12 Weekly Letter


I encourage you to watch the Francis Scott Key video this week.  It is a powerful reminder of the sacrifices others made for our freedoms.


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Timeline Cards


Week 12 Card 1   1812  Napoleon’s Grand Army invades Russia

For Our Little Ones:

Napoleon Bonaparte was the emperor of France.  He used warfare to take over most of Europe.  Napoleon wanted to take over Great Britain but they were too strong.  He decided to restrict commerce to Britain by demanding that no other country buy or sell goods with Great Britain.  Russia’s economy was dependent on trading with Great Britain and Tsar Alexander decided to defy Napoleon.  Napoleon thought he could easily beat Russia in a war and marched on Moscow with over 400,000 men.  There was first a drought where Napoleon’s men were very thirsty, then rain where their cannon wheels became stuck in the mud, and finally winter set in and the French had few winter clothes.  Tsar Alexander decreed that each town in Napoleon’s way be burned so that there would be no supplies for the French.  By the time Napoleon got home to France as few as 20,000 of his soldiers had survived.


Napoleon Bonaparte is generally regarded as one of history’s top military tacticians. But 200 years ago this Sunday, he committed a grave error by leading his Grande Armée—likely the largest European armed force ever assembled to that point—across the Niemen River into Russia. Although it never lost a pitched battle there, the Grande Armée was almost completely wiped out within six months by freezing temperatures, food shortages, disease and Russian assaults. This proved to be the beginning of the end for Napoleon, who was forced into exile in April 1814.  See History

Week 12 Card 2  War of 1812

For Our Little Ones:

The War of 1812 could be called American Revolutionary War Part II.  Before this war, the British had captured American sailors and forced them to fight for them against Napoleon (great link to the first card for this week 🙂 ) and also required American ships to dock in Great Britain before trading with the rest of Europe so that they could charge a tax.  During this war the British burned the White House and Dolly Madison rescued a famous picture of George Washington.  It was also during this war that Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner.


In the War of 1812, the United States took on the greatest naval power in the world, Great Britain, in a conflict that would have an immense impact on the young country’s future. Causes of the war included British attempts to restrict U.S. trade, the Royal Navy’s imprisonment of American seamen and America’s desire to expand its territory. The United States suffered many costly defeats at the hands of British, Canadian and Native American troops over the course of the War of 1812, including the capture and burning of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., in August 1814. Nonetheless, American troops were able to repulse British invasions in New York, Baltimore and New Orleans, boosting national confidence and fostering a new spirit of patriotism. The ratification of the Treaty of Ghent on February 17, 1815, ended the war but left many of the most contentious questions unresolved. Nonetheless, many in the United States celebrated the War of 1812 as a “second war of independence,” beginning an era of partisan agreement and national pride.


Week 12 Card 3  Francis Scott Key

For Our Little Ones:

Many Americans had been taken captive by British troops during the War of 1812.  They were being held in ships.  One of these men was Dr. Beanes who had treated both American and British soldiers.  His friend, Francis Key went to negotiate his release.  He boarded the British ship and convinced the British to release Beanes and others.  The only problem was that they could not leave the ship until Fort McHenry had been captured, something that seemed to be just about to happen.  The British were going to fire on the fort all night.  The fort was primarily housing families of soldiers and few actual soldiers.  They knew, however, that if the flag that was flying dropped  the British would consider it a win.  The men held the flag up all night.  When Key saw the flag still flying in the morning he was delighted.  He wrote the Star Spangled Banner to commemorate the


By the early 1810s, the United States had entered into conflict with Britain over the kidnapping of U.S. seamen and the disruption of trade with France. The ensuing hostilities would come to be known as the War of 1812. Though opposed to the war due to his religious beliefs and believing that the disagreement could be settled without armed conflict, Key nonetheless served in the Georgetown Light Field Artillery.British forces captured Washington, D.C., in 1814. Taken prisoner was a Dr. William Beanes, who also happened to be a colleague of Key. Due to his work as an attorney, Key was asked to help in the negotiation of Beanes’ release and in the process traveled to Baltimore, where British naval forces were located along Chesapeake Bay. He, along with Colonel John Skinner, was able to secure Beanes’ freedom, though they were not allowed to return to land until the British completed their bombardment of Fort McHenry.

On September 13, the three at sea watched what would become a day-long assault. After continual bombing, to Key’s surprise, the British weren’t able to destroy the fort, and Key noted upon the dawning of the next morning a large U.S. flag being flown. (It had in fact been sewn by Mary Young Pickersgill at the request of the fort commander.)The British ceased their attack and left the area. Key immediately wrote down the words for a poem that he would continue composing at an inn the next day. The work, which relied heavily on visualizations of what he witnessed, would come to be known as the “Defence of Fort M’Henry” and was printed in handbills and newspapers, including the Baltimore Patriot. The poem was later set to the tune of a drinking song by John Stafford Smith, “To Anacreon in Heaven,” and came to be called “The Star-Spangled Banner.” See more
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