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Forgotten History

Historic interpreters from the C&O Canal National Historical Park and the Ft. McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore wore period costume and discussed the War of 1812 in front of Great Falls Tavern Aug. 27.

Nearly 30 years after independence, the war years were a dark period in American History, in which Washington was sacked and British ships made their way up the Chesapeake Bay.

American soldiers held back the British from Ft. McHenry Sept. 13-14, 1814 in the Battle of Baltimore. Francis Scott Key wrote a poem while watching the battle — which was later set to music as "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Montgomery County played a role, too. On Aug. 24, 1814, President James Madison fled from the White House to escape the British. He mustered his men at the Montgomery Courthouse in Rockville and encamped in Brookeville, near Olney, which functioned as the capital of the United States for one day.

"It's a piece of history that not a lot of people know about," said Rod Sauter, a C&O Canal park ranger, who help organized the living history event. "People often find it fascinating when they hear about it."