Joshua Barney

Joshua Barney

Infobox Person
name = Joshua Barney

image_size =
caption =
birth_date = 6 July 1759
birth_place = Baltimore, Maryland
death_date = 1 December 1818
death_place = Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
occupation = Naval Officer
spouse =
parents =
children =

Joshua Barney (6 July 1759 - 1 December 1818) was a commodore in the United States Navy, born in Baltimore, Maryland, who served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.cite web
last =
first =
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* | coauthors =
title =Biography - Commodore Joshua Barney, USN
work =
publisher =United States Navy, Naval Historical Center
date =2 July 2007
url =
format =html
doi =
accessdate = 2007-12-20

Revolutionary War

Barney served in the Continental Navy beginning in February 1776, as master’s mate of "Hornet" where he took part in Commodore Esek Hopkins’s raid on New Providence. Later he served on the "Wasp" and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant for gallantry in the action between the "Wasp" and the British brig, "HMS Tender". While serving on "Andrea Doria" he took a prominent part in the defense of the Delaware River.

Lieutenant Barney was taken prisoner several times and several times exchanged. In 1779 he was again taken prisoner and was imprisoned in Hill Prison in England until his escape in 1781. In 1782 he was put in command of the Pennsylvania ship, "Hyder Ally", in which he captured the British ship, "HMS General Monk", a warship that was much more heavily armed than the "Hyder Ally". He was given command of the "Monk" and sailed for France with dispatches for Benjamin Franklin, returning with news that peace had been declared.

Post Revolution

After the Revolution Barney joined the French Navy, where he was made commander of a squadron.

War of 1812

Chesapeake Bay Flotilla

At the outbreak of the War of 1812, after a successful but unprofitable privateering cruise as commander of the Baltimore schooner "Rossie", Barney entered the US Navy as a captain, and commanded the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla, a fleet of gunboats defending Chesapeake Bay.He authored the plan to defend the Chesapeake, which was submitted to Secretary of the Navy, William Jones and accepted on August 20, 1813. The plan consisted of using a flotilla of shallow-draft barges, each equipped with a large gun which would be used in large numbers to attack and annoy the invading British, then retreating to the safety of shoal waters abundant in the Chesapeake region.cite book
last =Shomette
first =Donald
authorlink =
title =Shipwrecks on the Chesapeake
publisher =Tidewater Publishers
date =1982
location =Centreville, Maryland
pages =87-93
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0-87-033-283-X

On June 1, 1814, Barney's flotilla encountered a force led by the H.M.S. "Dragon", 74, and St. Lawrence near St. Jerome Creek near Cedar Point. The American force retreated into the Patuxent River where it was quickly blockaded. Barney's force was outnumbered 7:1, but after retreating into St. Leonard's Creek which was too shallow for the British warships to enter, Barney's troops were able to fend off the attack. Continuous battles continued through June 10. The British, frustrated by their inability to flush Barney out of his safe retreat, instituted a "campaign of terror," laying waste to "town and farm alike." Calverton, Huntingtown, Prince Frederick, Benedict and Lower Marlboro were plundered and burned.

On June 26, with the arrival of troops commanded by U.S. Army Colonel Decius Wadsworth, and U.S. Marine Captain samuel Miller, Barney attempted a breakout. A simultaneous attack from land and sea on the blockading frigates at the mouth of St. Leonard's creek allowed the flotilla to move out of the creek and up-river to Benedict. Two of Barney's flotilla, Gunboats 137 and 138 were scuttled in the creek. The British entered the then-abandoned creek and burned the town of St. Leonard's, Maryland.

As the British, under the command of Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane moved up the Patuxent, preparing for a landing at Benedict. Concerned that Barney's remarkable flotilla could fall into British hands, Secretary of the Navy, Jones ordered Barney to take his squadron as far up the Patuxent as possible, to Queen Anne and scuttle the squadron if the British appeared. Leaving his barges with a skeleton crew commanded by Lieutenant Solomon Frazier to handle any destruction of the craft, Barney took the majority of his men to join the American Army commanded by General William Henry Winder where they were to join the Battle of Bladensburg and Frazier ended the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla with a spectacular scuttling of the fleet.

Battle of Bladensburg

During the Battle of Bladensburg, Barney and 500 Marines and flotillamen made a heroic defense of the national capital—fighting against the enemy hand to hand with cutlasses and pikes. The battle raged for four hours but eventually the overpowering numerical odds won out for the British. The defenders were forced to fall back after nearly being cut off, and the British went on to burn the Capitol and White House. [cite web|url=|title=Battle of Bladensburg Historical Marker] Barney was severely wounded, receiving a bullet deep in his thigh that could never be removed.cite book
last = Collum
first = Richard Strader
title = History of the United States Marine Corps
publisher =L.R. Hamersly & Co.
date =1890
location = Philadelphia,
pages = 55-58
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =


Commodore Barney died at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 1, 1818 enroute to Kentucky, from complications related to the wound he received at the Battle of Bladensburg.

Namesake and honors

Four US Navy ships were named for him:
*"USS Commodore Barney", a Civil War ferryboatcite web
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coauthors =
title =Commodore Barney
work =
publisher =United States Navy, Naval Historical Center
date =
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format =html
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-30
*USS "Barney" (TB-25), a torpedo boat built at the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine in 1900
*USS "Barney" (DD-149), a "Wickes"-class destroyer, built at Cramps’ Shipbuilding in Philadelphia, launched 5 Sep 1918
*USS "Barney" (DDG-6) was a "Charles F. Adams" guided missile destroyer, built at New York Shipbuilding in Camden, New Jersey, launched 10 Dec 1960.

A replica of Barney's of Chesapeake Bay Flotilla gunboats today sits in a waterside park in Bladensburg.

A street in Washington, D.C. is named for Barney.

ee also


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