Where Was Francis Scott Key When He Wrote the National Anthem?


Quick Answer

Francis Scott Key was aboard the British vessel HMS Tonnant when he crafted what would become the lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner." He had traveled to Baltimore to secure the release of his client and friend Dr. William Beanes, who was being held prisoner by the British.

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Full Answer

After he secured Beane's release, Key was forced to stay on the ship until Britain's siege of Fort McHenry ended. When dawn came, he recognized that the U.S. flag was still flying above the fort, indicating the British had not been able to take the fort. Key used that visual as inspiration for a poem he titled "Defence of Fort M'Henry." This poem would later become the lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner."

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