American History For People Learning English

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From VOA Learning English, welcome to The Making of a Nation, our weekly program of American history for people learning English. I’m Steve Ember. Today, we tell the story of how a British attack on Fort McHenry in the port of Baltimore led to "The Star-Spangled Banner," America 's national anthem. In the summer of 1814, British forces attacked Washington, DC. They burned the Capitol building, the White House and other public buildings. Then they withdrew to their ships in the Chesapeake Bay. British General Robert Ross and Admiral George Cockburn led the attack on Washington. Next they planned to attack Baltimore. But the people of Baltimore expected the attack, and began to prepare for it. Fifty thousand of them built defenses around the city. The port of Baltimore was protected by Fort McHenry. The guns and cannon of the fort could prevent British ships from reaching the city. The British began with a land attack against Baltimore. General Ross, Admiral Cockburn and about 4,000 British soldiers landed at North Point, a finger of land reaching into the Chesapeake Bay. From North Point, it was a march of about 22 kilometers to Baltimore. The British began marching at about seven in the morning. General Ross and Admiral Cockburn stopped their men after an hour. The two commanders and several of their officers rode to a nearby farmhouse and forced the family living there to give them breakfast. When the British officers finished eating, the farmer asked General Ross
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