Book Review: Our Flag Was Still There: The Star Spangled Banner that Survived the British and 200 Years--And the Armistead Family Who Saved It


by Tom McMillan

Nashville & New York: Knox Press / Permuted Press, 2023. Pp. viii, 336. Illus., appends., notes, biblio., index. $30.00. ISBN:1637587333

The Fort McHenry Flag

Tom McMillan, an award winning author of several works in American history, with ties to the Antietam Institute, the Gettysburg Foundation, and the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, gives us the story of the flag that proudly flew above Fort McHenry on September 14-15 1814, and survived 25 hours of bombardment by British forces during the War of 1812, which is now at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History in Washington.

But there’s more to this book than just a detailed account of the flag, from its origins to its present state. McMillan uses the story of the flag to tell several others. Naturally we learn a lot about the British attack on and American defense of Fort McHenry, but we also get to look at Francis Scott Key and the origins of the National Anthem, and the quite interesting history of the Armisteads of Virginia and the Carolinas, particularly the life and service of George Armistead, who commanded the fort and preserved the flag for posterity.

Our Flag Was Still There is highly recommended


Our Reviewer: David Marshall has been a high school American history teacher in the Miami-Dade School district for more than three decades. A life-long Civil War enthusiast, David is president of the Miami Civil War Round Table Book Club. In addition to numerous reviews in Civil War News and other publications, he has given presentations to Civil War Round Tables on Joshua Chamberlain, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the common soldier. His previous reviews here include Navigating Liberty: Black Refugees and Antislavery Reformers in the Civil War South, Gettysburg In Color, Vol 1, "The Bullets Flew Like Hail", John Brown's Raid, Searching For Irvin McDowell, A House Built by Slaves, They Came Only To Die, General Grant and the Verdict of History, Gettysburg In Color, Vol 2, Man of Fire, To the Last Extremity, Hood's Defeat Near Fox's Gap, "If We Are Striking for Pennsylvania", Vol. 2, Outwitting Forrest, All That Can Be Expected, Force of a Cyclone, Lincoln and Native Americans, Detour to Disaster, Lincoln in Lists, A Wilderness of Destruction, Twelve Days, The Civil War Memoirs of Captain William J. Seymour, Stay and Fight it Out, Calamity at Frederick, John T. Wilder, The Sergeant: The Incredible Life of Nicholas Said, Contrasts in Command: The Battle of Fair Oaks, Brigades of Antietam, Lee Invades the North, and From Antietam to Appomattox with Upton’s Regulars.




Note: Our Flag Was Still There is also available in audio and e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: David Marshall   

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