of Harford County, Maryland
Excerpts from “Recollections” – by Edward C. Jones, Sr.
I was born in the stately old Jones homestead, a large stone house, built by my grandfather, Hugh Jones, about the year 1835. The home is located in the village of Castleton, Harford County, Maryland and is at the edge of the Jones farm which extends from the home north easterly to and bordering about one half mile on the Susquehanna River. Grandfather Hugh Jones was a millwright, having built many of the old grist mills in Baltimore and Harford Counties, as well as on the eastern shore of Maryland. He was a man of affairs, for his time, and in addition to his trade was a large land owner, and also possessed some $20,000. invested in stocks in the best banks in Baltimore. Grandfather Jones was born in Baltimore County, Maryland, on December 23, 1791. He married Ann Kidd of Cecil County, Maryland, on December 20, 1821, and passed to his reward March 1, 1864. During his earlier years he lived at White Hall, Baltimore County, moving to Harford County about 1830, having bought considerable land near the old homestead where I was born, part of which was known as “Brothers Discovery”, near “Maidens Mount”. During the War of 1812 against England, he took part in the battle of North Point near Baltimore, which event is still commemorated by the citizens of Maryland as “Defenders Day” This was about the time of the bombardment of Fort McHenry, which inspired Francis Scott Key to compose our National Anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner”.
I read these passages in “Recollections” and the historical notes of Laura Jones Thompson in her book “Jones, Richardson, Duhamel and Allied Families of Maryland” and could not find proof that Hugh Jones actually participated in the Battle of North Point. Yet my grandfather Jones had heard this story from his father, Hugh Andrew Jones about Hugh Jones in the War of 1812 and it seemed to be a very reliable family tradition.
Laura Jones Thompson had done an excellent job in researching the War of 1812 pension records for Hugh Jones at the National Archives and had documented the pension applications describing his service. These applications by Hugh Jones showed that he “was a private in a company commanded by Captain Henry Ruff, commanded by Colonel Watkins in the War of 1812”. Hugh Jones was drafted at Cooperstown in Harford County, 40th Regiment of the Maryland Militia, on or about the 31st day of March, A.D.1813, for six months. He continued in actual service for six months and was honorably discharged at Annapolis some day in September 1813.
The Battle of North Point
During the afternoon of September 11, 1814, Brigadier General John Stricker marched from Baltimore toward North Point with the 3rd Brigade of Maryland Militia (3,185 men) and encamped for the night. At dawn the following day, 5,000 British soldiers under the command of Major General Robert Ross landed from Royal Navy ships anchored off North Point.
General Stricker arranged his brigade at the narrowest point between the Patapsco and Back Rivers. A volunteer force of 250 Americans moved forward to reconnoiter the British advance, made contact and a brief skirmish ensued. General Ross rode forward to investigate and was mortally wounded.
After the skirmish in which General Ross was killed, the British, now under the command of Colonel Brook, regrouped for an attack. As the British troops assembled, the 3rd Brigade was waiting less than a mile away in the open field of Bouden’s Farm. When the British forces started their advance across the field, British cannon fire pierced the air, replied to in kind by the American artillery. As this fierce cannonade continued, the British troops “moved on in a cool and orderly manner”. After the British closed the distance to 100 yards, the Maryland troops, still holding their fire, “raising a shout, fired a volley from right to left and then kept up a rapid and ceaseless discharge of musketry.”
After several hours of battle, the Marylanders made an orderly retreat through heavy woods and took up positions to engage the enemy as they exited the woods. The British never emerged. Colonel Brook had decided not to press the attack and opted instead to encamp for the night. As a cold September rain began to fall, the British did their best to keep dry as they had left their coats and tents back at the landing site on North Point.
General Stricker,”after proper deliberation”, chose to withdraw his battle-weary troops once again, closer to the defenses of Baltimore. Although this battle lasted only two hours, both sides took a number of casualties. American casualties numbered 24 dead and 139 wounded. The toll taken on the British troops was more significant with 46 killed and 300 wounded.
That evening, British warships sailed up the river and into position to begin the bombardment of Fort McHenry.
“Maryland Militia – War of 1812 – Volume 2” by F. Edward Wright – Page 15 – Baltimore City – 27th Regiment – Captain George Steever’s Company – records for August 19, 1814 to November 18, 1814 – “Malon Jones; Hugh Jones; William Jefferies; John Jennings, joined Aug 26.”
The 27th Regiment of Maryland Militia was a unit of the 3rd Brigade commanded by Brig. General Stricker.
Thus, Hugh Jones, an experienced militia soldier, joined the 27th Regiment just weeks before the Battle of North Point. All citizens knew that the British were coming and Hugh Jones was among those who stepped forward to be a “Defender” of their Country.