Robert Goodloe Harper (1765-1825)

Robert Goodloe Harper

Robert Goodloe Harper

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.

Published in: on April 6, 2011 at 11:04 am  Comments Off on Robert Goodloe Harper (1765-1825)  

Lieutenant Gregorious Andre (1787-1814) of the Union Yagers

During the late evening of September 11, 1814, Captain Dominic Bader’ directed Lieutenant Gregorious Andre to employ a line of riflemen along a tree line of a clearing in preparation to meet the Brtiish the following day. They were one of five companies of the First Battalion of Maryland Riflemen. Near mid-day, moments before the Battle of North Point ensued on the 12th; the riflemen skirmished with the advancing forward vanguard of British Light Infantry, before falling steadily back to the main American lines. In a curious note in his official report to the First Lord of the Admiralty, Vice-Admiral Alexander F.I. Cochrane privately reported, noting a curious affair:


“One of the American field officers [Lt. Andre] in the late affair was Shot upon a Tree rather a Strange place for a Commander of a Regt., [company] but I understand he went there to direct his men how to fire with Most effect, but staying there rather too long he was brought down by a Soldier.”


On September 12, 1828, fourteen years after the Battle of North Point, his son, John Andre accompanied a detachment of the Baltimore Union Yagers to the battlegrounds. Here having partaken of a repast, prepared for their solemn remembrance of Lieutenant Andre, they formed a hollow square around the tree “where that brave and lamented officer met his untimely fate…” Lieutenant A.B. Wolfe, commanding the corps addressed those gathered in an “eloquent and impressive manner.”  Following the brief ceremony the corps returned to their homes.

Andre was a native of Bremen, Germany was buried along with others that had been mortally wounded that day at Old Christ Church Cemetery on Broadway, the present site of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was later reburied in Green Mount Cemetery.


Sources: Baltimore Patriot, September 18, 1828. Gregorious Andre received his commission on July 24, 1813;  Admiral Cochrane to First Lord of the Admiralty, September 17, 1814. The Naval War of 1812: A Documentary History, Vol. 3 (Washington: Naval Historical Center, 2002), 289-291.

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm  Comments Off on Lieutenant Gregorious Andre (1787-1814) of the Union Yagers  

Brigadier General Thomas Marsh Forman (1758-1845)

“I am [an] advocate for the cause which I espoused in 1776, and believing that the clouds which at present darken our political horizon portend a storm which will call for the exertions of every friend to the independence of our country.” T.M. Forman, 1812.

In the annuals of the Battle for Baltimore, Brigadier General Thomas M. Forman of Maryland’s Cecil County estate of Rose Hill, on the Sassafras River, he has never received his due award for his command of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division of the Maryland Militia, upon Hampstead Hill. Unlike his Maryland contemporary officers, Brig. General John Stricker, Brig. General William Winder and Maj. General Samuel Smith, Forman left no official report, but his twenty-two letters home to his new wife Martha Ogle, documents a rare personal insight into a husband and wife separated by war during “the perilous fight.”

Thomas M. Forman was the son of Ezekiel (1736-1795) and Augustine Marsh Forman born on August 20, 1758 on Kent Island, Queen Annes Co., Md. At the age of seventeen Thomas left to join Washington’s Continental Army at Long Island, New York enlisting on December 4, 1775, in Captain John H. Stone’s company of Colonel William Smallwood’s 1st Maryland Regiment at the Battle of Long Island (Aug. 1776); he was with Washington when he crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Eve to engage the British at the Battle of Trenton in Dec. 1776; Brandywine (Sept. 1777), Valley Forge (1777-78), and Monmouth Courthouse (June 1778). The following winter of 1777 he received a captaincy commission in the regiment commanded by his uncle General David Forman (1745-1797).

