Armistead Monument Fort McHenry

 Armistead monument, public art, Fort McHenry, Edward Berge, Baltimore

Public art : Armistead Monument

Sculptor: © Edward Berge

Description: A large than life bronze statue of Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead (April 10th, 1780 – April 25th, 1818), who when in command of Fort McHenry in 1813 ordered a flag made "so large that the British will have no difficulty in seeing it from a distance." which became the inspiration for America's National Anthem , The Star Spangled Banner.

Date Unveiled: Dedicated on September 12th, 1914

Cast By: Roman Bronze Works, New York.

Location: The Armistead Monument is located on the grounds of Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. 

Inscriptions:

ARMISTEAD

Erected Sept.12, 1914
by the City of Baltimore
Soc.War of 1812 contributing
in commemoration of the gallant
defense of Fort McHenry
under the command of
Col.George Armistead
which was the inspiration
of the
National Anthem

The Star Spangled Banner

 

TO
COL. GEORGE ARMISTEAD
APRIL 10 1779 APRIL 25 1818
COMMANDER OF THIS FORT
DURING THE BOMBARDMENT
BY THE BRITISH FLEET

SEPT. 13-14 WAR OF 1812

 

Who Was George Armistead?  Armistead was best known as the man behind the "star spangled banner flag" and the successful defence of Fort McHenry (Baltimore) which was under heavy attack by the British in 1814.  Just prior to the British attack Armistead ordered the making of an enormous flag that the British could see from their ships.

On Septmember the 13th the flag was unfurled and the bombardment commenced. It wasn't long before Armistead realized that fort's magazine (the powder storage room) was not bombproof. Fortunately a bomb which crashed through the roof didn't explode but scared Armistead enough to order all the powder barrels to be removed and placed behind the walls at the rear of the fort. The British rained around 2,000 mortal shells on the fort from their ships to no avail before deciding to withdraw.

Following the battle, Armistead was promoted to lieutenant colonel and remained in charge of the fort until his death three years later at the age of 38.

Trivia: The large flag ordered by Armistead during the Battle of Baltimore was made by local resident Mary Pickersgill, her daughter, and seven seamtresses and it measured 30 x 42 feet (9.14x 12.8m). Large enough for the British to see.

After the 1814 battle, George Armistead kept Pickersgill's flag, and after his death in 1818 his widow, Louisa Hughes Armistead, kept it. During the 40 odd years she had it she removed pieces of it to give away as gifts (a common practice). On her death the flag was passed down to her daughter and then to her grandson. It was her grandson Eben Appleton, who in 1907, loaned it to the Smithsonian where it is now a permanent fixture.

In 1998 the flag underwent a $18 million conservation treatment.

The 15 star flag became the Official United States Flag on May 1st,1795 and remained so for 23 years . The 20 star flag  became the Official United States Flag on April 13th, 1818. The extra five stars added were for Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana and Mississippi.

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