“Onward to Canada”: The First Baltimore Volunteers, 1812-1813

Not only was Captain Stephen Moore’s militia company the only Maryland company to serve outside the state during the war, but became the only militia company on September 28 to began the arduous march northward into Canada in the fall of 1812.

The company was organized as U.S. Volunteers for a year enlistment under the act of February 6, 1812 authorizing the President to accept volunteer militia corps, serving under the same rregulations and pay as the U.S. Army.  On September 9, they left Baltimore with an elegant silk flag made by the patriotic ladies of the seventh ward. After arriving at a rendezvous encampment, they marched northward to Sacketts Harbor, New York on April 27, 1813. From there they proceeded with the American army to attack York ( Toronto), the capital of Upper British Canada. In a letter home, Captain Moore related his near death during the attack:

“…at the opening of the main street [of York], the enemy sprung a mine upon us, which destroyed about 60 of his own men, and killed or maimed about 1230 of our men. This horrible explosion has deprived me of my left leg, and other wise grievously wounded me. I was taken from the field, carried on board the commodore’s ship, where my leg was amputated, and I now likely to recover. Two of my company were killed at the same time, and four or five more of my brave fellows were severely wounded…”

The Americans captured York, which they held on to for five days. The Baltimore “Bloodhounds” as they were nicknamed, proudly placed their ensign on the highest pinnacle of the Government House in the Capitol of Upper Canada. It had been made by the ladies of Baltimore. On September 7, 1813, at Fort George, Upper Canada, the Baltimore Volunteers were discharged and returned home, where they re-organized under Lt. Colonel Benjamin Fowler’s 39th Maryland Regiment, who would take an active role in the Battle of North Point, September 12, 1814.

1st Lieutenant John Gill  in the Spring of 1814 applied for a captain’s commission for a post in the newly organized national U.S. Sea Fencibles at Baltimore. These corps of seamen, under the U.S. War department were to serve as artillerist in protecting the harbors of the U.S. With two companies already assigned to Baltimore (out of ten raised in the U.,S.) the U.S. Senate declined Gill’s post.

Sources: Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser, September 2, 1812; The Baltimore Whig, September 12, 1812; Niles’ Weekly Register, October 3, 1812; Baltimore Patriot and Evening Advertiser, June 1, 1813; Easton Republican Star, May 25, 1813.

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Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 10:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

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