Afterwards he served in the Maryland General Assembly (1790-1800) then settled to his family’s estate at Rose Hill. In May 1814, he married Martha Browne Ogle whose dairy detailed life at Rose Hill during the war. In August 27, 1814 Forman was ordered along with his command of the 1st Brigade (Cecil and Harford Counties) to Baltimore to aid in the defense upon Hampstead Hill. Though his brigade took no active role in the battle, his letters home to his wife provide an intimate portrait of this nearly unknown Maryland planter and militia officer. On Sept. 4, he wrote his wife Martha:

“My dear wife, No part of my duty is so pleasant as wanting to be with my dear wife, as is reading her only letter, that dear letter, which in the heat of battle shall be placed over my heart…We have assembled seven generals: Smith, Winder, Stricker, and Stansbury of Baltimore, Douglas and Singleton of Virginia; and your humble servant.”

He returned to Rose Hill on November 17, 1814 to attend to his estates as farmer and 50 slaves. In October 1824 he was designated to represent Maryland upon taking his carriage to await the arrival of the Marquis de LaFayette at the Maryland State line to escort him to Frenchtown, then to Baltimore by steamboat. In 1829 he received a military appointment as major general of the 2nd Division of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a post he held until his death on May 8, 1845. He is buried in the family cemetery with his wife Martha at Rose Hill. (private property).

Source: Plantation Life at Rose Hill: The Diaries of Martha Ogle Forman, 1814-1845; Ed. by W. Emerson Wilson (Historical Society of Delaware, 1976); Forman Papers, Maryland Historical Society, MS.1277, 1777; “Adjutant General Papers,” War of 1812. Maryland State Archives, (SC-931-1, Box 66, Folder 12).

Published in: on April 3, 2011 at 11:19 pm  Comments Off on Brigadier General Thomas Marsh Forman (1758-1845)  

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  

Brigadier General John Stricker (1759-1825): Defender of the Battle of North Point, Sept. 12, 1814

“…Every praise was due to him; the city being threatened, it became the duty of the citizens to be foremost in its defense. He claims the honor, and its brave officers and men under his command hailed with delight the opportunity of meeting the enemy’s attack…” Division Orders, September 19, 1814.

He was the son Colonel George Stricker (1832-1810) a Revolutionary War officer born on February 15, 1759 in Frederick, Maryland. During the revolution he served in General William Smallwood’s’ First Maryland Regiment at the battles of Brandywine, Monmouth, and Princeton.

On August 28, 1807, he was commissioned a brigadier general of the Maryland Militia and commanded the Third Brigade of Baltimore City of the Third Division of the Maryland Militia. On September 11, 1814, Stricker led the Third Brigade and other militia from Pennsylvania and western Maryland to meet the British on what would be the Battle of North Point the following afternoon. He commanded 3,200 militia to confront the 4500 British veterans troops approaching Baltimore. In a two hour battle the Americans, under heavy fire and a flanking movement by the British withdrew steadily to Baltimore. On September 15th General Stricker wrote his official account of the battle.

General Stricker resigned his militia commission on November 10, 1814 and resumed his merchant career and became president of the Bank of Baltimore in 1824 until his death on June 23, 1825. He was buried in Westminister Burying Grounds in downtown Baltimore.

Source: Easton Republican Star, April 20, 1814 and January 25, 1825; “General John Stricker,” by John Stricker, Jr.” Maryland Historical Magazine, September 1914, vol. 9, No. 3), 209-218.

Published in: on March 30, 2011 at 12:50 pm  Comments Off on Brigadier General John Stricker (1759-1825): Defender of the Battle of North Point, Sept. 12, 1814  

Midshipman Robert J.Barrett (1799-1828), H.M.frigate Hebrus: Sept. 14. 1814

Robert John Barrett entered the Royal Mavy on December 11, 1813 and was asigned to HM frigate Hebrus of 44 guns.

