There is just so much to see and do here in this area!! We actually did Fort McHenry over two weekends. We did make it up there for the Star Spangled Banner Weekend marking the anniversary of the battle here. However, we didn’t make it in time to see many of the reenacters there. We snapped some pictures but that is about it. So we returned to this amazing fort, this time allowing ourselves plenty of time to look around and we even brought a bag lunch to enjoy.
This is an amazing and well preserved fort. The views are breath taking!! I learned so much on this particular trip. I had no idea that this battle marked the end of the War of 1812, and that it occurred Sept. 1814. They claim that till this point, we didn’t have a set national flag. The color scheme was set, but not the design. General Armistead requested a flag so big the British could see it as they sailed in. The general knew they would attack and waited while officials streamed in from DC, where the British had just attacked, burning it as they went. The British actually marched through our current town as they sacked DC.
Our history curriculum included bits about Dr. Beans who cared for the wounded soldiers during this attack. The British still arrested him and took him to a prison ship in the Baltimore Bay. Francis Scott Key went to the prison ship to barter for the Doc’s release. They were granted leave but had to remain on a US Peace Ship since they had “seen and heard too much of the planned attack” to be returned to shore. There is a modern bridge, the Francis Scott Key Bridge out at the mouth of the harbor just inside the bay where Keys stood watching the battle. In the morning, when those on ship saw the American Flag still flying, he penned his poem.
The British wouldn’t come close enough in their ships for our canon to hit them, and thankfully (I am guessing being at sea so long dampened their gun powder) most of their canon balls didn’t explode. Not being able to take Baltimore sent the British sailing away and we finally were ‘let go’ by the British. This little star shaped fort fought bravely and well. The little video they show here is fantastic, and of course, standing at the end with our hands over our hearts, looking at the flagpole that inspired our national anthem (while it is sung by the Naval Academy Choir) brought tears to my eyes.
“oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave… ore the land of the free, and the home of the brave!”