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|Fort McHenry National Monument|
|Location||Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.|
|Area||43.26 acres (17.51 ha)|
|Authorized||March 3, 1925|
|Governing body||National Park Service|
|Website||Fort McHenry National Monument|
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".
A bastion fort or trace italienne, is a fortification in a style that evolved during the early modern period of gunpowder when the cannon came to dominate the battlefield. It was first seen in the mid-15th century in Italy. Some types, especially when combined with ravelins and other outworks, resembled the related star fort of the same era.
Locust Point is a peninsular neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland. Located in South Baltimore, the neighborhood is entirely surrounded by the Locust Point Industrial Area; the traditional boundaries are Lawrence street to the west and the Patapsco River to the north, south, and east. It once served as a center of Baltimore's Polish-American, Irish-American and Italian-American communities; in more recent years Locust Point has seen gradual gentrification with the rehabilitation of Tide Point and Silo Point. The neighborhood is also noted as being the home of Fort McHenry.
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.
During the War of 1812 an American storm flag, 17 by 25 feet (5.2 m × 7.6 m), was flown over Fort McHenry during the bombardment. It was replaced early on the morning of September 14, 1814 with a larger American garrison flag, 30 by 42 feet (9.1 m × 12.8 m). The larger flag signaled American victory over the British in the Battle of Baltimore. The sight of the ensign inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry" that was later set to the tune "To Anacreon in Heaven" and became known as "The Star Spangled Banner", the national anthem of the United States.
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 North Point. 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.
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 Anacreontic Song", also known by its incipit "To Anacreon in Heaven", was the official song of the Anacreontic Society, an 18th-century gentlemen's club of amateur musicians in London. Composed by John Stafford Smith, the tune was later used by several writers as a setting for their patriotic lyrics. These included two songs by Francis Scott Key, most famously his poem "Defence of Fort McHenry". The combination of Key's poem and Smith's composition became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner", which was adopted as the national anthem of the United States of America in 1931.
Fort McHenry was built on the site of the former Fort Whetstone, which had defended Baltimore from 1776 to 1797. Fort Whetstone stood on Whetstone Point (today's residential and industrial area of Locust Point) peninsula, which juts into the opening of Baltimore Harbor between the Basin (today's Inner Harbor) and Northwest branch on the north side and the Middle and Ferry (now Southern) branches of the Patapsco River on the south side.
The Patapsco River mainstem is a 39-mile-long (63 km) river in central Maryland which flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The river's tidal portion forms the harbor for the city of Baltimore. With its South Branch, the Patapsco forms the northern border of Howard County, Maryland. The name "Patapsco" is derived from the Algonquian pota-psk-ut, which translates to "backwater" or "tide covered with froth."
The Frenchman Jean Foncin designed the fort in 1798,and it was built between 1798 and 1800. The new fort's purpose was to improve the defenses of the increasingly important Port of Baltimore from future enemy attacks.
Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore is a shipping port along the tidal basins of the three branches of the Patapsco River in Baltimore, Maryland on the upper northwest shore of the Chesapeake Bay. It is the nation's largest port facilities for specialized cargo and passenger facilities operated by the Maryland Port Administration (MPA), a unit of the Maryland Department of Transportation.
The new fort was a bastioned pentagon, surrounded by a dry moat—a deep, broad trench. The moat would serve as a shelter from which infantry might defend the fort from a land attack.In case of such an attack on this first line of defense, each point, or bastion could provide a crossfire of cannon and small arms fire.
A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that is dug and surrounds a castle, fortification, building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices. In older fortifications, such as hillforts, they are usually referred to simply as ditches, although the function is similar. In later periods, moats or water defences may be largely ornamental. They could also act as a sewer.
Fort McHenry was named after early American statesman James McHenry (1753–1816), a Scots-Irish immigrant and surgeon-soldier. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from Maryland and a signer of the United States Constitution. Afterwards, he was appointed United States Secretary of War (1796–1800), serving under Presidents George Washington and John Adams.
James McHenry was a Scotch-Irish American military surgeon and statesman. McHenry was a signer of the United States Constitution from Maryland and the eponym of Fort McHenry. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from Maryland, and the third United States Secretary of War (1796–1800), under the first and second presidents, George Washington and John Adams. He married his wife, Peggy Caldwell, on January 8, 1784.
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War", had been appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation between 1781 and 1789. Benjamin Lincoln and later Henry Knox held the position. When Washington was inaugurated as the first president under the Constitution, he appointed Knox to continue serving as Secretary of War.
George Washington was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who also served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War for Independence. He presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the U.S. Constitution and a federal government. Washington has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation.
