Recruitment Notice: U.S.Marines at Baltimore, 1813-1814

“FORTY DOLLARS! To Men of Courage, Enterprize & Patriotism. – A RENDEZVOUS for the Marine service is now opened at the house of Landlord Richard Lee, No. 76, Bond-st. Fell’s Point. FORTY DOLLARS – Is paid at the outset – and the service promises honor and rich reward. The men now wanted are principally for Sergeants and Non-Commissioned Officers of high grade, to command separate detachments on board some of the fastest sailing vessels in the service. If adverse to the Atlantic, they can have the privilege of asserting their country’s honor on the Lakes, or doing garrison duty. Few inducements need to be held out at a crises like the present, when the services of all are required, to excite the ardor and enthusiasm of enterprise and bravery. BENJAMIN HYDE, Lieutenant Marines.”

By the Spring of 1813 a detachment of twenty-four U.S. Marines were assigned at Fell’s Point to guard the Baltimore naval yard of Wm. Parsons & Wm. Flannagain’s shipyard where the U.S. sloops of war Erie and Ontario were to be completed that fall. A year later on August 1, 1814 they were joined by the launching of the U.S. frigate Java.

On August 24, 1814, one hundred U.S. Marines from the Washington U.S. Navy Yard made a valiant but futile stand on the battlefields of Bladensburg, Md., prior to the British capturing the Capital. Afterwards they marched for Baltimore to join Capt. Alfred Grayson’s marine detachment at Baltimore. Arriving with Commodore John Rodgers were fifty U.S. Marines from Philadelphia’s U.S. frigate Guerriere.

Captain Alfred Grayson, commanding 170 U.S. Marines, informed the Marine Commandant “The whole force, sailors and marines, will be tonight one thousand. The enemy is expected every hour.” Marine Lieutenant John Harris, in the center of the naval lines, remarked “I think the handsomest sight I ever saw was during the bombardment to se[e] the bombs and rockets flying and the firing from our three forts [McHenry, Covington, Lazaretto]. I could se[e] plenty of red coats but could not get within musket shot of them.”

Together these 170 U.S. Marines waited behind the naval lines of Commodore John Rodgers, USN upon Hampstead Hill (Patterson Park) for the British land assault that never came. Captain Grayson who commanded the U.S. Marines at Baltimore informed the U.S. Marine Commandant earlier that “…an opportunity will be afforded our little handful of men to take a part in the contest.”

Sources: History of the U.S. Marine Corps by Maj. Edwin N. McClellan. (Washington: 1925); Commodore John Rodgers: Captain, Commodore, and Senior Officer of the American Navy, 1773-1838, by Charles O. Paullin (Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1909, 1967); Baltimore Patriot, May 13, 1813; Hyde died on Feb. 10, 1815. Grayson died on June 28, 1823.

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Published in: on April 12, 2011 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Recruitment Notice: “First Marine Artillery of the Union”

In the summer of 1814, Captain George Stiles (1760-1819), veteran sea captain of Fell’s Point issued a recruitment notice for those to enroll in this amphibious corps of 200 seamen and maritime artisans. The First Marine Artillery of the Union was organized in 1808 as a naval militia corps under the auspices of the City of Baltimore. During the War of 1812 “they were as a host to Baltimore.” This indefatigable corps of seamen built the marine dual gun batteries at Fort McHenry, Fort Babcock, and the Lazaretto as well as manning the gunboats of the harbor. In September 1814 they were stationed upon the defenses of Hampstead Hill (Patterson Park).  

First Marine Artillery on the Union

Meet at your gunhouse at 3 o’clock on Saturday next, in uniform complete, to exercise the heavy field ordnance. Knowing as you do, that the weight of this metal requires much strength, renders it unnecessary for any entreaties to be advanced by your captain, for your prompt attendance.

The object of this early hour is to admit agreeable to your constitution, new members; we have a right to expect every master and mate in port. The cloud gathers fast and heavy in the East, and all hands are called – few, very few, are the number of masters or mates belonging to this port that will be justified in excusing themselves from service by one of their skippers not being so firm as the other, or that he has seen five or forty; if he cannot sponge and ram as well as his messmates, he can pass a cartridge.

It is well known by all Tars the just stigma that is fixed by the ship’s crew on the man that skulks below, or under the lee of the long boat, when all hands are called; their services were not wanting until the present; but now your city calls all to arms, you are therefore invited and entreated to fall into our ranks.

Many 18 pounders are already manned and many more fit for service; come and join as we give a long pull, a strong pull and a pull altogether – and save the ship.

By order of the Captain, ROBT. G. HENDERSON, Secretary.

Source: Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser, July 22, 1814.

Published in: on April 12, 2011 at 11:10 am  Leave a Comment