During all the shelling in September 1814, the fort's 60 naval guns fired back and succeeded in doing some damage, though no ships were sunk. Still, not too shabby considering that their range was supposed to be 11⁄2 miles and the Brits were two miles off.
Still, after all is said and done, "If the fort had surrendered, it wouldn't have mattered much," Sheads said. There were still 15,000 U.S. troops waiting in what is now Patterson Park, and the harbor entrance had been blocked by sunken ships.
But what a loss to our national creation mythology!
For more information about the "The War of 1812" see pbs.org/1812.
Oh say, you can see it
The Baltimore screening of the film "The War of 1812" benefits Star-Spangled 200 Inc., the nonprofit fundraising arm of the state's War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, which awards grants and sponsors events and programs related to the anniversary.
To add to the festivities, Landmark Harbor East Cinema will offer special movie-themed adult beverages, such as the Francis Scott Key ("Old Glory Red, White and Blueberry") and the Cannonball of 1812 ("Packs a Punch!").
Landmark Harbor East Cinema is at 645 S. President St. Tickets are available online at starspangled200.com (scroll to page bottom), and at the box office for $15, or $20 at the door.
Words and music
Director Lawrence Hott and his filmmaking crew couldn't cover it all, even in the full two-hour version of their film. Marylanders should recall (and look up, if they don't) local heroes and highlights such as the Battle of North Point; Mary Pickersgill and the Flag House; Joshua Barney; Bladensburg; the two-day White House, a.k.a. the Madison House, in Brookeville,Montgomery County.
Especially dear to Free State hearts is the story of the national anthem, treated by Marylander Mark Hildebrand in an hour-long film appropriately entitled "Anthem." It's intended for next fall's PBS lineup and previews along with "War."
But dear as it may be, "It's a sad thing that so many Marylanders don't know its history," says Hildebrand: how state native Francis Scott Key wrote a song, not a poem, setting his lyrics to a well-known English drinking tune, as was customary, so folks could easily sing along. It didn't become our national anthem until an effort made in 1918 by Maryland congressman CharlesLinthicum.
To learn more about "Anthem," see mym-media.org.
The war — dubbed "1812" because that's when it was officially declared — officially lasted from 1812 to 1815 and was viewed by the Brits as a mere sideline to the great Napoleonic Wars, which went on for 20 years.
Events commemorating the War of 1812 will run from 2012 to 2015. To get into the spirit, and keep it up, you can order a 15-star, 15-stripe replica of the Star-Spangled Banner that flew over Fort McHenry in 1814 and inspired Francis Scott Key.
Produced here in the United States and available from the F.W. Haxel Co., the flags come in two versions, printed nylon for $20 and a limited-edition sewn nylon with appliquéd stars for $73.50. Proceeds benefit three nonprofits: The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Friends of Fort McHenry and the American Flag Foundation.
To purchase a flag, go to http://www.fwhaxel.com