Check it out — De­fend­ers Day at Fort Howard Park

The Dundalk Eagle - - EDITORIAL - By NI­COLE ROD­MAN nrod­man@ches­

If there is one thing Dun­dalk does well, it is his­tory.

Led by the ded­i­cated vol­un­teers at the Dun­dalk-Pat­ap­sco Neck His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, the com­mu­nity has long cher­ished and cel­e­brated its his­tor­i­cal roots.

No where is this more ev­i­dent than the an­nual De­fend­ers Day celebration at Fort Howard Park. This year’s celebration will be held on Sun­day, Sept. 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

From 1895, when Wil­liam McShane mounted a shin­gle bear­ing the name “Dun­dalk” — his fa­ther Henry’s home­town in his na­tive Ire­land — on a makeshift freight sta­tion near his foundry in what is now St. He­lena, to now, Dun­dalkians have worked to pre­serve the area’s rich his­tory.

One of the rich­est veins of his­tory around these parts is the Bat­tle of North Point dur­ing the War of 1812.

On Sept. 12, 1814, Bri­tish troops landed at what is to­day Fort Howard with the in­ten­tion of lay­ing siege to Bal­ti­more, as they had done in Wash­ing­ton just weeks prior.

While his­tory of­ten over­looks the Bat­tle of North Point in fa­vor of the bom­bard­ment of Fort McHenry days later, its im­por­tance can not be over­stated.

It was at North Point, at what would later be­come Fort Howard, that lo­cal mili­ti­a­men were able to suc­cess­fully hold of Bri­tish forces long enough for de­fenses to be for­ti­fied in Bal­ti­more.

The mili­ti­a­men would in­flict heavy ca­su­al­ties on the Bri­tish, in­clud­ing killing Bri­tish com­man­der Maj. Gen. Robert Ross, be­fore fall­ing back. The Bri­tish suf­fered ap­prox­i­mately 325 wounded and killed, while about 163 Amer­i­cans were wounded or killed.

While the Bri­tish would go on to­ward Bal­ti­more, the bat­tle had taken its toll; Amer­i­can forces would ul­ti­mately re­pel the Bri­tish in­vaders at Fort McHenry.

While the Bat­tle of North Point is of­ten a for­got­ten part of a for­got­ten war, the ci­ti­zens of Dun­dalk, Edge­mere, Fort Howard and sur­round­ing ar­eas con­tinue to com­mem­o­rate the bat­tle and its im­pact on Amer­i­can his­tory. En­ter De­fend­ers Day. A Mary­land state hol­i­day cel­e­brated on Sept. 12 each year, the day serves to com­mem­o­rate the mili­ti­a­men that de­fended Bal­ti­more from suf­fer­ing the same fate as neigh­bor­ing Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Lo­cally, the Dun­dalk-Pat­ap­sco Neck His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety celebrates De­fend­ers Day with a celebration at Fort Howard Park, 9500 North Point Road. The event is free and open to the pub­lic.

This year the celebration will be held on Sun­day, Sept. 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gates open at 9 a.m.

As usual, the event will of­fer some­thing for ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing bat­tle reen­act­ments, liv­ing his­tory dis­plays, pe­riod mu­sic, food, ven­dors and more.

So come on out, bring the kids and learn a lit­tle — or a lot! — more about an amaz­ing and, too of­ten, over­looked part of his­tory than changed Amer­ica for­ever.

And re­mem­ber again why our com­mu­nity is just such a cool place to live.

For more in­for­ma­tion on De­fend­ers Day 2016, visit dun­dalkhis­ or con­tact dun­dalkhis­tory@ver­i­ or 410-284-2331.

De­fend­ers Day 2016 will be cel­e­brated at Fort Howard Park on Sept. 4.

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