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Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane
Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane.
From Brenton's Naval History.
Maj. George Armistead
Maj. George Armistead as brevet lieutenant colonel, 1814—18.
Courtesy Peale Museum.

Maj. George Armistead, Commander of Fort McHenry

George Armistead was born in New Market, Caroline County, Va., on April 10, 1780. He began his military career at the age of 19, when President Adams commissioned him a second lieutenant in the United States Army. The first 13 years of Armistead's military life were un eventful, and in the small peacetime army promotions came slowly. He entered the War of 1812 as a captain in the artillery and on March 13, 1813, received his majority. Armistead promptly justified this promotion by his distinguished conduct in the capture of Fort George in Upper Canada. The War Department then ordered him to Baltimore, where he was placed in charge of Fort McHenry. Armistead was especially energetic in his preparations for the impending British attack and, though very ill, supplied the leadership which enabled the fort successfully to withstand the bombardment. For this feat, Armistead was brevetted a lieutenant colonel. Armistead never recovered his health, and after a lingering illness he died on April 25, 1818.


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