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Preface

One would think that, of all the major wars the United States has been party to, scarcely any could be more stowed away and forgotten than the War of 1812. It ended inconclusively for both sides; it was massively controversial in America; and the British, who would have liked to ignore it, have ever since been employed in so doing. But this “second war for independence” has not been forgotten by American academe. During the eighteen years the present writer has edited the annual brochure of the Maryland Society, War of 1812, he has witnessed a slowly surging increase of interest in that far-off conflict — in all aspects thereof. This is not the place to delve into the reasons behind such scholarly activity, or even to suggest a reading list. Suffice to. note that the ablest book-length overviews of the subject published to date are Reginald Horsman’s The Causes of the War of 1812 (Philadelphia, 1962) and Harry L. Coles’ The War of 1812 (Chicago [19651). The most comprehensive study of the military phase is John K. Mahon’s The War of 1812 (Gainesville, 1972).

To Marylanders the conflict carries a varied connotation. Though we got a trouncing at Bladensburg, we sent the enemy packing at North Point and on the Patapsco River. Not only did the Free State’s share in the campaigns produce the country’s National Anthem, it enabled Baltimoreans in particular to perpetuate their claim to be residents of the only, repeat only, American metropolis of ancient founding that has never, repeat never, existed under a foreign flag. And Samuel Smith’s latest biographer, Dr. John S. Pancake, has gone so far as to affirm that our beleaguerment marked “the only time in the nation’s history that an American city has been defended by its citizens.”

It is to commemorate certain phases of the Battle of Baltimore that this pamphlet, written and researched in the first half of 1971 and now revised, is offered to any interested eye. Its appearance is owing to the generosity of the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Maryland, to the officers and membership of which association the writer extends thanks for their confidence and support. It is in effect a tour guide for the Cavalcade staged — in one form or another since the year 1815 — each “Defenders’ Day,” September 12, through Baltimore and its environs. The author hopes, however, that his booklet will be perused not just by 1812’ers but by any citizen curious about this phase of Maryland’s past. It is to such citizens that the present tiny footnote to local history is dedicated.

by Curtis Carroll Davis

It is now almost forty years later from the original writing of this pamphlet. The bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore is approaching in a few years. I wanted to make the Defenders' Dozen available to more people. Therefore I have reformatted and brought the text up to date from the original document. I have also sighted many web sources for further reading and exploring. Speaking of exploring the halts, I have also added a set of directions and a map.

by Clarke Daniel Bowers

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