The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPatrick Cockburn Archive
How Freeing the Slaves Enabled the British to Burn Washington
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Amid the patriotic bombast about Making America Great Again at the Republican Convention nominating President Trump for a second term on 24 August, nobody noticed that it began on the anniversary of one of the most humiliating defeats in American history. It was on this day more than two centuries earlier in 1814 that a British military force captured Washington and burned the White House, Capitol and other public buildings.

After routing a more numerous American army at Bladensburg on the outskirts of the US capital, British soldiers and sailors met no resistance as president James Madison fled, leaving behind a splendid dinner arranged by his wife Dolley in the expectation of an American victory.

The war fought between Britain and the US between 1812 and 1815 has been largely excised from the collective memory of each nation. Given the close alliance between the two countries since the early 20th century, it became convenient to treat the conflict as an unnecessary and irrelevant blip in a smooth relationship.

From the point of view of the newly independent US, it was, in any case, a shabby affair. The war had its origins in disputes over trade during Britain’s war with France and wrangling over deserters from the British navy working on American ships. American leaders convinced themselves that they could make an opportunistic land-grab for Canada, taking advantage of Britain’s preoccupation with the war against Napoleon.

This may have looked like a good idea at the beginning of 1812 but not by the year’s end – by which time the French emperor had suffered a calamitous defeat in Russia and the American invasion of Canada had failed miserably.

It would be absurd to imagine that any of the Republicans’ supporters attending their virtual convention would have heard of this dismally unsuccessful conflict or, even if they had, seen it as having the slightest significance for America in the age of Trump.

Republican delegates did, after all, have difficulty in recalling other important events in American history that are much more recent, such as the coronavirus epidemic that has, at the time of writing, killed more than 194,000 Americans, and to which the Trump administration has responded with spectacular incompetence.

An easy rhetorical parallel can be drawn between the grotesque ineptitude of the American government during the pandemic and its serial blunders 200 years earlier during the so-called War of 1812. But there is, in fact, a very real continuity between the US in those early days of the Republic and the country as it is today. In both eras, its politics have been largely shaped by the conflict between black and white, stemming from slavery in the first period and from the legacy of slavery in the second.

Racial fears vie with coronavirus as the dominant issue in the presidential election as Trump portrays mostly black protesters, who took to the streets after the shooting of Jacob Blake on 23 August, as “anarchists, terrorists and looters”.

Americans mythologise their history more than most nations and tend to dilute or be ignorant of the role played by racial division as a decisive factor. This is certainly true of the burning of Washington by the British.

Few realise in the US or Britain that this could not have happened if the British navy had not adopted a strategy of freeing the black slaves and recruiting them as soldiers and guides in the US states around the capital. This did not happen by accident since the British naval commanders, Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane and Admiral Sir George Cockburn, deliberately mobilised slaves against their masters in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, the states enclosing Chesapeake Bay where the British fleet was in control.

Cockburn – a distant ancestor of the writer – was the British naval commander in the Chesapeake who gave clear orders to his men making raids onshore. “Let the landings you make be more for the protection of the desertion of the Black Population than with a view to any other advantage,” he ordered them. “The great point to be attained is the cordial support of the Black Population. With them properly armed & backed with 20,000 British troops, Mr Madison will be hurled from his throne.”

The British aim was two-fold: to damage the white farmers and plantation owners by encouraging their slave labour force to desert their owners and flee to the British fleet, which in turn would enable the British to build up their forces and give them essential intelligence so they could attack American cities like Washington and Baltimore within reach of the Chesapeake.

By recruiting fugitive slaves, they would acquire guides with a detailed knowledge of the terrain and its inhabitants, thereby negating any advantage to the Americans of fighting on home ground that they knew well.

In the event, though the defeat of Napoleon in early 1814 freed up British troops, far fewer of them were sent to the Chesapeake than Cockburn had expected, so the British need to recruit ex-slaves became even more acute. Without fomenting a low-level slave rebellion, the British forces would not have had the strength to move inland through Maryland with the aim of capturing Washington. As it was, they were edgy about the chances of success and the expedition was almost cancelled at the last moment.

British policy had been carefully considered. Cochrane, the overall British naval commander at this stage of the war, had written soon after its start that the slaves were “British in their hearts and might be of great use if war should be prosecuted with vigour”.

The explosive success of this strategy when put into practice is spelled out in Alan Taylor’s ground-breaking book, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia 1771 – 1832, from which many of the quotations in this article are taken.

ORDER IT NOW

Slaves had been running away from farms and plantations ever since British naval vessels had gained control of the Chesapeake, which is the size of an inland sea, in 1813. Lieutenant James Scott, an aide to Cockburn, wrote that “the slaves began to desert to us, and by their local knowledge we were afterwards enabled to carry on a system of harassing warfare which, in the end, obliged the [white] inhabitants to throw themselves upon our mercy”.

At first, the British only accepted fugitive slaves whom they could employ as guides and pilots. But from April 1814 this approach was systematised and expanded. A proclamation was issued directed at all slaves, including women and children, guaranteeing that they would be given refuge once they reached British ships or military posts and that they would not be returned to their owners.

They would be free to join the British military or naval forces or to be settled in British-held territory in Canada or the Caribbean. Cockburn energetically implemented this new policy by seizing Tangier Island in the south of the Chesapeake as a place to which slaves could flee in the knowledge that they would be safe.

Ex-slaves, who had already fled, were sent to spread the word among slaves still on the plantations and farms that the British offer was real and the navy would protect them if they ran away (the Americans had put it about that the British were selling the runaway slaves to plantations in the West Indies).

(Wikimedia Commons)
(Wikimedia Commons)

White farmers on the shores of the Chesapeake began to notice worrying signs that the unrest promoted by the British was spreading. One farmer spied on a gathering of slaves from behind a tree and heard them “huzzaing for the different British admirals”. A few days later, three of those cheering fled to the British warships off shore.

