Georgia and the War of 1812
In May, 1814, Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane and the English
Fleet sailed up the St. Mary's River (on the border of Georgia and Florida).
People fled the area, some damage was done, but the river was lightly populated
and Cochrane moved on.
Alexander Cochrane may not be a household name in the United
States or the state of Georgia, but he should be. After leaving Georgia he sailed
north to the Patapsco River near Baltimore, Maryland, where the fleet and the
British army planned a combined assault. When the land attack failed to materialize,
it fell upon Cochrane to launch a nighttime naval assault against Fort McHenry
in September, 1814, in hopes of breaching the hastily constructed defenses.
It is this assault, and the American success at withstanding it, that Francis
Scott Key was watching when he wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner.
Cochrane left Chesapeake Bay. The army (and navy) that defeated
Napolean could not defeat the Americans. It was a defining moment in American
history. Cochrane sailed south around Florida, where he participated in a second
major British loss, that of the battle of New Orleans.
In January, 1815 a second expedition under the command of Admiral
George Cockburn moved inland along the St. Mary's after landing on Cumberland
Island. A small army under the command of General Daniel Newnan was patroling
the area and "fell back fighting." The fleet moved inland to Coleraine,
where it tried to attack a mill and other buildings. It then recieved word that
the Treaty of Ghent had been signed, so Cockburn withdrew his fleet in defeat.
|General Daniel Newnan was a South Carolina native
who became Secretary of State for Georgia. The city of Newnan, southwest
of Atlanta, is named in his honor.