AISQUITH'S SHARP SHOOTERS
1st BALTIMORE SHARP SHOOTERS
1st RIFLE BATTALION, MARYLAND MILITIA
In 1813, a year into the War, staff relocations and resignations brought
a major reorganization to Maryland's 1st Rifle Battalion. Attorney
General of the United States, William Pinkney, was "promoted" to
Battalion Major and Edward Aisquith assumed command as Captain of the
1st Baltimore Sharp Shooters. In the following 16 months, under
pressure of the British raiding up and down the Chesapeake Bay, the two
officers created a militia company that would be the first to fight at
both the Battle of Bladensburg and the Battle of North Point.
Two Sharp Shooters, Daniel Wells and Henry McComas are credited, by
their contemporaries, with killing General Ross at North Point.
The unit ceased to exist as Aisquith's Sharp Shooters in March of 1815
when Edward Aisquith died in a fox hunting accident.
Riflemen were the exception rather than the rule. The Sharp Shooters
were one of three companies in the 1st Maryland Rifle Battalion. The
rifle battalion, in turn, was attached to the 3rd Brigade which also
included 6 musket regiments. Roughly, that's 1 rifle for every 20
muskets. While the musket companies were composed of men with common
outside interests: volunteer firemen, fraternal organizations, business
associations; the rifle companies were formed by areas of the city, Old
Baltimore, Jonestown and Fells Point.
Composed of the highest and lowest members of society, the one big thing
the riflemen had in common was their rifles.
A MODERN HISTORY OF THE RE - ENACTORS
In 1986, Boy Scout Troop 438, in cooperation with the Dundalk Patapsco
Neck Historical Society, and the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, hosted a
Defender's Day Celebration at Battle Acre in Baltimore County. A group
of Canadian British re-enactors, who had hosted the troop the previous
year at Fort York in Toronto, attended the celebration. Although a
total of less than 200 people were involved, the event was an enormous
success, especially the media exposure. As a result, the Dundalk Chamber
of Commerce proposed making it an annual event and the following year,
the Defender's Day Celebration at North Point began.
It was immediately apparent that the existing Boy Scout wooden muskets
and the dacron/polyester uniforms simply weren't good enough; so, in
1987, Explorer Post 438 was created. Restricted to older youths, 14 to
20 year olds, the Post researched and created authentic equipment and
clothing and began practicing with real weapons. Because the Explorer
program is coed, the Post also researched and developed period correct
interpretations for women. The decision to portray Aisquith's Sharp
Shooters was a natural. Two teenage heroes of the Sharp Shooters, Daniel
Wells and Henry McComas, were credited with killing the attacking
British commander, General Robert Ross.
Through the years, the unit grew with the Defender's Day Celebration and
attended may other 1812 period re-enactments including the 175
Anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, the Siege of Fort Erie
(Canada), the Battle of Bladensburg, and the Bombardment of Fort
McHenry. We have hit a snag with the demise of the Defender's Day
Celebration at North Point, but with the approach of the Bicentennial of
the War of 1812, it will be resurrected, and when it is, our unit will
play an important part.
Our Explorer Post is open to young men and women 14 years and older, and
Dues are $12 a year which includes liability and accident insurance. We
meet on Wednesday nights, 7-9 PM at St. Rita's auditorium in Dundalk,
For more information, contact Buzz Chriest