Oil on canvas, c. 1815
A veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, Major General Robert Ross arrived in America in August 1814 to command the British forces. Ross quickly led his men to victory at the Battle of Bladensburg and proceeded to capture Washington and oversee the burning of its public buildings. In both cases, Ross was noted for his honorable behavior toward prisoners, residents, and private property.
Proceeding toward Baltimore, Ross was at his customary spot at the head of his troops at North Point when he was killed by an American sharpshooter. Ross’s death had a profound effect, resulting in the decision not to attack Baltimore by land. Admiral Sir George Cockburn mourned his friend’s death: “our country, sir, has lost in him one of its best and bravest soldiers, and those who knew him, as I did, a friend honored and beloved.” This portrait remains with the Ross family.