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Battle of Baltimore 1814

Battle of Baltimore between British and Americans, Royal Navy Siege of Fort McHenry in 1814 was a land and sea Battle of the War of 1812.

The Battle of Baltimore in Maryland was a combined operation, Major-General Robert Ross launched a land attack at North Point. The second attack came from Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane at the Baltimore Harbour defensive point of Fort McHenry.

Battle of North Point

12th September 1814, at midday the American General John Stricker received a report that the British troops under the command of Major-General Robert Ross had stopped, with some plundering the nearby farms.

At 1pm, Major Richard Heath and 250 troops with a canon, were sent to draw the British forces towards General Strickers main force.

The concealed American riflemen began firing upon the British. Rear-Admiral George Cockburn was cautious about advancing without more support, Major-General Ross agreed bringing in the main army. An American rifleman shot Major-General Ross in the chest, he died shortly after.

At 3pm, Colonel Arthur Brooke took over command of the British troops. He decided to advance on the Americans, using three canon, as covering fire for the troops to attack. The American riflemen fired into the British ranks, while there canon fired scrap metal at the British advancing. The British outflanked the American positions, making them flee.

death of major-general robert ross at the battle of baltimore
Death of Major-General Robert Ross at the Battle of Baltimore.

General Strickers troops were firing effective volleys while falling back. One of the British commanders and several men amongst the woods and swampy creaks were killed.

Colonel Brooke suffered heavy casualties while advancing to within a mile of the main American defensive position at Baltimore. He chose not to follow General Strickers retreating American troops. He waited until Fort McHenry had been neutralised by the British Royal Navy.

13th September 1814, Colonel Brooke cautiously towards the main American defensive position at Loudenslager Hill, near Baltimore. He saw an American force of around 22,000 militia, and 100 canons.

Colonel Brooke thought about attacking the American defensive position during the cover of darkness. He asked Vice-Admiral Cochran if he could bombard the American battery. The British ships commanded by Captain Charles John Napier engaged in a fight with American ships, as well as firing upon the battery.

battle of north point 1814
Battle of North Point 1814, By John Pezzola

Due the the American battery suffering little damage, Colonel Brooke called off the attack. He withdrew and re-embarked at North Point.

The Battle of North Point had been costly to the British, with the loss of Major-General Ross. He was a respected leader of both the Peninsular War, and the War of 1812.

Siege of Fort McHenry

13th September 1814, at 6am Fort McHenry at Baltimore under the command of Major George Armistead, came under siege from Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane’s 19 British Ships.

The British ships were unable to pass Fort McHenry, to access the vital port of Baltimore. This was due to coming firepower from 20 canons at the defensive Fort, and the chain of 22 sunken ships. The continuous bombardment of the fort with rockets and mortar, lasted for 24 hours. A bomb crashed through the forts powder magazine, but did not explode.

bombardment of fort mchenry
Bombardment of Fort McHenry, by Kenneth Townsend

14th September 1814, during the morning, the British ships had depleted their ammunition, putting stop to the invasion of Baltimore Harbour. After all the bombardment, a British ship received a direct hit wounding a crew member. Four killed, and 24 wounded in the Fort.

The Battle of Baltimore had finished with an American victory, by repelling the invading British forces on land and sea.



By , last updated: 17th November 2020