County Executive

Prince George's County, Maryland

Prince George’s County Launches War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration Events

For Immediate Release: 7/25/2014 6:00 PM

Contact: Scott L. Peterson | (240) 619-9400


​Events begin this weekend with “Muster the Militia” Open House in Riverdale Park and “Bursting in Air” Arts Happening in Hyattsville and culminating with Undaunted Weekend: The 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Bladensburg, August 23-24

Upper Marlboro, MD – This summer, Prince George’s County, along with the District of Columbia, City of Baltimore, and jurisdictions around the region are commemorating the 200th anniversary of events of the 1814 Chesapeake Campaign during the War of 1812.  During the summer of 1814, British ships and soldiers invaded the region, created slave revolts, burned down towns and villages, and ultimately marched on our nation’s young capital by defeating a militia at the Battle of Bladensburg on August 24, 1814 that led to the eventual burning of the White House and U.S. Capitol.  Three weeks later on September 12-15, 1814, the nation made a triumphant stand against the British at the Battle of Baltimore that was forever enshrined in our country’s history through the words of Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner – which later became our national anthem.     

“It is a very special two months in Prince George’s County, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia as we commemorate the 200th anniversary of events that saved this nation’s existence,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “Prince George’s County and Prince Georgians played a significant role during this invasion from the British.  Throughout the County, Prince Georgians fought a guerilla war against the British and as the experienced British army marched on the nation’s capital, citizens of this County banded a militia together and made the best stand they could at the Battle of Bladensburg. Over the last two years a small group of local citizens, historians, community advocates, non-profits, and the private industry worked along with municipalities, the Prince George’s County government, the National Park Service, the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland to provide educational and fun family friendly experiences.  As excited as I am to share our history to the world, I am equally excited to welcome thousands of visitors to enjoy some of our most vibrant and growing communities in Prince George’s County.”   

Beginning with this weekend’s “Muster the Militia” and culminating with the “Undaunted Weekend” celebrating the bicentennial of the Battle of Bladensburg on August 23-24, there will be battle re-enactments, music and dancing, children's games, information booths, and fireworks.  Prince George’s County is offering residents and visitors, history buffs and students, numerous fun, educational events to enjoy and explore.  Prince George’s County’s efforts are part of Maryland’s Star-Spangled Summer and the Star-Spangled 200 commemoration that continues through September when the nation will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the national anthem during Star-Spangled Spectacular in Baltimore, September 10-16.  

"Prince George's County plays a key role in the chain of dramatic events that lead to the writing of 'The Star-Spangled Banner,” said Stephen Vogel, author of Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks That Saved the Nation.  “From the British advance on Washington to the Battle of Bladensburg to the capture of Dr. William Beanes, the county's connection to this important piece of American history 200 years ago this summer cannot be overstated."

To read more about Prince George’s County’s significant role during the War of 1812, please read this recent article in The Atlantic, “The Series of Improbable Events That Gave Us 'The Star Spangled Banner”  For more information and up to date information/details and logistics of Prince George’s County events, please visit  To learn more about War of 1812 events throughout the State of Maryland, please visit and in the District of Columbia at


July 26, 2014
12:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Muster the Militia Open House
Riversdale House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, MD

The phrase, “The British are coming!” generally conjures images of Paul Revere and the American Revolution. But the same rang true in August of 1814, when British forces landed at Benedict, MD. From there, they began their march to Washington, defeating American troops at Bladensburg along the way. This victory allowed the British to continue to the capital, where the Navy Yard, White House,  U.S. Capitol, and other buildings were burned.  In preparation for the upcoming Battle of Bladensburg, Riversdale invites you to step back into 1814 during Muster the Militia Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27, Noon-3:30 pm. Riversdale will join other 1812 sites across Maryland, DC, and Virginia and open its doors for FREE!

Cooking demonstrations, children’s and family activities, and tours of the historic site will be going on each afternoon. Mrs. Calvert will even make an appearance on Sunday! This event is run in conjunction with the DC War of 1812 Commission.

3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
“Bursting in Air” Arts Happening
Franklin’s Restaurant & Brewery Lot, 5123 Baltimore Avenue, Hyattsville, MD

This arts happening will feature multiple public art activities alongside an afternoon and evening of arts attractions in commemoration of the War of 1812, including a War of 1812 Rock Opera. The parking lot will become a festive pedestrian avenue, showcasing a rock opera, live mural-making staged from multiple scissor lifts on the segmented steel beam bridge structure, plus a Citizen Paint Project on the lower buttresses with brilliant outdoor lighting, and walking tours from the overpass itself.

This event was organized by Hyattsville CDC and sponsored in part by Star Spangled 200 and the “Art Lives Here” Place-making Initiative. For more information, please visit

August 19, 2014
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Author Lecture by Marc Leepson, Francis Scott Key, A Life
Riversdale House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, MD


While Key is known as the author of “The Star Spangled Banner,” he was also at the Battle of Bladensburg. Marc Leepson talks about his new biography of the lawyer and poet. Books will be available for sale. The lecture, sponsored by Maryland Milestones, is free. Call 301-864-0420 for more information.

August 21, 2014
6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
War of 1812 Night at the Bowie Baysox Game
Prince George's Stadium, Ballpark Road, Bowie, MD

Join us for family fun at the ballpark with special singing of Star Spangled Banner, special games, and 1812 trivia! General Admission tickets $1, Reserved tickets $3, Box Seat tickets $6. Order by 8/19 at

UNDAUNTED WEEKED: The 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Bladensburg

August 23, 2014
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Battle of Bladensburg Monument Unveiling
4901 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg, MD

Join us for the official dedication of the Undaunted in Battle/Battle of Bladensburg monument. Designed by Joanna Blakely, this amazing monument will serve as an eternal testament to those that gave their sacrifice in 1814.  Event includes remarks for local leaders and a formal unveiling. Participants will process to the Waterfront Park afterward to join the festival.

12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Undaunted Weekend: Battle of Bladensburg Festival and Re-Enactment
Bladensburg Waterfront Park, 4901 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg, MD

Join us for a festival with historic trade demonstrations, a giant battle re-enactment, living history, music and dancing, children's games, information booths, a Food Truck Rally, and much more.

5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Undaunted Weekend: Celebrate America!
Bladensburg Waterfront Park, 4901 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg, MD

The Battle of Bladensburg festival will transition into a community party that will feature the Stacy Brooks Band (blues), Letitia VanSant and the Bonafides (Folk/Rock) and the Navy Commodores (Jazz/Big Band), and follow up with the biggest fireworks show the area has seen by Fireworks Extravaganza!

August 24, 2014
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Undaunted Weekend: “Bladensburg Races 5K”
Bladensburg Waterfront Park, 4901 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg, MD

A quick 5K race at Bladensburg Waterfront Park will be a chance to run the battlefield on the 200th Anniversary date of the Battle of Bladensburg, often historically known as the “Bladensburg Races” Registration is $30 and includes a t-shirt. Register via 

11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Undaunted Weekend: Beyond the Battle
Bladensburg Waterfront Park, 4901 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg, MD, United States

More family friendly activities continue on the anniversary with open houses at historic sites (Magruder, George Washington House, Bostwick) in Historic Bladensburg; archaeological digs; boat rides; walking tours; and the War of 1812 Visitor Center at Bladensburg Waterfront Park.