The Battle of Baltimore

Early Semptember, shortly after their success in Washington, Britain decided to follow up with an attack on Baltimore. This city was an attractive target not only because it was a large commercial center and an important base for privateers but also because it was such a hotbed of anglophobia.

Colonel Arthur Brook took command of the British army after Rosses death earlier, and continued their march to Baltimore. After getting within sight of the cities defences decided to turn back because they could not lure the Americans out from their defensive works. Meanwhile Cohchrane had brought up his bomb and rocket ships to attack Fort McHenry. Major George Armistead stood with 1000 men to defend the fort. Cohcrane wanted to silence the guns of the fort so that he could bring in the smaller ships and then weaken the American lines.

The British bombardment of Fort McHenry began at 5:00 a.m. on the morning of September 13th 1814, a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key watched the red glare of the British rockets, the bombs bursting in air over the Fort and wrote a poem about the "Star Spangled Banner" that was still flying over the fort after a siege of three days and nights.

The British gave up the siege and retreated, the Americans had held out, it was a bracing victory and an account of it in Key's poem would become their Natinal Anthem.

Depite the defence of Baltimore, the British were satisfied with their diverionary raids, especially the burning of Washington. In Canada, Governor General Prevost proclaimed that the burning of the proud American capitol was a just retribution for similar treatment given many Canadian towns by American troops earlier in the war.