Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail

Discover Trails In Your Backyard

What is the Star-Spangled Banner Trail?

The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail traces over 560 miles of land and water routes that commemorate the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region. It connects the people, places and events that led to the birth of America’s National Anthem.

What is a trail steward?

Students and teachers participate in the Trail Stewards program to learn about their piece of the trail’s history in order to inspire future preservation and conservation of special places in their communities.

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Teachers

Teachers

Learn more about how teachers can get involved with the trail stewards program.

Visitors

Visitors

Learn more about visiting the Star-Spangled Banner Historic National Trail

Students

Students

Learn more about how students can get involved with the trail stewards program.

Where is the trail?

Latest News

Born a slave in Calvert County, Maryland, Charles Ball escaped to freedom in 1809. Living in the Chesapeake region during the War of 1812, Ball considered joining the Royal Navy's Corps of Colonial Marines, but instead, having personally witnessed "many of the evils that followed in the train of war" he chose instead to defend his home in the United States by serving in the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla under Commodore Joshua Barney. Ball fought at the Battle of Bladensburg and later in the Battle of Baltimore.

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Good morning! Some sites along the Banner Trail may have adjusted hours due to weather. Call ahead to your planned destination for updated hours and be sure to stay safe out there!

Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine and Hampton National Historic Site will open at 12:00 pm today, February 12, 2019.
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The War of 1812 introduced unique challenges to both freed and enslaved African Americans. For many, there was a call to defend the nation. For others, the invading British forces offered the promise of freedom from bondage.

On April 2, 1814 Sir Alexander Cochrane, Vice Admiral and Commander in Chief of the Royal Navy North American Station, issued a proclamation offering those in the United States, the opportunity to live as "free settlers" in British possessions in North America of the West Indies.

For many enslaved African Americans in the Chesapeake, the Royal Navy represented not an invading force, but a chance for freedom, and during the War of 1812, nearly 300 enslaved African Americans in the region took great risks to escape to British ships in search of a new life.

The Royal Navy established the Corps of Colonial Marines for those men wishing to serve in His Majesty's Forces. Approximately 200 men served in this unit. In 1814, Colonial Marines launched raids on tobacco plantations throughout the Chesapeake Region and fought at the Battle of North Point. Highly regarded by their officers, Colonial Marines "employed in Arms against their old Masters..."noted Admiral George Cockburn, "behaved to the admiration of everybody."

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