The story behind “The Star Spangled Banner” is as moving as the anthem itself. While an attorney, Key was serving in the Georgetown Light Field Artillery during the War of 1812. In 1814 his negotiation skills as a lawyer were called upon to release Dr. William Beane who was a prisoner on the British naval ship, Tonnant. Early in September Key traveled to Baltimore in the company of Colonel John Skinner to begin negotiations.
Key and Skinner secured Beane’s release but since the British navy had begun attacking Baltimore, the trio had to wait at sea to return to Georgetown.