Alexander Cochrane

Portrait of Alexander Cochrane
TitleCommander-in-Chief of the North American Station, Vice Admiral
War & AffiliationWar of 1812 / British
Date of Birth - DeathApril 23, 1758 - January 26, 1832

Alexander Inglis Cochrane was born on April 23, 1758, the younger son of Thomas Cochrane, a Scottish peer. He entered the Royal Navy as a boy, serving during the American Revolution. During the attack on Alexandria in 1801, part of British efforts to retake Egypt from French Revolutionary forces, Cochrane and his ship HMS Ajax, were among the first to enter the harbor. During the Napoleonic Wars, he was commander of the Leeward Islands Station and saw action at the Battle of San Domingo. In 1806, he was knighted into the Order of the Bath for his services. Promoted to Rear Admiral he was sent to occupy the Dutch West Indies and commanded the naval forces at Martinique. In 1814, he was promoted to Vice Admiral and made Commander-in-Chief of the North American Station. In this capacity, he was in charge of the naval forces that transported troops under Robert Ross for the attacks on Washington and Baltimore and commanded the bombardment of Fort McHenry. At New Orleans, Cochrane led the force that defeated the American gunboats at the Battle of Lake Borgne, enabling Edward Pakenham to land his troops to attack New Orleans. Cochrane was criticized for his role in the defeat at New Orleans, but still earned a promotion to Admiral in 1819. He was the Commander-in-Chief of Plymouth, one of the most senior positions in the Royal Navy, from 1821 to his retirement in 1824. He died at age 73 on January, 26 1832.