North American Fortifications
An American Forts Network historical website


National Park & Shrine
Whetstone Point
Baltimore, Maryland

(1798 - 1923)

N 3915.804 W07634.783 (USCGS "Flagstaff 2")

GPS coordinates for most of the featured sites!
I used WGS 84 except where noted by "USCGS" or "USACE."
Those marked "USCGS" or "USACE" use NAD 83 and are listed at
The accuracy between WGS 84 and NAD 83 is slightly off,
but should not cause you any difficulties in finding locations
since many GPS devices allow you to switch between them.

One of the nation's most famous forts, Fort McHenry was named to honor James McHenry, a citizen of Baltimore who became US Secretary of War in 1798. Fort Whetstone, an earthwork fort, was first here in 1776 - 1783. Along with Fell's Point Battery (1776 - 83), they were Baltimore's only defenses in the American Revolution. By 1812, other coastal defenses included Fort Covington, Federal Hill (N 3916.819 W07636.488), Fort Look-Out, Battery Babcock, and Lazaretto Battery. Fort McHenry is the site of the major British bombardment in 1814 that inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner" national anthem. The fort was rebuilt in 1829 - 36 to the present layout. Rodman cannon were installed in 1866, and all the other old cannon were removed by 1895. The Rodmans were last fired in 1903. The fort was abandoned in 1912, but the military used it as a hospital from 1917 - 23. All the hospital buildings were removed. Some buildings still exist as part of the Naval Supply base adjacent to the fort. From 1942 - 45 a Coast Guard Training Station was outside the fort. These buildings also no longer exist. It became a National Park in 1925 administered by the Army until 1933.



Satellite Images of Fort McHenry
courtesy of Microsoft TerraServer

* Official link to Fort McHenry *

Launched: May 11, 2001

last updated: 14 July, 2002

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