Barney's detailed plan, entitled "The Defense of Chesapeake Bay," was complete with sketches of the vessels he suggested be built. He proposed a flotilla of inexpensive, easy to construct, shallow-draft row-galleys, which could patrol the entire Bay and take the offensive against the British. The enemy was using row barges to mount their own attacks; the frigates and ships-of-the-line being too large to get close to land. Secretary Jones accepted the plan and appointed Barney "Acting Master Commandant," answerable to Washington, not the Navy.
The task of building the flotilla was hampered by a lack of funds and sufficient manpower, however, by May of 1814, Barney had assembled 18 vessels. On May 24, the US Chesapeake Bay flotilla sailed south from Baltimore to engage the British at their naval base on Tangier Island. On May 31, the flotilla was anchored off Drum Point, at the mount of the Patuxent River.
Commander Joshua Barney
painted by Charles Willson Peale, 1814