Life During Wartime

Life During Wartime

St. Leonard Creek
Under the direction of the Baltimore Committee of Vigilance and Safety, future president of the United States James Buchanan joined thousands of people, including military, private citizens, and free and enslaved blacks in digging a mile-long line of earthworks on high ground with Hampstead Hill at the center. These well-defended earthworks protected the eastern part of the city. Baltimoreans raised $600,000 to pay for the city’s defense. ©Gerry Embleton

During the War of 1812, people living in the Chesapeake Bay region endured great political, economic and emotional upheaval. Men and women of various occupations, classes, races, and ages played a role in the war, and many experienced tragedy and loss. Their bravery, resourcefulness and resilience influenced the evolution of the nation as a whole and enabled the country to survive its first test of democracy since the American Revolution.

During the war, nearly every white male citizen age 18 to 45 was a "citizen-soldier". Chesapeake Bay residents also helped by building earthworks and raising money to pay for the defense of their communities.

A person’s status in American society at the time shaped his or her wartime experiences. Women, American Indians, and free and enslaved blacks faced additional challenges during the tumultuous war years.

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