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How to Use the Images


Inquiry Question

Historical Context



Illustration 1
Photo 1
Illustration 2
Photo 2
Photo 3
Illustration 4


Table of

Visual Evidence

Illustration 3: “A View of the Bombardment
of Fort McHenry”

[Illustration 3] with link to larger version of photo.
(Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society)

Questions for Illustration 3

1. This colored etching was created in Philadelphia around 1816. Why might a publisher in Philadelphia think that he could sell an image of something that happened somewhere else two years before?

2. Read the caption. Why might the publisher have chosen to include the information that he did?

3. Look carefully at the objects flying through the air. These are the “bombs” that Major Armistead and Francis Scott Key mentioned. They were round iron balls weighing about 200 pounds and filled with gunpowder. Compare Illustration 3 with Illustration 1. Where could a bomb do the most damage if it landed inside the fort?

4. See if you can find the bright flames on the sides of the bombs. These were fuses, timed to go off while the bombs were still in the air, raining shrapnel (heavy, sharp-edged pieces of broken metal) down on the men below. How do you think you would feel if you knew these bombs were coming, but you couldn’t see them over the fort’s walls?

5. Isaac Munroe described the death of a man standing next to him on one of the bastions of the fort: “a bomb bursting over our heads a piece [of shrapnel] of the size of a dollar, two inches thick, passed through his body in a diagonal direction from his navel, and went into the ground upwards of two feet.”5 How would you feel if you saw something like that? How might you try to protect yourself against these bombs?

Click for a larger version of Illustration 3.

5Scott S. Sheads, “‘Yankee Doodle played’:  a Letter from Baltimore, 1814,” Maryland Historical Magazine 76, no. 4 (Winter 1981), 381.



Comments or Questions

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