Saturday, January 25, 2014

Captain James Gordon's Raid

"In 1812 Gordon, now with a wooden leg, was again afloat, captain of the Sea Horse; and in 1814 was under Cochrane on the American station."

"In August, Cochrane and Ross resolved on the raid on Washington; and Gordon, with a small squadron, was ordered to sail up the Potomac, in support of the land forces.  He started on the 17th, and struggled up to Fort Washington in ten days.  "We were without pilots," he writes, "to assist us through that difficult part of the river called Kettles Bottoms, consequently each of the ships was aground twenty times, and the crews were employed in warping five whole days."

"On the 27th he took Fort Washington, and on the next day appeared off Alexandria, and offered terms of capitulation to the town which our cousins found hard of digestion. Washington city had been abandoned by Ross on the 25th, after the public buildings were burnt.  The whole country was rising and here was this impudent one-legged captain insisting that the merchant ships which had been sunk on his approach should be delivered to him, "with all merchandise on board or---."  The army was already back at the coast, there was not the slightest chance of support, and his difficulties were increasing every hour; but the Alexandrians soon found that nothing but his own terms would get rid of this one-legged man." 

"No stranger feat of daring was ever performed than this, now nearly forgotten." [Source]

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