BURNING OF THE NAVY YARD AT WASHINGTON.
COMMUNICATED TO THE SENATE, JANUARY 18, 1815.
Committee Room, 9th November, 1814.
A petition has been presented to the Senate by Edward Barry, Sailingmaster, and George Hodge, Boatswain, in the navy of the United States, praying compensation for certain private property destroyed by the burning of the navy yard.
The committee, to whom the petition has been referred, has directed me to inquire of you by whose orders, or under what authority, the navy yard was set on fire.
With great respect,
JOSEPH ANDERSON, Chairman of the Committee.
Honorable William Jones, Secretary of the Navy.
Navy Department, November 11th, 1814.
In answer to your letter of yesterday, founded on the petition of Edward Barry, Sailingmaster, and George Hodge, Boatswain, praying compensation for certain private property destroyed by the burning of the navy yard, and requesting to be informed by whose orders, and under what authority, the navy yard was set on fire, I have the honor to state that the eventual order, for the burning of the public shipping and stores, was given by the Secretary of the Navy, with the approbation of the President of the United States, and in conformity with the opinions of the Secretary of War and Navy, and assent of the other Heads of Departments, upon a consultation on that subject, in front of General Winder's quarters, on the morning of the 24th of August last, and in order to prevent the said shipping and stores from falling into the hands of the enemy.
The manner in which the fire was communicated to the buildings, which contained the furniture of Sailing-master Barry, and Boatswain Hodge, will appear by the following extract of a report from the commandant of the yard, made on the 18th ultimo.
"The buildings destroyed by the fire from the frigate, &c. were the mastshed and timber shed, the joiners' and boat builders' shops, and mould loft; all the offices; the medical store; the plumbers' and smiths' shops, and blockmakers' shop; the saw mill and block mill, with their whole apparatus, tools, and machinery; the building for the steam engine, and all the combustible parts of its machinery and materials; the rigging loft; the apartments for the master and boatswain of the yard, with all their furniture; the gun carriage, makers' and painters' shops, with all the materials and tools therein at the time.
"Also the hulls of the old frigates Boston, New York, and General Greene."
I have the honor to be, &c.
Honorable Joseph Anderson, Senator of the United States.
Note. See Military Affairs, No. 137.