Dr Walter Jones, a friend of Madison and Thomas Jefferson, and a five-times Virginia Congressman, as well as a slave plantation owner, recorded his shock when his most valued slaves ran off to the British.

One called Ben, was described by Jones as being “a hale man, uncommonly large & strong, trusted and trustworthy in every business of a farm”. Another runaway slave, Presley, was Jones’s body servant, and was later to guide a British raiding party to his former master’s plantation to free the remaining slaves. With his plantation gone as a going concern, Jones became dispirited and homeless, complaining that he did not know where he would spend the winter. He blamed his misfortunes on the American government, whom he denounced as being as incompetent in fighting the external enemy, in the shape of the British, as it was in policing “the more dangerous internal [black] population”.

Cockburn took relish in the task of persuading slaves to run away by sailing and anchoring his ships close to the shore with a band playing continuously on the deck of his flag-ship to alert slaves to its presence. At night, a lantern was lit at the top of the mast to show slaves “the position of the ship” in the darkness. White inhabitants complained of the frequent theft of small boats by groups of absconding slaves.

Cockburn was a highly efficient and experienced naval officer, 42-years old at the time of the Chesapeake campaign, and a veteran of the war with France during which he had been promoted captain at an early age by the British naval hero Horatio Nelson.

Determined to carry the war to the Americans on land, he began training and arming ex-slaves as marines wearing red uniforms and earning the same pay as their British equivalent. In his book Cockburn and the British Navy in Transition: Admiral Sir George Cockburn 1772-1853, his biographer Roger Morriss describes how Cockburn grew increasingly enthusiastic about the military potential of the former slaves who were in a special unit called the Colonial Marines, saying that they were “getting on astonishingly”.

He felt certain that the Americans would be alarmed by them because the ex-slave would have “no mercy on them and they know he understands bush fighting and the locality of the woods as well as themselves and can perhaps play at hide and seek in them even better”.

The Colonial Marines swiftly showed themselves to be resolute and disciplined under fire in the initial skirmishes. In one, a marine had been shot dead in front of the others, but this had simply made them fight harder. A Brigadier General in the American militia, John P Hungerford, confirmed from the point of view of their opponents the military impact of the slaves joining the British.

He said that they “are flocking to the [British] enemy from all quarters, which they convert into troops, vindictive and rapacious – with a most minute knowledge of every bye-path. They leave us as spies upon our posts and our strength, and they return upon us as guides and soldiers and incendiaries.”

The British intended to do more than raid the coast and river estuaries, using these successes as the launching pad for the capture of a sizeable American city such as Philadelphia, Baltimore or Washington. Though their raids met little effective resistance thanks to accurate intelligence, they were hesitant about exceeding their strength. They recalled how the American War of Independence had seen overambitious British expeditions into the vastness of the American interior ending in defeat. Nevertheless, Cockburn recommended that an attack should be made on the US capital, which he said could be captured in 48 hours, citing the success of his raiding parties.

His confidence depended on the expected arrival of a large British army from Europe, but when a force of regular British troops did arrive in the Chesapeake, commanded by General Sir Robert Ross, it was only 3,700 strong.

Ross and Cochrane believed at first that this lack of numbers made an attack on Washington too risky, but they were won over by Cockburn who was convinced that a quick victory could be won. His confidence was boosted when a flotilla of American gunboats in Maryland and close to Washington was destroyed when its commander set fire to his own boats rather than fight a battle.

It was finally decided to press on towards the US capital. A mixed force of regular British soldiers and marines, along with the former slaves in the Colonial Marines, advanced towards Bladensburg on the outskirts of Washington.

The odds did not appear to be entirely in their favour. They were outnumbered by an American army well supplied with artillery. But after confused fighting, the Americans fled in what one historian described as “the greatest disgrace ever dealt to American arms” and “the most humiliating episode in American history.”

The burning of Washington that followed emphasised the extent of the public humiliation of the US government with destruction of the presidential palace (renamed the White House when rebuilt), with the Senate, House of Representatives, Treasury, War Office and Arsenal also going up in flames.

It could, in fact, have been a lot worse. General Ross would only allow public buildings and houses sheltering snipers to be destroyed, but Cockburn advocated setting the whole city ablaze.

“Cockburn himself would have burned the whole city,” writes Morriss, “considering the total annihilation of Washington would have removed the seat of government to New York where it would have been more subject to opinion” in the northern states that were opposed to the war with Britain.

It is fanciful but interesting to speculate how far American history might have been changed if Cockburn’s ruthless plan had been implemented and the White House and Congress had taken the unlikely decision to relocate to Manhattan.

As it was, a treaty to end the war had been signed between the US and Britain in Europe at the end of 1814, though news of this only reached the US the following year.

The conflict was rapidly mythologised on both sides and the crucial role of the escaped slaves was forgotten. The Americans preferred to dwell on the defence of Baltimore soon after the capture of Washington, a success that led to the composition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key, which has a negative reference to the British strategy of encouraging black Americans to flee slavery.

Two lines of what became the American national anthem refer to it, saying “No refuge could save the hireling and slave/ From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave.”

Fortunately, the freed slaves were saved and as many as 6,000 of them sailed away with the British navy, despite furious demands from the US government that they be returned to their former owners.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: History • Tags: Britain, Slavery, War of 1812 
Hide 45 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Lee says:

    “A popular view is that “[e]verybody’s happy with the outcome of the war. Americans are happy because they think they won, the Canadians are happy because they know they won and avoided being swallowed up by the United States, and the British are happiest because they’ve forgotten all about it”

    Wikipedia

    • Replies: @Ancient Briton
  2. Biff says:

    Why them dirty rotten pommies!

