George Cockburn

Sir George Cockburn before the burning Washington in the war of 1812. Pressure after a painting by John James Halls, 1817

admiral Sir George Cockburn beard., KCB, GCB (* 22. April 1772 in London, England; † 19. August 1853) was a British naval officer, who served in the coalition wars against France and in the British-American war of 1812 and for the fleet admiral and first sea-lord of the admiralty ascended.


Cockburn, which occurred son of an aristocrat, as of nine years one the Royal Navy . To 20. February 1794 it was carried to the captain and kommandierte under Vice Admiral William Hotham in successful sea-combat with a French federation with Genova to 14. March 1795 and in a further fight without result before Hyères (12. May) the frigate HMS Meleager (32 cannons). 1796 it belonged to geführen federation, that with its ship to one of Kommodore Nelson Genova blocked and to 25. April and to 31. May successful attacks on ships of a French convoy which are because of the coast under the protection of cannon batteries led. Nelson estimated Cockburn, and by its Fürsprache this received a larger ship, briefly before the frigate HMS Minerve (38 cannons), taken by the Frenchmen. Cockburn was involved with its ship in the evacuation of the British crew Korsikas; with Kommodore Nelson on board pushed the HMS Minerve to 19. December 1796 on the Spanish frigate Sabina (40 cannons). This painted after combat lasting several hours before the Britisher the flag, but had the conquered ship to be left, when a superior Spanish federation approached. Here two second lieutenants turned out (under it Thomas Masterman Hardy, the later captain of the HMS Victory in the battle of Trafalgar 1805) and 40 crew members of the Minerve briefly into Spanish shank, from which they became released in the exchange against the captain of the Sabina again. After an intermediate stop in Gibraltar Cockburn and Nelson encountered a part of the Spanish fleet, segelten with dense fog by them through and could admiral Jervis of their running out inform. Jervis succeeded it thereupon to 14. February 1797 to place the Spanish fleet to the fight and in the sea-battle with cape pc. Vincent strike. While Nelson on the HMS Captain played a crucial role in the battle, were Cockburn and the HMS Minerve only spectator, since the ship was too small, in order the fire of the heavy liner cannons to be suspended. Involved it was however at the futile hunt for the fastened Spanish flagship Santisima Trinidad (130 cannons). To 29. May succeeded it to Cockburn with a boat attack of parts of its crew and those it accompanying HMS Lively (32 cannons), to overwhelm and out-drag the French Freibeuter Mutine (14 cannons) in the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Teneriffa) despite heavy defense fire, whereby Cockburns first second lieutenant Thomas Masterman Hardy was particularly characterised. In connection with an attempt to strengthen the French troops in Egypt Cockburn with its ship forced to 2. September 1801 with Livorno the surrender of the French frigate Succès (32 cannons, those lost gone HMS Success briefly before) and hunted the Bravoure ( 40 cannons) together with HMS Phoenix and HMS Pomone due to.

1809 were involved Cockburn as a commander of the HMS Pompée (74 cannons) under countering admiral Alexander Cochrane in the conquest of Martinique, where he led a land command of the Royal Navy, to 4. February the fastened island Ilot aux Ramiers took, a key position of the French Verteidigungslinen. For this employment it received an official thank saying of the British House of Commons. With the naval operations in connection with the unfortunate milling ago EN expedition in the summer 1809 it led the liner HMS Belleisle (74 cannons). 1811 it was sent to (unsuccessful) a mission to America, in order to reach a reconciliation between Spain and its revolting colonies. To 12. It received the transport to the countering admiral and the command to August 1812 over a Schwadron of the Royal Navy in Spanish waters, however in this year to North America was sent. Under the supreme command of Vice Admiral Sir John would boron-read Warren and (starting from March 1814) Sir Alexander Cochrane plays he an active role there with the war of 1812 against the USA. Cockburn crossed with its ships before the American coast, took American trading vessels and Freibeuter, implemented the blockade imposed by Great Britain against the US coast and accomplished a number of extremely destructive attacks on ports and coastal places in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Georgia . These attacks made it very hated in the USA and to a preferential object of defamations of the press. Whether American statements, it has encroachments by force of its sailors on civilians waited, more are than war propaganda, might be rather questionable. The most important this so-called. “raids” Washington, with whom he accompanied the landed troops under Robert Ross, addressed itself these despite contrary instructions Cochranes for far marching encouraged and after the British victory in the battle with Bladensburg to 24 against the American capital. August 1814 an active role during the destruction of the government buildings of Washington (among other things the white house, the senate and the house of representatives) played. Above all therefore Cockburn to today a bad reputation in the USA enjoys, whereby it is however ignored that Ross and Cockburn with the destruction implemented only an instruction of the Canadian governor general Sir George Prevost. The following attack on Baltimore, with which Cockburn with its federation played a key role, failed itself however, there the defenses of the city (away McHenry) as too strong and the defenders as combatready proven. With the bombardment from away McHenry by its federation supplied Cockburn to the poet with Francis Scott key the inspiration to the poem The Defense OF away McHenry, which became under the title The star Spangled banner the text of the national anthem of the USA.

At the beginning of of 1815 received Cockburn to the asking hordes/hurdles of second class (KCB) and after its return to Europe the order, Napoleon Bonaparte with the liner HMS Northumberland to its detention place on pc. To bring Helena and officiate for some months as a governor of this island. 1818 one distinguished it with that asking hordes/hurdles of first class (GCB) . To 12. August 1819 received the rank of a Vice Admiral to Cockburn, to 10. January 1837 an admiral, became fleet admiral (1. July 1851) and served several years as a first sea-lord the admiralty (1828 - 1830, 1834 - 1835 and 1841 - 1846). Cockburn is considered as one of the most influential personalities in the Royal Navy between 1815 and 1850. Politically it stood on sides of the Tories, for which it was selected several times into the House of Commons. Although its political opponent from the numbers of the Whigs attacked it as a reactionary, he was in the opinion his bio count Roger Moriss despite its political preferences rather a liberal, which is to be read off also from the switch positions caused considerably by him. It was a driving Kraft with the development of sea-more suited and with steam engines and screw drive of equipped ships. Beyond that its term of office accompanied with the end of the Auspeitschungen, the obligation recruiting and the personal Patronage in the administration of the Royal Navy. 1852, briefly before its death, he inherited the title of nobility, which fell after its own death to its brother William from his older brother. Cockburn died 1853 and left a daughter.


  • William Laird Clowes: The Royal Navy. A History from the earliest times ton of 1900, Bde. 4-6, London 1899-1901
  • Roger Morriss: Cockburn and the British Navy in Transition. Admiral Sir George Cockburn, 1772-1853, University OF South Carolina press 1998, ISBN 157003253X
  • James luggage: The one Who Burned the White House: Admiral Sir George Cockburn, 1772-1853, Naval of institutes press 1987, ISBN of 0870214209

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