A soldier, physician, and politician who was one ot several foreign-born signers of the Constitution, McHenry served as a surgeon and as an aide to Washington and Lafayette during the War for Independence; sat in the Maryland legislature and the Continental Congress; and held the position of Secretary of War in the Washington and John Adams administrations. Baltimore's Fort McHenry was named after him.
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Fort McHenry was garrisoned by Union troops during the Civil War. The fort served as a prison throughout the war.