Baltimore, United States
Fort McHenry was one of several fortifications protecting Baltimore and its harbor following the Revolution. It is forever remembered for the events that occurred on the night of September 14, 1814, during the War of 1812. The British Navy entered the harbor with the intent of capturing the city and establishing a base at the harbor. For 25 hours, the battleships and Fort McHenry fired at each other.
On board a British ship, and watching the battle, was Washington lawyer Francis Scott Key, who was negotiating the release of a prisoner. The British captain told Scott that the fort would fall during the night and Baltimore would be occupied by English troops. However, at dawn’s early light, Key saw the American flag flying over the fort. The British, running out of ammunition, abandoned their invasion plans. Moved by the sight and the resilience of the Americans, he penned the poem “The Star Spangled Banner” that would later become the American National Anthem.
Today, visitors can tour the fort where just 60 soldiers withstood the long bombardment. Be sure to see the unexploded British shell that is on display. The shell landed in the Americans’ gunpowder magazine. Had it exploded, the tide of the battle would have been altered. A replica of the 15 star and striped flag still flies over the fort. The original Star Spangled Banner is under climate controlled glass in the Smithsonian.
The Baltimore Water Taxi offers a unique travel experience. Passenger boats leave Inner Harbor and various points along the Baltimore waterfront and stop at the foot of Ft McHenry.
The MTA 1 bus goes from Inner Harbor to the fort.