The History of the Star Spangled Banner: The "Star-Spangled Banner" was flying above FT. McHenry at Baltimore when the British attacked on September 13, 1814. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer from Washington had gone aboard a British ship seeking the release of a friend held prisoner. He was detained throughout the night. The sight of the American flag still flying over the fortress the next morning inspired Key to write what, in 1931, became our National Anthem. The original FT. McHenry flag is displayed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. This design, born with the second flag act on January 13, 1794, is our only official flag ever to have more than thirteen stripes. This flag has 15 stars and 15 stripes.