The Defense of Ft. McHenry

img_3507Today in History, September 14: 1814 – “The Defence of Ft. McHenry”. A young American attorney, Francis Scott Key, had been negotiating the release of prisoners on British ships when he was held on board during the bombardment of Ft. McHenry in Baltimore…so that he couldn’t relay British plans during the War of 1812. He watched through the night of the 13th as the Brits bombarded the fort, and was inspired on the morning of the 14th when the stars and stripes were still flying. The British gave up…and Key wrote a poem called “The Defence of Ft. McHenry” which he published in a local paper, “The Patriot.” It would be years before his poem would be renamed “The Star Spangled Banner” and made the national anthem in 1931…so of course he never knew. Oh, but if our history could be left to only our proudest moments. Key would become a US District Attorney. He defended Sam Houston for assaulting another Congressman. He also was a forceful opponent of emancipation…his grandson would be imprisoned in the same Ft. McHenry he wrote about because he was a Confederate sympathizer…and his sister would marry Roger B. Taney…the future Supreme Court Chief Justice who would forever prove the Court fallible in the Dred Scott Decision. He was also the namesake for a distant cousin…F. Scott Fitzgerald. But in 1814, Francis Scott Key was a Patriot who penned the future National Anthem.

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