Engraving - Admiral Sir George Cockburn, Bart.,
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Measurements: Overall: 80cm (31.5in) x 57cm (22.5in)
Mezzotint. Standing full length to right wearing Rear-Admiral’s undress 1812 pattern coat and bicorne, breeches and hessian boots; the Capitol buildings in Washington aflame in the background. After John James Halls (1776–1853). Sheet: 61cm (24in) x 37cm (14.5in). Contained in period maple frame.
Cockburn was one of Nelson's talented frigate captains in the Mediterranean in the 1790s but is best known for his actions during the Anglo-American War of 1812. In 1814 he accompanied the joint naval and military force under Major-General Ross, which after the battle of Bladensburg seized the city of Washington for 24 hours. The public buildings were burnt, including the President's mansion. Its shell had to be painted white on reconstruction to hide the damage and it subsequently became more generally known as the White House. Cockburn provided support and guidance to the army throughout the campaign having become familiar with operations on shore. Ross gave credit to Cockburn for the idea of the attack on Washington although it was part of the strategy of Sir Alexander Cochrane who had become Commander-in-Chief on the North American station early in 1814. Cockburn also accompanied Ross in the advance against Baltimore and was with him during the skirmish on 12 September when Ross was killed. Cockburn's other widely known claim to fame is as the man charged with conveying Napoleon to exile in St Helena in 1815 (in his flagship, the 'Northumberland'), where he remained briefly as Governor and saw the ex-Emperor settled at Longwood.