Monday, September 12, 2022

The Battle of Fort Henry

On September 13, 1814, the Battle of Fort Henry took place in the Baltimore Harbor. 

Up until this point, the British were focused on defeating Napoleon in Europe. They defeated Napoleon on April 6, 1814, so they turned their focus on the war with the US. The British won at Bladensburg on August 24, 1814, burned Washington DC and headed to Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore was important because of its location as a port. The British hoped that conquering Washington DC and Baltimore would end the war. But the people of Baltimore had been preparing for this battle for over a year. 

For 27 hours in driving rain, 1000 Americans defended Fort McHenry. The British failed to overcome Fort McHenry and left for New Orleans. 

The defeat of the British was a turning point in the War of 1812 and later that year, a peace agreement was reached. 

Francis Scott Key saw the British attack overnight and at dawn, the American flag was still flying. This inspired him to write the verses to the Star Spangled Banner from watching this battle and used it with the tune of a popular drinking song. The Star Spangled Banner became the US National Anthem in 1931. 

Class Activities: 

  • Draw a picture of the Star Spangled Banner. What were the measurements of this flag? 
  • Draw a picture of Fort McHenry. What was special about this fort’s shape?
  • What other battles occurred during the War of 1812? Pick one and describe it to the class. 
  • What are the other verses to the Star Spangled Banner other than the verse we sing? 

Photo by Paul Weaver on Unsplash

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