The humiliating events of the capture of Washington
in 1814 created intense excitement throughout the country, but were somewhat atoned for by the able defence of Baltimore
, which soon afterwards occurred.
On Sunday, July 11, the British fleet appeared off Patapsco Bay with a large force of land troops, under the command of General Ross
At sunrise the next morning he landed 9,000 troops at North Point
, 12 miles above Baltimore
, and at the same time the British fleet bombarded Fort McHenry
(q. v.), which guarded the harbor of Baltimore
, a city of 40,000 inhabitants at that time, and a place against which the British
held a grudge, because of the numerous privateers.
The citizens of Baltimore
had wisely provided for the emergency.
A large number of troops were gathered around the city.
was garrisoned by 1,000 men, under Maj. George Armistead
(q. v.), and supported by batteries.
The citizens had constructed a long line of fortifications on what afterwards became Patterson Park
Intelligence of the landing of the British
at North Point
produced great alarm in Baltimore
A large number of families, with such property as they could carry with them, fled to the country, and inns, for 100 miles north of the city, were filled with refugees.
The veteran Gen. Samuel Smith
was in chief command of the military at Baltimore
, then about 9,000 strong.
had joined him (Sept. 10) with all the forces at his command.
When news of the landing of the British
came, General Smith
sent General Stricker
with 3,200 men in that direction to watch the movements of the invaders and act as circumstances might require.
Some volunteers and militia were also sent to co-operate with Stricker
Feeling confident of success, Ross
, accompanied by Admiral Cockburn
, rode gayly in front of the troops as they moved towards Baltimore
They had marched about an hour, when they halted and spent another hour in resting and careless carousing at a tavern.
From Colonel Sterett
's regiment General Stricker
had sent forward companies led by Captains Levering
, 150 in number, and commanded by Maj. R. K. Heath
They were accompanied by Asquith
's (and a few other) riflemen, seventy in number, a small piece of artillery, and some cavalry, under Lieutenant Stiles
They met the British
advancing at a point about 7 miles from Baltimore
Two of Asquith
's riflemen, concealed in a hollow, fired upon Ross
as they were riding ahead of the troops, when the former fell from his horse, mortally wounded, and died in the arms of his favorite aide, Duncan McDougall
, before his bearers reached the boats.
The command now devolved on Col. A. A. Brooke
Under his direction the entire invading force pressed forward, and, at about 2 P. M. (Sept. 12), met the first line of General Stricker
's main body, when a severe
The battle raged for twohours, when the superior force of the British
compelled the Americans
to fall back towards Baltimore
; and at Worthington's Mill, about half a mile in front of the intrenchments cast up by the citizens, they were joined by General Winder
and his forces.
halted and bivouacked for the night on the battle-field.
Meanwhile, the British fleet had prepared to attack Fort McHenry
, and, on the morning of the 13th, began a bombardment, which was kept up until the next morning.
At the same time the land force began to move on Baltimore
Their movements were very cautious, and, at. evening, Colonel Brooke
had an interview with Admiral Cochrane
It was decided that the movements of the British
on land and water were failures, and that prudence demanded an immediate abandonment of the enterprise.
At 3 A. M. on the 14th, in the midst of darkness and rain, the land troops stole away to their ships, and, at an early hour, the bombardment of the fort ceased and the British ships withdrew, Baltimore
had lost, in killed and wounded, 289 men; the Americans
lost, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, 213.
grateful citizens of Baltimore
devised a memorial of the salvation of their city and of the actors in it, as enduring as marble could make it. For them Maximilian Godefroy
designed the beautiful structure which stands in Calvert Street, almost in the centre of the city.
This monument is a cenotaph, surmounted by a column representing the Roman
The whole monument, including the exquisitely wrought female figure at the top, symbolizing the city of Baltimore
, is almost 53 feet in height.
It was erected in 1815, at a cost of $60,000.