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Joshua Barney is Born

Today in Masonic History Joshua Barney is Born in 1759.

Joshua Barney was an American naval officer during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Barney was born in Baltimore, Province of Maryland.

Barney began serving in the Continental Navy in February 1776. He would first serve on the Hornet as a master's mate or non-commissioned officer. On the Hornet he would take part in the attack on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas. He would later serve aboard the Wasp and the Andrew Doria. On board the Andrew Doria he took a preeminent part in the defense of the Delaware River.

During Barney's service during the Revolutionary War he would be taken prisoner several times. One time being imprisoned in Old Mill Prison in Plymouth, Devon, England. He would escape from the prison and would recount it in a book he wrote entitled The Memoirs of Commodore Barney which was published in Boston in 1832 after his passing.

In 1782, Barney would be put in command of the ship Hyder Ally. With ship he was able to to capture the HMS General Monk, a vastly superior ship. Barney would take command of General Monk and sail it to France with dispatches for Benjamin Franklin. He would return to the Americas with news that peace had been declared.

After the war, Barney would join the French Navy. There he would be given command of a squadron.

At the beginning of the War of 1812, Barney was coming from an unsuccessful career as a privateer. He would join the United States Navy as a Captain and be given the responsibility of defending Chesapeake Bay. He would author the plan for the defense, which would be approved by the Secretary of the Navy. He would use shallow draft barges loaded with guns to annoy and attack British vessels and then retreat with them to shallow waters.

In 1814, Barney and his flotilla were pursued by several British ships and were forced to retreat up the Patuxent River. The British ships with their deeper drafts were unable to follow. The British ships in frustration began burning towns and farms along the river.

Barney would lead his sailors and marines in the Battle of Bladensburg in defense of the Nations Capitol. The battle was unique because it was one of only two times that a president, this time President James Madison, would use his authority as Commander-in-Chief on the battle field. The only other time was President George Washington during the Whiskey Rebellion. Barney and the rest of the troops defending the Capitol were forced to fall back before getting cut off. The British would go on to burn the Capitol and the White House. Barney was wounded in the Battle.

On December 10th, 1818, Barney while en route to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania would die from the wound he received in war. The bullet could not be removed from the wound he received at the Battle of Bladensburg.

Barney was a member of the Lodge of the Nine Sisters, in Paris France.