As a port town and Maryland’s state capital, Annapolis feared it would become a British target during the war. But with a military camp there and no fewer than four forts to protect the city, the British passed it by for easier marks.
The British fleet blockaded Annapolis in April and again in July 1813, and came dangerously close in late August 1814 as enemy ships traveled up the Bay toward Baltimore. The residents moved state documents and other valuables out of the city for safekeeping.
Lookouts used the dome of the Maryland Statehouse to track movements of the British navy, and alarm guns and signals sounded from Forts Madison and Severn, calling militiamen to their posts. But Annapolis was lucky. The British never landed near the city, and it survived the war untouched.
Did You Know?
Francis Scott Key spent several years in Annapolis, beginning at the age of 10 when he attended St. John's College, one of the nation's oldest colleges. Among four historic homes in Annapolis with ties to signers of the Declaration of Independence is the Chase-Lloyd House, where Key married Mary Tayloe Lloyd in 1802.
Visit the Anne Arundel County War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission website for site information and upcoming events.
Visit a major exhibit on the War of 1812 at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum —Seas, Lakes & Bay: The Naval War of 1812 from the War of 1812.
This self guided walking tour will acquaint you with many of locations throughout Annapolis and the United States Naval Academy.