Re: [WarOf1812] Star Spangled Banner
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
All the best,
--- 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
Cottonbalers, By God!
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>Scott,In the spirit of giving credit when credit is due, I must admit my
>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.
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.
- In a message dated 6/1/00 12:50:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time, scottj@...
> In the spirit of giving credit when credit is due, I must admit myAwwww, shucks.
> observations were originally pointed out by LCPL Ed Seufert.
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
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
he would have had to stare into a rainy horizon, through a forest of masts
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
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
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,
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 probably an anxious moment for him and his companions.
Ed Seufert, LCpl
1812 Royal Marines
(The Royal Navy's Friend)