Prominent British Officers Connected to Southern Maryland’s War

James Alexander Gordon,

A distinguished officer in the Royal Navy who commanded the British squadron that forced the surrender of Fort Washington and the occupation of Alexandria. He was hailed as “The Last of Nelson’s Captains.”

Major General Robert Ross,

Served in the British Army and directed the land troops that marched on Washington. He was later mortally wounded at the Battle of North Point several miles outside Baltimore. For his success at Bladensburg his family was given the honor of a second crest in which an arm is seen grasping the stars and stripes on a broken staff, and the family name was changed to the victory title “Ross-of-Bladensburg.”

Rear Admiral George Cockburn,

The most hated British officer, Rear Admiral George Cockburn, was the ruthless. He held important commands during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 and eventually rose to become Admiral of the Fleet and First Sea Lord. In Southern Maryland he seized shipping, disrupted commerce, and made scores of raids along the tidewater. The nation’s leading magazine, Niles’ Weekly Register, called Cockburn a “Great Bandit” and “The Leader Of A Host Of Barbarians” and branded his troops “waterWinnebagoes,” a reference to the militant Indians in the Old Northwest.

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