William Walker of Prince George’s County served in the 12th Infantry of the Army for a five year span during the War of 1812. Beginning his service in April of 1812, Walker served in the Army for the duration of the War. Walker was a part of one of the 12th Infantry unit that marched up to Buffalo and fought in the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, also known as the Battle of Niagara Falls.
This battle was one of the bloodiest battles of the war, and ended in the Americans’ defeat and retreat from their effort to invade and take over Canada. Shortly after this battle Walker, became a prisoner of war to the British.
His imprisonment was not for very long, and upon his release Walker finished out his five year enlistment with the 12th Infantry. The rest of his service took place in Maryland, and though it involved several stints in Southern Maryland, Walker’s two other major engagements were elsewhere in the state. Walker being in the 12th Infantry was a part of two of the biggest battles that took place in Maryland, the Battle of Bladensburg and the Battle of Baltimore.
At the Battle of Bladensburg the Americans were routed by the British on their way to capturing Washington, D. C. Finally, Walker also served in the defense of Fort McHenry at the Battle of Baltimore, where he helped repel the British effort to take America’s third-largest city.
It is listed in the National Archives of Washington D. C., under the War of 1812 Prisoners of War, stating that Walker spent the majority of his time in the Army out on the western front. The conflicts in the west were primarily engagements between the United States and the Native Americans. As seen through William Walker, the defense of the Southern shores of Maryland involved soldiers from elsewhere in Maryland.
Chronicles of St. Mary’s, 2000-2006. Mike W. Hill, “Two American Patriots (William Walker and Thomas L. Hall) from St. Mary’s County – War of 1812” p. 472-473.