Our Georgia History

Georgia and the War of 1812

England Attacks

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.

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.
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.


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