From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Baltimore, Maryland, Fort McHenry is best known for preventing the British navy from entering Baltimore Harbor and shelling the city in the War of 1812. It was during this bombardment that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star-Spangled Banner.
The only time the fort was ever attacked was at dawn on September 13, 1814 by British war ships that bombarded the fort for 25 hours. The American defenders had 18-, 24-, and 38-pound cannons with a range of 1.5 miles. The British mortars had a range of 2 miles and their rockets had a 1.75 mile range; however, they were not very accurate. The British ships could not go into the harbor because of the American cannon, but they could stay out of range of American guns and still lob rockets and mortars at the fort. Due to the poor accuracy of the British rockets and mortars and the limited range of the American guns, little damage was done on either side, however the British were prevented from entering the harbor.
The fort was made a national park in 1925; fourteen years later it was re-designated a national monument and historic shrine. The first official 49- and 50-star flags were flown over the fort and are still located on the premises.
National Park Service, Ft. McHenry: http://www.nps.gov/fomc/