War of 1812

More than 700,000 people every year visit Ft. McHenry, the site that inspired our national anthem. In this series, WYPR tells stories of the War of 1812: the people, the places, and the song.  Rockets' Red Glare is made possible by a grant from Star-Spangled 200 a national bicentennial in Maryland.

Mr. Key's Questions

Sep 15, 2014
Sam Manas / WYPR

As we all know, the first line of the first stanza of Francis Scott Key’s poem, the Defense of Ft. McHenry, talks about the “dawn’s early light.” So, why did the folks at Fort McHenry wait till 9 a.m. Sunday to raise that giant replica of the 1814 flag that inspired Key and say it was going up at the very moment 200 years later that Key saw the flag?

Joel McCord / WYPR

There will be tall ships and gray ships, skipjacks and schooners in Baltimore’s harbor in September for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the national anthem.

More Than A Flag

Aug 14, 2013
Fraser Smith / WYPR

The war of 1812 may be forgotten by many Americans – but not by Marylanders who now have even more reasons to celebrate its 200th anniversary. The reasons are there in three famous names: Francis Scott Key. Ft. McHenry and Mary Pickersgill.

Zach Quinn / WYPR

In Maryland, the War of 1812’s dominant image is of Francis Scott Key writing down lyrics as bombs burst over Baltimore Harbor. A less-remembered image is that of slave families fleeing plantations for British ships in the middle of the night. Clearly, for Maryland slaves, the War of 1812 was not “America’s second war of independence.” They waited another 50 years before the state constitution abolished slavery.

Fifes And Drums, 1812 Style

Jun 28, 2013
Antonio Barbera / WYPR

Fife and Drum music keyed military maneuvers during the War of 1812 and latter day fifers and drummers keep that music alive. Now, they are passing that to a new generation during the first Fife and Drum Camp at Fort McHenry.

Fifth Graders Take On The War of 1812

Jun 19, 2013
Gwendolyn Glenn

Patterson Park Public Charter School fifth graders spent their school year learning about the War of 1812, inside and outside the classroom. And yesterday they were rewarded for their efforts with the first of the city’s commemorative War of 1812 coins, presented by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake.

Who Won The War Of 1812?

Jun 14, 2013

If you ask the average American about the War of 1812, you’ll probably hear about Fort McHenry, the Star Spangled Banner and maybe the Battle of New Orleans. But ask your average Brit and you may get a blank stare. The war we call our “second war of independence,” the one in which we threw off the British for good, doesn’t even register in the United Kingdom.

1812 Celebrations Promise Boom and Bling

May 3, 2013
Joel McCord / WYPR

The British navy launched its “Chesapeake Campaign” two hundred years ago this weekend, looting and burning and creating economic havoc in towns along the Bay. Now, state and local officials see the celebration of the bicentennial of that campaign as a tool to spur economic development. Dominick Murray, Maryland’s economic development secretary, says it will be an opportunity to bring more visitors to the state. He says “Sailabration,” the kick-off event last June that brought 18 tall ships from 14 countries to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, drew 1.5 million people and poured $166 million into the state’s economy.

Joel McCord / WYPR

A group of ninth graders from Baltimore’s Maritime Industries Academy gets a taste of life in another century through an exhibit on the War of 1812 at the Naval Academy museum in Annapolis and a sail on Pride of Baltimore II, a replica of a Baltimore clipper of that era. They learn, for example, the difference between pirates—just plain crooks—and privateers, who sailed with government issued licenses to steal.  And some students got to take a turn at the helm.