|Birth: ||May 3, 1811|
|Death: ||Apr. 27, 1827|
The teenaged daughter of famed British Major General Robert Ross, best known for burning Washington, DC, during the War of 1812, Elizabeth died in Sienna, Italy, "before she had attained the age of 16".
Born into a prominent Anglo-Irish family of Scots descent, seated at Rosstrevor, in Northern Ireland, Elizabeth had been named for her mother, the former "Eliza" Catherine Glassock, an exemplary military wife whose devotion to her husband was much admired by Ross's superiors. Ross, a rising star in the British Army who had distinguished himself during the Napoleonic Wars, had led a punitive British force to the US in 1814. There he routed inexperienced US troops at the Battle of Bladensburg, Maryland, but his subsequent destruction of the American capital would be his last military success. Leaving the smoldering ruins of Washington behind them, Ross's overconfident Redcoats attacked Baltimore, but were thwarted by an unexpectedly skillful and tenacious American defense. The 48-year-old major-general was among the earliest casualties of the battle, killed by an American sharpshooter. Despite massive bombardment by the Royal Navy, the besieged city continued to express its defiance by flying a huge US flag--the largest in existence at the time--over Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor. Hailed as the "Star Spangled Banner" by American eyewitness Francis Scott Key, the sight inspired him to pen what would become the US national anthem.
In contrast, General Ross's death was widely mourned in Britain, where his posthumous rise to heroic status turned on the perception that the US had lost the War of 1812, often called the "Second War of Independence", thanks to his victories at Bladensburg and Washington, (the subsequent British defeats at Baltimore and New Orleans notwithstanding). The Crown granted a petition to include a defeated "Star Spangled Banner" on a new Ross family crest, the American flag being depicted on a broken staff grasped by a victorious hand. The general's widow and descendants were also granted the right to attach the soubriquet "of Bladensburg" to their surname, hence Elizabeth's identification as such in her epitaph. Ironically, few viewers today associate the seemingly Germanic placename "Bladensburg" with the US, yet alone recall its having any military significance. But Elizabeth, who was only three years old when her father was killed during the Battle of Baltimore, in all likelihood was well aware of his story by the time she died 13 years later. Her survivors included her mother, and her older brother David, a scholar who spent most of his life in Continental Europe.
Robert Ross (1766 - 1814)
Provincia di Livorno
Created by: Nikita Barlow
Record added: Jan 11, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 46577251