Sir Alexander Cochrane (1758-1832) was a Scots-born officer of the BritishRoyal Navy, serving during the wars against Napoleon and during the War of 1812, attaining the rank of vice-admiral. During the latter, he oversaw the shelling of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814. He met with defeat during the Battle of New Orleans the following year.
When Cockburn's drive on Baltimore was halted in Washington at the Battle of the Capitol, Cochrane turned his attention to the invasion and conquest of New Orleans, preparing a force of nearly 10,000 strong. He was joined by General Robert Ross, who'd been injured at the Capitol, insisted on accompanying the Cochrane expedition in an advisory position.
By December 21, 1814, Cochrane's various attempts to gain an advantage in Louisiana had been checked by General Andrew Jackson. Ross was present when Cochrane debriefed Lieutenant John Peddie as to American troop strength. Ross was dubious about civilian reports that claimed fifteen thousand men in New Orleans and another 3,000 at the English Turn, expressing his opinion that General Jackson would have something along the lines of 5,000 to 7,000 men. However, Ross pleaded for Cochrane to hold off on an attack until such time General Edward Pakenham, who had not yet arrived, could be present and have time to understand the full lay of the land. Cochrane, however, revealed that peace negoatiations at the city of Ghent were being deliberately stalled by the British in the hopes of taking New Orleans before terms could be finalized. It was hoped that, despite the unpopularity of the war in Britain, that New Orleans could become a British possession once peace was finalized. Cochrane felt he had no choice but to attack, and overruled Ross's concerns.