  3. Well, another revival of the Confederacy’s “unfaithful servant” narrative, projected backward half a century. Yep, can you imagine those ungrateful rascals, after kindly ole massa gave them eternal life ™ by introducing them to Jesus to wash their sins away! Surely, a lifetime of unpaid labor was a just exchange for this blessed gift. Or maybe the poor things were infected with “drapetomania”, the unfortunate mental illness which southern physicians discovered enslaved Africans were peculiarly susceptible to, that caused them to flee their kindly, loving owners for no discernable reason.

    This article fails to notice that the British burned the government buildings in the US capital city in retaliation for the American invasions of the capital of Upper Canada, York (modern Toronto) the previous year. Before being routed by the defenders, the US invaders destroyed that city’s public buildings. They returned a few months later, this time targeting civilians and their property.

    Let’s also remember that while the published reason for the War of 1812 was British tampering with American maritime commerce – the nominal battle cry was “Free trade and sailors’ rights” – the real motivation was land. New southern and western Congressmen, called the “War Hawks,” carried the midterm election of 1810 by campaigning for the use of federal military power to drive Indians off the land their constituents desired for expansion of their slave-worked plantations. They also sought to conquer and annex Spanish Florida and Texas, and take British Canada as a sop to the Yankees.

    The failure of American arms was reflected in the Treaty of Ghent that ended the war. It addressed none of the grievances that had allegedly caused America to declare war. Britain agreed only to restore the pre-war status quo, and promised to abandon her Indian allies in return for a U.S. pledge never to invade Canada again. Britain’s initial demands for a cessation of hostilities had included the surrender of Maine and the northern parts of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, as buffer zones against another American attack on Canada, and the payment of substantial war reparations.

    Most tragically, Native Americans lost their most powerful international ally and from 1815 onward would fight on alone in a doomed bid for survival on the lands they’d inhabited for seventy centuries. The first American peace movement began after the war as Americans reflected on the sobering truth that none of the war’s publicized objectives had been gained from its enormous cost in lives and money.

    In the war’s most lasting effect, the hopes of the Revolution and the ideals of the Enlightenment would fade into history as this new generation of Americans embraced the doctrine of “Manifest Destiny”, the belief in American white men’s natural right to build a homeland empire “from sea to shining sea” and beyond. So alien to the Founders’ generation, this unfortunate conceit continues to inform US policy in our own time.

    • Agree: Kratoklastes
    • LOL: GeneralRipper
    • Replies: @Patrick Armstrong
    , @romar
  4. Rich says:

    I wonder where those “6000 freed slaves” went since the Brits didn’t abolish slavery until 1833. Cockburn doesn’t even know his own history.

  5. sonofman says:

    Thanks for this enlightening history lesson.

  6. So Cockburn is an Anglo-Paddy. This explains the self-righteousness.

    • Replies: @Pheasant
  7. @Rich

    I wonder where those “6000 freed slaves” went since the Brits didn’t abolish slavery until 1833. Cockburn doesn’t even know his own history.

    He knows. This is just his anti-El Trumpo and woke version.

    It’s part of a grand scheme to rewrite British history to accommodate millions of imported browns and blacks. They call it ‘decolonizing’ the curriculum.

    It’s no different from Google’s pro-black search algorithm Sailer has been highlighting when you type ‘American inventors’.

    • Agree: anonymous1963
  8. TG says:

    A very interesting post.

    Here’s an aside. Why did the US Southern elites bring all those black slaves into the US in the first place? Simple: a desire for the easy profits that come from cheap labor. One recalls that a majority of US citizens at the time were strongly opposed to slavery, and even in slave states, non-elites whites were likely opposed to it (it held heir own wages down) but could not protest or refuse to fight in defense of slavery or they would likely be hung for treason.

    And how much trouble has this importation of a bunch of foreigners as a source of cheap labor caused for the United States?

    Since 1965, the United States has increasingly opened its borders to the overpopulated third world, and yes it’s all about the cheap labor. That date is the inflection point at which wages for the many started to stagnate and then decline, and rents and profits for the few to increase. But as America’s population is increased by hundreds of millions, past a half billion and beyond, what will be the impact on America long term? The elites don’t care, because they are making money now off of all that lovely cheap labor.

    The Ivory Coast used to be a fairly prosperous nation, especially for that part of the world, and the elites imported massive numbers of foreign nationals as a source of cheap labor – and eventually the country was torn apart in a bloody civil war.

    The Bible tells us that the lust for money is the root of all evil. We can be more specific. The lust for cheap labor by the elites is the cause of most worldly evil, and manipulating demographics and moving populations around is the main way that they operate.

    The ugly legacy of slavery in the US is just one more example of the damage that the rich will do in their insatiable desire for cheap labor.

  9. Wyatt says:

    Every time Cockburn writes an article about Britain and America, I am further convinced of the mistake that is the “special relationship.” We should have been allied with the Prussians and then the German state. Just a better people than the English in nearly all regards.

  10. Pheasant says:
    @Amerimutt Golems

    He is from the British aristocracy in Ireland. Descended from some of the first (and worst) settlers.

    It might help if you knew what you were talking about.

    • Thanks: GeneralRipper
  11. As a Canadian I could mention many historians here think the USA would have absorbed Canada had the war NOT happened.

    But on the curious issue of slavery two points to make. One, the British were the ones who introduced slavery to the American colonies. Slavery existed long before 1783 when the USA became independent from Britain. Had slavery only begun in America AFTER 1783 the guy would have a much stronger moral case. Two, slavery was legal in the British colonies at this time. Where would/did these ex-slaves go? I mean its not like the British decided to end slavery in Jamaica in 1814.

