Charles Henry Niehaus, Fort McHenry, Fort McHenry National Monument And Historic Shrine, Francis Scott Key, James McHenry, Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead, President George Washington, President James Monroe, President John Adams

Fort McHenry National Monument And Historic Shrine

The site of Fort McHenry occupies the star shaped Fort Whetstone, which was constructed during the Revolutionary War to protect Baltimore from British forces.

Fort McHenry, a fort named after James McHenry; the former aide to George Washington and his friend Lafayette during the Revolutionary War, a foreign born signer of the U.S. Constitution, and former Secretary of War under the administrations of George Washington and John Adams, was established during the Quasi-War with France in 1799.

Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead, whom had been an artillery officer during an attack against Britain’s Fort George in Canada On May 18, 1813 and was given the honors to deliver the captured British flags to President James Monroe, had been granted command of Fort McHenry on June 1813.

Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead (Maryland Historical Society).

After assuming command of Fort McHenry, Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead ordered that a 30 foot by 42 foot “Great Garrison Flag” that would be, “so large that the British will have no difficulty in seeing it from a distance.” 

The “Great Garrison Flag” that Mary Young Pickersgill made from July through August 1813. The flag was loaned to the Smithsonian Institute in 1907 and was converted to a permanent gift in 1912.

On September 1814, British land and naval forces attacked Fort McHenry, and the U.S. military ended up successfully repelling the British forces away.

After the American victory, the army was ordered to raise “Great Garrison Flag”. Francis Scott Key saw that garrison flag, the morning that it was raised, which inspired him to write the poem, “The Star Spangled Banner”. That poem would eventually become the United States National Anthem.

During the U.S. Civil War Fort McHenry served as a prison for thousands of political and confederate soldier prisoners. The fort became known as the “Baltimore Bastille” during its time as a prison. Fort McHenry served as an active army fort until 1912.

In the 1930s the U.S. Army and the Works Progress Administration restored the fort. In 1933, Fort McHenry’s ownership was transferred to the United States National Park Service. In 1939, Congress designated the structure as the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historical Shrine.

In present day there is a Fort McHenry Monument and Historic Shrine Visitor and Education Center with various exhibits of the fort.

Outside of the visitors center are statues honoring Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead and others who were part of the history of Fort McHenry.

In 1916, the Fine Arts Commission had sponsored a competition to honor Francis Scott Key’s “Star Spangled Banner” anthem. The commission chose to install Charles Henry Niehaus’s statue “Orpheus” in Fort McHenry on Flag Day June 14, 1922. An annual “Star Spangled Defenders Day”, which is the oldest holiday for the City of Baltimore, is hosted at the fort, and other ministry installations, to commemorate the Battle of Baltimore.

Pierre Charles L'Enfant, President George Washington, President Harry S. Truman, President James Monroe, President Theodore Roosevelt Junior, The District of Columbia, Washington D.C.

The Plans For The Presidential Palace And The Construction Of The White House

In 1791, Pierre Charles L’Enfant met with President George Washington to show his sketch of the “President’s Palace”, which was five times the size of the present day White House, within the original site of President’s Park.

The plans for a grand “Presidential Palace” were scrapped after President Washington fired L’Enfant for insubordination. In 1792, an architectural competition was held for the Capital and the Presidential Home buildings. From that competition, James Hoban’s design of a smaller and more modest Presidential House was chosen.

James Hoban’s original design for the White House.

Construction of the smaller presidential house began in 1792 and ended in 1800.

Portrait of President James Monroe

On August 24, 1814, British soldiers invaded Washington, D.C. and torched President’s House. Only the walls of the structure remained after the fire. It was debated whether or not the capital should be moved to another city, after the events of the War of 1812.

With the urging of President James Monroe, the U.S. Capital stayed at its current location and Congress authorized the reconstruction of the Presidential Home. James Hoban was commissioned to rebuild the President’s Home to the way it originally was, while keeping the scorched walls within the building.

Engraving of the White House by William Strickland, after a watercolor by George Munger, 1814. (Library of Congress)

In 1817, President Monroe moved back into the rebuilt President’s Home. In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt renamed the President’s Home to the “White House”. In the 1940s, under Harry Truman’s administration the White House was under reconstruction.

President George Washington, State Of The Union

The First State Of The Union Address

The first State of the Union address was held by President George Washington on January 8, 1790 at a session of Congress in New York. The state of North Caroline has rejected the draft federal constitution in 1788 due to it not having a Bill of Rights. In George Washington’s speech, he congratulated the state of North Carolina for joining the federal republic on November 1789.