Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? A star-spangled banner still waves over Fort McHenry. International students that study in Maryland will want to take a trip to Fort McHenry to learn a little bit about American history and see the birthplace of the United States national anthem.
International students can drive to Fort McHenry or take a water taxi from the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.
The 43-acre national park is enjoyed for its spacious waterfront views where visitors picnic, bike, jog, and stroll. Admission is free to the grounds and it costs only seven dollars to explore the Fort.
Fort McHenry is the only area of the National Park System to be designated both a National Monument and Historic Shrine.
After America won its independence in 1776, the citizens of Baltimore Town feared an attack by British ships. Frenchman, Jean Foncin, designed a star shaped fort in 1798 and it was named after James McHenry, a surgeon-soldier who became Secretary of War under President Washington.
But it is the during the War of 1812, where Fort McHenry earned much of its fame. In order to “preserve Free Trade & Sailor’s Rights,” the United States declared war on England in June of 1812. In August 1814, British forces marched on Washington, defeated U.S. forces, burned the Capitol, and moved onto attack For McHenry in September during the Battle of Baltimore.
For 25 hours, the British fired 1,500 to 1,800 rounds at the fort and the 1,000 American patriots protecting it. Causing only four deaths and wounding 24, the British realized they had failed and retreated. The young flag with 15 stars and stripes was hoisted above the fort.
This inspired Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and amateur poet, to write the Star-Spangled Banner, originally called the “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which eventually made its way into newspapers.
During the Civil War, members of the Maryland Legislature were imprisoned at Fort McHenry to prevent any passage of an Act of Secession, and after the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, nearly 7,000 Confederate soldiers were imprisoned here.
On July 20, 1912, the last active garrison, the 141st Coastal Artillery Company, departed Fort McHenry ending over 110 years of service at the fort.