This novella explores the War of 1812 through the eyes of an 18 yeard old. Benny Stuarts father was "impressed", or kidnapped, by the British Navy in 1807. It is now 1814 and the United States is two years into fighting its second War of Independence from Great Britain. The British land forces have burned Washington D.C. and have plans to march into Baltimore, with assistance from the Royal Navy in the Chesapeake Bay. The only thing that stands in their way is what they consider to be an "insignificant" obstacle, Fort McHenry at the mouth of the Baltimore harbor. Other coastal cities have already capitulated, but Baltimore remains steadfast and defiant. Their famous "clipper ships" have harrassed British merchant ships and the senior British Admiral calls Baltimore a "nest of pirates". Benny has received word that his father is alive and is on one of the invasion ships as an imprisoned ships carpenter. Benny and his mother have lived and worked at the Fort ever since his father was taken. He is now in the Maryland Militia and finds himself in the middle of an impossible task - survive the impending naval bombardment. He accompanies Francis Scott Key to the British Admirals flagship to try and secure the release of a prominent Baltimore doctor. It is then that Key witnesses the spectacular assault on Fort McHenry and how the fort finally repels the Royal Navy. After seeing the huge garrison flag raised, the Star Spangled Banner is born.