Battle of Baltimore

Last updated
Battle of Baltimore
Part of the War of 1812
Ft. Henry bombardement 1814.jpg
Bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British. Engraved by John Bower [1]
DateSeptember 1215, 1814
Result American victory; British withdrawal
Flag of the United States (1795-1818).svg United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the United States (1795-1818).svg Samuel Smith
Flag of the United States (1795-1818).svg John Stricker
Flag of the United States (1795-1818).svg George Armistead
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Robert Ross  
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Alexander Cochrane
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Arthur Brooke
North Point:
Fort McHenry:
20 artillery pieces [2]
Additional Defense:
8,000 militia
150 artillery pieces
5,000 infantry
19 warships [3]
Casualties and losses
North Point:
24 killed,
139 wounded,
50 captured
Fort McHenry:
4 killed,
24 wounded
28 killed,
163 wounded,
50 captured [4]
North Point:
42–46 killed,
279–295 wounded [5] [6] [7]
Fort McHenry:
1 wounded [8]
42–46 killed,
280–296 wounded
Chesapeake Campaign Map.jpg

The Battle of Baltimore was a sea/land battle fought between British invaders and American defenders in the War of 1812. American forces repulsed sea and land invasions off the busy port city of Baltimore, Maryland, and killed the commander of the invading British forces. The British and Americans first met at the Battle of North Point. [9] Though the Americans retreated, the battle was a successful delaying action that inflicted heavy casualties on the British, halting their advance consequently allowing the defenders at Baltimore to properly prepare for an attack.

War of 1812 32-month military conflict between the United States and the British Empire

The War of 1812 was a conflict fought between the United States and the United Kingdom, with their respective allies, from June 1812 to February 1815. Historians in Britain often see it as a minor theater of the Napoleonic Wars; historians in the United States and Canada see it as a war in its own right.

Baltimore Largest city in Maryland, United States

Baltimore is the largest city in the state of Maryland within the United States. Baltimore was established by the Constitution of Maryland as an independent city in 1729. With a population of 602,495 in 2018, Baltimore is the largest such independent city in the United States. As of 2017, the population of the Baltimore metropolitan area was estimated to be just under 2.802 million, making it the 21st largest metropolitan area in the country. Baltimore is located about 40 miles (60 km) northeast of Washington, D.C., making it a principal city in the Washington-Baltimore combined statistical area (CSA), the fourth-largest CSA in the nation, with a calculated 2018 population of 9,797,063.

Maryland State of the United States of America

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary, who was the wife of King Charles I.


The resistance of Baltimore's Fort McHenry during bombardment by the Royal Navy inspired Francis Scott Key to compose the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry", which later became the lyrics for "The Star-Spangled Banner", the national anthem of the United States of America.

Fort McHenry United States fort

Fort McHenry is a historical American coastal pentagonal bastion fort located in the Locust Point neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. It is best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy from the Chesapeake Bay on September 13–14, 1814. It was first built in 1798 and was used continuously by the U.S. armed forces through World War I and by the Coast Guard in World War II. It was designated a national park in 1925, and in 1939 was redesignated a "National Monument and Historic Shrine".

Francis Scott Key American lawyer and poet

Francis Scott Key was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet from Frederick, Maryland who is best known for writing a poem which later became the lyrics for the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner".

The Star-Spangled Banner National anthem of the United States

"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States. The lyrics come from the Defence of Fort M'Henry, a poem written on September 14, 1814, by the then 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large U.S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory.

Future President James Buchanan served as a private in the defense of Baltimore.

James Buchanan Fifteenth President of the United States

James Buchanan Jr. was the 15th president of the United States (1857–1861), serving prior to the American Civil War. He was a member of the Democratic Party and served as the 17th Secretary of State under James K. Polk (1845–1849); he served in the Senate and House of Representatives before becoming president.


Until April 1814, Great Britain was at war with Napoleonic France, which limited British war aims in America. During this time the British primarily used a defensive strategy and repelled American invasions of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. However, the Americans gained naval control over Lake Erie in 1813, and seized parts of western Ontario. In the Southwest, General Andrew Jackson destroyed the military strength of the Creek nation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. [10] [11]

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).

