Fort McHenry (LSD 43) - Naval Cruise Book

 - Class of 1988

Page 8 of 128


Fort McHenry (LSD 43) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1988 Edition, Page 8 of 128
Page 8 of 128

Fort McHenry (LSD 43) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1988 Edition, Page 7
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Page 8 text:

JAMES McHENRY round the turn of the centur] . James McHenr j. Secretari; of War and a resident of Baltimore, was honored when lis name was bestowed on the fort. As Secretary of War he had been instrumental in the final plans and completion of the fort on Whetstone Point. McHenry had been born in Ballt mena. Counti; Antrim. Ireland, on November 6. 1 753. the son of Daniel arid Agnes McHenr . He received a classical education in Dublin, but because of poor health, he sailed to America and settled in Philadelphia in 1771. In that citt he met Margaret Allison Caldwell and married her on Januari 8. 1784. McHenri; studied medicine under Dr Benjamin Rush. Subsequentl] . having joined the Continental Armi; in 1 776. he accompanied George Washington to the camp at Cambridge. He was the senior surgeon at Valle},; Forge in 1 778. Later that year he became Washington ' s secretar j. In 1 780 he was transferred to the staff of the Marquis de Lafayette and remained with him until the end of the war. He held rrwny high offices in Maryland and. in 1 787. became the state ' s delegate to the Constitutional Convention, where he labored to secure the ratification of the Constitution. He was also a rriember of the Contitiental Congress from 1 791 to 1 796. at which time he was made Secretary of War in Washington ' s cabinet. He held that office through Washington ' s administration and. subsequently, under President John Adams until 1801. In private life. McHenry published a Baltimore directory in 1807. In 1813 he served as the second president of a Bi- ble Society foutided m Baltimore in 1810 He died on May 3. 1816. and was buried in Baltimore ' s Westminster Churchyard.

Page 7 text:

HARPEB ' S WEEKLY. [.Tnr I ;. l«i:i ukr M IIE.NKV, liALTIMOKE, MARVI ANLi HISTORY OF FORT McHENRY Fort McHenry ' s history began in 1776 during the Revolutionary War. The people of Baltimore feared an attack by the British and wanted to build a fort for protection. Anticipating an attack at any time, a fort of earthen mounds was constructed quickly. Originally, it was called For Whetstone, because of its location on Whetstone Point. Whetstone Point was an excellent location for a fort for two reasons. It was located far enough from Baltimore to provide protection without endangering the city, and the area was a peninsula, a body of land surrounded on three sides by water Constructing the fort on this site meant that enemy ships sailing into Baltimore would have to pass the fort first. The Revolutionary War ended without an attack on Baltimore, but improvements to the fort continued. In 1 798. a French engineer was directed by the Secretary of War to draw plans for a new fort on Whetstone Point. These plans were expensive, and it was difficult for the people of Baltimore to raise money for construction. However. James McHenry. a well known poli- tician, was instrumental in raising funds for the new fort. The fort was renamed " Fort McHenry " in his honor. Fort McHenry became famous when the British tried to attack Baltimore during the War of 1812. When the bombardment began on September 13. 1814. there were 1 .000 soldiers defending the fort. Some were federal soldiers who were stationed at Fort McHenry all the time. Many were volunteers from the city of Baltimore. Their commartding officer was Major George Armistead. For 25 hours the British bombarded For McHenry. but the fort ' s artillery fire kept the British away Baltimore was saved. In the 1860 ' s the United States was torn apart by the Civil War. Union troops were stationed at Fort McHenry to help keep Baltimore out of the hands of those who would have Maryland join the southern cause. The fort ' s guns were turned toward the city. Fort McHenry was used as a prison where political prisoners suspected of being Confederate sympathizers were held, often without trial. Many Confederate soldiers were imprisoned at the fort as well. In 1917. during the first World War. General Hospital No. 12 was established at Fort McHenry by the War Department. It was the largest military hospital in the country with over 100 temporary buildings to accommodate wounded american soldiers returning from the war in Europe. When the war ended, the need for the hospital slowly diminished, and in 1925 the temporary buildings were torn down. Fort McHenry became a national park which today is administered by the National Park Service as the country ' s only National Monument and Historic Shrine.

Page 9 text:

Iriiiui ' - Stdlt K( - Aullior III llir S|i.mi;lril I ' .iiiiur ]iir lciiiil I listinn III SiK ((71 FRANCIS SCOTT KEY and THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER O! sa i can ijou see bij the dawn ' s early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight ' s last gleaming. Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight. O ' er the ramparts we watch ' d. were so gallantly streaming ' ! ' And the rockets red glare, the Bombs bursting in air. Gave proof through the night that our Flag was still there: O! say does that star-spangled Banner yet wave. O ' er the Land of the free, and the home of the brave? FRANCIS SCOTT KEY was born ori August 1. 1779. m western Mar ;land. When Francis was 10 years old. his parents sent him to grammar school in Annapolis. After graduating at the age of 17 he studied law in Annapolis while working with his uncle ' s law firm B]j 1805. he had a well established law practice of his own in Georgetown, a suburb of Washington. DC By 1814. he had appeared manxj times before the Supreme Court, and had been appointed the United States District Attorneij. Francis Scott Key was a deeply religious man. Because of his religious beliefs. Key was strongly opposed to the War of 1812 However, due to his deep love for his country, he did serve for a brief time in the Georgetown field artillery in 1813. During the War of 1812. Dr. William Beanes. a close friend of Key ' s was taken prisoner by the British. Since Key was a well-known lawyer, he was asked to assist in efforts to get Dr. Beanes released. Knowing that the British were in the Chesapeake Bay. Key left for Baltimore. There Key met with Colonel John Skinner, a government agent who arranged for prisoner exchanges. Together, they set out on a small boat to meet the Royal Navy. On board the British flagship, the officers were very kind to Key and Skinner. They agreed to release Dr Beanes However, the three men were not permitted to return to Baltimore until after the bombardment of Fort McHenry The three Americans were placed aboard the American ship, and waited behind the British fleet. From a distance of approximately eight miles. Key and his friends watched the British bom bard Fort McHenry After 25 hours of continuous bombing, the British decided to leave since they were unable to destroy the fort as they had hoped Realizing that the British had ceased the attack. Key looked toward the fort to see if the flag was still there. To his relief, the flag was still flying! Quickly, he wrote down the words to a poem which was soon handed out as a handbill under the title. " Defense of Fort McHenry. " Later, the words were set to music, and renamed. " The Star Spangled Banner. " This became a popular patriotic song, and in 1931 it became our national an- them.

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