During the War of 1812, people living in the Chesapeake Bay region endured great political, economic and emotional upheaval. Men and women of various occupations, classes, races, and ages played a role in the war, and many experienced tragedy and loss. Their bravery, resourcefulness and resilience influenced the evolution of the nation as a whole and enabled the country to survive its first test of democracy since the American Revolution.

During the war, nearly every white male citizen age 18 to 45 was a "citizen-soldier". Chesapeake Bay residents also helped by building earthworks and raising money to pay for the defense of their communities.

A person’s status in American society at the time shaped his or her wartime experiences. Women, American Indians, and free and enslaved African Americans faced additional challenges during the tumultuous war years.

Learn more about the people of this region and life during the war.


Last updated: July 29, 2021

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