Muscogee Native American people traditionally from the southeastern US

The Muscogee, also known as the Mvskoke, Creek and the Muscogee Creek Confederacy, are a related group of indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands. Mvskoke is their autonym. Their original homelands are in what now comprises southern Tennessee, all of Alabama, western Georgia and part of northern Florida.

Although Great Britain was unwilling to draw military forces from the war with France, it still enjoyed a naval superiority on the ocean, and vessels of the North America and West Indies Squadron, based at Bermuda, blockaded American ports on the Atlantic throughout the war, strangling the American economy (initially, the north-eastern ports were spared this blockade as public sentiments in New York and New England were against the war). [12] The Royal Navy and Royal Marines also occupied American coastal islands and landed military forces for raids along the coast, especially around the Chesapeake Bay, encouraging enslaved blacks to defect to the Crown and recruiting them into the Corps of Colonial Marines. [13] [14] [15]

Bermuda British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean

Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is approximately 1,070 km (665 mi) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; 1,236 km (768 mi) south of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia; and 1,759 km (1,093 mi) northeast of Cuba. The capital city is Hamilton. Bermuda is self-governing, with its own constitution and government and a Parliament which makes local laws. The United Kingdom retains responsibility for defence and foreign relations. As of July 2018, its population is 71,176, the highest of the British overseas territories.

Chesapeake Bay An estuary in the U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia

The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary in the U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia. The Bay is located in the Mid-Atlantic region and is primarily separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Delmarva Peninsula with its mouth located between Cape Henry and Cape Charles. With its northern portion in Maryland and the southern part in Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay is a very important feature for the ecology and economy of those two states, as well as others. More than 150 major rivers and streams flow into the Bay's 64,299-square-mile (166,534 km2) drainage basin, which covers parts of six states and all of Washington, D.C.

Corps of Colonial Marines Two British Marine units consisting of former slaves

The Corps of Colonial Marines were two Marine units raised from former slaves for service in the Americas by the British at the behest of Alexander Cochrane. The units were created at two different times, and were later disbanded once the military threat had disappeared. Apart from being instigated in each case by Cochrane they had no connection with each other. The term "Colonial Marines" is a euphemism for Black/Negro Marines.

Following the defeat of Napoleon in the spring of 1814, the British adopted a more aggressive strategy, intended to compel the United States to negotiate a peace that restored the pre-war status quo. Thousands of seasoned British soldiers were deployed to British North America. Most went to the Canadas to re-enforce the defenders (the British Army, Canadian militias, and their First Nations allies drove the American invaders back into the United States, but without naval control of the Great Lakes they were unable to receive supplies, resulting in the failure to capture Plattsburgh in the Second Battle of Lake Champlain and the withdrawal from US territory), [16] but a brigade under the command of Major General Robert Ross was sent in early July with several naval vessels to join the forces already operating from Bermuda. The combined forces were to be used for diversionary raids along the Atlantic coast, intended to force the Americans to withdraw forces from Canada. They were under orders not to carry out any extended operations and were restricted to targets on the coast.

Status quo is a Latin phrase meaning the existing state of affairs, particularly with regard to social or political issues. In the sociological sense, it generally applies to maintain or change existing social structure and values. With regard to policy debate, the status quo refers to how conditions are at the time and how the affirmative team can solve these conditions for example "The countries are now trying to maintain a status quo with regards to their nuclear arsenal which will help them if the situation gets any worse."

British North America Former British imperial territories

British North America refers to the former territories of the British Empire in North America, not including the Caribbean. The term was first used informally in 1783, but it was uncommon before the Report on the Affairs of British North America (1839), called the Durham Report. These territories today form modern-day Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

In Canada, the First Nations are the predominant indigenous peoples in Canada south of the Arctic Circle. Those in the Arctic area are distinct and known as Inuit. The Métis, another distinct ethnicity, developed after European contact and relations primarily between First Nations people and Europeans. There are 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.

