The Bicentennial of the War of 1812 presents the U.S. Navy with a unique opportunity to raise its visibility amongst the American public. The Navy had a remarkable string of successes (in the face of humiliating US Army and militia/National Guard defeats), that gave Americans a symbol of hope and national unity, damaged enemy commerce, and preserved national territorial integrity and prestige. The Navy's heroic actions in the embarrassing defeat at Bladensburg, and in the successful defense of Baltimore (including at Fort McHenry, where a Sailor, Charles Messenger, in the forward water battery was one who made the final sacrifice) tie it to the national recovery of September 1814-January 1815, and to the National Anthem. The high reputation of the service led Congress to fund the only postwar expansion of the Navy in US history.