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Casebook: The War of 1812
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Battle of Baltimore
Battle of Baltimore
 Battle of Baltimore 
Battle of Baltimore
September 12-14 1814

Location: Baltimore City and Baltimore County Maryland United States
Duration: 3 days

Soldiers Present
     American: 17,000 American [17,000 militia, <1,000 U.S. Army, Navy, & Marines]
     British: 6,000 British overall. 4,800 British on land, 4,000 British Army, and 800 marines and naval brigade; 1200 in bombardment squadron, frigates, ships of line etc and crews of troop transports

Total Casualties
     American: 46 killed, 249 wounded.
     British: 41 killed, 100 wounded

Military Leaders
     American: Maj. Gen. Samuel Smith, Brig. Gen. John Stricker, Brig. Gen. William H. Winder, Maj. George Armistead, Com. John Rodgers
     British: Vice Adm. Sir Alexander Cochrane, Rear Adm. George Cockburn, Maj. Gen. Robert Ross, Col. Arthur Brooke

Outcome: Decisive American victory.

Summary:

   British Major General Robert Ross advanced from the landing place of the troop transports in Old Roads Bay off North Point with around 4,800 troops (4,000 British Army soldiers and 1,000 sailors and Royal Marines). Meanwhile, British commander-in-chief Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane moved his Royal Navy bombardment fleet squadron slowly over the shoals of the Patapsco River to bombard Fort McHenry and its associated earthen forts at the entrance to Baltimore harbor. Standing ready to receive the British onslaught were fort commander Major George Armistead and around 1,000 men in the fort and the batteries nearby, including U.S. Army regulars, militia, U.S. Sea Fencibles (merchant navy sailors), and U.S. Navy sailors. Ross was mortally wounded just before the Battle of North Point just after midday on September 12. In the battle, new British Army commander Colonel Arthur Brooke met Brigadier General John Stricker's City Brigade of some 3,200 men at Bear Creek just south of the Methodist meeting house. The British forced the Americans from the field after some heavy fighting in which they lost 46 dead and 295 wounded, compared to only 24 American dead and 139 wounded. The British bombardment of Fort McHenry September 13-14 failed to force Armistead and the men in Fort McHenry to surrender (at a loss of four men dead). On the night of September 13-14, Cochrane sent Brooke, now opposite the American entrenchments on Hampstead Hill (present-day Patterson Park), a note telling him of the failure to take the fort. The British Army commander was faced with a hard decision. He risked a bloodbath if he went forward with his planned night attack against the entrenchments. The line of defenses, from the harbor to Belair road, were manned by 16,000 militia backed by U.S. Navy gunners and U.S. Marines who were ready to service some 100 cannons, vastly outgunning the trivial cannon power the British could muster. Brooke decided to withdraw, and Baltimore rejoiced at the defensive victory. Georgetown lawyer Francis Scott Key, who was on board a truce ship during the bombardment, wrote a poem, "The Defence of Fort McHenry" which, renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner," would form the words of our present-day national anthem.

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Related pages:
  Baltimore, Battle of
       Dissertations:  'The Hour of Peril ... is not yet past': Fall 1814 Baltimore Defense Plans 
       People:  Brig. Gen. William H. Winder 
       People:  Francis Scott Key 
       People:  Lt. George R. Gleig 
       People:  Mary Young Pickersgill 
  Ross, Robert
       Battles:  Battle of Bladensburg 
       Dissertations:  'Chastising Jonathan': British Views of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake 
       Documents:  Brig. Gen. John Stricker to Maj. Gen. Samuel Smith: Report on the Battle of North Point 
       People:  Maj. Gen. Robert Ross 
       People:  Rear Adm. George Cockburn 

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Copyright © Christopher T. George, 2006