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Scrap of fabric from the original star-spangled banner is now being put on sale for the first time in history.

Ian Harvey

A portion of the legendary flag which is believed to have inspired the American National Anthem after it withstood the fierce British bombardment is now being put on sale for the first time in history.

The red, white and blue banner watched the British invasion hammering the American post for hours in September of 1814, however in absolute vain. The poet emerging from the British side saw the flag slowly emerging from the smoke and dust instilling his heart with the words later called The Star Spangled Banner.

After the battle the original flag was kept safely in the custody of Major George Armistead, however some smaller chunks were cut and awarded to some other military figures.

Major George Armistead ordered the making of two flags to a local woman named Mary Pickersgill to be hoisted over the Fort McHenry. The larger of the two stood unscathed during the brutal bombardment by the British and inspired Francis Scott Key to formulate the famous anthem.

The pieces of the original flag eventually ended up with American Civil War hero General Cornelius Gilbert Attwood. The fragments of the original banner are now on sale put by the family of General Attwood, although the majority of the historic banner was donated by the family of General Attwood to the Smithsonian Institute.

The original flag was a massive 30 by 42 feet that originally flew over the Fort McHenry miraculously surviving the barrage of shelling by the British. British invaders were determined to take the Fort and brutally bombarded the Fort for a stretch of 25 hour straight without any rest or break. All hell broke loose on McHenry, however from the thick smoke and copious dust the flag emerged untouched and victorious, mesmerizing the American soldiers while breaking the morale of the invaders who left defeated and shaken.

 

The price tag on the tiny slithers of the original flag, 2inchx3.25inch white piece, and 1.5inchx1.25inch red swatch is huge; the pieces are put on sale for the staggering amount of $40,000.

The British invaders had 19 state of the art warships in their fleet, all fully equipped and armed to smash the McHenry Fort into smithereens. On board British fleet was an American poet Francis Key who was travelling with the British under a truce.

He could only hear the British warships blasting the shells towards his countrymen and shouting the hails for victory. When the shelling stopped he had no inkling of the fate of his fellow countrymen, when he looked towards the Fort, first thing he saw was the Flag hoisting proudly among the smoke. This sight, coupled with his emotions for his country inspired him to write the beautiful poem which was later adopted as ‘The Star Spangled Banner’.

General Attwood was presented with the pieces of the Banner some fifty years after the original battle; however his family gave utmost regard to the slithers recognizing the significance of the flag in the Battle for Baltimore.