  12. @Observator

    And the great Tecumseh was killed in southern Ontario in a rear-guard action.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  13. @anonymous1963

    Slavery was abolished in Upper Canada in 1793 and it had long been established that a slave who set foot in Britain (and an RN ship by extension) was thereby freed. Many freed slaves were settled in Nova Scotia after the War of Independence (not, of course, with the promised money but then few — black or white — got it)

  14. Mr. Grey says:
    @anonymous1963

    There were free blacks. Slavery was a legal condition. Just because a person was black didn’t automatically make him a slave. Slaves came from Africa, purchased from those wonderfully enlightened African kingdoms that invented everything. A child born of slaves was a slave. If you were emancipated you were free and America legally could not enslave you again. The American government was the first in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery in 1789. Unfortunately the federal government only had power over the Northwest territories (Ohio, Michigan, etc) where this applied. They had no legislative authority to abolish slavery in the individual states. This was only accomplished when the South seceded, allowing a Constitutional amendment to ban slavery to be passed.

  15. Ian Smith says:

    “ Americans mythologise their history more than most nations and tend to dilute or be ignorant of the role played by racial division as a decisive factor.“

    If Mr. Cockburn had attended an American public school, he would know that slavery, Jim Crow, and occasional asides about the subjugation of Native Americans, account for about 50% of the curriculum. The other 50% is devoted to the Holocaust. But Cockburn (heh)just likes to sneer at the Yanks the way only posh British Marxists can.

    • Agree: GeneralRipper
    • Replies: @Corvinus
  16. …recorded his shock when his most valued slaves ran off to the British.

    Record my own shock at the idea that anyone would actually value slaves. Free men are better workers in every way.

  17. @Patrick Armstrong

    And the great Tecumseh was killed in southern Ontario in a rear-guard action.

    Rumpsey dumpsey, Rumpsey dumpsey
    Col. Johnson killed Tecumseh…

    Not as catchy as his commanding officer’s “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too”, but it got Richard Mentor Johnson onto Martin Van Buren’s winning ticket in 1836.

    Being elected took a bit longer for Johnson, though. Virginians looked askance at his late common-law octoroon slave wife, and withheld their electoral slate from him. He was elected instead by the Senate, the only Vice President to get in by that route.

    https://www.nps.gov/articles/death-of-tecumseh.htm

    I say “late”. Once a widower, he took another slave girl as his concubine. She jilted him for another man. He got even by selling her at auction, then taking up with her sister. Nice guy!

  18. @Lee

    Johnny Horton’s jaunty rendition of Battle of New Orleans (1959) was quite a hit in Britain – apparently all was forgiven!

  19. The war had its origins in disputes over trade during Britain’s war with France and wrangling over deserters from the British navy working on American ships.

    Like most ignorant, hate-filled British twits, Cockburn is — or more likely, pretends to be — wholly unaware of the issue of British enslavement of American merchant seaman — commonly referred to by the euphemism “impressment”.

    There’s also the notable coincidence that the First Bank of the United States was dissolved in 1811 (shortly before the British attack), and the Second Bank of the United States was founded in 1816 — shortly after the war ended. Surely the “British” Empire would never go to war simply to protect the interests of central bankers? Just as it would never go to war to protect the interests of (((opium traders)))right?

    Incidentally, I’m sure Cockburn will be publishing a similar analysis of the Battle of New Orleans in the near future…

    https://www.history.com/topics/war-of-1812/battle-of-new-orleans

    • Replies: @M_Young
    , @RodW
    , @Dave49
  20. M_Young says:
    @James Forrestal

    LOL. Exactly what I was thinking.

  21. M_Young says:

    Imagine being proud of waging war against your kinsmen, with the aid of savages.

    • Replies: @Bert
  22. His confidence depended on the expected arrival of a large British army from Europe, but when a force of regular British troops did arrive in the Chesapeake, commanded by General Sir Robert Ross, it was only 3,700 strong.

    Actually it was closer to 5,000 strong. A brigade of veterans from the Duke of Wellington’s Army plus a battalion of Royal Marines. Stop lowballing the numbers, Paddy.

    Going up against 3,200 Maryland militia. Your boys didn’t do so good. A couple of Maryland farm boys whacked Major General Ross as a bonus. His body was tossed into the grog barrel which your drunken Limey tard sailors then forgot halfway home, and tapped anyway.

    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.

    The attempted assault on Ft McHenry was quite the clusterfuck, second only to the Chinese fire drill at New Orleans two months later.

    On Christmas day, General Edward Pakenham arrived on the battlefield. He ordered a reconnaissance-in-force on December 28 against the earthworks, and he met with General Keane and Admiral Cochrane that evening for an update on the situation. Pakenham wanted to use Chef Menteur Road as the invasion route, but he was overruled by Admiral Cochrane, who insisted that his boats were providing everything needed. Admiral Cochrane believed that the veteran British soldiers would easily destroy Jackson’s ramshackle army, and he allegedly said that, if the army did not do it, his sailors would, and the meeting settled the method and place of the attack.

    It would seem the pompous Limey Cochrane got much of his “intel” from some dumb nigger slaves that day as well.

    But hey at least they helped you burn Washington, that’s some consolation…lol

    • Replies: @Mark1
  23. Corvinus says:
    @Ian Smith

    “If Mr. Cockburn had attended an American public school, he would know that slavery, Jim Crow, and occasional asides about the subjugation of Native Americans, account for about 50% of the curriculum. The other 50% is devoted to the Holocaust.”

    LOL, that is not even remotely accurate. Today’s American history curriculum is generally covered chronologically and embeds those topics when appropriate, “Ian”?

    • Troll: Ian Smith, GeneralRipper
  24. Mark1 says:
    @GeneralRipper

    “But hey at least they helped you burn Washington, that’s some consolation…lol”

    I would say so if you’re still butthurt 200 years later

    • Replies: @GeneralRipper
  25. romar says:
    @Observator

    “This article fails to notice that the British burned the government buildings in the US capital city in retaliation for the American invasions of the capital of Upper Canada…”
    I see you skipped para 4: “American leaders convinced themselves that they could make an opportunistic land-grab for Canada, taking advantage of Britain’s preoccupation with the war against Napoleon.”

