Robert Barrie papers  1812-1831 (bulk 1814-1815)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains correspondence of Rear Admiral Sir Robert Barrie, commander of HMS Dragon in the War of 1812, commissioner of Kingston, Ontario, Dockyard, and head of the Royal Navy in Canada, 1819-1834.

Included are 15 letters written by Barrie to his mother Dorothea (Mrs. George Clayton) and 4 to Miss Eliza Clayton in England from HMS Dragon , in which he details British naval action on the American coast, the blockade of Chesapeake Bay, and an expedition up the Rappahannock; he comments on the quality of American forces and on rumored peace negotiations. Admiral Sir George Cockburn wrote 30 letters and orders written to Barrie, most of which are dated 1812-1815. He describes the activities of other British ships under his command, discusses prisoner exchanges in Washington and Baltimore, and relates plans for the destructive assault on Washington. The postwar letters concern Barrie's position as naval commissioner in Canada.

Of special interest are a list of "Mates and Midshipmen" serving on board the HMS Dragon in 1815, and a song, sung at a public dinner on December 15, 1815, that celebrates his naval victories on the coast of America (lyrics only).

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