Robert John Barrett entered the Royal Mavy on December 11, 1813 and was asigned to HM frigate Hebrus of 44 guns.
September 14, 1814. Onboard His Majesty’s frigate Hebrus, Midshipman Robert Barrett recorded in his dairy as the British navy departed Baltimore harbor: “..thus, after bombarding the forts and harbor of Baltimore for twenty-four hours, the squadron of frigates weighed, without firing a shot, upon the forenoon of the 14th, and were immediately followed by the bombs [ships] and sloops of war. In truth, as the last vessel spread her canvas to the wind, the Americans hoisted a most superb and splendid ensign on their battery, and fired at the same time a gun of defiance…”
The “gun of defiance” was actually the morning gun being fired from Fort McHenry, during the changing of the guard and the U.S. flag being raised as per U.S. Army regulations and the national song “Yankee Doodle” played by the fifes and drums of the garrison.
In 1843 he wrote an article entitled “Naval Recollections of the Late American War,” in which he gave a detailed account of his services in the Chesapeake campaigns of 1814.
Sources: “Naval Recollections of the Late American War,” United Service Journal (London, April 1843), 464-465; “A Letter from Baltimore, 1814: Yankee Doodle played,” by Scott S. Sheads (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Magazine, 1982); A Navl Biographical Dictionay…by William R. O’Byrne (London: John Murray, 1849), 50.;