  26. @Mark1

    I would say so if you’re still butthurt 200 years later

    I’d have to say that some mighty fine projection on your part as well as Mr Cockburn’s.

    Why would Americans be “butthurt” over whipping British ass TWICE?

    Check this out, sweetheart.

    Ross had ridiculed the American citizen-soldiers, scoffing in a widely quoted remark that he did not care if it “rained militia”, as this would create more disorder in their army, making them easier to beat.

    https://archive.org/details/burningofwashing00pitc/page/196/mode/2up

    Not long after a couple of 18 year old kids shot his arse at the Battle of North Point…lol

    • Replies: @Mark1
  27. Mark1 says:
    @GeneralRipper

    Yep, butthurt with a capitol butthurt

    • Replies: @GeneralRipper
  28. @Mark1

    “capital” or “capitol”?

    LOL

    You about a dumb sumbitch.

    Of course I already figured I was playing with a moron.

  29. Bert says:
    @M_Young

    They were just continuing their policy from the Revolution. The Scots-Irish of the Carolinas had to fight Cherokees, Tories, and British regulars. An they whipped them all mercilessly. The worst historical mistake Britain made was to send lowland Scots to the Ulster Plantation and then let them go to America. Good way to lose a continent.

  30. @Rich

    Being black didn’t automatically mean slavery in the British Caribbean. Free men and women of colour were numerous and involved in local service businesses.

    • Replies: @Rich
  31. Baine says:

    Oh Please, while the antidotes are part of history, the real reason the British attacked the US is because we rejected their banking corporation and allowed their charter to expire, the treaty put their bank back in which is why you can say we lost the war of 1812. This guy obviously hates the US , and most certainly hates Trump.

  32. RodW says:
    @James Forrestal

    Not only American seamen. Most of the English crews were also press ganged and were treated for practical purposes as slaves, although slaves weren’t generally required to fight and die on pain of execution as sailors in the English navy were.

    It’s an interesting matter that should be better known, since it gives the lie to the notion that slavery equals racism.

    Incidentally, marines weren’t impressed and were there to shoot the impressed sailors if they mutinied. Divide and rule.

  33. Utter and complete nonsense.

    The US got trounced around because the they foolishly engaged a war they should have avoided.

    Ohhh there’s something, the US whites it seems are heck bent on making war for dubious reasons. And had the British been serious and not pre-occupied, the outcome would have been very different.

    Both conflicts with the British were opportune because the British were engaged in multiple fronts.

    • Replies: @GeneralRipper
  34. @EliteCommInc.

    The US got trounced around because the they foolishly engaged a war they should have avoided.

    Actually the US hardly got “trounced around”. It was outnumbered both in Regular armed forces as well as Naval forces and fought the British to a draw.

    Ohhh there’s something, the US whites it seems are heck bent on making war for dubious reasons.

    Says the nigger loving Leftist EliteCommie.

    Yeah, making war for “dubious” reasons is a white American thing…lol

    Can we get anymore comedy gold from you and this Limey cunt?

    And had the British been serious and not pre-occupied, the outcome would have been very different.

    Yeah…and if my aunt had a dick she’d be my uncle.

    Both conflicts with the British were opportune because the British were engaged in multiple fronts.

    I’m pretty sure that’s exactly when you’re SUPPOSED to launch military operations, Feldmarschall Shitforbrains.

    You know, when it’s “opportune” for your side and “inopportune” for the enemy.

    Utter and complete nonsense…

    should rightfully be the headline for the majority of your posts.

    • Replies: @Mark1
  35. Rich says:
    @Philip Owen

    Being black in the US didn’t automatically mean slavery in the, either. In fact, don’t tell anyone in the blm crowd, but some blacks owned slaves. You’d never learn that in public school in the US.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  36. Dave49 says:
    @James Forrestal

    I loved that song when it first came out, had such a jaunty cadence to it. Little did I know back then as a 13 year old that our family had Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors who loyally fought for our nation in both the Revolutionary and 1812 wars. Found this out recently from one of my sisters. Johnny Horton’s other songs were equally awesome like “North to Alaska”. Only wish I could have served my country when my draft notice arrived in 65. But a heart murmur resulted in a 1-Y classification. Both my brothers did serve, however, one in the Army, the other in the Air Force.

  37. First, I am an advocate of free speech, and you are welcome to use language as you choose. However, there are two practices

    I would that you refrain from engaging colorful language, including the use of the “n-word” unless it is pertinent to the context, as in how blacks might feel about their treatment as a “n . . .”

    No stranger to color language — but it is in my view highly inappropriate for the forum.

    Second, personal attacks may score points for one’s fans, but hardly helpful in advancing discussion.

    My user moniker has no political ideological disposition at all in any way. It is not an abbreviation for anything political, at all.
    ———————-

    If your enemy run amocks willy nilly in your backyard, burns a good portion of your capital, does crush your neck when the could have, but oddly simply backs off,

    you got trounced. Just because the British didn’t fillet you when they had the Chance doesn’t mean you fought o a draw, in this instance, it simply means, the British had other fish to fry more than beating up on their forward wayward colonies. We like to pat ourselves on the back about a stalemate — and you are welcome to continue your need to feel good. The US lost that conflict and we would be wise to admit and be done with it.

    Hmmmm . . . I am just going to laugh about your response to multiple fronts. You are clearly a short on scope. Let’s just say the British were distracted in both conflicts with the US. None of which supports the freedom of salves contributed to the loss.

