Cannon Breech Failure

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: September 16, 2014
Contact: Mike Litterst, 410-962-4290 ext. 886

Media Statement: Cannon Breech Failure at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on September 16 

BALTIMORE –During the firing of a reproduction historic cannon at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on September 16, 2014, the breech of the gun failed, according to the National Park Service. 

At approximately 11:30 a.m. on September 16, the park's living history gun crew used black powder to fire a salute to a passing ship as part of the weeklong series of events celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner. The firing of black powder in the reproduction cannon caused the breech to dislodge. The breech is the mass of metal at the rear end of the cannon. 

There were no spectator injuries;one of the members of the cannon crew suffered minor flash burns on one hand.The cause of the accident is under investigation. 

The NPS has suspended the black powder historic weapons firing program at Fort McHenry. The immediate area around the Water Battery remains closed but the rest of the park remains open. 

The cannon crew was saluting the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle and The Pride of Baltimore II. 

About Fort McHenry National Monument &Historic Shrine 
During the Battle of Baltimore, September 13–14, 1814, the valiant defense of the star-shaped Fort McHenry against the might of the British navy inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner." The 15 broad stripes and 15 bright stars still fly over the fort 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most famous as the birthplace of our National Anthem, the fort was used continuously in a variety of ways through World War II. Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter, @FtMcHenryNPS.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2400 East Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21230


(410) 962-4290 x250

Contact Us