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seminolewar


Fort McHenry

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Fort McHenry is in the center of downtown Baltimore, Maryland. You may know it from where Francis Scott Key penned "In Defense of Fort McHenry" which became the Star Spangled Banner / National Anthem.

During the War of 1812, Baltimore was the second largest city for the United States. The British had burned Washington City nearby, and wanted to take Baltimore. If they had, it would have been the end of our country. The war was not going well for the United States against the superior, battle-hardened British troops that had been fighting the military genius Napoleon in Europe.

This is the post commander George Armistead. His nephew was Lewis Armistead, famous for Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. (More about that later.)



The government told Armistead to abandon the fort and escape. He said no, that he was going to defend the fort. And thus prevented the British fleet from coming into the harbor and capturing the city. Because of the defense, the United States developed the Third System of Fortification, where over the next 55 years, would build around 44 brick forts defending the ports around the country from foreign invasion. And it worked, because we were never again invaded by a foreign country.

Entrance to the fort with the famous flag still flying.



Barracks inside the fort.




Some of the original 1812-ear cannons laying around.



The reconstructed 1812 water battery outside the fort.



Civil war era gun emplacements.




And one final comment about the Star Spangled Banner. People say that it is a British drinking song. Not entirely correct. In the 18th century there was a society called, "The Anacreontic Society." It was a popular music and literary society. It was whimsical and dedicated to having humor. The tune of the Star Spangled Banner was their title song, "To Anacreon in Heaven." That is why near Fort McHenry, is this statue dedicated by President Warren G. Harding, to the Anacreon Society.


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