Secretary of Navy William Jones considered the American flotilla to be hopelessly bottled up in Leonard's Creek, and he gave the order to destroy the flotilla. Just at that moment, Commissary General of Ordnance Decius Wadsworth had volunteered to try to liberate it. With 600 men, he advanced to the mouth of Leonard's Creek and emplaced two 18-lb. long cannon on the reverse side of a hill where they were free from any British counterbattery fire.
Under the protection of their fire, Wadsworth attacked with a small fleet of barges. Notwithstanding that his cannon recoiled halfway down the hill with each discharge, his attack was so effective that on June 26, a part of Capt. Joshua Barney's flotilla was able to sail out of Leonard's Creek into the Patuxent River.
This movement backed the British out into the Potomac River. On the river, the British naval forces captured Leonardtown on July 18 without firing a shot. Although they captured it, they did not destroy the town.