Prince George’s to mark 199th anniversary of the Battle of Bladensburg with several events

August 6, 2013

The bicentennial is still a year away, but Prince George’s County is gearing up to mark the 199th anniversary of the Battle of Bladensburg.

Aaron Marcavitch, executive director of nonprofit Maryland Milestones, is helping the county use the battle commemoration as a lure to attract tourists and highlight the role of the county in the War of 1812. The late August events will offer a rare look at some sites not always open to the public.

“This is an opportunity to explore the county’s history about a unique and little-known event,” said Marcavitch, co-chair of the Prince George’s County Committee on the War of 1812.

The Battle of Bladensburg was an embarrassing rout for the Americans. But it is viewed by many historians as a turning point that forced the Americans to regroup and soon secure a victory against the British in Baltimore, where Francis Scott Key penned the poem that would become “The Star Spangled Banner,” the national anthem.

The task of creating a modern-day tourist attraction in Bladensburg is somewhat daunting for the area, which is clogged with strip malls, busy thoroughfares and industrial sites just south of Hyattsville and a mile from the District line. But efforts are underway to make it more appealing to history buffs and tourists, with the recent installation of markers and other commemorative signs, and a statue that is expected to be unveiled in the fall.

The schedule for the 199th anniversary of the Battle of Bladensburg includes a weekend of reenactments, a walking tour of historic Bladensburg, and a War of 1812 night at a Bowie Baysox game. It kicks off Aug. 23 at Darnall’s Chance in Upper Marlboro. View the entire list of commemoration events here. A video about the Battle of Bladensburg is here.

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