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Portrait of General Samuel Smith by Rembrandt Peale

By the outbreak of the War of 1812, General Samuel Smith had fought in the American Revolution, become one of Baltimore’s wealthiest merchants, joined Congress, and served as Secretary of the Navy. After President Madison’s declaration of war, he led efforts to prepare Baltimore for a British invasion, including the reinforcement of Fort McHenry. From September 12-14, 1814, Smith and 15,000 militia and regulars forced the British to retreat from Baltimore.

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