An ambitious raid was planned as the result of a letter sent to Bermuda on 2 June by Sir George Prévost, Governor General of The Canadas, who called for a retaliation in response to the "wanton destruction of private property along the north shores of Lake Erie" by American forces under Colonel John Campbell in May 1814, the most notable being the Raid on Port Dover. [17] Prévost argued that,

... in consequence of the late disgraceful conduct of the American troops in the wanton destruction of private property on the north shores of Lake Erie, in order that if the war with the United States continues you may, should you judge it advisable, assist in inflicting that measure of retaliation which shall deter the enemy from a repetition of similar outrages. [18]

The letter was considered by Ross and Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane (who had replaced Sir John Borlase Warren earlier that year as the Commander-in-Chief of the North America and West Indies Station of the Royal Navy, headquartered at Admiralty House in Bermuda) in planning how to use their forces. Cochrane's junior, Rear Admiral George Cockburn, had been commanding ships of the squadron in the operations on the Chesapeake Bay since the previous year. On 25 June he wrote to Cochrane stressing that the defenses there were weak, and he felt that several major cities were vulnerable to attack. [19] Cochrane suggested attacking Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia. On 17 July, Cockburn recommended Washington as the target, because of the comparative ease of attacking the national capital and "the greater political effect likely to result". [20]

On 18 July, Cochrane ordered Cockburn that to "deter the enemy from a repetition of similar outrages ..." You are hereby required and directed to "destroy and lay waste such towns and districts as you may find assailable". [21] Cochrane instructed, "You will spare merely the lives of the unarmed inhabitants of the United States".

In August, the vessels in Bermuda sailed from the Royal Naval Dockyard and St. George's to join those already operating along the American Atlantic coast. After defeating a US Navy gunboat flotilla, a military force totaling 4,370 (composed of British Army, Royal Marines, and Royal Navy detachments for shore service) under Ross was landed in Virginia. After beating off an American force of 1,200 on the 23rd, on the 24th they attacked the prepared defenses of the main American force of roughly 6,400 (US Army soldiers, militiamen, US Marines, and US Navy sailors) in the Battle of Bladensburg. Despite the considerable disadvantage in numbers (standard military logic dictates that a three-to-one advantage is needed in carrying out an attack on prepared defences) and sustaining heavy casualties, the British force routed the American defenders and cleared the path into the capital (President James Madison and the entire government fled the city, and went North, to the town of Brookeville, Maryland). The Burning of Washington took place that night before the force returned to the ships. [22] [23]

The British also sent a fleet up the Potomac to cut off Washington's water access and threaten the prosperous ports of Alexandria, just downstream of Washington, and Georgetown, just upstream. The mere appearance of the fleet cowed American defenders into fleeing from Fort Warburton without firing a shot, and undefended Alexandria surrendered. The British spent several days looting hundreds of tons of merchandise from city merchants, then turned their attention north to Baltimore, where they hoped to strike a powerful blow against the demoralized Americans. Baltimore was a busy port and was thought by the British to harbor many of the privateers who were raiding British shipping. The British planned a combined operation, with Ross launching a land attack at North Point, and Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane laying siege to Fort McHenry, which was the point defensive installation in Baltimore Harbor.

