A Fabulous and Rare Early 19th Century King George IIIrd Explosive 10" Mortar Bomb Shell From the War of 1812 In America. .
Fired by the 10" mortars used by Admiral Cochrane against Fort McHenry, Baltimore Harbour, and the resulting 10" mortar bomb shell's mid air explosions, against the backdrop of the US flag flying at Fort McHenry, inspired the patriotic anthem, the "Star Spangled Banner".
It was the sight of these very 10" mortar bombshells [that weighed around 90 pounds each] and that when they exploded it inspired Francis Scott Key to write his poem that became the US anthem. Naturally, this is a perfectly intact surviving example, and one of the 10" mortar shells that either wasn't fired, or, failed to explode.
With Washington in ruins, the British next set their sights on Baltimore, then America’s third-largest city. Moving up the Chesapeake Bay to the mouth of the Patapsco River, they plotted a joint attack on Baltimore by land and water. On the morning of September 12, General Ross’s troops landed at North Point, Maryland, and progressed towards the city. They soon encountered the American forward line, part of an extensive network of defences established around Baltimore in anticipation of the British assault. During the skirmish with American troops, General Ross, so successful in the attack on Washington, was killed by a sharpshooter. Surprised by the strength of the American defences, British forces camped on the battlefield and waited for nightfall on September 13, planning to attempt another attack under cover of darkness.
Meanwhile, Britain’s naval force, buoyed by its earlier successful attack on Alexandria, Virginia, was poised to strike Fort McHenry and enter Baltimore Harbour. At 6:30 AM on September 13, 1814, Admiral Cochrane’s ships began a 25-hour bombardment of the fort. Rockets whistled through the air and burst into flame wherever they struck. Mortars fired 10- and 13-inch bombshells that exploded overhead in showers of fiery shrapnel. It is said many exploded to soon as the fuses were set to short, which created the firework effect. Major Armistead, commander of Fort McHenry and its defending force of one thousand troops, ordered his men to return fire, but their guns couldn’t reach the enemy’s ships. When British ships advanced on the afternoon of the 13th, however, American gunners badly damaged them, forcing them to pull back out of range. All through the night, Armistead’s men continued to hold the fort, refusing to surrender. That night British attempts at a diversionary attack also failed, and by dawn they had given up hope of taking the city. At 7:30 on the morning of September 14, Admiral Cochrane called an end to the bombardment, and the British fleet withdrew. The successful defense of Baltimore marked a turning point in the War of 1812. Three months later, on December 24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent formally ended the war. "The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States. The lyrics come from the "Defence of Fort M'Henry", a poem written on September 14, 1814, by 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large U.S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory. During the bombardment, HMS Terror and HMS Meteor provided some of the "bombs bursting in air".
The 15-star, 15-stripe "Star-Spangled Banner" that inspired the poem
Key was inspired by the U.S. victory and the sight of the large U.S. flag flying triumphantly above the fort. This flag, with fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, had been made by Mary Young Pickersgill together with other workers in her home on Baltimore's Pratt Street. The flag later came to be known as the Star-Spangled Banner, and is today on display in the National Museum of American History, a treasure of the Smithsonian Institution. It was restored in 1914 by Amelia Fowler, and again in 1998 as part of an ongoing conservation program. Pictures in the gallery of the siege from contemporary paintings and engravings, a commemorative stamp issued in 2014, and an original War of 1812 bronze British mortar now kept at Yorktown Visitor Centre. Empty, inert and completely safe. Seated on an old iron ring for safe display