In 1859 the Life of John H.W. Hawkins was published in Boston. While only 17 years of age Mr. John Henry Willis Hawkins served having secured a rifle and took part in the Battle of North Point. Among his comrades and aquantices were the veterans of the 1st Battalion of Maryland Riflemen of which Captain Edward Aisquith’s First Baltimore Sharp Shooters was one of five companies assigned who fought at the Battle of North Point. It is in this regard that we find the following two passages that have long been long associated with the death of Major General Robert Ross, RA. The likely source for these popular phases must fall upon a Dr. Samuel B. Martin, surgeon of the battalion who was a brother-in-law of the young Hawkins. It was Dr. Martin who had served at the Battle of Bladensburg and also interviewed a Mr. Gorsuch a few days after the battle at his farm where Ross had had breakfast that morning of September 12.
“I shall sup in Baltimore to-night, or in hell!”
The second phrase must be attributed to one of the Battalion members, likely Dr. Martin who was at the Battle of Bladensburg.
“Remember, boys, General Ross rides a white horse to-day!”
Source: Life of John H.W. Hawkins Compiled by his son, Rev. William G. Hawkins, A.M. (Boston: John P. Jewett & Co., 1859.); The Sun, August 30, 1858.