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Re: [WarOf1812] Star Spangled Banner

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  • Scott Jeznach
    ... Thanks for the input, Steve. My response to this information is two issues: 1. It s been determined that Key was some NINE miles away from Fort McHenry.
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 1, 2000
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      >As to viewing the smaller "storm flag" at a distance I
      >offer the following personal experience.
      >
      >As stated earlier the 7th Infantry has a large 26 star
      >Color. (Measurements listed in earlier paragraph.)
      >This was completely handsewn by members of our
      >organization in 1995. In 1996 we flew it from the
      >masthead at Ft. Morgan in Mobile Bay, AL. Ft. Morgan
      >sits on the approx. location of Ft. Bowyer built
      >during the War of 1812. Across the mouth of the bay,
      >4 miles away, sits Ft. Gaines. We called over to the
      >fort and asked if they could see the Color. They said
      >they could clearly do so with the naked eye, no
      >spyglass needed. Granted it was broad daylight and no
      >powder smoke, but still visible none the less. The
      >size is also smaller than the Ft. McHenry "storm flag"
      > At Ft. Osage in Missouri it was said the American
      >ensign could be seen for six miles in either direction
      >on the Missouri River as one approached the
      >fort/factory. Its exact size is unknown.


      Thanks for the input, Steve.

      My response to this information is two issues:

      1. It's been determined that Key was some NINE miles away from Fort
      McHenry. The bombardment was in the dark of night, during a rainstorm.

      2. His original poem asks the question "Oh say does that Star-Spangled
      Banner yet wave?" He also states that his only proof was "The bombs
      bursting in the air." This indicates that his only proof that the fort's
      colors weren't struck was the fact the British were still bombing the fort.

      I love this kind of give and take discussion.

      Scott J.
      Royal Marines
    • Steve Abolt
      Scott, Excellent observations! If Key was indeed nine miles, I thought it 3.5, away then I find it difficult to believe he could actually see the Color,
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 1, 2000
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        Scott,
        Excellent observations! If Key was indeed nine miles,
        I thought it 3.5, away then I find it difficult to
        believe he could actually see the Color, accounting
        for smoke, dark of night, air quality, etc.

        Sometimes we fail to read closely the grammar in which
        reports, orders, poems etc. are written. A comma or
        period out of place here or there can definitely
        change meaning. For example one order written to 7th
        Infantry and Rifle Regiment recruits while in depot in
        Knoxville, TN during 1813 stated as follows: "You will
        cease bathing in the river and exposing yourselves to
        the women of the town during daylight hours." There
        are two ways to interpret this as any enterprising
        enlisted man would know!! And since much discussion
        has been made of Uncle Larry Lozon the King of Canadia
        as not recognizing an officer if he saw one, being
        just a lowly EM, perhaps he would like to comment???
        (Funny, I have seen Uncle Lar in officer's kit.
        Nothing like Timothy P's full dress "Fighting
        Coat"---but how it got that nickname is another
        story!)

        All the best,
        Steve Abolt

        --- Scott Jeznach <scottj@...> wrote:
        > Thanks for the input, Steve.
        >
        > My response to this information is two issues:
        >
        > 1. It's been determined that Key was some NINE
        > miles away from Fort
        > McHenry. The bombardment was in the dark of night,
        > during a rainstorm.
        >
        > 2. His original poem asks the question "Oh say does
        > that Star-Spangled
        > Banner yet wave?" He also states that his only
        > proof was "The bombs
        > bursting in the air." This indicates that his only
        > proof that the fort's
        > colors weren't struck was the fact the British were
        > still bombing the fort.
        >
        > I love this kind of give and take discussion.
        >
        > Scott J.
        > Royal Marines
        >
        >


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      • Scott Jeznach
        ... In the spirit of giving credit when credit is due, I must admit my observations were originally pointed out by LCPL Ed Seufert. When speaking with him
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 1, 2000
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          >Scott,
          >Excellent observations! If Key was indeed nine miles,
          >I thought it 3.5, away then I find it difficult to
          >believe he could actually see the Color, accounting
          >for smoke, dark of night, air quality, etc.


          In the spirit of giving credit when credit is due, I must admit my
          observations were originally pointed out by LCPL Ed Seufert. When speaking
          with him this morning, he re-iterated those observations.

          Ed also corrected me by stating F.S. Key actually had "On Anacreon In
          Heaven" in mind as he penned his poem. Something to do with the long and
          rambling pentameters lending itself to longer verse lines. It was probably
          only a year after the poem first saw light in printed hand-bills that it was
          joined with the popular melody.

          Scott J.
          Royal Marines
        • easeufe@aol.com
          In a message dated 6/1/00 12:50:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time, scottj@carr.org ... Awwww, shucks. Thanks Scott! (Mutual Admiration Society co-member) The
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 1, 2000
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            In a message dated 6/1/00 12:50:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time, scottj@...
            writes:

            > In the spirit of giving credit when credit is due, I must admit my
            > observations were originally pointed out by LCPL Ed Seufert.

            Awwww, shucks.

            Thanks Scott! (Mutual Admiration Society co-member)

            The transports that landed Ross's army would have anchored in Old Roads
            Bay, a tributary of the Patapsco, approximately 8-9 miles from Ft McHenry.
            The vessel carrying Key and his companions would have been among the
            transports. Further upriver, about 5 miles from the fort, were the frigates
            and
            lighter vessels. The bomb and rocket ships were beyond these, anchored
            2-2.5 miles from their intended target. For Key to have seen the flag at
            night,
            he would have had to stare into a rainy horizon, through a forest of masts
            and
            through a veil of smoke punctuated by explosions from the bomb and rocket
            ships and the bombs themselves.

            As already put forth, the flag that would have flown over the fort during the
            bombardment was the storm flag. It was not until morning of the 14th with the
            rain clearing AND the Royal Navy retiring down river that the "Star Spangled
            Banner" was raised. The flag supposedly remained the property of the
            Armistead family (Major Armistead, the fort's commander). The 'battle damage'
            sustained by the flag was caused by pieces being torn off and presented to
            defenders of the fort. The inverted "V" was reported to be an attempt to sew
            the
            name of 'Armistead' onto one of the white stripes.

            When we talk to the public, we ask them to think about the words of the
            National Anthem. (Of the 4 verses, most people only know of the first.) Key
            starts off by asking a question "Oh say can you see......." because it is
            obvious that he can't, due to the distance and conditions. His next
            statement
            also admits that he can't see the flag because "And the rockets red glare;
            the bombs bursting in air gave PROOF......our flag was still there". Again,
            with the
            last stanza, he questions "O say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave"
            because of his not being able to see the fort.

            To be fair to Key, there was a lull in the bombardment around midnight to
            allow for the diversionary attack up the south branch to get in place. This
            was
            was probably an anxious moment for him and his companions.

            Ed Seufert, LCpl
            1812 Royal Marines
            (The Royal Navy's Friend)
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