“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Colmar Manor in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Second Line Falls

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail

Second Line Falls Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 14, 2013
1. Second Line Falls Marker
Inscription. The Second of three defensive lines blocking the British advance on Washington stretched along here. It was located on the first set of hills overlooking the river. The American militia was unprepared to face seasoned war veterans. Holding firm against the initial assault at the bridge, the militia gave way as the British rushed again, pushing through the first two lines. Only the third remained.

"The American Troops were drawn up in three lines, like so many regiments upon a gala parade, while guns were used as connecting links to a chain..." -- British Lieutenant George Robert Gleig, eyewitness

Bladensburg Races

Many Americans blamed lack of leadership on the field for the perceived rout at Bladensburg. During a congressional inquiry, Brigadier General William Winder was said to be "unfit for any important command." In 1816 an anonymous poem, "Bladensburg Races" pointed to ineffective leadership as well from President Madison and Secretary James Monroe.
Erected by National Park Service.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 56.132′ N, 76° 56.941′ W. Marker is in
Second Line Falls Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 14, 2013
2. Second Line Falls Marker
It appears that two more markers are forthcoming at this location.
Colmar Manor, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker is on Bladensburg Road (U.S. Alt. 1) when traveling west. Touch for map. This marker is east of the intersection of Bladensburg Road and 40th Avenue in Colmar Manor, Maryland 20722; just west of the Burger King at 3933 Bladensburg Rd. Marker is in this post office area: Brentwood MD 20722, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Famous Footsteps (a few steps from this marker); The Road to the Capital (a few steps from this marker); Marines & Flotillamen (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dueling Grounds (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The Road to the Capital (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Second Line Falls (was approx. 0.2 miles away but has been reported missing. ); Bladensburg Dueling Grounds (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Valiant Stand (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Colmar Manor.
More about this marker. This marker is identical to one at Dueling Creek (HMdb #61136).
Regarding Second Line Falls. Ralph Eshelman, in his Travel Guide to the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake writes that "The American second line is poorly defined; it was concentrated on the north side of Bladensburg Road (Alternate U.S. Route 1) but shifted to the
The Fifteen Star-Spangled Banner Flag<br>Battle of Bladensburg 1814 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 14, 2013
3. The Fifteen Star-Spangled Banner Flag
Battle of Bladensburg 1814
You may have seen the American flag flying in front of this building and noticed something is "different" about it. You're right -- it only has 15 stars! Why not 50 stars? Because this flag commemorates the War of 1812 and the Battle of Bladensburg with took place here.

Nearly 40 years after declaring independence the United States was again threatened by Great Britain. In 1812, War was declared by America. At that time only 15 states were represented on the flag.

In August 1814, the War spread to Prince Georges County and the banks of the Anacostia River. The famous Battle of Bladensburg erupted here in the historic port town of Bladensburg and the farm fields that would become Cottage City and Colmar Manor.

After the Battle, the British marched into Washington and burned the Capitol.

Two weeks later, as the British suffered their defeat in Baltimore, Francis Scott Key saw the Star Spangled Banner -- with its 15 stars -- raised above Fort McHenry and was inspired to write what would become our National Anthem.

-- Poster inside the Burger King explaining their 15-star, 15-stripe War of 1812 era flag.
south side during the battle. The dueling grounds located at 37th Avenue are often said to be the location of the second line but this is only a generalization."
Categories. War of 1812
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 15, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 405 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 15, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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