On April 14th, 1814, Williams joined the US Army, while in the midst of war with England. While the recruiter should not have allowed Williams to join because of his status, he was paid his full $50 bounty and got $8 a month in pay (the same as any private in the army). By the end of August, the British had sacked Washington DC and burned it to the ground. The American Army was in tatters, and the British set their sights on Baltimore. Williams and his regiment were deployed to Fort McHenry, where American forces waited for the British fleet.
Check out the National Park website for more information on Williams, or visit Fort McHenry to learn more.