Beginning at 6:00 a.m. on September 13, 1814, British warships under the command of Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane continuously bombarded Fort McHenry for 25 hours. The American defenders had 18-, 24- and 32-pounder (8, 11, and 16 kg) cannons. The British guns had a range of 2 miles (3 km), and the British rockets had a 1.75-mile (2.8 km) range, but neither guns nor rockets were accurate. The British ships were unable to pass Fort McHenry and penetrate Baltimore Harbor because of its defenses, including a chain of 22 sunken ships, and the American cannons. The British vessels were only able to fire their rockets and mortars at the fort at the weapons' maximum range. The poor accuracy on both sides resulted in very little damage to either side before the British, having depleted their ammunition, ceased their attack on the morning of September 14. Thus the naval part of the British invasion of Baltimore had been repulsed. Only one British warship, a bomb vessel, received a direct hit from the fort's return fire, which wounded one crewman.[ citation needed ]
The Americans, under the command of Major George Armistead, lost four killed—including one African-American soldier, Private William Williams, and a woman who was cut in half by a bomb as she carried supplies to the troops—and 24 wounded. At one point during the bombardment, a bomb crashed through the fort's powder magazine. However, either the rain extinguished the fuse or the bomb was a dud.
Francis Scott Key, a Washington lawyer who had come to Baltimore to negotiate the release of Dr. William Beanes, a civilian prisoner of war, witnessed the bombardment from a nearby truce ship. An oversized American flag had been sewn by Mary Pickersgill for $405.90in anticipation of the British attack on the fort. When Key saw the flag emerge intact in the dawn of September 14, he was so moved that he began that morning to compose "Defence of Fort M'Henry" set to the tune "To Anacreon in Heaven" which would later be renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner" and become the United States' national anthem.
During the American Civil War the area where Fort McHenry sits served as a military prison, confining both Confederate soldiers, as well as a large number of Maryland political figures who were suspected of being Confederate sympathizers. The imprisoned included newly elected Baltimore Mayor George William Brown, the city council, and the new police commissioner, George P. Kane, and members of the Maryland General Assembly along with several newspaper editors and owners. Francis Scott Key's grandson, Francis Key Howard, was one of these political detainees. Some of the cells used still exist and can be visited at the fort. A drama beginning the famous Supreme Court case involving the night arrest in Baltimore County and imprisonment here of John Merryman and the upholding of his demand for a writ of habeas corpus for release by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney occurred at the gates between Court and Federal Marshals and the commander of Union troops occupying the Fort under orders from President Abraham Lincoln in 1861. Fort McHenry also served to train artillery at this time; this service is the origin of the Rodman guns presently located and displayed at the fort.
During World War I, an additional hundred-odd buildings were built on the land surrounding the fort in order to convert the entire facility into an enormous U.S. Army hospital for the treatment of troops returning from the European conflict. Only a few of these buildings remain, while the original fort has been preserved and restored to essentially its condition during the War of 1812.
During World War II, Fort McHenry served as a Coast Guard base.Used for training, the historic sections remained open to the public.
The fort was made a national park in 1925; on August 11, 1939, it was redesignated a "National Monument and Historic Shrine," the only such doubly designated place in the United States. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. It has become national tradition that when a new flag is designed it first flies over Fort McHenry. The first official 49- and 50-star American flags were flown over the fort and are still located on the premises.
The fort has become a center of recreation for the Baltimore locals as well as a prominent tourist destination. Thousands of visitors come each year to see the "Birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner." It's easily accessible by water taxi from the popular Baltimore Inner Harbor. However, to prevent abuse of the parking lots at the Fort, the National Park Service does not permit passengers to take the water taxi back to the Inner Harbor unless they have previously used it to arrive at the monument.
Several authorized archaeological digs have been conducted, and found artifacts are on display in one of the buildings surrounding the Parade Ground. These structures, as well as the Visitor Center, have numerous other exhibits as well that show the fort's use over time.
Every September, the City of Baltimore commemorates Defenders Day in honor of the Battle of Baltimore. It is the biggest celebration of the year at the Fort, accompanied by a weekend of programs, events, and fireworks.[ citation needed ]
In 2005 the living history volunteer unit, the Fort McHenry Guard, was awarded the George B. Hartzog award for serving the National Park Service as the best volunteer unit. Among the members of the unit is Martin O'Malley, the former mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland, who was made the unit's honorary colonel in 2003.[ citation needed ]
The flag that flew over Fort McHenry, the Star Spangled Banner Flag, has deteriorated to an extremely fragile condition. After undergoing restoration at the National Museum of American History, it is now on display there in a special exhibit that allows it to lie at a slight angle in dim light.
