Sunday, September 14, 2014

Library of America Story of the Week Read-Along 243: Francis Scott Key, Defence of Fort M‘Henry (#243)

Francis Scott Key, "Defence of Fort M‘Henry" (1814), with an account by Roger B. Taney (1872) from The War of 1812: Writings from America’s War of Independence:

So, sometimes, these LoA stories give a glimpse behind the history: the story from before people knew how history would turn out or a view of a historical event from someone else's POV.

Today's selection doesn't really do any of that. We have Francis Scott Key's "Defence," which we know as "The Star-Spangled Banner." And sure, it's nice to see all the verses and think about people struggling through more of that before they get to see a ball-game.

After that, we get Key's friend Taney's account of how Key came up with that song. Which is almost exactly what we read in the headnote: Key goes to negotiate for the release of a friend; he ends up a temporary prisoner of the British so that they can attack Baltimore without fore-warning; Key ends up watching the bombardment of the American fort; and he is much relieved when, you know, the American flag was still there.

Which means that we get a glimpse of history almost EXACTLY as it is often told. I rarely say this, but you can give this entry a pass.

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