Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Wednesday, 13 May 2015 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks
Reading Time:  5 minutes

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine © National Park Service Digital Image Archives

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine © National Park Service Digital Image Archives

Fort McHenry, in Baltimore in Maryland, is a coastal star-shaped fort best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy in Chesapeake Bay September 13–14, 1814. It was during the bombardment of the fort that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star-Spangled Banner, the poem that would eventually be set to the tune of To Anacreon in Heaven and become the national anthem of the United States.

Beginning at 6:00 a.m. on 13 September 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 38-pound (8.2, 11, and 17 kg) cannons with a maximum range of 1.5 miles (2.4 km). The British guns had a range of 2 miles (3 km), and their 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. They were, however, able to come close enough at maximum range to fire rockets and mortars at the fort. Due to the poor accuracy of the British weapons at maximum range, and the limited range of the American guns, very little damage was done on either side before the British ceased their attack on the morning of 14 September due to a lack of ammunition. 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. The Americans were under the command of Major George Armistead. They did suffer casualties, amounting to four killed and 24 wounded, including one African-American soldier and a woman who was cut in half by a bomb as she carried supplies to the troops. At one point during the bombardment, a bomb crashed through the fort’s powder magazine. Fortunately for the defenders, either the fuse was extinguished by the rain or the bomb was merely a dud.

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine © National Park Service Digital Image Archives Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine © National Park Service Digital Image Archives Fort McHenry © Ad Meskens/cc-by-sa-3.0 Fort McHenry cannons © Urban/cc-by-sa-3.0 Fort McHenry entrance © ScottyBoy900Q/cc-by-sa-3.0 Fort McHenry buildings © Bohemian Baltimore/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine © National Park Service Digital Image Archives
The Fort has become a vital 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, which increases its appeal with tourists. 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.

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 current Governor of Maryland, who was made the unit’s honorary colonel in 2003. 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.

Read more on nps.gov – Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, nationalparks.org – Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine and Wikipedia Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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