The city he lived in was attacked and captured. Much of the city was set on fire. Only heavy thunderstorms during the next two days prevented the city’s total destruction.
Word came that a much-loved physician, the elderly Dr. William Beanes, had been taken prisoner and was being held by the enemy. Scott was asked for his help, to possibly negotiate the release of the beloved doctor. He agreed, despite the danger it would place him in, to attempt to convince his country’s enemy to release Dr. Beanes.
Scott and a colleague, under a flag of truce, met with the enemy in the enemy’s camp. At first the negotiations did not go so well. But after Scott produced a group of letters from wounded enemy prisoners that had been captured by American forces praising the care they had received, the enemy commanders relented and agreed to release the doctor.
The problem however, was that during all the negotiating, Scott, his colleague, and Dr. Beanes had overheard the enemy’s plans for another attack. To ensure that the three would not divulge these plans, the enemy decided to hold the three of them until after the battle commenced.
The attack started at 7:00am and continued for 25 straight hours. Scott and his companions watched from afar as the battle raged. The shelling and rockets lighted up the night sky. When the bombardment finally stopped there was a mysterious silence. The enemy had given up and broke off their unsuccessful attack.
Scott just happened to be an amateur poet. Inspired, he pulled an envelope from his back pocket and wrote down a poem. The enemy’s camp was on board the British ship, TONNANT, in Baltimore harbor. Scott’s full name was Francis Scott Key and his poem is known today as “The Star Spangled Banner”. The final lines say it all: