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Flotilla

The Patuxent Naval Campaign in the War of 1812

Donald G. Shomette
foreword by Fred W. Hopkins Jr.

Publication Date
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With the Royal Navy’s offensives in the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812 came devastating raids that wreaked havoc on the small villages along its shores and the very economy of the region. American naval forces were incapable of wresting control of the Tidewater from the superior enemy forces. Then in 1814 Captain Joshua Barney, a rare American hero during the struggle, intrepidly led his Chesapeake Flotilla against the invaders, determined to contest their advance on the nation’s capital and drive them from the region.

Donald G. Shomette, director of the archaeological excavation of the...

With the Royal Navy’s offensives in the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812 came devastating raids that wreaked havoc on the small villages along its shores and the very economy of the region. American naval forces were incapable of wresting control of the Tidewater from the superior enemy forces. Then in 1814 Captain Joshua Barney, a rare American hero during the struggle, intrepidly led his Chesapeake Flotilla against the invaders, determined to contest their advance on the nation’s capital and drive them from the region.

Donald G. Shomette, director of the archaeological excavation of the flotilla’s flagship, substantially revises the first edition of this captivating history with new information about Barney, his crew, and the mosquito fleet of gunboats and war barges that so valiantly fought the British. He sheds new light on the efforts of the U.S. Flotilla Service to build a viable coastal defense force. Shomette details the construction and manning of the famed Chesapeake Flotilla and recounts the terrifying details of British attacks on the towns, plantations, and farms throughout the bay region.

Doomed from its conception by sparse funds and the natural limitations of the bay’s coastline, the flotilla ultimately suffered defeat. Yet its efforts were not completely in vain. Turning back wave after wave of British attacks, the fleet earned an improbable victory at St. Leonard’s Creek and its men went on to make heroic stands at the battles of Bladensburg and Fort McHenry in 1814.

The thoroughly updated and enlarged edition of Flotilla is the result of impressive research on a forgotten chapter in the development of the young nation’s naval and maritime tradition.

Reviews

Reviews

As the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 approaches, Donald Shomette's book, updated from a similar work published by him in 1981, is a most appropriate addition to the literature.

Flotilla is valuable both to those interested in naval history, and to those focusing on small boat and irregular warfare strategies. I highly recommend it.

A rare look at the complex nature of the naval war and its impact on the inhabitants of Tidewater Maryland and the nation's capitol at Washington, D.C... Shomette details all of this with meticulous research in archives on both sides of the Atlantic.

Flotilla is a colorful, detailed history of Barney and his Sailors and the amphibiious war waged in the Chesapeake By in the summers of 1813 and 1814... Shomette makes clear, they provided the only light in one of the darkest periods in American military history.

Flotilla offers considered treatment of both the British and American sides of the Patuxtent campaign... an invaluable resource: a mine of information for scholars of the war, and more-than-penetrable for the casual reader.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6.125
x
9.25
Pages
520
ISBN
9780801891229
Illustration Description
26 halftones, 14 line drawings
Table of Contents

Foreword, by Fred W. Hopkins, Jr.
Preface
1. Depredations of the Usual Character
2. No Other Mode of Defense
3. A Commander of Capacity and Influence
4. Miserable Tools
5. Sails and Oars
6. Pen the Flotilla

Foreword, by Fred W. Hopkins, Jr.
Preface
1. Depredations of the Usual Character
2. No Other Mode of Defense
3. A Commander of Capacity and Influence
4. Miserable Tools
5. Sails and Oars
6. Pen the Flotilla Within
7. They Opened All the Feather Beds
8. By the Light of the Blaze
9. An Act of Madness
10. Old Barney in Hell
11. Leviathan Awakened
12. Frightened Out of Their Senses
13. Our Polar Star
14. Jonathan Confounded
15. The Buccaneers Spared Nothing
16. The Sweets of Plunder
17. Gathered Like a Snow-ball
18. Blown to Atoms
19. Not a Bridge Was Broken
20. Came Up at a Trot
21. I Told You It Was the Flotillamen
22. A Great Fire
23. The Ounce of British Influence
Epilogue: All Eyes Will Be upon You
Appendix A: Muster of the U.S. Chesapeake Flotilla from Its Inception to Its Dissolution
Appendix B: Cost and Type of Materials and Workmanship for Building and Equipping the Row Galley Black Snake
Appendix C: Fleet Maneuver Exercises for the U.S. Chesapeake Flotilla
Appendix D: African Americans from the Patuxent Valley Enlisted in the Royal Colonial Marine Corps
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bios
Donald G. Shomette
Featured Contributor

Donald G. Shomette, B.A.

Donald G. Shomette is a marine archaeologist and cultural resource manager in Dunkirk, Maryland. He is the author of many books, including Shipwrecks, Sea Raiders, and Maritime Disasters along the Delmarva Coast, 1632–2004, also published by Johns Hopkins.