The Baltimore Fencibles was a volunteer artillery company recruited from private citizens in the City of Baltimore in 1813. The word fencible was used by many units of the era to represent local defenders, or the Home Guard.
The Fencibles, led by Captain Joseph Hopper Nicholson, were Federalized militia who were invited to serve with Captain Evans' Regular Corps of Artillery within the walls of Fort McHenry due to the large number of regular artillerymen who were ill and unfit for duty. The Fencibles were the only non-regulars to serve within the star fort.
The Fencibles were also actively engaged in the Baltimore privateer trade.A large precentage of the men of this unit had investments of time and labor in numerous privateer vessels sailing out of Baltimore Harbor to prey upon British Merchant shipping. The most notable of these was Captain Tom Boyle's "Chasseur", a ship later popularly known as the "Pride of Baltimore." Privateers in the War of 1812 caused massive damage to the British economy, to the tune of over 40 million dollars. This is nearly the same amount of money required by England to wage a single year of military campaign against North America.
The Baltimore Fencibles will be shifted to the inactive list for the 2010 season. The members of this unit will migrate to the Committee of Vigilance and Safety, a branch of the Civilians, for purposes of Historical Interpretation at the Fort