
A Tribute to the American
Soldiers, Sailors, and
Marines who fought and
Died here defending their
This monument depicts Commodore Joshua Barney of the U.S. Navy a moment after being wounded by approaching British troops. Barney is assisted by Charles Ball, former slave and flotillaman of the U.S. Navy, and by a U.S. Marine, part of a force of nearly 500 troops who refused to retreat until ordered to by their commander, and stood "Undaunted in Battle" in defense of Washington, D.C.
On August 19, 1814, Approximately 4500 British troops under the command of Major General Robert Ross landed in Southern Maryland and marched to Upper Marlboro. The British convened a council of war and marched toward Washington, intent on attacking the capital. They arrived in Bladensburg on August 24, 1814.
The American force, numbering nearly 6000 and composed largely of militia units together with U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine regulars, occupied the ground across the river from Bladensburg. The British troops, who arrived at noon, crossed the bridge and engaged the American forces on the far bank. The British fired Congreve Rockets whose sound and "red glare" distracted and confused the Americans. The screeching
American riflemen and artillery inflicted significant causalities as the British soldiers crossed the bridge. A separate British contingent forded the river to the north and outflanked a militia artillery regiment from Baltimore. U.S. Army General William Winder, commander of the American forces, ordered the troops to fall back, which led to confusion and a full-fledged retreat of the untrained militia.
Although the battle was lost and nearly over, an epic moment is still remembered with pride — Commodore Barney's final stand. Armed with muskets, boarding pikes, and cutlasses, with support from heavy cannon, Barney's men engaged the British troops with vigor and made several counter-attacks. Barney's courageous an undaunted efforts delayed the British and provided valuable time for the evacuation of the Nation's Capital.
While rallying his troops and directing cannon fire at the British, Barney was severely wounded in his right thigh by a musket ball. Beset on all sides by overwhelming number, Barney, unable to stand, ordered his troops to withdraw without him. Barney was captured soon thereafter.
The victorious British commander General Ross recognized the valor and resolute spirit of Commodore Barney and his Marines
Accompanied by Rear Admiral George Cockburn, the British forces marched into Washington, then torched and burned many government buildings, including the Capitol and the White House.
While marching back to their ships, the British arrested Dr. William Beanes of Upper Marlboro. Beanes had angered the British by capturing and jailing British stragglers. Beanes was held on board as a prisoner while the British sailed toward Baltimore.
Francis Scott Key, a Maryland-born Georgetown attorney, came aboard the British ship, seeking the release of Dr. Beanes. On the night of September 13, 1814, after returning to an American flag of truce ship in Baltimore harbor. Key witnessed the unsuccessful naval bombardment of Fort McHenry. He was inspired to pen the "The Star-Spangled Banner" which later became the National Anthem.
Prior to the bombardment of Fort McHenry, the British had landed at North Point, near Baltimore. During a skirmish, General Ross, the victor at Bladensburg, was killed in action.
Unable to take Fort McHenry or advance on Baltimore, the British withdrew their forces and eventually left the Chesapeake Bay.
This interpretive panel has been financed in part with State funds from the Maryland War of 1812
Erected 2014 by Aman Trust.
Location. 38° 56.411′ N, 76° 56.469′ W. Marker is in Bladensburg, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Bladenburg Road (U.S. 450) and Baltimore Avenue (U.S. 1) when traveling west. Touch for map. This interpretive panel is on the back of the Bladensburg Battle monument in Balloon Park. Marker is in this post office area: Bladensburg MD 20710, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Road to the Capital (within shouting distance of this marker); Bladensburg Monuments (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); British Advance (about 300 feet away); Peace Cross (about 300 feet away); George Washington House (about 300 feet away); Veterans Memorial (about 400 feet away); World War II Honor Roll (about 400 feet away); Indian Queen Tavern (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bladensburg.
Categories. • War of 1812 •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 20, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 477 times since then and 83 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on October 20, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.