Mark­ing a mon­u­men­tal bi­cen­ten­nial

Aquilla Ran­dall me­mo­rial reded­i­cated

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By NICOLE RODMAN nrod­man@ches­pub.com

Op­pres­sively hot tem­per­a­tures did lit­tle to dampen spir­its as dozens gath­ered to cel­e­brate the 200th an­niver­sary of the ded­i­ca­tion of the Aquila Ran­dall mon­u­ment on Old North Point Road last Fri­day.

Elected of­fi­cials, his­tor­i­cal re-en­ac­tors and com­mu­nity lead­ers were out in force to pay trib­ute to Ran­dall and the area’s piv­otal role in the War of 1812.

Ran­dall was a 24-year-old pri­vate in the 1st Me­chan­i­cal Vol­un­teers of the Fifth Reg­i­ment Mary­land Mili­tia un­der the com­mand of Cap­tain Ben­jamin Howard when Bri­tish troops, un­der the com­mand of Gen­eral Robert Ross, landed at North Point (now known as Fort Howard) and be­gan mak­ing their way up the penin­sula to­ward Bal­ti­more.

The reg­i­ment was tasked by Amer­i­can com­man­der Gen­eral John Stricker to in­ter­cept, which they did, form­ing across the road and fir­ing at the ad­vanc­ing Bri­tish line.

Sev­eral Amer­i­cans were killed in the en­su­ing skir­mish,

in­clud­ing Ran­dall, Henry McCo­mas and Daniel Wells, though his­tory and leg­end records Ran­dall as the first to fall.

Though mi­nor, the bat­tle had a large im­pact. Bri­tish Gen­eral Ross was shot in the skir­mish, dy­ing shortly af­ter re­ceiv­ing his wound.

It was sev­eral years later, on July 21, 1817, that Howard would again visit the site, this time to ded­i­cate an unas­sum­ing a fourand-a-half foot mon­u­ment to the mem­ory of Ran­dall and his sac­ri­fice on that Septem­ber day in 1814.

At the time of that ded­i­ca­tion, Howard looked ahead to the fu­ture, not­ing, “I can pic­ture to my­self the sen­sa­tion of those who in far dis­tant days will con­tem­plate this mon­u­ment…and the melan­choly event which has caused our as­sem­blage at this spot…”

“This mon­u­ment which we are now erect­ing, will stand as a solemn ex­pres­sion of the feel­ing of us all,” he con­tin­ued. “But I re­gret that the spot, which is made clas­sic by the ef­fu­sion of blood, the sport where the long line stood un-ap­palled by the sys­tem and ad­vances of an ex­pe­ri­enced and dis­ci­plined foe, has been suf­fered to re­main un­no­ticed.”

“It is here where her cit­i­zens stood ar­rayed sol­dier’s garb, that hon­ors to a sol­dier’s mem­ory should have been paid,” he added. “To mark the spot be then our care ….”

It was 200 years to the day af­ter Howard ut­tered those re­marks — July 21, 2017 — that dozens gath­ered at the still-shin­ing me­mo­rial (re­stored to its for­mer glory over the years) to ful­fill Howard’s prophetic words.

The cer­e­mony be­gan with the So­ci­ety of the War of 1812 color guard, dressed in pe­riod garb, fol­lowed by a per­for- mance of God Bless Amer­ica and the Star- Span­gled Ban­ner by Dun­dalk’s own Cho­rus of the Ch­e­sa­peake.

The day in­cluded many speeches, in­clud­ing re­marks by Bal­ti­more County Coun­cil­man Todd Cran­dell (R-7), who re­flected on the frag­ile na­ture of the na­tion at the time of the Bat­tle of North Point, just 40 years af­ter the coun­try’s birth.

State Sen. Johnny Ray Salling and Del. Bob Long (both R-6), with state Sen. Jim Brochin (D-42), head of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly’s Bal­ti­more County del­e­ga­tion, pre­sented a ci­ta­tion and of­fered their own re­marks.

The cer­e­mony also in­cluded his­tor­i­cal read­ings from War of 1812 his­to­ri­ans and mem­bers of the So­ci­ety of the War of 1812, as well as rec­ol­lec­tions from long­time Dun­dalk-Pat­ap­sco Neck His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety mem­ber Harry Young.

In his re­marks, Young re­called the of­ten tu­mul­tuous his­tory of the mon­u­ment, which was moved sev­eral times be­fore find­ing its cur­rent home on Old North Point Road by Old Bat­tle Grove Road.

The mon­u­ment, which had been tended to by own­ers of a nearby tav­ern, had fallen into a state of dis­re­pair when, in 1944, new tav­ern owner Eli Bu­ni­avas re­stored and re­placed the mon­u­ment (al­beit with a new five-tier con­crete base) near its orig­i­nal home.

In 1977, a new owner again re­stored the marker, re­mov­ing the added base, and placed the mon­u­ment in its cur­rent lo­ca­tion.

Last Fri­day’s cer­e­mony also in­cluded com­ments by Lt. Col. John McDaniel, com­man­der of the 175th In­fantry Reg­i­ment, based at Groll­man Ar­mory on North Point Boule­vard. Suc­ces­sor of the Fifth Reg­i­ment, McDaniel noted, the 175th “proudly car­ries the lin­eage and her­itage of the Fifth Mary­land.”

“On this ground we stand to­day,” McDaniel re­marked, not­ing of Ran­dall, “He gave the last full mea­sure of de­vo­tion.”

Last Fri­day’s event con­cluded with the place­ment of sev­eral wreaths, fol­lowed by a three-vol­ley salute by War of 1812 So­ci­ety mem­ber David Em­bry.

The play­ing of taps and a bene­dic­tion by Chap­lain Lt. Col. Wil­liam E. But­ler con­cluded the ser­vice.

The crowd dis­persed, the words em­bla­zoned on the mon­u­ment’s west end lay­ing heavy on their minds and hearts.

Chap­lain Lt. Col. Wil­liam E. But­ler salutes as the Cho­rus of the Ch­e­sa­peake per­forms the Na­tional An­them.

PHO­TOS BY NICOLE RODMAN

The Aquila Ran­dall mon­u­ment was orig­i­nally ded­i­cated on July 21, 1817.

At­ten­dees stood at at­ten­tion dur­ing the Na­tional An­them. PHOTO BY NICOLE RODMAN

Wreaths were laid at the Aquila Ran­dall mon­u­ment dur­ing last week’s cer­e­mony. PHOTO BY NICOLE RODMAN

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