The War of 1812, sometimes called "the forgotten conflict," was a two-and-a-half-year confrontation with Great Britain that brought the United States to the verge of bankruptcy and disunion. With this 2014 issuance, the U.S. Postal Service continues its commemoration of the bicentennial of a war that ultimately helped forge the national identity.
The stamp's subject for the third year of the war is the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, in September 1814. Using mixed media, stamp artist Greg Harlin, a specialist in historical paintings, depicts the battle from the vantage point of a group of soldiers manning a cannon in defense of Fort McHenry. The stamp art also gives prominence to "the rockets' red glare" that Maryland native Francis Scott Key wrote about in "The Star-Spangled Banner."
A portrait by Rembrandt Peale of the fort's commander, George Armistead, appears on the reverse of the stamp sheet (courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society). The selvage engraving on the front of the sheet is a black and white version of a painting by Percy Moran depicting Key aboard the ship from which he witnessed the battle. The stamp sheet includes verso text and selvage text.
Greg Breeding served as art director and designer for the stamp.
The War of 1812: Fort McHenry stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp in self-adhesive sheets of 20. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.