Armistead, George

Armistead, George

(är`mĭstĕd), 1780–1818, American artillery officer distinguished in the War of 1812, b. Virginia. He took part in the capture of Fort George on the Niagara frontier but is better remembered as the defender of Fort McHenryFort McHenry,
former U.S. military post in Baltimore harbor; built 1794–1805. In the War of 1812 it was bombarded (Sept. 13–14, 1814) by a British fleet under Sir Alexander Cochrane, but the fort, commanded by Maj. George Armistead, resisted the attack.
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 against British attack (Sept., 1814)—a defense that served as an inspiration for the Star-spangled BannerStar-spangled Banner, The,
American national anthem, beginning, "O say can you see by the dawn's early light." The words were written by Francis Scott Key, a young Washington attorney who during the War of 1812 sailed to the British fleet to obtain the release of a captured
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.