Battle of North Point – American Prisoners of War, September 12, 1814

In the aftermath of the Battle of North Point, fifty-three American militia found themselves prisoners of war and were conveyed to the British fleet via Bear Creek to His Britannic Majesty’s frigates Havanna, Severn and Surprise. In a collective letter upon which their names were listed they described their confinement;

“We had the misfortune to be captured in the affair of Monday last at Bear Creek and were on Tuesday brought on board this ship where we are detained as prisoners of war…we are in captivity & distressed (not one of us having a change of raiment, a blanket, or cent of money – some have no coats, others no vests or shoes). Should not an immediate arrangement be made for our benefit, we expect to be sent to England…We pray an immediate attention may be paid to our situation by a flag of truce…Several of us being already very unwell, we fear confinement by fever which will be certain death in our situation…”

 Independent Company, 5th Maryland Regt.; Thomas Bailey, Talbot Jones, Edward Murray, Frederick Seyler, and William Jenkins.

Independent Blues – 5th  Maryland Regt.; Francis M. Wills, George Heidelbach, William Levely, Richard Lawson, John Huzza.

First Baltimore Sharp Shooters – 1st Battalion Maryland Riflemen; Thomas G. Prettyman, and John Howard.

Patriot Company, 5th Maryland Regt.; Benjamin Meredith.

United Volunteers, 5th Maryland Regt.; Henry W. Gray, and John G. Poug.

Union Volunteers, 5th Maryland Regt.; George Collins, and Henry Suter

1st Mechanical Volunteers, 5th Maryland Regt.; John Redgrave.  

51st Maryland Regt.; Andrew Miller, John Kepler, Morgan Carson, Adam Miller, Andrew Cole, Peter Stedman, Patrick B. Powell, John Kesler, and Adam Miller.

27th Maryland Regt.; John Fordyce, Ephraim Nash.

39th Maryland Regt; William Baltzell, Lewis Baltzell.

Non-combatants – Daniel Wells, Joseph G. Whitney

Two other British warships also held American prisoners of war from North Point.

 Onboard HM frigate Surprise – William B. Buchanan, Ezekiel Partett, Peter Abraham, James Gettings, Edward H. Dorsey, John Lowleas, William Balson, John Griffin, Thomas Herring, George Boyle, Richard Polkinhorn, Thomas Norris, Andrew Kaufman, and George T. Hersey.

 Onboard HM frigate SevernJohn Chesley, John Baxley, Nicholas Wilson, Joseph Chaoman, and John Dougherty.

 In October they were released under the efforts of Colonel John S. Skinner, prisoner of war exchange agent for the U.S. State Department, who only recently had been with attorney Francis Scott Key on board a flag-of-truce vessel and had witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

Sources: Letter dated September 17, 1814, onboard HBM frigate Havanna. Samuel Smith Papers, Reel 2, Container 2-3., Library of Congress; Baltimore American & Commercial Daily Adv., September 26, 1814.

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  1. Great stuff Scott! First article and I learned of two members of the Balto United Volunteers who were made prisoners of war! Haven’t forgotten about lunch to move along the Arming Maryland’s Militia article, but have been both swamped and wanted to get a draft as complete as I could make it before we tackled it together. Plus helped the MHS get a 1763 Charleville musket with Rev War US brand subsequently MD marked. Very significant piece. And have helped them with the upcoming CW exhibit. All my best! Fred


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