War of 1812: "The enemy's fleet arranged...before Fort McHenry"

Cropped view of an engraving recolored in light greyscale tones shows the USS Constitution on the water, with another ship nearby.

The Maryland Gazette printed the following report on September 22, 1814, about the British advance on Baltimore and Fort McHenry.



Baltimore, Sept. 15.

We cannot, as yet, describe the various particulars of this tremendous conflict—All we can say with truth (until we have authentic accounts from the proper authorities) is, that on Monday an advanced corps from our garrison, consisting of a part of the 3d Brigade, and two companies of Volunteers attached to the 5th regt. met the enemy shortly after the landing at North Pt. [Point] and gave them battle, or retreated as circumstances required, until the enemy's columns reached within five miles of the city.

On Tuesday morning, the enemy's fleet arranged in a most formidable half circle before Fort McHenry, to the amount of about 30 sail, which kept up a most furious attack with shot, shells, and rockets, for 21 hours, without any intermission.

About one o'clock yesterday morning, he advanced his bomb and rocket vessels beyond Fort McHenry into the Patapsco, and threw a number of shells and rockets toward the city itself—but he was here met by a most tremendous and well directed fire, not only from the main fortress, but also from the forts Covington and Patapsco, principally manned by our gallant seamen, which obliged the enemy to retire with precipitation; and yesterday morning about nine o'clock their fleet got under way and went down the river.

Our loss in the various engagements has not been so great in number as of several valuable citizens who died or bled in defense of their country. The enemy has suffered a loss, as near as can be ascertained, of about 400, among them is their leader, Gen. Ross, who made so distinguished a figure in the attack on Washington.


On sunday between 60 and 70 sail of the enemy, large and small, passed our harbour, bound down the Bay. A ship and schr. [schooner] grounded, the first near the upper end of Kent Island, the schr. near Sandy Point—this circumstance detained several of their vessels until Tuesday, when the ship, after being lightened by taking out her guns, &c. was got off—the schr. was burnt. Yesterday they got under way and proceeded 10 miles below this city, when they came to anchor.



The Maryland Gazette, Thursday, September 22, 1814, Page 3 - "The Attack on Baltimore" and "The Enemy."


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Related Battles

Maryland | September 13, 1814
Result: United States Victory
Estimated Casualties
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