Battle of Bladensburg
August 24, 1814
The War of 1812 in Prince George's County, Maryland
The Battle of Bladensburg was a turning point in the War of 1812 before the burning of Washington, DC and the eventual Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry. Major American figures were on the field that day – James Madison, James Monroe, Joshua Barney, and Francis Scott Key. While the battle was a loss for the American forces, it was also a time when the government realized the need for a stronger unified military.
Prior to the 2000s, there was little to no recognition or available educational interpretation of this battle. However, between 2010 and 2014, in alignment with the national Star-Spangled 200 and statewide commemorations led by then-Governor Martin O'Malley's Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, the Prince George’s County Committee on the War of 1812 and the Battle of Bladensburg Task Force worked to tell this regional story with international implications in an accurate and visible way. These local groups were successful in attracting the State Highway Administration to do significant archaeological work at Battle-era historic sites - information that is critical in our understanding of the battle.
This website by Anacostia Trails Heritage Area is a collection of the research, events, and efforts made by many during that flurry of excitement and attention of the 200th Anniversary. As intended, those efforts resulted in signage, reports, educational materials, and research that remains incredibly relevant and accessible.
Moreover, new research and interpretative efforts continue. The University of Maryland is conducting the scholarly research needed to include the Town of Bladensburg on the NPS Network to Freedom and Anacostia Trails Heritage Area is working on a trail extension to Dueling Creek Natural Area.
Updated April 23, 2023 by Meagan Baco, Executive Director, Anacostia Trails Heritage Area.