Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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1814

At the end of 1813, the war against Napoleon was drawing to a close, freeing British military resources to focus on the war in the Americas.  The British Admiralty reorganized its command and strengthened its forces, preferring to focus on bringing economic pressure to bear by blockading the North American coast and engaging in crop destroying raids.

In the spring, the British Admiralty appointed a more aggressive commander to a reorganized North American Station.  Vice Admiral Sir Alexander F. I. Cochrane was a veteran of the American Revolutionary War and had distinguished service in the wars against the French.  According to orders, Cochrane immediately extended the blockade of the coast and offered asylum to runaway slaves.