“Dulici et decorum est pro Patria mori”
On July 21, 1817, Captain Benjamin C. Howard’s First Mechanical Volunteers formed up early in town and marched six miles to the North Point battleground. Accompanying them were wagons conveying the monument blocks to be assembled and dedicated on site that day. The monument’s construction was directed by Lt. Thomas Towson, a stone mason “who aimed at simplicity and neatness.” With a final application of whitewash it was dedicated to honor Private Aquila Randall a member who was killed in a skirmish just before the Battle of North Point, September 12, 1814. The company was joined by other 5thMaryland Regiment officers at the monument while Captain Howard delivered a modest appropriate address:
“….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…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. To mark the spot be then our care.…”
The inscriptions on the monument read:
- [West face] – How beautiful is death, when earned by virtue.
- [East face] – SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF AQUILA RANDALL, Who Died, in bravely defending his Country and his home, On the memorable 12th of September, 1814,Aged 24 years.
- [North face] – THE FIRST MECHANICAL VOLUNTEERS, Commanded by Capt. B.C. Howard, in the 5th Regiment, M.M. HAVE ERECTED THIS MONUMENT, As a tribute of their respect for THE MEMORY OF THEIR GALLANT BROTHER IN ARMS.
- [South face] – In the skirmish which occurred at this spot between the advanced party under Major RICH’D K. HEATH of the 5th Reg.’ M.M. and the front of the British column, Major General ROSS, the commander of the British force, received his mortal wound.