Opposing Forces


10th Military District

  • Brigadier General William Winder, U.S. Army
DivisionBrigadeRegiments and Other

Third Division Maryland Militia [24] [25]
     Major General Samuel Smith

First Brigade (Harford and Cecil Counties) [26]
  • Brig. Gen. Thomas M. Forman
  • 30th Regiment
  • 40th Regiment
  • 42nd Regiment
  • 49th Regiment
Third Brigade (Baltimore city)
  • Brig. Gen. John Stricker
  • 5th Regiment: Lt. Col. Joseph Sterrett
    • York Volunteers (PA): Capt. Michael L. Spangler
  • 6th Regiment: Lt. Col. William McDonald
  • 27th Regiment: Lt. Col. Kennedy Long
  • 39th Regiment: Lt. Col. Benjamin Fowler
    • Hanover Volunteers (PA): Capt. Frederick Metzger
    • Hagerstown Volunteers (MD): Capt. Thomas Quantrill
  • 51st Regiment: Lt. Col. Henry Amey
  • 1st Rifle Battalion: Maj. William Pinkney
Eleventh Brigade (Baltimore County) [27]
  • Brig. Gen. Tobias E. Stansbury
  • 7th Regiment
  • 15th Regiment
  • 36th Regiment
  • 41st Regiment
  • 46th Regiment
1st Regiment of Artillery
  • Lt. Col. David Harris
  • Baltimore Union Artillery: Capt. John Montgomery [28]
  • Columbian Artillery: Capt. Samuel Moale
  • Franklin Artillery: Capt. John Myers
  • United Maryland Artillery: Capt. James Piper
  • 1st Baltimore Volunteer Artillery: Capt. Abraham Pyke
  • Eagle Artillerists: Capt. George J. Brown
  • American Artillerists: Capt. Richard Magruder
  • First Marine Artillery of the Union: Capt. George Stiles
  • Steiner's Artillery of Frederick: Capt. Henry Steiner [29]
5th Regiment of Cavalry
  • Lt. Col. James Biays
  • 1st Baltimore Hussars
  • Independent Light Dragoons
  • Maryland Chasseurs
  • Fells Point Light Dragoons

Harbor Defenses of Baltimore

Fort McHenry
  • Maj. George Armistead, commanding post


  • Evan's Company, U.S. Corps of Artillery: Capt. Frederick Evans
  • Bunbury's Company, U.S. Sea Fencibles: Capt. Matthew S. Bunbury
  • Addison's Company, U.S. Sea Fencibles: Capt. William H. Addison
  • Det. U.S. Infantry: Lt. Col. William Steuart (38th Infantry), Maj. Samuel Lane (14th Infantry)
    • Company, 12th Infantry: Capt. Thomas Sangsten
    • Company, 36th Infantry: Capt. Joseph Hook
    • Company, 36th Infantry: Lt. William Rogers
    • Company, 38th Infantry: Capt. James H. Hook
    • Company, 38th Infantry: Capt. John Buck
  • Det. 1st Regiment of Artillery, Maryland Militia
    • Washington Artillery: Capt. John Berry
    • Baltimore Independent Artillerists: Lt. Charles Pennington
    • Baltimore Fencibles: Capt. Joseph H. Nicholson
  • Det. U.S. Chesapeake Flotilla: Sailing Master Solomon Rodman
Fort Covington
  • Det. U.S. Navy: Lt. Henry S. Newcomb
Fort Babcock
  • Det. U.S. Chesapeake Flotilla: Sailing Master John A. Webster
Fort Lookout
  • Det. U.S. Navy: Lt. George Budd
Lazaretto Battery
  • Det. U.S. Chesapeake Flotilla: Lt. Solomon Frazier
Gun Barges
  • Det. U.S. Chesapeake Flotilla: Lt. Solomon Rutter
Hampstead Hill DefensesUS Navy
  • Commodore John Rodgers
  • Det. U.S Navy
  • Det. U.S. Marines
Virginia Militia
  • Brig. Gen. Singleton
  • Brig. Gen. Douglass
Pennsylvania Militia
  • Col. Frailey's Battalion
  • Col. Cobean's Battalion


Naval ForcesBombardment SquadronShip
Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, RNBomb Vessels
Rocket Ship

British ForcesBrigadeRegiment
Maj. Gen. Sir Robert Ross (KIA, 9/12) First (Light) Brigade
  • Maj. Timothy Jones
  • 85th Regiment: Maj. Richard Gubbins
  • Light Company, 1/4th Regiment: Maj. Timothy Jones
  • Light Company, 21st Regiment: Maj. Norman Pringle
  • Light Company, 1/44th Regiment
Second Brigade
  • 1st battalion 4th Regiment: Maj. Alured Faunce
  • 1st battalion 44th Regiment: Maj. John Johnson
Third Brigade
  • Lt. Col. William Patterson
  • 21st Regiment: Maj. John Whitaker
  • 2nd Battalion, Royal Marines: Lt. Col. James Malcolm, RM
  • Provisional Battalion, Royal Marines: Maj. George Lewis, RM
Reporting Directly
  • Royal Marine Artillery: 1st Lt. John Lawrence, RM
  • Royal Artillery: Capt. John Mitchell
  • Detachment, Royal Artillery Drivers: Capt. William Lempiere
  • 2nd Coy. 4th Battalion, Royal Sappers and Miners: Capt. Richard Blanchard
Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn Naval Brigade
  • Naval Brigade Seaman: Capt. Edward Crofton, RN
  • Corps of Colonial Marines


