Today in Southern History: Bombardment of Ft. McHenry

13 September 1814 

The British bombard Ft. McHenry


On this date in 1814…

In 1814, British warships bombarded Ft. McHenry in the harbor at Baltimore Maryland.  The battle inspired a prisoner on one of the ships, Francis Scott Key, to write the poem, “The Defence of Ft. McHenry.”  The poem was later set to the music of a popular British song, “To Anacreon in Heaven” and renamed.  However popular, the Star Spangled Banner did not become the U.S. National Anthem until 3 March 1931.


Other Years:

  • 1814 – U.S. warships and marines destroyed the privateer fleet of future Battle of New Orleans hero Jean Laffitte at his settlement in Barataria Bay, Louisiana.  Laffitte later moved his base to Galveston Island, Texas.
  • 1861 – Missouri State Guard troops under Gen. Sterling Price laid siege to a Union force occupying Lexington, Missouri and begin the seven-day Battle of the Hemp Bales.
  • 1861 – Maryland legislator Francis Key Howard, the grandson of Francis Scott Key, was arrested by order of U.S. General Banks, and taken to Fort McHenry for being an “active secessionist”  forty-seven years to the day after his grandfather was inspired to write the Star Spangled Banner while watching British bombardment of the same fort.
  • 1911 – The father of Bluegrass music, Bill Monroe was born in Rosine, Kentucky.
  • 1998 – Former Alabama governor and presidential candidate George Wallace died at the age of 79.
  • 2008 – Hurricane Ike made landfall on the Texas Gulf, causing heavy damage to Galveston Island, Houston and surrounding areas.



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