September 14, 1814. Onboard His Majesty’s frigate Hebrus, Midshipman Robert Barrett recorded in his dairy as the British navy departed Baltimore harbor: “..thus, after bombarding the forts and harbor of Baltimore for twenty-four hours, the squadron of frigates weighed, without firing a shot, upon the forenoon of the 14th, and were immediately followed by the bombs [ships] and sloops of war. In truth, as the last vessel spread her canvas to the wind, the Americans hoisted a most superb and splendid ensign on their battery, and fired at the same time a gun of defiance…”

The “gun of defiance” was actually the morning gun being fired from Fort McHenry, during the changing of the guard and the U.S. flag being raised as per U.S. Army regulations and the national song “Yankee Doodle” played by the fifes and drums of the garrison.

In 1843 he wrote an article entitled “Naval Recollections of the Late American War,” in which he gave a detailed account of his services in the Chesapeake campaigns of 1814.

Sources: “Naval Recollections of the Late American War,” United Service Journal (London, April 1843), 464-465; “A Letter from Baltimore, 1814: Yankee Doodle played,” by Scott S. Sheads (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Magazine, 1982); A Navl Biographical Dictionay…by William R. O’Byrne (London: John Murray, 1849), 50.;

Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 11:20 pm  Comments Off on Midshipman Robert J.Barrett (1799-1828), H.M.frigate Hebrus: Sept. 14. 1814  

Capt. Thomas Quantrill & the “Homespun Volunteers,” Hagers-town, Md.

“Volunteers —Attention!- ALL the volunteers attached to my Company, are ordered to repair to my quarters for the purpose of being uniformed – they are also ordered to bring their arms with them as they will be supplied with new arms for the purpose of marching immediately, according to orders. Thomas Quantrill, Capt. Hagers-town, August 11, 1812.”

Capt. Thomas Quantrill (1790-1854) was a blacksmith and slave-holder in Hagerstown, Md., who received on June 16, 1812 a militia commission for a rifle company known as the Homespun Volunteers, of the 24th Maryland Regiment from Washington County. In August 1812 they marched for Annapolis and garrisoned Fort Madison as part of Maryland’s militia quota for the War Department. A correspondent noticed that “they possessed all the essential qualities deemed necessary to form good soldiers…and will be found in merit, second to no company attached to the service…” In January they returned home having performed their first duty during the war.

In late August 1814 following the capture of Washington,  Captain Quantrill and his company marched for Baltimore and were attached to Lt. Colonel Joseph Sterett’s 5th Maryland Regiment, then transferred to the 39th Maryland Regiment who were in the front lines of the Battle of North Point, Sept. 12, 1814. Thomas and two others of the company of seventy-seven men were wounded.

After the war Capt. Quantrill migrated to Canal Dover, Ohio, married and had four sons, one of whom was William Clarke Quantrill (1837-1865) who became notorious in the Kansas border wars and his  infamous August 21, 1863 raid on Lawrence, Kansas.

Captain Thomas Quantrill died in Canal Dover, Ohio on December 7, 1854 apprently of tuberculosis.

Sources: Frederick-town Herald, Aug. 29, 1812: Maryland Adjutant General Papers, Militia Appointments, 2 1794-1816, Maryland State Archives, DE67-1; Niles’ Weekly Register, August 29, 1812;  Cincinnati Daily Gazette, May 14, 1869; Hagers-town Gazette, July 14, 1812.

Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm  Comments Off on Capt. Thomas Quantrill & the “Homespun Volunteers,” Hagers-town, Md.  

Captain James Roe (c.1784-?): 35th Maryland Regiment, Belle-Air, Kent County, 1814

The 35th Maryland Regiment was one of two regiments assigned to Queen Anne’s County during the war under the Maryland Militia Act of 1811. In August 1814 upon the advance of HM frigate Menelaus, Capt Peter Parker, RN, in the upper bay off Kent County. Brigadier General Benjamin Chambers, 6th Brigade, brought into service the 21st Maryland Regiment under Lt. Colonel Phillip Reed and Captain James Roe’s militia company of 100 men.  Captain Roe received his commission on October 17, 1810 by Governor Robert Bowie.

