"British Invade Baltimore" North Point by RIPKEN_HOF

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Little known Baltimore History

Battle of North Point in the War of 1812 (September 12 to 14, 1814)

After the invasion and burning of Washington, DC in August 1814, Rear Admiral George Cockburn reloaded the British troops of Major General Robert Ross to prepare for seizing Baltimore, a chief privateering nest in the United States. The location of Baltimore made it necessary to defend the city from both land and sea attack. Major General Samuel Smith was placed at the head of the city's defenses. The Baltimore harbor defenses rested on Fort McHenry. On September 11, 1814, the British fleet appeared off North Point in Baltimore County. The British strategy was to approach the city from the North Point and enter Baltimore by way of Hampstead Hill, now known as Baltimore's Patterson Park.

The attacks by land and water would be simultaneous.

Smith ordered General John Stricker's 3rd Brigade of about 3,200 militia down the North Point Road to the narrow neck of the peninsula. A stronger fortified line ran along Hampstead Hill. Stricker intended to execute a delaying action along North Point Road before withdrawing into Hampstead Hill's fortifications.

On the morning of September 12, Major General Ross' troops advanced slowly yet confidently up North Point Road. Ross predicted that the American militia would run when fired upon and initially they did pull back. However, significantly a major casualty was General Ross. Legend has it that two sharpshooters, Daniel Wells and Henry McComas, made Ross their target. Whether they actually fired the shots will never be known. The boys fell almost immediately to British bullets. A monument immortalizes their valiantry. Carried to the rear, Ross died a few hours later.

The British forces advanced and that afternoon, Colonel Arthur Brooke, Ross' second in command, charged. The center and right wing of Stricker's line held before retreating to the reserve units a mile behind the lines. Stricker than moved his forces to the fortification on Hampstead Hill to reorganize.

Colonel Brooke, lacking confidence in his new position, halted his troops. The British fleet, commanded by Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, maneuvered into the Patapsco River in preparation for the attack on Fort McHenry. While the fleet fired on Fort McHenry during the day, Colonel Brooke prepared for a night assault on Hampstead Hill. Brooke was again certain that the militia would flee. Later that night he cancelled the plan upon seeing the fortification. Admiral Cockrane's fleet would need to subdue Fort McHenry before they could help the land forces take the Hill. The tactic failed. The dawn of September 14, immortalized in our National Anthem, showed the success of the American defense. September 12 continues to be celebrated as a Maryland legal holiday, Maryland Defender's Day. An annual reenactment of the battle takes place at Fort Howard Park, Edgemere, Maryland.

ck. out the travelogue below for reenact pictures.....

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Star Spangle Banner created...thanks F.S.K.
  • Cons:Washington D.C. was burned/invaded
  • In a nutshell:a little known battle that saved Baltimore and maybe the US
  • Last visit to North Point: Sep 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (1)

  • littlesam1's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2007 at 10:55 AM

    Cool page. Do you take part in reenactments? I know a little bit about the War of 1812 history. Being from Havre de Grace which was burned to the ground in that war we studied it quite a bit in school.

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