North Point

Map of Baltimore and Fort McHenry 1814 Map of Baltimore and Fort McHenry 1814.jpg
Map of Baltimore and Fort McHenry 1814

The British landed a force of 5,000 troops who marched toward Baltimore and first met heavy resistance at the Battle of North Point which was fought about 5 miles (8 km) from the city. The city's defense was under the overall command of Major General Samuel Smith, an officer of the Maryland Militia. He dispatched roughly 3,000 men under the command of General John Stricker to meet the British in a forward engagement. General Stricker was to stall the British invasion force in order to delay the British advance long enough for Major General Smith to complete the defenses in Baltimore. The land invasion force for the British was led by Ross, who would be killed in the second shift of the American defense by an American sharpshooter (It has been suggested that either Daniel Wells or Henry McComas of Captain Aisquith's rifle company, of the 5th Maryland Militia regiment, were responsible, and both killed shortly afterwards). With Ross's death the British army came under the command of Colonel Arthur Brooke. However, the Americans had already begun to form an organized retreat back to the main defenses of Baltimore, where they awaited a British assault.

Hampstead Hill

Rodgers Bastion, also known as Sheppard's Bastion, located on Hampstead Hill (now part of Patterson Park), was the centerpiece of a 3-mile-wide earthworks from the outer harbor in Canton, north to Belair Road, dug to defend the eastern approach to Baltimore against the British. The redoubt was assembled and commanded by U.S. Navy Commodore John Rodgers, with General Smith in command of the overall line. At dawn on September 13, 1814, the day after the Battle of North Point, some 4,300 British troops advanced north on North Point Road, then west along the Philadelphia Road (now Maryland Route 7) toward Baltimore, forcing the U.S. troops to retreat to the main defensive line around the city. British commander Col. Arthur Brooke established his new headquarters at the Sterret House on Surrey Farm (today called Armistead Gardens), about two miles east-northeast of Hampstead Hill.

When the British began probing actions on Baltimore's inner defenses, the American line was defended by 100 cannons and more than 10,000 regular troops, including two shadowing infantry regiments commanded by general officers Stricker and Winder as well as a few thousand local militia and irregulars. The defenses were far stronger than the British anticipated. The U.S. defenders at Fort McHenry successfully stopped British naval forces but a few ships were still able to provide artillery support. Once the British had taken the outer defences, the inner defences became the priority. The British infantry had not anticipated how well defended they would be so the first attack was a failure; however, Brooke's forces did manage to outflank and overrun American positions to the right. After a discussion with lower ranking officers, Brooke decided that the British should bombard the fort instead of risk a frontal assault and, at 3:00 a.m. on September 14, 1814, ordered the British troops to return to the ships. [30] [31] [32]

Fort McHenry

John Bull and the Baltimoreans (1814) by William Charles, a cartoon praising the stiff resistance in Baltimore WilliamCharlesJohnBullAndTheBaltimoreans.jpg
John Bull and the Baltimoreans (1814) by William Charles, a cartoon praising the stiff resistance in Baltimore

At Fort McHenry, some 1,000 soldiers under the command of Major George Armistead awaited the British naval bombardment. Their defense was augmented by the sinking of a line of American merchant ships at the adjacent entrance to Baltimore Harbor in order to further thwart the passage of British ships.