The United States Code currently authorizes Fort McHenry's closure to the public in the event of a national emergency for use by the military for the duration of such an emergency.
In 2013, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine was honored with its own quarter under the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.
On September 10–16, 2014, Fort McHenry celebrated the bicentennial of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner called the Star Spangled Spectacular. The event included a parade of tall ships, a large fireworks show, and the Navy's Blue Angels
As of 2015 [update] , restoration efforts began to preserve the original brick used in construction of the Fort, primarily through mortar replacement.
"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.
Major-General Robert Ross was an officer in the British Army, born in Ireland, who served in the Napoleonic Wars and its minor theatre, the North American in the War of 1812.
The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, formerly the Flag House & Star-Spangled Banner Museum, is a museum located in the Jonestown/Old Town and adjacent to Little Italy neighborhoods of eastern downtown Baltimore, Maryland, United States.
Mary Pickersgill, was the maker of the Star Spangled Banner Flag hoisted over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. The daughter of another noted flag maker, Rebecca Young, Pickersgill learned her craft from her mother, and, in 1813, was commissioned by Major George Armistead to make a flag for Baltimore's Fort McHenry that was so large that the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a great distance. The flag was installed in August 1813, and, a year later, during the Battle of Baltimore, Francis Scott Key could see the flag while negotiating a prisoner exchange aboard a British vessel, and was inspired to pen the words that became the United States National Anthem.
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.
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.
The Francis Scott Key Bridge, also known as the Outer Harbor Bridge or simply the Key Bridge, is a steel arch-shaped continuous through truss bridge spanning the Patapsco River in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. The main span of 1,200 feet (366 m) is the third longest span of any continuous truss in the world. It is also the longest bridge in the Baltimore area.
The Fort McHenry Guard is a dynamic volunteer unit that serves Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.
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.
The Star-Spangled Banner, or the Great Garrison Flag, was the garrison flag that flew over Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor during the naval portion of the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. Seeing the flag during the battle inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry", which, retitled with the flag's name from the closing lines of the first stanza and set to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" by John Stafford Smith, later became the national anthem of the United States.
The Baltimore County Sheriff's Office (BCoSO) is the enforcement arm of the Baltimore County, Maryland court and is headquartered in the Baltimore County Courthouse, in the County Seat of Towson, Maryland. The Baltimore County Sheriff's Office is one of the oldest sheriff's offices in existence in the State of Maryland, dating back to 1659, the traditional year of the County's "erection" (founding).
The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is a National Historic Trail that commemorates the Chesapeake Campaign of the War of 1812. The 290-mile (467 km) trail was named after "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national anthem of the United States. Consisting of water and overland routes, the trail extends from Tangier Island, Virginia, through southern Maryland, the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay, and Baltimore, Maryland. The trail also contains sites on Maryland's Eastern shore.
John Stuart Skinner was an American lawyer, publisher, and editor.
William Beanes was an American physician during the U.S. colonial period.
Federal Hill Park is a 10.3 acres park located in Baltimore, Maryland on the south shore of the Inner Harbor. The park is a signature Baltimore landmark and offers visitors some of the most noted views in the city often photographed looking north to the downtown skyline of skyscrapers across the Inner Harbor of the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River / Baltimore Harbor. The Federal Hill surrounding neighborhood to the west and south is named for the prominent hill and is also known as old South Baltimore. The now graded grass lawn hill and park, was originally a jagged cliffs and bluffs of red clay which was mined in the 18th and 19th centuries after being first sighted and described by Captain John Smith of England on his voyages of exploration of the Chesapeake Bay from the first English colony at Jamestown, Virginia in 1608. The noted famous site today is bounded by Francis Scott Key Highway along the waterfront to the north, Battery Avenue to the west, Warren Avenue to the south, and Covington Street to the east. Baltimore city acquired the hill as public property in 1880 after it was used and fortified as a fort with heavy artillery by the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861-1865). It was established then as a city park operated and maintained by the city Department of Recreation and Parks.
Edward Johnson (1767–1829) was an American politician and businessman. He was a native of Baltimore, Maryland and served as that city's mayor for six terms between 1808 and 1824. A staunch member of Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party, he led Baltimore during the War of 1812 and was instrumental in organizing the civilian defense of the city. For several years he was the owner of one of Baltimore's largest breweries and also served as a director of the Bank of Baltimore.
Born Frederick Hall who used the alias William Williams as a runaway African American slave who enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812 and who died from a mortal wound while defending Fort McHenry from the British naval bombardment in 1814.
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