In the War of 1812 military annals, no other militia corps raised in Baltimore equaled the services in encouraging their fellow citizen-soldiers and sailors than Captain George Stiles and his Fell’s Point naval militia corps, The First Marine Artillery of the Union, which defended Baltimore during the British invasion of the Chesapeake in 1813-1814.
George Stiles was born in 1760 to Joseph and Phoebe “Hannah” Stiles of Harford (Bush) Town, Harford County, Maryland. During the war his seamen’s corps of 200 mariners were responsible for building the shore gun batteries at Fort McHenry, the Babcock and Lazaretto Batteries, rowing guard below the Fort, and sinking merchant ships in the channel. Maj. General Samuel Smith called Stiles’ corps of mariners his “strong right arm.”
“[George Stiles] countenance [was] marked with traits of intelligence and energy with standing as a ship-master and ship-owner…with the sound principles of science…life of public spirit, of open patriotism and fervent benevolence…without wishing to disparage the great services of many brave men…Capt. Stiles did more than any other man to serve Baltimore.”
During the Battle for Baltimore they took part in the defenses on Hampstead Hill (Patterson Park today) with their five heavy 18-pounder field guns – ” were as a host to Baltimore.”
Captain George Stiles died in 1819, with none other than General Andrew Jackson, who was visiting Baltimore, was by his side. He lies buried with his “lads of the ocean a-shore” in unmarked graves near Fell’s Point within the old Second Presbyterian Church graveyard (John Glendy Graveyard) at Gay and Broadway, forgotten by the city they served and saved.
Sources: Niles’ Weekly Register, June 26, 1813: Baltimore Patriot, September 30, 1818.