On August 31, 1814, HM frigate Menelaus landed their marines and seamen on the bay shore of Kent County and marched inland towards Belle-Air where intelligence reported their was a large militia camp and military depot of supplies. At midnight the British attacked the 21st Regiment upon the farm fields of Isaac Caulk. The Maryland militia made a heroic stand against overwhelming numbers and steadily withdrew from the field towards Chestertown five miles away. The action however caused the British commander Sir Captain Peter Parker to be mortally wounded. While Captain Roe’s company of fifty-nine militia were attached to the 21st Regiment from Aug 31 to Sept 7 they took no part in the midnight skirmish as they were encamped to guard the militia stores at Belle-Air.

In 2008 at the Poplar Grove/Brampton Plantation in Queen Anne’s County, documents were found relating to the War of 1812 among those “A Roster of the Attendance of Capt. Ja’s Roe’s Company Stationed at Bell Aire, August 31, 1814 – this campaign commenced.” While little is still unknown about Captain Roe and his company their role gives an insight of the company’s role during the Battle of Caulk’s Field on August 31, 1814.

Source: James Wood Poplar Grove Collection, Maryland State Archives, SC-5807; Maryland Militia in the War of 1812, Volume 1 (Eastern Shore), by F. Edward Wright (Westminster, Md.), 8, 38.

Captain John Pasco, RN (1774-1853): Flag Officer at Trafalgar

Captain John Pasco is along side Admiral Horation Nelson, remembered as one of the best known historic figures in British naval history – for that moment when he served as the flag-lieutenant on board HM ship-of-the-line Victory (100 guns) during the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805. It was this thirty-one year old signal officer who hoisted Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson’s famous battle signal ‘”England expects every man will do his duty.” Originally Nelson had asked Pasco to send the message “England confides that every man will do his duty.” Pasco suggested “expects” be substituted for “confides”, since the former was in the signal book, whereas confides would have to be spelt out letter-by-letter. Nelson agreed to the change, Pasco then recorded: “Engage the enemy more closely” to be sent. Pasco ran it up and it remained flying until shot away in the battle. Pasco was severely wounded in the right side and arm with grapeshot and carried below the decks.

On April 3, 1811, he received a captain’s commission and took command of HM schooner Tartarus (16 guns) during the Battle for Baltimore.

Sources: A Naval Biographical Dictionary: Comprising the Life and Services of Every Living Officer in Her Majesty’s Navy by William R. O’Byrne (London: John Murray, 1849).

Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 9:15 pm  Comments Off on Captain John Pasco, RN (1774-1853): Flag Officer at Trafalgar  

Captain Thomas Masterson Hardy, R.N. (1769-1839)

Among His Majesty’s naval officers who had been at the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805, Britain’s most famous naval engagement against the combined French and Spanish fleets was Captain Thomas Masterson Hardy, RN. the battle turned the tide of the naval warfare during the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) giving England control of the seas during the War of 1812. Hardy served with Admiral Lord Horation Nelson on board HM ship-of-the-line Victory (100 guns) as flag captain and commander. When Nelson was mortally wounded on the quarter deck by French marksmen, it was Hardy who held stricken Nelson below decks, and died in his arms.

Captain Hardy later served in the Washington-Baltimore campaign of August – September 1814. On August 9, 1814 it was Hardy commanding HM ship-of-the-line Ramilles (74 guns) directed the bombardment of Stonington, Connecticut that inspired a popular song by American poet Philip Freneau entitled “The Battle of Stonington,” prior to Baltimore’s own song by Francis Scott Key.

“Four gallant ships from England came, Freights deep with five and flame, And other things we need not name, To have a dash at Stonington..!”

A month later, September 13-14 the Ramillies anchored off North Point during the Battle for Baltimore, her size preventing navigation nearer to Baltimore.

Sources: A Naval Biographical Dictionary: Comprising the Life and Services of Every Living Officer in Her Majesty’s Navy by William R. O’Byrne (London: John Murray, 1849).

Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 9:10 pm  Comments Off on Captain Thomas Masterson Hardy, R.N. (1769-1839)