Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Major-General Robert Ross’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Major-General Robert Ross
1766 – 12 September 1814

PastedGraphic1-2016-09-12-06-00.png

Robert Ross

Major-General Robert Ross was born in Rostrevor, County Down, Ireland, to Major David Ross, an officer in the Seven Years’ War and his mother, half-sister to the Earl of Charlemont. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, where he was a treasurer of the College Historical Society and joined the 25th Regiment of Foot as an ensign in 1789.

Ross fought as a junior officer at the battles of Krabbendam in the Netherlands in 1799 and the Battle of Alexandria in Egypt in 1801. In 1803, he was promoted to major and given command of the 20th Regiment of Foot. He next fought at the Maida in the Kingdom of Naples in 1806. He was promoted to Lieutenant–Colonel at the end of 1808 and fought in the Battle of Corunna in Spain in early 1809. In 1810, Ross was made a full Colonel as well as aide-de-camp to the King.

In 1813 Ross was sent to serve under Arthur Wellesley in the Peninsular War and commanded his regiment at the battles of Vittoria, Roncesvalles, and Sorauren that year. He was seriously wounded in the left side of his neck at the Battle of Orthes, on 27 February 1814, and had just returned to service when he was given command of an expeditionary force to attack the United States.

Ross sailed to North America as a Major General to take charge of all British troops off the east coast of the United States. He personally led the British troops ashore in Benedict, Maryland, and marched through Upper Marlboro, Maryland, to the attack on the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg on 24 August 1814, causing the hastily organised militia of the American army to collapse into a rout. Moving on from Bladensburg, Ross moved on to nearby Washington, D.C., and was fired upon; his horse was shot from under him. The public buildings, facilities and Navy Yards of the city, including the United States Capitol and the White House were burned as retaliation for destructive American raids into Canada, most notably the Americans’ Burning of York (modern Toronto) earlier in 1813, which were themselves in retaliation to British raids into the United States. Controversy surrounds Ross’s decision to destroy public property but spare private property during the burning.

Ross then was persuaded to attack Baltimore, Maryland. His troops landed at the southern tip of the “Patapsco Neck” peninsula (between the Patapsco River and Baltimore Harbor on the south and Back River on the north) of southeastern Baltimore County at North Point, twelve miles southeast from the city, on the morning of 12 September 1814. En route to what would be the Battle of North Point, a part of the larger Battle of Baltimore, the British advance encountered American skirmishers. General Ross rode forward to personally direct his troops. An American sharpshooter shot him through the right arm into the chest. According to Baltimore tradition, two American riflemen, Daniel Wells, 18, and Henry McComas, 19, fired at him and one of them had fired the fatal shot. Ross died while he was being transported back to the fleet.

Ross’s body was preserved in a barrel of 129 gallons (586 l) of Jamaican rum aboard HMS Tonnant. When the Tonnant was diverted to New Orleans for the forthcoming battle in January 1815, his body was shipped on the British ship HMS Royal Oak to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where his body was interred on 29 September 1814 in the Old Burying Ground.

Read Full Post »