Robert Goodloe Harper was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia and served in the Revolutionary War at age 15, likely as an aide or servant. He later served as a member of the Virginia Legislature prior to moving to Maryland’s political theatre.
During the Battle of North Point, September 12, 1814, he served as aide-de-camp to Brigadier General John Stricker’s Third Brigade and assisted Captain John Montgomery’s Baltimore Union Artillery, 1st Maryland Volunteer Artillery in the initial attack. On the occasion“he exerted himself indefatigably and exposed his person with extreme hardihood, as a volunteer.” In his official report General Stricker reported that “Mr. RObert Goodloe Harper deserves my thanks. He visited me just before the action; accompanied the advance party, and aided me much throughout.”
On November 8, 1814, he succeeded Samuel Smith as major general of the Third Division of the Maryland Militia. He served in the U.S. Senate (1815-1816) and later a member of The Society for the Colonization Society for Free People of Color (est.1816) along with federalist U.S. Representatives John Randolph and Henry Clay to form a colony on the African east coast, later called Liberia which gained its independence in 1847. In October 1824 he was a prominent host to the arrival in Baltimore of the Marque de Lafayette. Harper died on January 14, 1825 and was buried in Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore.
Sources: Easton Gazette, January 22, 1825; “The Late General Harper,” National Gazette & Literary Register (Philadelphia), March 3, 1825; Official Report, General John Stricker, September 14, 1914. Niles’ Weekly Register, September 24, 1814.