Report of Lt. Col. George Armistead on the defense of Fort McHenry

By my math, the attack on Fort McHenry was the most annoying of all American conflicts, and probably the surest sign that I’d be pathetically unfit for life in the 1800s. Starting at 6:00 AM, Admiral Cochrane’s best gunships anchored in Baltimore and assailed McHenry with cannon, mortar shells, and (as the song goes) rockets. This went on for 25 hours, in a harbor flanked by shops, homes, and dudes just trying to get to work. Think of the worst, loudest, day-long road construction or car alarm, and triple it. All I know is that if Cochrane’s fleet tried the same attack on my apartment, I’d fold in the first hour.

The estimable industrial warehouse that converts scrapped artifacts from American history into comics.

Jon White, Proprietor.

A Note on Sources

The American Scraps Executive Reference Library

Every American Scraps comic strip cites, links-to, and—where possible—displays a preview of its source artifact. These artifacts are all from public-domain, royalty-free sources, and are appropriate for use in the classroom. Most American Scraps sources come from The National Archives And Records Administration (NARA), whose “Today’s Document” feature was the original inspiration, in 2010, for this whole enterprise. (On a personal note, I’m grateful to NARA for the invaluable work they have done, and continue to do.)

For ease of use in the classroom—specifically grades 5–12—American Scraps organizes its material according to UCLA’s National Standards for History Basic Edition (1996), as you can see in those ten “Historical Eras” above. Learn more about the National Center for History in the Schools here.

If you’re a teacher and are using American Scraps in the classroom, I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at

A Note on Theft

The original art you see here on American Scraps is copyrighted, and reproduction of it is prohibited without written approval.

In other words, unless I’ve told you otherwise: Don’t save or screenshot these comics for use in your own post, tweet, slideshow, or embed. Don’t “remix” or “aggregate” them. Don’t reproduce them, even in an appreciative way. Don’t sell them. Don’t drop them into a listicle called “15 Comic GIFs That Tell The Story Of American History (And You Won’t Believe #8!)”.

Instead, contact me at and let’s talk about your idea.

American Scraps