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Part III: Wars of Succession, Independence, and Revolution in .NET
Part III: Wars of Succession, Independence, and Revolution
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The next objective for a raid was the port of Baltimore, lying at the head of Chesapeake Bay The direct approach to Baltimore lay up the Patapsco river, but a line of sunken blockships and Fort McHenry, protected from close-range bombardment by a wide stretch of shoal water, denied access to the harbour itself However, by landing at North Point at the mouth of the Patapsco, Ross believed that his troops could reach Baltimore, 16 miles distant The landing took place early on 12 September The troops marched steadily up the peninsula until, at its narrowest point, a force of 3200 militiamen halted them at Gadfly Wood In a sharp fight, the British dislodged the militia at some cost Among the British casualties was Ross himself, shot dead by a sniper as the battle began His successor, Colonel Arthur Brooke, continued the advance until he was within sight of Baltimore s defences, then camped for the night Detailed examination the next day revealed that the Americans had constructed a formidable line of redoubts and defences that fairly bristled with bayonets In fact, no fewer than 13,000 militiamen were present in and around Baltimore, and there was no doubt that they would fight well from behind fixed defences Brooke was aware that his troops angered by the death of Ross were in fighting mood and would certainly storm the entrenchments, although the cost would be high That could not be justified in a campaign of amphibious raiding Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, now commanding in the bay, agreed During the night, the troops disengaged silently and marched back to North Point, where they embarked From 5 am on 13 September until 7 am the following day, Fort McHenry was under continuous bombardment Because of the shoal water only shallowdraught warships were involved, and even they could only engage at maximum range Over 400 shells and rockets exploded inside the fort, while hundreds more cannon balls, their force diminished by distance, smacked into the masonry walls So stoutly was the fort constructed that little damage was done Conversely, while the Americans stuck to their guns, their return fire barely touched the warships Watching the bombardment from aboard one of the larger ships was a successful Washington lawyer named Francis Scott Key Something of a poet in his spare time, he recorded the event in verse, noting proudly that despite all the uproar, the American flag continued to fly over the fort Key finished his poem in a Baltimore tavern The local newspaper published it under the title of The Bombardment of Fort McHenry , but it soon became known as The Star-Spangled Banner It was then set to a tune called Anacreon in Heaven , which a Mr John Stafford Smith composed specially for the Anacreontic Society of London, whose principal activity seems to have been drunken singing The combined poem and music became the American national anthem, although it did not receive official recognition as such until 1931
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11: Wellington Boots the French Out: The Peninsula to Waterloo
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Fighting beyond the bitter end: New Orleans, 1815
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On Christmas Eve 1814 the British and American negotiators agreed the terms of a peace treaty Everything was to be as it was before the first shot was fired, which made the whole war absolutely pointless In future, the Royal Navy would not impress American seamen (with the defeat of France the need to do so had vanished), while the Americans would stop trying to conquer Canada and expand westwards (the logical direction) Unfortunately, it took weeks for the news of the treaty to reach everyone, and in that time fighting carried on Cochrane s fleet left Chesapeake Bay for Jamaica, where it received further troop reinforcements with which to capture New Orleans On the night of 23/24 December the American commander in New Orleans, Major General Andrew Jackson (a future President), launched an attack on the British camp, supported by two small warships, the Carolina and the Louisiana The British beat the attack off with some loss, although the presence of American warships on the river had come as a most unpleasant surprise Packenham acquired some ships guns to fight back with, and when the Carolina next appeared the British set the ship ablaze with red-hot shot The Louisiana continued upstream Packenham decided to mount a general assault on Jackson s defences on 8 January 1815 Obviously, before this went in, the position on the right bank had to be captured He detailed one regiment for the task, but it was delayed Recklessly overconfident, Packenham decided to attack regardless of the uncleared position opposite He exposed his men to a murderous crossfire that killed or wounded 2100 of them, and he paid for his mistake with his life The irony was that the attack on the right bank succeeded brilliantly, but only after the main assault had failed The overall American loss in this, a battle fought after the war had ended, amounted to seven killed and 70 wounded The landing force withdrew and, perhaps wisely, Jackson did not attempt pursuit
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