Washington County historical society opens War of 1812 exhibit

April 22, 2012

The Washington County Historical Society has opened a small exhibit to mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. 

Five 200-year-old artifacts, part of its permanent collection, will be on display for the next two years.

Sgt. Jacob Huyett’s military uniform jacket and the handwritten records of Capt. John Miller of Sharpsburg have been brought from storage to share with the public. 

Huyett served under Capt. Jacob Barr in a cavalry unit known as the Hagerstown Blues. The unit, part of the Maryland Light Dragoons under Lt. Col. Frisby Tilghman, gave distinguished service at the Battle of North Point, Md., in the land defense of Baltimore on Sept. 12, 1814. That was the day before the British naval bombardment of Fort McHenry, which produced the national anthem. Before that, the British had been successful in burning and sacking Washington, D.C.

Miller raised an infantry company of local soldiers from all over the county and kept detailed records about those who served. Rank, height, age, and eye and hair color were recorded in his book of enrollment reports, as well as the civilian occupation of each recruit.

Troop movements from Federal Hill to Patapsco and Fort McHenry were recorded in his Day Book of 1813. And the original roster of soldiers for that unit, hand scribed on both sides, has been encased for display. There is also a draft notice for John Lahm of Hagerstown dated July 20, 1814.

The War of 1812 ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in December 1814, and the treaty’s ratification by the U.S. Senate in February 1815.  The final major battle occurred during the interim in January 1815 in New Orleans.

The exhibit will be open during regular hours of the Miller House Museum, Wednesday through Friday, 1 to 4 p.m.  It is recommended that visitors call 301-797-8782 before coming to make sure that staff or volunteers are available to conduct tours. Saturday group tours can be arranged by appointment. Admission costs $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students. Those ages 14 and younger are admitted free. The Miller House is at 135 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown.

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