Letter. Maria [Nicholson] Montgomery, Baltimore, Maryland, to Mr James W. Nicholson, New Geneva, Pennsylvania
Account of the British attack on Baltimore, 12-14 September 1814 (the author herself was not in the city during the battle): "My beloved Husband has gained great credit to himself being Capt of a large Artillery Company the Baltimore Union Artillery who first met & slaughtered the haughty savage foe in great numbers at their landing at North Point — he was assisted by two or three Regiment of Infantry, but being overpowered by numbers were obliged to Retreat — the enemy followed them, but thank God were so completely defeated and cut up that they dare not venture a second attack, and the (weak timid policy shall I term it?) of our commander in chief would only allow our troops to act on the defensive — they at the same time continued firing bombs into the fort Fort McHenry, where as gallant a set of men as ever lived, commanded by Major Armstead of the Regulars were stationed, our valued cousin Judge Nicholson Joseph H. Nicholson (1770-1817) with his company of Artillerists formed a part of them — several times they were demanded to surrender, but by the signal deliverance of Providence, that although in general the guns of the fort fell short of their vessels, yet when they made a dash at it they were so much injured, particularly their bomb vessels that they were obliged to haul off — thus were they doubly defeated, by land & water — few of our troops were engaged although we had them here in great force — Mr Montgomery claims the credit of having killed Genl Ross their commanding Officer, they lost many Officers in the battle and are most inveterate against Baltre we expect another attack but know the impossibility of their returning without reinforcements, & the season I think is too far advance for this — they threw more shells into our Fort than at the bombardment of Copenhagen, for 24 hours it continued without intermission. 2 Officers were killed in it & several men — but my dear Friends, tho' so emminently exposed to danger, are well, and safe; how shall I be sufficiently thankful for this.—" Still mourning, but not sorrowing, for her son; all well in New York. Montgomery adds a postscript on the American naval victory at Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain (10 September 1814), which she mistakenly locates on Lake Erie.