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gun batteries. The foe already reveled in anticipation in the plunder of the captured city, when suddenly, as they drew opposite the six-gun battery, Lieut. Webster, its commander, opened upon them with terrible effect; the fort and the ten-gun battery also poured in their fire, and for two hours a furious cannonade was kept up, while the heavens were lighted up with the fiery courses of the bombs from the fleet and barges. The havoc was dreadful, one of the barges was sunk, and the cries of the wounded and dying could be plainly heard upon the shore. The rest, in utmost confusion, and having suffered a heavy loss, retreated precipitately to the fleet, thus baffled by land and water.
Admiral Cockburn and Col. Brooke determined to abandon the expedition; the troops were embarked on the 15th, and on the 16th, the hostile fleet dropped down the Chesapeake, leaving the liberated city filled with joy at her triumphant preservation, mingled with sorrow for the gallant sons who had died to defend her. The gallant defense of Baltimore saved the other Atlantic cities from attack, and proved to them that when led by brave and skillful officers, they need not dread to encounter any equal force of their vetran enemy.
The celebrated poem, “The Star Spangled Banner," was written by Francis S. Key, a lawyerof Baltimore. At the time of the bombardment of Fort McHenry, he had been sent with a flag of truce to Admiral Cockburn, to effect the release of some captive friends, and was himself detained'on board of a cartel until after the attack. The boat was anchored in a position which enabled him and his companions to see distinctly the flag of Fort McHenry on the deck of the vessel, he remained on deck during the night, watching every shell from the moment it was fired until it fell, listening with breathless interest to hear if any explosion followed. While the bombardment continued, it was sufficient proof that the fort had not surrendered, but it suddenly ceased, sometime before day, and as they had no communication with any of the enemy's ships, they did not know whether the fort had surrendered, or the attack had been abandoned; they paced the deck for the remainder of the night in painful suspense. As soon as it was light enough to discern objects at a distance, their glasses were turned to the fort, uncertain whether they should see there the stars and stripes or the flag of the enemy. At length the light came and they saw that our flag was still there.
The “Star Spangled Banner" was commenced on the deck of the vessel in the fervor of the moment when the enemy were seen retreating to their ships. Some brief notes were written on the back of a letter; for some lines he was obliged to rely on his memory, and the whole was finished in the boat on the way to the shore, and written out as it now stands, at the hotel, on the night he reached Baltimore, and immediately after he arrived, this outburst of the patriot and poet's heart thrilled through the souls of great men, they took it up; it swelled from millions of voices, and the Star Spangled Banner became the proud national anthem of the whole union.
The Star-Spangled Banner.
SAY can you see by the dawn's early light
light's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars through
the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched were so gal
lantly streaming! And the rocket's red glare, the bombs burst
ing 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
On that shore, dimly seen through the mists
of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread sil
ence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the tow
ering steep, As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now dis
closes, Now it catches the gleam of the morning's
first beam, In full glory reflected, now shines on the
stream; 'Tis the star-spangled banner! O, long may
it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of