After the First Lady visits the Francis Scott Key memorial, she will
arrive at Fort McHenry, a crucial battleground for America during the War
of 1812. British soldiers, who had burned Washington, D.C. turned their
attention to the city of Baltimore. The British realized that Fort
McHenry must be captured or destroyed if they were to succeed. The fort
was attacked at dawn on September 13 in a bombardment that lasted for 25
hours. When a diversionary attack by the British failed, their troops
sailed away. Secure in their victory over the British at this crucial
battle, the American soldiers fired the morning gun and hoisted the large
flag that would later become known as the Star-Spangled Banner while the
musicians played Yankee Doodle. The British headed off to New Orleans
where they were defeated by a frontier army led by Major General Andrew
Jackson in the last important battle of the War of 1812.
The repulse of a British naval attack against this fort in 1814 prevented
the capture of Baltimore and inspired Francis Scott key to write the
poem, Defense of Fort McHenry, eventually set to music and now known as
the Star-Spangled Banner. It became our National Anthem in 1931.
During the Civil War, Fort McHenry was used as a temporary prison for
captured Confederate soldiers, Southern sympathizers, and political
prisoners. From 1917 until 1923, U.S. Army General Hospital No. 2 was
located here to serve World War I veterans. The Francis Scott Key
Monument was unveiled in 1922 by President Harding. A large figure of
Orpheus in bronze, playing a five-stringed lyre, it is the work of
Charles Henry Niehaus. In 1925, Congress made Fort McHenry a national
park; 14 years later it was redesignated a national monument and historic
shrine, the only park in the country to have this double distinction.
Ft. McHenry serves as the nations flagpole by providing the ceremonial
location to unveil new national flags.