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The Importance Of Fort Mc Henry To America

961 words - 4 pages

As a country, the United States felt that the War of 1812 was under control and that they were well prepared for any battle any army could throw at them. After the United States won an important battle on Lake Erie in 1813, the American commander, Oliver Hazard Perry, sent the message "We have met the enemy and they are ours." As a new country, America, having just defeated the greatest military strength on the earth, was perhaps overconfident. However, once Great Britain turned all of its attention to defeating the United States, America realized that the fate of her country relied on Baltimore, and Baltimore relied on the protection of Fort McHenry. If Fort McHenry was taken over by the British, the Nation would have been split into two. The fate of the United States rested, to a large extent, on the success or failure of the central prong attack which was being protected by Fort McHenry. If Baltimore had not had Fort McHenry for protection, the city would have been an easy target and our nation would have perished because Baltimore would have lacked the proper protection it needed to prevail.
Before 1793, there was a base on the peninsula called Whetstone Point, which was of strategic value to the United States because of its location. Whetstone Point was surrounded by water on three sides and in order to get to Baltimore by water, you had to pass by this peninsula. Because of these reasons, this point seemed like an obvious place to put a fort to protect Baltimore. Not only was this a good location because of the water, but it was close enough to Baltimore to protect it without putting it in danger. Therefore, in 1793, a man named John Jacob Ulrich Rivardi was directed by the Secretary of War to create a plan for a harbor of defense on this peninsula.
In the War of 1812, Baltimore was a very pivotal point in America because it was the largest seaport south of New York. If Britain gained control of Baltimore it would be equivalent to losing your queen in a chess game: it would be extremely hard to recover and win. Because of this, the Secretary of War was assigned to delegate someone to construct a better protection for Baltimore.
The Secretary of War was named James McHenry and he showed great interest in the building of this fort. He also helped Rivardi financially because the government was not giving them a lot of money to build the Fort. In the late 1790’s when the fort was completed, it was named Fort McHenry after the Secretary of War. Even though this fort was not a great help in the Revolutionary War, it was kept open and maintained...

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