The attack began on September 13, as the British fleet of some nineteen ships began pounding the fort with Congreve rockets (from rocket vessel HMS Erebus) and mortar shells (from bomb vessels Terror, Volcano, Meteor, Devastation, and Aetna). After an initial exchangeable of fire, the British fleet withdrew to just beyond the range of Fort McHenry's cannons and continued to bombard the American redoubts for the next 27 hours. Although 1,500 to 1,800 cannonballs were launched at the fort, damage was light due to recent fortification that had been completed prior to the battle. [33]

After nightfall, Cochrane ordered a landing to be made by small boats to the shore just west of the fort, away from the harbor opening on which the fort's defense was concentrated. He hoped that the landing party might slip past Fort McHenry and draw Smith's army away from the main British land assault on the city's eastern border. This gave the British a good diversion for half an hour, allowing them to fire again and again. On the morning of September 14, the 30 ft × 42 ft (9.1 m × 12.8 m) oversized American flag, which had been made a year earlier by local flagmaker Mary Pickersgill and her 13-year-old daughter, was raised over Fort McHenry (replacing the tattered storm flag which had flown during battle). It was responded to by a small encampment of British rifleman on the right flank, who fired a round each at the sky and taunted the Americans just before they too returned to the shore line.

Originally, historians said the oversized Star Spangled Banner Flag was raised to taunt the British. However, that is not the case. The oversized flag was used every morning for reveille, as was the case on the morning of September 14.

Brooke had been instructed not to attack the American positions around Baltimore unless he was certain that there were less than 2,000 men in the fort. Because of his orders, Brooke had to withdraw from his positions and returned to the fleet which would set sail for New Orleans. [34]


Battle Monument, Baltimore Balt Battle Monument 1a.jpg
Battle Monument, Baltimore

Colonel Brooke's troops withdrew, and Admiral Cochrane's fleet sailed off to regroup before his next (and final) assault on the United States, at the Battle of New Orleans. Armistead was soon promoted to lieutenant colonel. Much weakened by the arduous preparations for the battle, he died at age 38, only three years after the battle.

Three active battalions of the Regular Army (1-4 Inf, 2-4 Inf and 3-4 Inf) perpetuate the lineages of the old 36th and 38th Infantry Regiments, both of which were at Fort McHenry during the bombardment. The lineage of the 5th Maryland Infantry Regiment, which played a major role in the Battle of North Point, is perpetuated by the Maryland Army National Guard's 175th Infantry Regiment.

The battle is commemorated in the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.

Star Spangled Banner

An American lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, was on a mercy mission for the release of Dr. William Beanes, a prisoner of the British. Key showed the British letters from wounded British officers praising the care they received from Dr. Beanes. The British agreed to release Beanes, but Key and Beanes were forced to stay with the British until the attack on Baltimore was over. Key watched the proceedings from a truce ship in the Patapsco River. On the morning of the 14th, Key saw the American flag waving above Fort McHenry. Inspired, he began jotting down verses on the back of a letter he was carrying. Key's poem was originally named "Defence on Fort McHenry" was printed on pamphlets by the Baltimore American .

Key's poem was later set to the tune of a British song called "To Anacreon in Heaven", the official song of the Anacreontic Society, an 18th-century gentlemen's club of amateur musicians in London. The song eventually became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner". Congress made it the United States national anthem in 1931.

