I have been coming to the Baltimore, MD area for many years and Fort McHenry has been off my list of things to do until this trip.
Ft McHenry is all about flags. Home of the Star Spangled Banner created from notes taken by Francis Scott Key, who was being held by the British Invasion flotilla in the Chesapeake Bay when he witnessed the 1814 battle for Baltimore. Ft McHenry was the main defensive location that survived the battle where the British Ship's retreated. Key's note became the basis for the song that would become our national anthem in the 1930's
Here is the longer version of the history.
The battle ended with the British leaving and no real winner, but it was seen as a victory as it gave a needed boost in morale to the US that was needed after the British burnt the Whitehouse in D.C.
If you like trivia here are some details.
- Key was captured by the British before the battle as he was going to try to negotiate the release of a prisoner.
- The US flag that flew that night had 15 stars and 15 stripes.
- British warships had canons that could shoot 2 miles with exploding shells that rained shrapnel. These shells exploded in the sky above the fort, thus the reason that Francis Scott Key wrote "bombs bursting in air".
- Ft. McHenry had canons that could only shoot just over a mile and were smooth bore.
This is the small night flag they fly over the fort.
Above and below is the larger day flag replacing the night flag. Visitors can participate in the flag ceremony as seen here.
People were very excited to participate in the flag raising and the stories told by the National Park Staff.
The new larger flag flying in above picture.
The two pictures above explain the size of the flag depends on the strength of the wind to ensure it unfolds.
Underground bunkers can be explored as well.
The fort was used during the Civil War and is not the same as it was for the war of 1812.
It was a pleasant morning tour of the visitor center and grounds of the fort.
I had forgotten that it was this war that we invaded Canada to fight the British. The war lacked a clear reason for declaring war and it ended in a nebulous way as well with no clear gains.
If you are traveling through Baltimore Fort McHenry is a nice place to visit and spend a couple of hours. It is a fee based site.