    Nothing in your response challenges my premise that slaves had nothing to with the US loss. Had the US ended slavery, it’s a safe bet that slaves would have been a vital asset in defeating the British.

    As you your uncle aunt, I can only say it takes more than an exchange of body parts for one to become a male or female. Just as it takes more than a few naval standoffs to win a war. The US was repelled from Canada, repelled from their own states, lost the capital . . . It is safe to say that your aunt is still probably your aunt despite the loss. But let me know when you figure out how to transform male dna code into one that befits a woman.

    I can only assume that your inappropriate reference is to my disposition regarding blacks or black citizens.

    We have huge areas of disagreement about how best to address the nation’s systemic consequences to their skin color. It’s a safe bet there’s not much love loss between us. Primarily because I am a conservative and nothing in my comments would suggest that I have any communist leanings — nothing. The question is whether the country has as a country discriminated against blacks — the answer is decidedly they have — and that treatment has gone on so long, and is so pervasive as to be systemic in a myriad of areas. How one feels about the black population is really inconsequential to that reality.

    As for the response to my comments . . .

    opinions vary.

    • Replies: @GeneralRipper
  38. @EliteCommInc.

    First, I am an advocate of free speech, and you are welcome to use language as you choose.

    Ok, thanks, schoolmarm. I certainly will.

    I would that you refrain from engaging colorful language, including the use of the “n-word” unless it is pertinent to the context, as in how blacks might feel about their treatment as a “n . . .”

    As I have stated many times on this forum, I’ll stop using the term nigger when a majority of American blacks see fit to stop acting the part.

    No stranger to color language — but it is in my view highly inappropriate for the forum.

    I find it entirely appropriate, even mandatory, when dealing with duplicitous bullshiting Leftist filth like you and your ilk.

    Second, personal attacks may score points for one’s fans, but hardly helpful in advancing discussion.

    See above.

    My user moniker has no political ideological disposition at all in any way. It is not an abbreviation for anything political, at all.

    No, that’s what the non-indoctrinated on this site refer to you as, since a quick perusal of your post reveals that you are essentially Leftist trash masquerading as a “conservative”.

    Cuckvinus also pretends to be a “normie” or “moderate”, he’s the same type of garbage as you.

    ———

    If your enemy run amocks willy nilly in your backyard, burns a good portion of your capital, does crush your neck when the could have, but oddly simply backs off, you got trounced.

    Silly, simplistic exaggerations which bear little to no resemblance to the actuals events during the War 0f 1812.

    Just because the British didn’t fillet you when they had the Chance doesn’t mean you fought o a draw, in this instance, it simply means, the British had other fish to fry more than beating up on their forward wayward colonies. We like to pat ourselves on the back about a stalemate — and you are welcome to continue your need to feel good. The US lost that conflict and we would be wise to admit and be done with it.

    No goofy, it means they committed veteran troops and naval forces to a conflict which they were quite confident they would win, and did not. In addition, they were arming and using numerous Indian tribes in the Midwest and South to attack Americans. ( This was one of the main reasons America decided to declare war)

    They ended up with nothing. And the best part was that most historians consider that the Tribes who fought on the British side were the biggest losers of the conflict. Not that the British cared.

    British forces fought almost entirely against State Militia and a fledgling Navy, and came away with nothing.

    As far as burning the US “Capital” goes, that’s about as overrated as the rest of the British “victories”.

    Washington, the capital the British hoped to storm, was a gawky village. A mere embryo of the city it aspired to be.

    Pennsylvania Avenue, conceived as the city’s grandest thoroughfare and linking the unfinished single wing Capitol with the unfinished President’s house one mile West, was, in the sad opinion of one newly arrived congressman, “a deep morass covered with adler bushes”. The few potholed roads were muddy quagmires when it rained, and dusty passageways when dry”.

    https://archive.org/details/burningofwashing00pitc/page/24/mode/2up

    Bravo!…lol

    It’s very obvious from the quotes I posted of both Ross and Cochrane, that they were supremely confident they would have no trouble in taking both Baltimore and New Orleans. They were soundly whipped at both. New Orleans in particular, was a lopsided embarrassment, to say the least.

    Hmmmm . . . I am just going to laugh about your response to multiple fronts. You are clearly a short on scope. Let’s just say the British were distracted in both conflicts with the US. None of which supports the freedom of salves contributed to the loss.

    No moron, your Leftoid Limey buddy Cockburn’s article very obviously states otherwise…lol

    Your precious negros were aiding the British with recon and intel, during the Washington and Baltimore invasions as well as the New Orleans debacle.

    Not that it did them much good at all.

    I can only assume that your inappropriate reference is to my disposition regarding blacks or black citizens.

    We have huge areas of disagreement about how best to address the nation’s systemic consequences to their skin color. It’s a safe bet there’s not much love loss between us. Primarily because I am a conservative and nothing in my comments would suggest that I have any communist leanings — nothing. The question is whether the country has as a country discriminated against blacks — the answer is decidedly they have — and that treatment has gone on so long, and is so pervasive as to be systemic in a myriad of areas. How one feels about the black population is really inconsequential to that reality.

    Blacks have had AMPLE opportunity to become decent American citizens, some have done so, but most, sadly, have not. They chose the Jew inspired victimology narrative along with continual shakedown schemes and violence instead. They will reap what they have sown. And those who support them will do the same. That means you.

  39. @Rich

    Mulatto slave traders were common in the British Caribbean. Sometimes women at that. (All the better to be the Governor’s mistress in at least one case in Trinidad).

  40. I think we can end here . . .

    “Silly, simplistic exaggerations which bear little to no resemblance to the actuals events during the War 0f 1812.”

    Anyone who thinks that the US being crushed out of Canada is a simplistic understanding of the war of 1812, doesn’t have sound grasp of military loss or victory.

