Francis Scott Key

Sing The National Anthem

Attorney Francis Scott Key witnessed the twenty-five hour bombardment of Fort McHenry from a British troopship anchored some four miles away. He had boarded the ship to negotiate the release of an American civilian imprisoned by the British, and had been detained aboard as the bombardment began. On September 14, 1814, as the dawn’s early light revealed a flag flying over the fort, Key exultantly began jotting down the lines of the song that became our national anthem.

After the war, Key continued to practice law in the District of Columbia.

Collect Stars To Complete The Flag

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Why was Francis Scott Key on a British ship for the Battle of Baltimore?

  • He was a spy
  • The British had stopped his ship and captured everyone aboard as they entered the harbor
  • He had been sent to negotiate the release of an American prisoner


How to Use This Resource in Your Classroom

  • Francis Scott Key

    Francis Scott Key

    Portrait of Francis Scott Key, attributed to Joseph Wood, about 1825. Walters Art Gallery.

Francis Scott Key