Defenders of Fort McHenry, September 13-14, 1814

“…O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand / Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolution!  / Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land / Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!…” Francis Scott Key, 1814.

With the arrival of the British expeditionary forces landing at Benedict, Maryland on August 19, 1814, Major General Samuel Smith and Major George Armistead, commanding Fort McHenry  began to assemble those militia and federal forces for the defense of Fort McHenry. The following are those companies and officers that defended Fort McHenry during the bombardment of September 13-14, 1814.

U.S. Garrison of Fort McHenry

Capt. Frederick Evans – U.S. Corps of Artillery (60)

Capt. Matthew S. Bunbury, U.S. Sea Fencibles (60)

Capt. William H. Addison, U.S. Sea Fencibles (50)

 Maryland Militia, 1st Regiment of Artillery

Capt. John Berry, Washington Artillery, (100)

Lt. Commander Charles Pennington, Baltimore Independent Artillery (75).

U.S. Volunteers

Capt. Joseph H. Nicholson, Baltimore Fencibles, U.S. Volunteers (75)

U.S. Infantry

Lt. Colonel William Steuart, 38th U.S. Infantry

Capt. Joseph Hook, 36th U.S. Infantry (125)

Capt. William Rogers, 36th U.S. Infantry (130)

Capt. Sheppard Church Leakin, 38th U.S.Infantry (?)

Capt. Joseph H. Hook, 38th U.S. Infantry (100)

Capt. John Buck, 38th U.S. Infantry (100)

Capt. Thomas Sangsten, 14th U.S. Infantry (100)


U.S. Chesapeake Flotilla

Sailing Master Solomon Rodman, (60)

Total: 1035

Sources: “Report of Fort McHenry, September 13 & 14, 1814 in the Bombardment” Captain Thomas Sangsten, February 22, 1815; Major Armistead to Acting Secretary of War, James Monroe, September 24, 1814. “Letters Received, Secretary of War John Armstrong,” September 24, 1814.


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It should be noted that the figures given above have been rounded off. For example: According to the Report of the Army, Its Strength and Distribution,1814, Captain Evans Company, Corps of Artillery was authorized 3 officers and 114 enlisted men; was assigned 3 officers and 108 enlisted men; and had 3 officers and 62 enlisted men fit for duty (3/62). Captain John Berry’s Washington Artillery had 4 officers and 92 enlisted men (4/92); Captain Charles Pennington’s Baltimore Independent Artillery had 4 officers, 60 enlisted men, and 2 servants (4/60/2); and Captain Joseph Nicholson’s Baltimore Fencibles had 4 officers and 75 enlisted men (4/75).

    Also Nicholson’s company was not a United States Volunteer Company, but was part of the drafted militia the same as the other Maryland units. On January 29,1813, Congress repealed the Volunteer Act; no additional US Volunteer units were recruited the volunteer regiments in existance were disbanded with the soldiers that still had enlistment commitments being transferred into Regular Army Regiments for the remainder of their time.

  2. I would like to add my ancestor, Solomon Rutter.

    From “The British Invasion of Maryland, 1812-1815” by Wm. M. Mariner, P. 132, Report of Commodore Rogers, who had general command of the batteries:

    “And Lieutenant Rutter, the senior officer of the flotilla, in command of all the barges, which were moored at the entrance of the passage between the Lazaretto and Fort McHenry, in the left wing of the water battery, at which was stationed Sailing Master Rodman, and fifty-four seamen of the flotilla.”

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