Armistead Monument Fort
Public art : Armistead
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.
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
which was the inspiration
The Star Spangled Banner
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.