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By Walter Lord

Walter Lord―author of such best-sellers as A evening to Remember and A Day of Infamy―brings to lifestyles the amazing occasions of what we now name The conflict of 1812―including the burning of Washington and the assault on Baltimore's citadel McHenry that encouraged the Francis Scott Key to put in writing what could turn into our nationwide anthem. Lord provides readers a dramatic account of ways a brand new feel of nationwide identification emerged from the smoky haze of what Francis Scott Key so lyrically known as "the dawn's early light."

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Right here, the harried Madison (or a few both harried aide) bucked it to Winder … who filed it. once more, as so frequently occurs, an important piece of intelligence used to be misplaced. once more the reality was once handed over—perhaps as the conditions appeared so preposterous—while a dozen fake leads have been eagerly snapped up, simply because they appeared so believable. And once more, what could have been expected got here as a complete shock. And shock it was—not simply in Washington yet during the state. Even after notice unfold of the British landings, the capital appeared completely secure. “We have complete self assurance within the officer to whom, for 6 weeks earlier, the safety of the District has been entrusted,” declared the hot York Gazette and normal Advertiser on August 23, the day sooner than the roof fell in. “All glance with self belief to the skill and vigilance of the Commanding General,” echoed the Baltimore Federal Gazette and day-by-day Advertiser, “and we believe no longer a doubt that his foresight and task will go away not anything undone that our defense calls for. ” The paper used to be no much less convinced the next morning. not like Winder, it effectively expected that the British could head for the “pass” at Bladensburg, yet there has been not anything to worry. “Thermopylae” will be held, declared the editors, borrowing a no longer completely chuffed analogy. “We of this city comprehend our Leonidas good, and his fearless band. ” Even the specialists agreed. Commodore Rodgers, hurrying down from Philadelphia together with his seamen, paused on the Susquehanna to drop an encouraging line to his spouse Minerva. Dated four P. M. at the 24th—the very second of disaster—his letter reassured her: “Everybody in excessive spirits and no fears are entertained concerning the defense of Baltimore or Washington. ” Then the shattering fact, spreading slowly from city to city, carried alongside via the bulky mail levels that associated the rustic jointly. Philadelphia received its first inkling whilst the Baltimore Pilot degree rumbled as much as town lodge throughout the night of the twenty fifth. the 1st info have been sketchy—just the military mauled at Bladensburg, Winder falling again. yet at 11:00 P. M. an convey rider pounded up with the dreadful information that Washington was once misplaced. through 1:00 A. M. on August 26 the Pilot degree was once rolling on north, now wearing facts sheets of the 1st Philadelphia extras. They have been published too quickly to say the capital’s fall, however the dispatcher controlled to scribble at the wrapping, “The enemy has entered Washington after a serious conflict. ” round 5:00 P. M. , after the normal 16-hour trip, the level arrived in ny, and through seven o’clock the full urban knew. “DISASTROUS INTELLIGENCE,” proclaimed the economic Advertiser’s additional, first in the street. “PAINFULLY IMPORTANT,” declared the extra conservative Gazette and normal Advertiser the subsequent morning. As occasionally occurs, the nationwide temper went from one severe to the opposite. Complacency gave technique to panic; self belief to depression. The wildest rumors swept the land: Barney useless … Georgetown wrapped in flames … Armstrong lynched at Frederick … Baltimore’s stylish fifth Regiment burnt up … 15,000 British troops led through Lord Hill in individual … the dreadful Admiral Cockburn pushed in triumph throughout the capital “with a omit at his part.

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