See also


  1. Laura Rich. Maryland History In Prints 1743-1900. p. 45.
  2. Borneman, p. 245.
  3. Crawford, p273, quoting a memo from Rear Admiral Codrington to Respective Captains dated 11 Sept 1814. The warships present were Tonnant (80), Albion (74), Madagascar (74), Ramillies (74), Royal Oak (74), Severn (50), Diomede (50), Havannah (42), Weser (44), Brune (38), Melpomene (38), Seahorse (38), Surprise (38), Trave (38), Thames (32), Rover (18), & Wolverine (18). Also present were the troopships Diadem, Dictator & Regulus.
  4. Borneman, p. 246.
  5. Liston, Where Are the British Soldiers Killed in the Battle of North Point Buried? Archived 2010-11-26 at the Wayback Machine
  6. James, p. 513.
  7. James, p. 521.
  8. James, p. 325.
  9. James, p. 321
  10. Jessica McBride. "Attendees Reflect On Horseshoe Bend Commemoration" Archived July 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine , Muscogee Nation website.
  11. "Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, Daviston, Alabama". National Park Service, US Department of the Interior website.
  12. Review by Mr William Dudley of How Britain won the War of 1812: The Royal Navy's Blockades of the United States, 1812-1815, by Brian Arthur. Published by Woodbridge, Boydell, 2011, ISBN   9781843836650. Website of the Institute of Historical Research of the University of London School of Advanced Study.
  13. "Fleeing from Eastern Shore slavery during War of 1812" Archived July 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine . An article adapted from the book Slave and Free on Virginia's Eastern Shore, by Kirk Mariner. Delmarva Media Group.
  14. John McNish Weiss, "The Corps of Colonial Marines: Black freedom fighters of the War of 1812". Althea McNish & John Weiss Website.
  15. John Anderson, "British Corps of Colonial Marines (1808-1810, 1814-1816"),
  16. "The British View the War of 1812 Quite Differently Than Americans Do" Archived 2015-11-17 at the Wayback Machine , The Smithsonian.
  17. Cruikshank 2006, p. 402.
  18. Cruikshank, Documentary History, p. 402.
  19. Morriss 1997, p. 100.
  20. Morriss 1997, p. 101.
  21. Cruikshank 2006, p. 414.
  22. "Attack on Baltimore launched from Bermuda in 'War of 1812'". Atlas Communications. 2005.
  23. Pitch, Anthony, The Burning of Washington: The British Invasion of 1814. Bluejacket Books, 2000. p. 99.
  24. The Visitor Center
  25. Maryland in the War of 1812
  26. In the defenses at Hampstead Hill
  27. In the defenses at Hampstead Hill
  28. Attached to 3rd Brigade, present at Battle of North Point
  29. Attached from 9th Brigade, Maryland Militia
  30. "Scenes In The War of 1812", Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 28, March 1864, pp. 433-449.
  31. The Battle of Baltimore Archived 2010-12-25 at the Wayback Machine , Kevin Young, Ft. Meade Soundoff, 9/1/05.
  32. 1812 Overtures, Brennen Jensen, Baltimore City Paper, September 22, 1999.
  33. "The Battle of Baltimore". The Patriots of Fort McHenry, Incorporated. Archived from the original on 2007-06-08.
  34. Borneman, p. 247

References and further reading

Coordinates: 39°15′47.5″N76°34′47.33″W / 39.263194°N 76.5798139°W / 39.263194; -76.5798139

Related Research Articles

Alexander Cochrane Scottish Royal Navy commander

Sir Alexander Inglis Cochrane GCB RN was a senior Royal Navy commander during the Napoleonic Wars and achieved the rank of Admiral. He was knighted for his service.

HMS <i>Tonnant</i> ship

HMS Tonnant was an 80-gun ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She had previously been the Tonnant of the French Navy and the lead ship of the Tonnant class. The British captured her in August 1793 during the Siege of Toulon but the French recaptured her when the siege was broken in December. Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson captured her at Aboukir Bay off the coast of Egypt at the Battle of the Nile on 1 August 1798. She was taken into British service as HMS Tonnant. She went on to fight at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, during the Napoleonic Wars.

George Armistead American military officer

George Armistead was an American military officer who served as the commander of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812.

Battle of Bladensburg War of 1812 battle

The Battle of Bladensburg was a battle of the Chesapeake campaign of the War of 1812, fought on 24 August 1814. Called "the greatest disgrace ever dealt to American arms", a British force of army regulars and Royal Marines routed a combined U.S. force of Regular Army and state militia troops at Bladensburg, Maryland, 8.6 miles (13.8 km) northeast of the federal capital of Washington, D.C.. U.S. defeat resulted in the capture and burning of Washington.

Burning of Washington

The Burning of Washington was a British invasion of Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, during the War of 1812. On August 24, 1814, after defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, a British force led by Major General Robert Ross burned down multiple buildings, including the White House, the Capitol building, as well as other facilities of the U.S. government. The attack was in part a retaliation for the recent American destruction of Port Dover in Upper Canada. The Burning of Washington marks the only time since the American Revolutionary War that a foreign power has captured and occupied the United States capital. It was the only significant foreign attack on Washington, D.C. until the September 11 attacks 187 years later, and remains the most devastating attack in the city's history.

