Graphite and wash on paper, 1814
In an odd twist, although the Americans managed to inflict significant casualties on the British at Bladensburg, such was the rout that the numbers of killed and wounded on the American side were few. As Major General Robert Ross noted dryly, “The rapid flight of the enemy . . . precluded many prisoners being taken.” The British casualties were largely caused by the 500 marines and seamen under the command of Commodore Joshua Barney, who had been evading the British with his small flotilla in the Chesapeake Bay for months.
Barney and his marines were now aiding in the defense of Washington. At the last moment, he ordered a retreat, just before he was shot and left on the field. Also serving on land was Barney’s naval foe, Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn. When brought to his side, Barney admitted, “Well, admiral, you have got hold of me at last.”