British Bombardment Fleet
Major General Samuel Smith
Battle of North Point
Brigadier General John Stricker
United States Riflemen
Maryland Fifth Regiment
Baltimore City - In the early Nineteen century Baltimore City was a thriving commercial port. The city was one of the most populous and wealth in America. The British called Baltimore a "den of Pirates", and promised to burn it to the ground. The week before the Battle of Baltimore, the British did burn Washington DC.
Fort McHenry - The star shaped fort was built in a Napoleonic fashion. The masonry walls were built between 1798 and 1803. The fort was named for James McHenry, our second Secretary of War. On September 13 and 14, the British attacked Fort McHenry after the land attack stalled. The failure of the bombardment and sight of the American flag inspired Francis Scott Key to compose "The Star-Spangled Banner."
British Bombardment Fleet - The British plan of attached was a combined land and sea operation. While the land operation occurred east of Baltimore, the fleet sailed towards the harbor to attack the fort.
British Landing - The British land at night a force of 5,000 men. This force included Royal Maries, soldiers, sailors and cannons. The British plan to march to Baltimore and burn the city.
The American commander of the defense of Baltimore. Smith fortified the eastern approach to Baltimore. Earthworks stretched from Belair road to Harris creek. The strong point with cannons in the defense was Hampstead hill which is currently in Patterson Park.
The British attack the Americans on the peninsula known as North Point on September 12, 1814. The 3,000 American militia engage the 4,500 British regulars. The British succeed in taking the field by the end of the day. The battle to delay the British saves Baltimore from destruction.
General Stricker commanded the 3rd Brigade at the Battle of North Point. The brigade consisted of five Maryland regiments. He chose the narrow spot in the peninsula at the Friends Meeting House for the battle. He established his command near Cooks tavern.
These infantry were accurate shots. They were used to harass the enemy and kill enemy leaders.
This Baltimore regiment fought bravely at the Bladensburg to defend Washington. It was the most reliable of the militia regiments, and most therefore placed on the road to block the British path. The regiment was headquartered at the Fifth regiment armory in Baltimore for most of the twentieth century. A museum is maintained today in this building with artifacts from the War of 1812.
General Stricker sends a detachment of men forward to engage the British advanced troops. This group of volunteers was commanded by Major Heath. It included 150 infantry from the Maryland Fifth regiment and 70 riflemen. They met the British shortly after noon.
The detachment fought from behind trees and slowed the British advance. A shot from the riflemen killed the General Ross. The detachment then returned to their units.
The shot that killed General Ross is believed to be shot by one of two Baltimore riflemen. The riflemen were privates Henry G. McComas, age 18 and Daniel Wells, age 19. The British immediately returned fire killing both boys.