HISTORICAL SOCIETY & MUSEUM, Inc.
4 Center Place, Dundalk, MD 21222 410.284.2331
Fort Howard remains the least populated portion of the North Point
Peninsula, but its residents share a large part in the legacy of the American Spirit.
On September 12, 1814, British Army and Marines, commanded by Major General Robert Ross, landed at the tip of the peninsula in their campaign to march on Baltimore.
The units recently were victorious in the Battle of Bladensburg, which culminated in the burning of the nation’s capital, and the same strategy was about to be applied to the important city port serving as an important haven for American privateers.
As the British advanced along North Point Road they spent the night at Todd’s Inheritance – which stands to this day – before heading further north.
Two young snipers, Daniel Wells and Henry McComas, mortally wounded General Ross, and along with him the morale of the invading army. About 3100 American militiamen led by General John Stricker were able to block the invasion and force the British to retreat.
Later, as part of the battle plan, the British bombarded Fort McHenry for 25 hours but failed to capture the outpost and inspired Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner.
Fort Howard remained bucolic for a century before it was again touched by the possibility of war. As part of a coastal defense plan, Fort Howard was commissioned at the end of North Point Peninsula as a deterrent against anticipated attacks by the German navy. The Bulldog at the Gate – artillery emplacements and an armory housed in underground magazines – guarded the waters where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Patapsco River for years, although
it never fired a shot.
Eventually, the defensive emplacements gave way to recreation and today, antique batteries still overlook the shore. The Edgemere-Sparrows Point Rec Council has put the abandoned underground magazines to good use as “the haunted dungeons used in the Council’s annual Halloween festivities, while the park also hosts an annual reenactment of the battle..
Fort Howard VA Hospital still provides limited treatment to veterans, and both facilities offer many possibilities for the future development of the peninsula.
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