Fort McHenry, protecting the water approaches of Baltimore, is a star-shaped fort built between 1798 and 1800. It was designed by French architect Jean Foncin with a dry moat to be used by infantry in defending the fort. The star shape provided protection for every outer surface, as an assault on any wall would expose attackers to overlapping fire.
On September 13-14, 1814, the fort withstood a 25-hour long attack by a British fleet commanded by Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane. Cochran was not well regarded in the U.S., having landed the force that burned Washington, D.C.
After the American flag appeared in the morning light on September 14, a Washington lawyer, Francis Scott Key, was inspired to write a poem, “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which was later put to music and became “The Star-Spangled Banner.”