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The Baltimore Experience > Baltimore & the War of 1812


For a brief few days in September 1814, the fate of the young United States hung in the balance. With the U.S. capital still smoldering from attack, British forces focused on Baltimore to complete their campaign to end the War of 1812. In three weeks, Baltimore readied for the attack – building defensive lines and readying the chain of forts protecting the city.

The British launched two attacks. Ground forces landed at nearby North Point to assault the city from the east while the navy moved to engage Fort McHenry protecting the heart of the city. After two days of fighting, it was clear the defenders of Baltimore proved victorious. As the British forces retreated, the Star-Spangled Banner rose above Fort McHenry and inspired Francis Scott Key to put to words the emotions and passions of a triumphant young nation.

While much has changed in the 200 years since the perilous battle, the Baltimore region proudly boasts of a wealth of historic sites and neighborhoods that tell the story of the War of 1812 and the national icons now woven into our shared history.

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