say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists
of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
’Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ’In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Fort McHenry is located in Baltimore,
Maryland state of USA. These military fortifications were
constructed in 1789 under supervision of French immigrant
Jean Foncin and cover an area of 43 acres (0.17 km²). It was
named after Hames McHenry (November 16, 1753 – May 3, 1816)
who was a Scottish- Irish immigrant and a surgeon- soldier.
He eventually rose to Secretary of War under first American
president George Washington. Military fortifications stood
at the Locust Point peninsula that guarded the entrance to
the Baltimore Harbor. Bastions were encircled by a dry moat
that run around the fort perimeter.
The fort became
infamous during one of the battles of War of 1812. First
explosions fell at Fort McHenry at 6:00am on 13th of
September. Fort had an arsenal of 18, 24, and 38 pound (8
kg, 11 kg, and 17 kg) bombs. However their guns could cover
the entrance to the harbor, but couldn't reach the British
ships at a maximum range of only 1.5 miles or 2.4 km. The
British naval artillery on the other hand was armed with
rockets with a range of 1.75 miles or 2.8 km and naval guns
that reached maximum range at 2 miles or 3 km. The British
fleet could easily bomb the fortress, but it couldn't come
any closer to the Baltimore Harbor. Otherwise they risked
loosing ships, sailors and 5000 soldiers aboard the ships.
They decided to attack the citadel and force Americans to
Bombardment continued for whole 25 hours
without stopping. Firing at a safe distance British expected
commandant of Fort McHenry to abandon his defenses. However
long range also made artillery barrage highly inaccurate.
Defenders lost four men, one woman who was cut in two by a
cannon ball and had 24 soldiers wounded. Fortunately for the
Americans one of the bombs managed to hit a powder magazine
and break through its thick ceiling, but it was extinguished
so it didn't explode. British had only one wounded sailor.
Eventually on September 14th the British ran out of
ammunition and were forced to retreat without a victory.
About this time an American lawyer Francis Scott Key and
American Prisoner Exchange Agent Colonel John Stuart Skinner
were invited as guests to the British war ship of HMS
Tonnant to Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, Rear Admiral
George Cockburn and Major General Robert Ross. They were
supposed to discuss the release of Dr. William Beanes, a
resident of Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Both men were forced
to stay aboard the ship until the attack wasn't over. Here
Francis Scott Key had a front seat to the whole attack on
the American fortress. The violent beating of the military
fortifications lasted all day. In the morning American Star
Spangled Banner still flew over defences marking the
inability of the English to break through the defenses of
the Republic. He later wrote a poem and it eventually became
an American anthem with the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven"
(usually attributed to John Stafford Smith).
McHenry continued its service. During the Civil War it
acquired new Rodman guns and became the training post for
the US army. In addition fort served as a prison for
Confederate soldiers and Confederate sympathizers or anyone
who was accused of sympathy to Confederacy. During wars
enemy list might be quiet broad and usually increases. Among
people accused of conspiring against the Union were
Baltimore Mayor George William Brown, Francis Key Howard
(grandson of Francis Scott Key, yes, the irony) and many
others. And the famous flag was shipped to England (again,
During World War I Fort McHenry had several
dozens of new buildings added to house hospitals for the
wounded soldiers that came home from Europe. Most of these
were destroyed after the war when Fort became a National
Park in 1925 and later turned into a National Monument and
Historic Shrine in 1939. This Shrine served briefly as a
base for the Coast Guard that hunted German U- boats that
occasionally patrolled Eastern shores of the United States
at the time sinking ships and wrecking havoc on military and
civilian vessels. After the war Fort McHenry was completely
restored to the original appearance of War of 1812. A copy
of a flag that flew that day in 1814 is still flying over
this historic fort.