    I am very familiar with rhetoric surrounding how we ended in stalemate. But as I have noted — why I conclude we lost I will stand on the same. You can redefine any city you wish, with buts and by the ways , . . call the capital a dirtwater backwoods log cabin if you must.

    Laughing . . . hmmmm . . . well, they would have had black spies had they actually permitted the blacks to be treated as indicated in the DI. Your asking to fault slaves who aided a contingent that might get them their freedom — nonsensical. Of course some number of blacks would lend to the possible agents of freedom — makes perfect sense. That you treat the obvious as some kind of failing is peculiar. But then one should expect such rationale from someone thinks the British route of the US invasion is simplistic. Slaves helping those who might free them — No kidding. Laugh.

    Though apparently you are wholly unfamiliar with blacks who fought with distinction on the side of the US.

    As for blacks and citizenship, most blacks are more than decent citizens they are decent human beings. But that has nothing to do with whether or not there is systemic consequences resulting from legal and illegal discrimination. That is not a standard anywhere for anyone. And the fact that you apply such a standard makes the point — we have a long way to go. Whether you are a saint or scoundrel has absolutely nothing to with whether you are the victim of discrimination. Note: black units fought alongside the British.

    Decency . . . the likes most of could never touch

    ““Black volunteers in large numbers stepped forward to defend homelands which paradoxically deprived them of basic freedoms for which they fought,” wrote historian Gerard T. Altoff in his book {Amongst My Best Men: African Americans and the War of 1812.} “In spite of overt prejudice, discrimination, and hatred, African-Americans stepped forward to serve, either in a civilian or a military capacity.”

    A little history — blacks in the US were victims in as slaves and other practices of power polity long before, jews entered the main of our social interaction.

    Laughing, I was going to add to my previous comments, that you would next be telling me how Andrew Jackson saved the Union — and incorrect. A moral booster the way forward, but other than that of no actual value.

    So you have one win. The Battle of New Orleans might have mattered had the treaty not already resolved the matter.

    So in your view my support for a system that actually operates towards its citizens as it is proscribed in the Constitution based on the principles of the Declaration makes me a

    a communist and a leftist. Acknowledging the country;s failures makes me a communist. Acknowledging that we have lost three conflicts makes me a communist and a leftist. I don’t think you have any idea what a communist or a leftist is based on the provided assessment.

    Here’s hint on the win question

    US goal — remove the British from the continent.
    Result: complete and utter failure
    Consequence — US loses the War of 1812.

    Perhaps that is too silly and simplistic. But that is story.

    • Replies: @GeneralRipper
  41. anon[238] • Disclaimer says:

    There’s a Troll button for comments. Where’s the Troll button for entire articles?

    Need one for this turgid bolus of words, because that’s all Cockburn is doing – he’s trolling the Yanks for clicks and nothing else.

    LOL!

  42. @EliteCommInc.

    I think we can end here . . .

    Actually, it’s yet another excellent starting point to illustrate your ignorance.

    Let’s begin.

    Anyone who thinks that the US being crushed out of Canada is a simplistic understanding of the war of 1812, doesn’t have sound grasp of military loss or victory.

    Few historians seriously believe that America wished to “annex Canada”, rather invading Canada was pretty much the only way for America to wage war on Britain, since it did not possess a large Navy. Captured Canadian territory was to be used as a bargaining chip. Britain was arming Indian tribes in the Upper Mid West and was intent on using them both as a buffer zone as well as means to inhibit American Westward expansion. This of course had jackshit to do with any concern with “Native Americans” and much to do with the fur trade and the acquisition of more of North America.

    Maass argued in 2015 that the expansionist theme is a myth that goes against the “relative consensus among experts that the primary U.S. objective was the repeal of British maritime restrictions. He argues that consensus among scholars is that The United States went to war “because six years of economic sanctions had failed to bring Britain to the negotiating table, and threatening the Royal Navy’s Canadian supply base was their last hope.”

    In any event, the Americans hardly “got crushed out of Canada”. That is simply more bullshit hyperbole on your part. It was a pretty much back and forth affair.

    You can redefine any city you wish, with buts and by the ways , . . call the capital a dirtwater backwoods log cabin if you must.

    Well, you and Limey Cockburn can crow about burning the Capital if you like, but ultimately it only served to stiffen American resolve and inspire resistance, nothing more.

    Though apparently you are wholly unfamiliar with blacks who fought with distinction on the side of the US.

    Anyone who has read about the war is aware of some Coloreds and Indians fighting with General Jackson. Good for them. I wouldn’t doubt that there were some slaveholders among them…lol

    A little history — blacks in the US were victims in as slaves and other practices of power polity long before, jews entered the main of our social interaction.

    A little history…shit tons of people, whites included, were “victims”. Some folks can use it as a weapon to shakedown others, but most have to deal with it and move on. Jews and blacks would be among the former.

    Laughing, I was going to add to my previous comments, that you would next be telling me how Andrew Jackson saved the Union — and incorrect. A moral booster the way forward, but other than that of no actual value.

    Andrew Jackson was a great American, an excellent leader and an all around tough son of a bitch. He embodies many admirable American qualities, and should be remembered as such.

    So in your view my support for a system that actually operates towards its citizens as it is proscribed in the Constitution based on the principles of the Declaration makes me a

    a communist and a leftist. Acknowledging the country;s failures makes me a communist. Acknowledging that we have lost three conflicts makes me a communist and a leftist. I don’t think you have any idea what a communist or a leftist is based on the provided assessment.

    You are very obviously a product of post WW2 Academia and are now by your own admission a well paid CREATURE of it. That almost certainly makes you an enemy of the Historic American Nation by default. (Whether you are aware of it or not.)

    US goal — remove the British from the continent.
    Result: complete and utter failure
    Consequence — US loses the War of 1812.

    US goal: Impress upon the pompous overconfident Limeys the danger and folly of meddling in American affairs in North America, as well as on the high seas.

