Flotilla: The Patuxent Naval Campaign in the War of 1812

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Information Dissemination - Robert Farley

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.

Proceedings - Frederick C. Leiner

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.

Northern Mariner - Samuel Negus

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.

Nautical Research Journal - James Greathouse

It is well written, and filled with details and facts that bring the story of this campaign to life.

Journal of America's Military Past - Richard Barbuto

Shomette is a scholar and a gifted writer, and his work is eminently readable as human drama... I heartily recommend Flotilla as essential to students of this war and to general readers of fine military history.

Maritime Archaeological and Historical Society - Dennis Knepper

The scholarship and breadth of understanding demonstrated in the new edition of Flotilla shine a bright light on this important part of our history, and make this an indispensable resource for students of the era.

International Journal of Naval History - Andrew Lambert

Flotilla is a delight to read, carefully crafted and nicely paced, mixing telling human interventions from key players with analysis of the unfolding drama. The illustrations, contemporary drawings, portraits and modern maps are ideally placed... This will be an essential text for students of war, and of maritime strategy.

Pirates and Privateers - Cindy Vallar

Flotilla is a highly readable account for layman and scholar alike, and presents a much-needed examination of an aspect of this often overlooked war that is essential to any collection concerning the War of 1812 and naval history.

Washington Times - Robert F. Dunn

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.

Past In Review

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.

Library Journal

The War of 1812 saw the Royal Navy wreak havoc on Chesapeake Bay, nearly destroying the region's economy. An American naval force was scraped together. Capt. Joshua Barney's Chesapeake Flotilla, with great gallantry, challenged the better-equipped British. Although it was ultimately defeated, its efforts were not in vain. Marine archaeologist Shomette, who directed excavation of the flotilla's flagship, here revises a book he originally published in 1981 and includes further information on the officers, crew, and boats making up the flotilla and on the region's experience of war. This is detailed history for serious readers on the subject.


—Edwin B. Burgess
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801891229
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 6/5/2009
  • Series: Johns Hopkins Books on the War of 1812
  • Edition description: 20
  • Pages: 520
  • Sales rank: 991,330
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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