Capt. George Stiles (1760-1819) & The First Marine Artillery of the Union

In the War of 1812 military annals, no other militia corps raised in Baltimore equaled the services in encouraging their fellow citizen-soldiers and sailors than Captain George Stiles and his Fell’s Point naval militia corps, The First Marine Artillery of the Union, which defended Baltimore during the British invasion of the Chesapeake in 1813-1814.

George Stiles was born in 1760 to Joseph and Phoebe “Hannah” Stiles of Harford (Bush) Town, Harford County, Maryland. During the war his seamen’s corps of 200 mariners were responsible for building the shore gun batteries at Fort McHenry, the Babcock and Lazaretto Batteries, rowing guard below the Fort, and sinking merchant ships in the channel. Maj. General Samuel Smith called Stiles’ corps of mariners his “strong right arm.”

“[George Stiles] countenance [was] marked with traits of intelligence and energy with standing as a ship-master and ship-owner…with the sound principles of science…life of public spirit, of open patriotism and fervent benevolence…without wishing to disparage the great services of many brave men…Capt. Stiles did more than any other man to serve Baltimore.”

During the Battle for Baltimore they took part in the defenses on Hampstead Hill (Patterson Park today) with their five heavy 18-pounder field guns – ” were as a host to Baltimore.”

Captain George Stiles died in 1819, with none other than General Andrew Jackson, who was visiting Baltimore, was by his side. He lies buried with his “lads of the ocean a-shore” in unmarked graves near Fell’s Point within the old Second Presbyterian Church graveyard (John Glendy Graveyard) at Gay and Broadway, forgotten by the city they served and saved.

 Sources: Niles’ Weekly Register, June 26, 1813: Baltimore Patriot, September 30, 1818.

Published in: on March 31, 2011 at 1:03 pm  Comments Off on Capt. George Stiles (1760-1819) & The First Marine Artillery of the Union  

1st Regiment, Maryland Volunteer Artillery, Maryland Militia

“This Regiment of Artillery, is emphatically the pride of Baltimore…”  (Baltimore Patriot, December 2, 1814.) 

Early 19th century 6 pounder field cannon

Organization – The First Regiment of Artillery of the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division of the Maryland Militia was commanded by Lt. Colonel David Harris (1769-1844), consisting of ten companies of 70 men each, composed of “a very valuable portion of Baltimore’s society, young ardent, enterprising men, of reputable standing and honorable feeling…” During the Baltimore campaign of September 1814 they were distributed among the defenses at Hampstead Hill (*), Battle of North Point (**) and Fort McHenry (***).

Each company usually had four 6-pdr field cannon, a regimental total of thirty-four guns, each owned a company, each equipped with a common two-horse  two wheel-cart to carry munitions of cartridges, slow match, port-fires, and 60-70 rounds of cartidges each.

Artillery Effectiveness – Round-shot had a fearsome psychological effect on troops. Tests demonstrated that, under op­timum conditions, a 6 pound solid shot would cut through nineteen men, who were in close formation or seven feet of compacted earth.  The advantage of round-shot lay in its long zone of effectiveness which made it a useful projectile against targets as close as 250 yards and out to 1,100 yards (3,300 ft.) or more. It essense its volacity and low to the ground projection did extreme physical and psychological damage to soldiers in lineral firing formation.

Battle of North Point – Captain John Montgomery’s Baltimore Union Artillery with four guns was the only American artillery in the Battle of North Point on September 12, 1814. It is apparent that Brigadier General John Stricker’s troops at the Battle of North Point was only a delaying action, biding time for the American forces at Baltimore to prepare for the main assault. More artillery would have proved that General Stricker would have meant to make a stand on the grounds. The amount of the artillery upon Hampstead Hill (today Patterson Park) proved this.

First Regiment of Volunteer Artillery

Capt. George Stiles, The First Marine Artillery of the Union *

Capt. Samuel Moale, Columbian Artillery Co. *

Capt. James Piper, United Maryland Artillery *

Capt. George J. Brown, Eagle Artillerist Co. *

Capt. Joseph Myers, Franklin Artillery *

Capt. John Montgomery, Baltimore Union Artillery Co.**

Capt. John Berry, Washington Artillerist Co. ***

Capt. Charles Pennington, Baltimore Independent Artillerist Co.***


Capt. Joseph H. Nicholson, Baltimore Fencibles, owing they were U.S. Volunteers they were allowed to parade and exercise with the First Regiment. During the bombardment the Fencibles assisted the regular garrison at Fort McHenry, the U.S. Corps of Artillery, in manning the much heavier and powerful 24-pdr garrison artillery mounted on the fort walls.

Sources: “Military Notice,” Baltimore Patriot, December 2, 1814;  Col. Decius Wadsworth to Maj. General Samuel Smith , July 25, 1814. Samuel Smith Papers, MSS 18974, Library of Congress; “Field Artillery of the War of 1812: Equipment, Organization and Tactical Effectiveness,” by Donald E. Graves, The War of 1812 Magazine (Issue 12, November 2009); Citizen Soldiers at North Point and Fort McHenry, September 12 & 13, 1814 by James Young (Baltimore, 1889).

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 10:48 pm  Comments Off on 1st Regiment, Maryland Volunteer Artillery, Maryland Militia