On the afternoon of September 12, 1814, the Battle of North Point was about to begin. As the British approached the Maryland line formed by General Stricker’s troops, Colonel Arthur Brooke, now in command after the death of General Ross, could see that it was strong and well protected. He sent the 4th Foot, also known as The Kings Own Regiment, along with the Royal Marines and a few seamen against the Maryland left flank. The 21st Fusiliers were on the road to Baltimore with orders to attack the Americans on the left (the British right).
The British Attack
The attack began just before 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon, with the British firing Congreve Rockets (famous for their red glare) at the American left. Three weeks before, at the Battle of Bladensburg, the British had fired Congreve rockets at the Americans. When the rockets are fired, they make a high-pitched screeching sound. Many of the men at Bladensburg, having not encountered these before, were so terrified they dropped their flintlocks and ran away. Brooke was hoping to repeat this at Baltimore. But when the rockets were fired, the men of the 5th Maryland, having been at Bladensburg, told their comrades the rockets were harmless toys. The Americans held and rockets fell harmlessly behind the lines. Except one. It set fire to a haystack on the Boulden farm which quickly spread to other buildings of the farm, including the farmhouse.
A Reluctant Retreat
Stricker was enraged. Realizing he could not hold his position, he ordered the 3rd brigade to withdraw. With the 5th regiment holding off the enemy, the rest of the 3rd Brigade, in a mostly orderly fashion, retreated the one mile to Cook’s Tavern.
Last updated: September 11, 2020