Fort McHenry

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McHENRY, FORT, built in 1799 on a small island in the Baltimore harbor at the time of the Quasi-War with France, was named for Secretary of War James McHenry. During the War of 1812 a British fleet in Chesapeake Bay bombarded the fort (13 September 1814). A spectator, Francis Scott Key, who watched through the night, was moved to write "The Star-Spangled Banner," which later became the national anthem of the United States. Subsequently, the fort was used as a storage depot and an army headquarters post.


Coles, Harry L. The War of 1812. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965.

Steiner, B. C., ed. The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry. Cleveland, Ohio: Burrows Bros., 1907.

Thomas RobsonHay/a. r.

See alsoBaltimore ; France, Quasi-War with ; "Star-Spangled Banner" ; War of 1812 ; andpicture (overleaf).

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Fort McHenry, former U.S. military post in Baltimore harbor; built 1794–1805. In the War of 1812 it was bombarded (Sept. 13–14, 1814) by a British fleet under Sir Alexander Cochrane, but the fort, commanded by Maj. George Armistead, resisted the attack. Its defense inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner." During the Civil War the fort was a Union prison camp. Restored in 1933, it became Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (see National Parks and Monuments, table).

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