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Committee of Vigilance & Safety

The Committee was an ad-hoc group of about 30 civic-minded citizens of Baltimore. These men coordinated every aspect of the plans of defense for the city. Their duties included raising money to augment regular military expenditures, inspecting artillery and carriages produced by private contracters, inspecting potables, overseeing the construction and inspection of entrenchments, bomb-proofs, man-made obstacles placed in the harbor, and quartering militia from other states.

In addition to these duties, the Committee was also concerned with Morale and Pubic Information. Defeatist talk and communication was strictly censured, both spoken and in print. Persons who could not keep negative attitudes quiet were censured in public, then fined or imprisoned on subsequent offenses.

We are fortunate to have entire copies of all of the Minutes of the Committee for Vigilance and Safety from its creation in August 1814 up to the end of the War of 1812. These documents allow for varied historical scenarios to be depicted at the Fort, with complete historical accuracy.

The Baltimore Committee of Public Supply was created and chaired by Edward Johnson, Mayor of Baltimore, shortly following the Declaration of War with England in June of 1812. This body concerned itself with outfitting and supplying privateers, militia, and concerning itself with trade and commerce in light of the anticipated British blockade of the Chesapeake and probable attack upon the City of Baltimore. Following the attack on Washington and the burning of the Capitol, the Committee of Supply was expanded to become the Committee of Vigilance and Safety, which was also granted expanded Executive Powers."