Friday, May 15, 2009

Robert Sewall Of The War Of 1812.

Robert Sewall, states that, on the retreat of the American forces from Bladensburg, on the 24th August, 1814, a party of Commodore Barney’s men, then a portion of that force, threw themselves into the house of Robert Sewall, and made an attack from said house upon the advance party of the British army under the command of General Ross; by which attack General Ross’s horse was killed, one or two of his men also were killed, and several were wounded. This adventurous and heroic party were immediately overpowered by the British force; three of them were taken prisoners in the house, whilst the remainder made their escape by flight.

The house of Robert Sewall, thus made a block-house of by this gallant little band, was instantly set on fire by order of General Ross, and destroyed with all its costly furniture. The house had been deserted by its inhabitants, Robert Sewall having several months before removed to his farm in Prince George’s county for the summer; and his son, Mr. William Sewall, in whose care the house had been left by his father, was then employed in the militia who had been called into service some time before, when the enemy threatened the adjacent country.

A claim for remuneration for this house and furniture was before made to Congress, and by that body ordered to be sent to the Commissioner of Claims, under a supposition that the case was embraced by the ninth section of the claims law. The commissioner takes the same into consideration, and finds that, inasmuch as it is not proved that the house was occupied by order of the commanding officer, the claim does not come under any power of awarding indemnity that he possesses, and therefore surrenders the papers, that the petitioner may again appeal to Congress. Upon this statement of the case, the committee are of opinion that the occupation of the house of Robert Sewall, was not such a one as brings this case within the general principle laid down by Congress to entitle the sufferer to compensation. They therefore recommend the following resolution:
Resolved, That the prayer of the petitioner ought not to be granted.

JANUARY 21, 1851.
For the relief of Robert B. Sewall, executor of Robert Sewall,

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the proper accounting officers of the Treasury be, and they are hereby, authorized and directed to ascertain the value of the dwelling house, and property therein, of the late Robert Sewall, which was destroyed by the enemy on the twenty-fourth of August, eighteen hundred and fourteen, in consequence of the authorized military occupation thereof by a portion of the American forces on their retreat from Bladensburg, and that the sum so ascertained as the value of said property, be paid to the said Robert B. Sewall, as executor aforesaid, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.

JANUARY 8, 1834.
For the relief of Henry Sewall and Robert Sewall.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he is hereby, authorized and required, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to pay to Henry Sewall and Robert Sewall, of St Mary’s county, State of Maryland, the sum of ten thousand dollars; it being in consideration of property to them belonging, which was destroyed by the enemy in the late war be. Between the United States and Great Britain, because of its occupancy by United States troops.

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