In the early hours of September 12, 1814, a British fleet of more than 30 warships and transports landed about 5,000 troops on the North Point peninsula under the command of Major General Robert Ross. They began marching toward Baltimore.
People living in the path of the British army feared the worst. Some hurriedly hid valuables; others packed what they could and fled. Residents who remained faced the enemy with courage.
American Brig. General John Stricker and 3,000 Maryland militiamen met Ross’s forces at Godly Wood on Patapsco Neck, eight miles north of the British landing at North Point.
The Americans faced British musket and artillery fire for nearly an hour before moving back toward the main lines near the city. The British held the battlefield, but suffered heavy casualties, including Major General Ross who was mortally wounded in a skirmish prior to the battle.
Maryland’s 5th Regiment of militia, bolstered by battle experience at Bladensburg, anchored the American right flank during the Battle of North Point. The last unit to leave the battlefield, the 5th protected the rear as the Americans withdrew.
Though technically a British victory, the stiff American defense surprised the British who failed to pursue, allowing the Americans to join the forces in the city.
Resuming the march toward Baltimore the next day, the British troops stopped when they saw the formidable defenses lining Hampstead Hill (now Patterson Park). Rather than test the well-defended earthworks, they waited for support from the Royal Navy on the Patapsco River.
Read more about the Battle of North Point.
Last updated: March 25, 2022