Defenders Day in Maryland Date in the current year: September 12, 2024

Defenders Day in Maryland Defenders Day is a legal holiday in Baltimore and the entire U.S. state of Maryland. It commemorates the successful defense of Baltimore from the British Army during the War of 1812.

The War of 1812 was a conflict fought between the United States and the United Kingdom from 1812 to 1815, during the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. In the United States, it is considered important and is sometimes referred to as the Second War of Independence since it reinforced the status of the USA as a sovereign state.

One June 18, 1812, the United States officially declared war against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the first two years of the war, British military experience generally prevailed over less experienced American commanders. On August 24, 1814, the British occupied Washington, D.C. and burned down the White House, the Capitol, and some other government facilities.

Inspirited by this victory, a British force led by Major General Robert Ross began an advance on Baltimore on September 12, 1814. They landed at North Point and made the U.S. forces retreat to the main defenses of Baltimore, but suffered heavy losses (one of the casualties was Ross). The British attacked Fort McHenry on September 13, but didn’t succeed and had to withdraw on the morning of September 14.

Inspired by the resistance of Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key composed the poem “Defense of Fort McHenry”, which later became a song entitled “The Star-Spangled Banner” and was adopted as the U.S. national anthem under President Woodrow Wilson. That’s why Maryland’s Defenders Day is important nationwide, although it’s not a federal holiday.

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