Battle of North Point Battle of the War of 1812

The Battle of North Point was an engagement in the War of 1812, fought on September 12, 1814, between Brigadier General John Stricker's Third Brigade of the Maryland State Militia and a British landing force, composed of units from the British Army, Royal Navy seamen, Colonial Marines, Royal Marines, and led by Major General Robert Ross and Rear Admiral George Cockburn. The events and result of the engagement, a part of the larger Battle of Baltimore, saw the U.S. forces retreating after having inflicted heavy casualties on the British.

Battle of Craney Island

The Battle of Craney Island was a victory for the United States during the War of 1812. The battle saved the city of Norfolk, and the adjacent city of Portsmouth, from British invasion. Especially important to Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, the region was a major hub for American commerce.

HMS Devastation was an 8-gun British Royal Navy bomb vessel launched in 1789 as the mercantile Intrepid. The Navy purchased her in 1804 and sold her in 1816. She served in the English Channel, the Baltic, off the coast of Spain, and in the United States during the Napoleonic Wars and War of 1812, most notably at the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814.

William H. Winder United States Army general

William Henry Winder was an American soldier and a Maryland lawyer. He was a controversial general in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. On August 24, 1814, as a brigadier general, he led American troops in their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Bladensburg, which led to the Burning of Washington by British troops. Winder was court-martialed for his role in the battle, but acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Defenders Day is a longtime legal holiday on September 12th, in the U.S. state of Maryland, in the City of Baltimore and surrounding Baltimore County. It commemorates the successful defense of the city of Baltimore on September 12th-13th-14th, 1814 from an invading British force during the War of 1812, an event which led to the writing of the words of a poem, which when set to music a few days later, became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner", which in 1931 was designated as the national anthem of the United States.

John Stricker United States general

Brigadier General John Stricker (1758–1825) was a Maryland state militia officer who fought in both the American Revolutionary War in the First Maryland Regiment of the famous "Maryland Line" of the Continental Army and in the War of 1812. He commanded the Third Brigade of the Maryland state militia in the Battle of North Point on Monday, September 12, 1814, which formed a part of the larger Battle of Baltimore, along with the subsequent British naval bombardment of Fort McHenry on September 13-14th, and was a turning point in the later months of the War of 1812 and to the peace negotiators across the Atlantic Ocean for the Treaty of Ghent, in the city of Ghent then in the Austrian Netherlands,, which finally arrived at a peace treaty on Christmas Eve of December 1814, of which news finally reached America in February 1815.

Fort Howard (Maryland)

Fort Howard was a military installation located on the North Point peninsula, overlooking the main channel of the Patapsco River leading into the harbor of Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Although militarily important since the early 19th century, its surviving elements and name date to the Spanish–American War. It was named by Elihu Root, Secretary of War under President Theodore Roosevelt, in 1902 after Colonel John Eager Howard (1752–1827). The installation earned the nickname the "Bulldog at Baltimore's Gate", serving as the coastal artillery headquarters for Baltimore, Maryland. Fort Howard's historical significance is its military connection with the War of 1812, the Spanish–American War, and World War II.

HMS <i>Asia</i> (1811) Vengeur-class ship of the line

HMS Asia was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 2 December 1811 at Frindsbury.

French frigate <i>Loire</i> (1796)

Loire was a 44-gun frigate of the French Navy. She was captured following the Battle of Tory Island by a Royal Navy frigate squadron and subsequently taken into British service as HMS Loire.

Fort Bowyer

Fort Bowyer was a short-lived earthen and stockade fortification that the United States Army erected in 1813 on Mobile Point, near the mouth of Mobile Bay in what is now Baldwin County, Alabama, but then was part of the Mississippi Territory. The British twice attacked the fort during the War of 1812. The first, unsuccessful attack, took place in September 1814 and led to the British changing their strategy and attacking New Orleans. The second attack, following their defeat at the Battle of New Orleans, was successful. However, it took place in February 1815, after the Treaty of Ghent had been signed but before the news had reached that part of America. Between 1819 and 1834 the United States built a new masonry fortification, Fort Morgan, on the site of Fort Bowyer.

Sir Arthur Brooke KCB was an officer of the British Army during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and the Peninsular War and War of 1812. He rose to the rank of lieutenant-general.