Something for the weekend. The Star-Spangled Banner. Two centuries ago America was going through rough times. Engaged in a War with Great Britain, Washington DC had been burned on August 24, symbolic of a war that seemed to be turning against the United States. With the fall of Napoleon in April of 1814, the British were now free to punish the upstart Yankees who had dared challenge Great Britain. Now the British were preparing to seize the port of Baltimore with a force of 5,000 troops and 19 warships.
British plans began to go awry from the outset. At the battle of North Point on September 12, 3200 Maryland militia gave a good account of themselves against 4,000 British regulars inflicting 350 casualties for slightly fewer American casulaties, and retreated in good order to the fortified line around Baltimore. Among the British killed was the commander Major General Robert Ross, a peninsular veteran of Wellington’s army, shot down by American riflemen.
On September 13, the British, now commanded by Colonel Arthur Brooke, approached Baltimore. Estimating that the Baltimore defenses were held by 22,000 militia and 100 cannon, Brooke was unable to launch an attack unless the British fleet could enter Baltimore Harbor to beat down the American defenses by naval bombardment.