The Bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore, September 12-14, 1814:
Letter from Maj. Gen. Samuel Smith to James Monroe about the bombardment of Fort McHenry, September 24, 1814.
List of killed and wounded from Fort McHenry, September 24, 1814.
National Archives, Records of the Office of the Secretary of War
Following the Battle of North Point, British forces moved on the city of Baltimore and Fort McHenry on September 13, 1814, subjecting the fort to an unrelenting naval bombardment. (As described in the report by the fort’s commander, American Lt. Col. George Armistead.)
When Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer watching the battle from behind the British lines, saw that the American flag was still waving over Fort McHenry on the morning of September 14, he knew the fort’s defenders had prevailed. He was so moved by their heroism, he wrote a poem, “The Defence of Fort McHenry.” Set to music, the poem eventually became the national anthem.
In celebration of the Bicentennial, these documents are on exhibit in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives through November 3, 2014 →
- Visit and learn more about Fort McHenry at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (U.S. National Park Service
- Read more about the story behind the Star-Spangled Banner at Smithsonian: Star-Spangled Banner and the War of 1812