”Fell at the feet of Capt. Frederick Evans during the bombardment of Fort McHenry, Sept. 13, 1814.”
The inscription above is enscribed (since worn away) on an unexploded 13-inch British mortar shell that was taken home by Captain Frederick Evans soon after the bombardment of Fort McHenry, Sept. 13-14, 1814. Though Lt. Colonel George Armistead was the commanding officer, his second was Captain Evans of the U.S. Corps of Artillery.
Frederick Evans was born near Trappe, northwest of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on March 30, 1766 to George and Elizabeth Evans. In June 1792 at the age of twenty-eight, he served as a lieutenant colonel of the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment of the Northumberland County militia. Like his father, Frederick was a surveyor by trade and elected to the Pennsylvania Legislature from 1809-1811.
With the outbreak of war he received a commission as a captain in the 2nd U.S. Artillery on July 6, 1812 and ordered in May 1814 to Fort McHenry. During the bombardment the corps were stationed within the Star Fort along with a company of U.S. Volunteers. He was honorably discharged on June 15, 1815 and returned to his home in Thompsontown, Pa.
Captain Evans died on December 1, 1844 and was buried in the Old Creamer Hoimestead Cemetery on the Susquehanna RIver in Thompsontown. The bomb shell remained in the family’s lumber saw mill until 1937 when it was donated to the National Park Service at Fort McHenry for exhibit.
Sources: Dunlap’s American Daily Adv., (Pennsylvania) November 19, 1794; Philadedelphia Gazettte, July 1, 1797; The Story of Snyder County by George F. Dunkelberger (Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1997); History of Thompsontown and Delaware Township (Thompsontown Committee, 1977).