    Result: Success.

    Consequence: US reinforces and punctuates her independence from Britain.

    One British Naval officer declared, “Though you have acquired no new territory by the war, you have greatly gained by it. You have acquired a character by the exploits of your army and navy, which alone is worth more than all it has cost you”.

    https://archive.org/details/burningofwashing00pitc/page/234/mode/2up

    You go right ahead and feel free to have the last word, shitsack.

  43. “Few historians seriously believe that America wished to “annex Canada”, rather invading Canada was pretty much the only way for America to wage war on Britain, since it did not possess a large Navy.”

    First let’s not make up arguments and put them at my door. I make no claims whether the US wanted to annex Canada — so I won’t address it. It is immaterial to the discussion. The positions I hold are laid out.

    Annexation of Canada is interesting but that is something you are making up to slide into a conversation your opening comment makes you clear — is beyond you. Or you would not have attributive some faux position to me.

    Second, while certainly an interesting political dynamic — the nature of relations between native peoples, the US and Canadians/British it is also immaterial. And has nothing to do with the question.

    [MORE]

    Third, I don’t advance any position about expanding US territory North of the Canadian Border whether it is myth or an accurate rendering, not part of my advance. Why you posit may serve your entry into the discussion, but it an entry about which I have not expressed a view and find no reason to respond to the same.

    Your response to the capital is more feel good qualifiers to rhetorically diminish the obvious — the Capital was captured and burned and it was merely some level of restraint that prevented the entire city from being raised.

    Fourth,

    Had you actually paid attention to the discussion, you would comprehend the context of the response to blacks and the war effort. It is clear by my response, that blacks have played multiple roles in the war of 1812 in both sides. That response filled in the gaps left by the previous commented on the issue — as his knowledge appeared locked in to only those slaves who aided the British. You might want to steer your comments in that direction as is clear by response, I am some distance of ahead both of you on that matter. Having expressed said knowledge your attempt to enlighten instead of initial commenter is just another left field nonsensical retort to a matter obviously known by me as indicated by my responses on the question. Why you are on about that which is clearly already known to me is curious — but unnecessary and needlessly redundant. But it does serve to reinforce my point.

    Fifth,

    No doubt many people are victims. The issue is that blacks have been uniquely targeted for their skin color alone. That of the peoples in the US two peoples have hold a unique place with respect to discrimination against all others: native americans and the black population. Others faced hurdles even arbitrary practices against their stead, the historical record is clear on that. But since the target of the discrimination was black skin and blacks could never escape that black skin, the discrimination has been more intense, more thorough in its application and certainly beats on the longevity scale.

    Sixth,

    whether President Andrew Jackson was a rogue or the best thing since man invented the wheel is another in a string of immaterial issues to the discussion. I made no comments about Andrew Jackson save his place in the war of 1812. His victory was a moral booster and nothing more. It had no impact on any matter regarding the end game of the 1812 conflict. Whether he is remembered for his position on the sanctity of the union or the unconstitutional act of removing US citizens by force and against all sense of law and order but is simply not at all part of the question. Whether one wants to honor him or hang him — immaterial here.

    Seventh,

    Laughing and really laughing. I have not said a word about being paid for anything regarding anything pertinent to this discussion, if so note it, and I will address it. Well paid, — oy veh — not yet. But also immaterial and it is immaterial on several levels:

    1. no bearing on the overall discussion regarding freed slaves contributing to the loss by the US.
    2. no bearing on my political ideology or disposition
    3. no bearing on the outcome that the US lost the 1812
    4. my political orientation is conservative but that has no bearing on the question of whether freed slaves contributed to the loss to Great Britain.
    5. the year I was born is as immaterial as the previous forays into the weeds you have traveled.

    Note: there is no single historic nation of America since america is comprised of of all of North America, Central America and South America, which is comprised of 35 or so countries of which the US is one. If your misguided comment is in reference to the US, that is the history in play concerning the conflict with Great Britain, a conflict the US lost. I think you mean, the United States of America, a country to whom, I tend to be loyal against my own stead. I would I could be as loyal as the black citizens who fought knowing that the country they were fighting for had no intention of honoring their service by its continued discriminatory practices — knowing that and still fighting on the hope and promise — well, that is loyalty beyond measure and decency the likes of the previous commenter and myself will never attain. Having found no evidence of leftist or communist attributes or dispositions, you have moved to something more generic but just as unsupportable, one those moving accusations as one might find in Mr. Kafka’s works or Mr Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 54 or Mr Rod Serling’s “Obsolete”. Laying a claim you don’t prove, just one you have state

    That’s an interesting interpretation, well off the mark,

    The purpose of the War was to expel the British from the continent. They failed. The British continued to impress sailors up until the defeat of Emperor Napoleon in 1814. And there is not evidence that they returned a single one before that time. The US did not achieve a single goal during the war — not one.

    Eighth,

    Laughing, I love your quotation.

    “One British Naval officer declared, “Though you have acquired no new territory by the war, you have greatly gained by it. You have acquired a character by the exploits of your army and navy, which alone is worth more than all it has cost you”.

    In other words,

    “Well old chap, you lost, but made a good show it – well done. You built up your character. Ohh sorry for your losses 15,000 dead, a wrecked economy and shattered polity and society. But jolly good, jolly good fight.”

    Called being diplomatic.

    The US lost the war of 1812, even by the measure of “teaching them a lesson. Someone got schooled. But it is clear it is not who you think it was.

    enemy of the historic nation — laughing that’s rich.

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Patrick Cockburn Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Full Story of the Taliban's Amazing Jailbreak
"They Can't Even Protect Themselves, So What Can They Do For Me?"
"All Hell is Breaking Loose with Muqtada" Warlord: the Rise of Muqtada al-Sadr