Rockets' Red Glare: the War, the Song, and their Legacies

More than 700,000 people every year visit Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, 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.

Joshua Barney

Aug 20, 2014

Barney and his Chesapeake fleet battle British forces.  

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.

Joel McCord / WYPR

The Baltimore Ravens open their preseason campaign at M&T Bank Stadium Thursday with a new inside linebacker, a new nose tackle and a new singer to deliver the national anthem, Baltimore native Joey Odoms.

"The Chausseur"

Aug 1, 2014

Privateer Thomas Boyle captains the The Chausseur, the clipper that would eventually become The Pride of Baltimore.

No doubt crickets chirped and birds warbled in Maryland fields in August 1814, but underneath the lazy sounds of deep summer there was tension and confusion. The British had opened a new front in the war that started in 1812: predatory raids around the Chesapeake region to disrupt commerce and create alarm among the people.

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England

When Rear-Admiral George Cockburn of the Royal Navy arrived in the Chesapeake in the spring of 1813, he was a naval hero of sterling reputation and a household name in Britain.

Courtesy Brown University Library

On a beautiful morning in May 1813, the people of Havre de Grace awoke to a terrifying sight.

  

Out on the bay were the towering masts of a British fleet, and rowing toward them were landing craft filled with Redcoats. Admiral Cockburn, “the scourge of the Chesapeake,” had brought his reign of terror to the place the Marquis de Lafayette had named "Harbor of Mercy".  As his raiders swept ashore, the American militia fled, leaving only one defiant Irishman standing in their way.  This is his story.

Gwendolyn Glenn / WYPR

Commander Joshua Barney made life miserable for the British Navy on the Chesapeake during the War of 1812, harassing the invaders from shallow draft barges, then retreating to shoal waters where the larger ships couldn’t pursue him.

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