Sunday, September 7, 2014

War of 1812- Perilous Night; Naval Attack on Fort McHenry- September 14, 1814

Perilous Night; Naval Attack on Fort McHenry- Original Painting by Peter Rindlisbacher


Oil on canvas measuring 48 X 72 inches, unframed.

This just completed painting by marine artist Peter Rindlisbacher portrays the scene in the Ferry Branch of the Patapsco River off Fort McHenry about 1:;30 AM, September 14th, 1814. Nine armed barges full of picked men from the Royal Navy were discovered in the midst of their diversion attack, while Fort McHenry was being shelled with bombs and rockets from a line of British warships. The crossfire from the three U.S. forts and land batteries, and lack of progress in the British land attack, made the boats to withdraw out of range after a few hours of exchanging fire. Fort McHenry survived the night, of course, and a view of the flag still there by morning inspired the National Anthem.

Previous portrayals of the 1814 bombardment of Baltimore have shown a view from the far distant line of British ships firing at Fort McHenry, or from the defenders` ramparts taking the punishment, or via a bird`s eye view of the Fort and distant enemy.

Instead, the artist opted for what one historian has called "the first from this view", a little known element of the Battle, that a flotilla of armed British boats had been sent in close to the Fort as a diversion for the main land attack. Rindlisbacher's depiction is in among those boats, which likely had the best view of the Fort and battle that night.

The boat assault coincided with one of the most dramatic and dangerous times in the Nation`s history. The Treasury was virtually bankrupt, weeks before Washington had been captured easily, the Whitehouse had been burnt, the First Family barely escaping, and Baltimore was expected to fall next.

Portraying the high drama of that night was the artist’s objective in this painting, and its terror and violence cannot be overstated. Bombs, rockets and cannon balls relentlessly rained down on the Fort from the attacking ships and boats, while the Town waited in fear -- hours all in the midst of intermittent rain, thunder and lightning.

A pivotal night in America`s history, before dawn broke, the British left and "the Flag was still there.”

The painting is now available for purchase and be seen at Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery, One High Street, Portsmouth, Virginia.

Giclee prints on stretched canvas are now available in two sizes: 24 inches X 36 inches and 40 inches X 60 inches. Here's the link to the artist's page at Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery.

Also available- War of 1812: The Marine Art of Peter Rindlisbacher (Hardcover)
By Peter Rindlisbacher (Author) Victor Suthren (Introduction)
War of 1812: The Marine Art of Peter Rindlisbacher 


Released May 2013. War of 1812 : The Marine Art of Peter Rindlisbacher showcases 120 paintings in color by Peter Rindlisbacher, CSMA, of the maritime events during this epic time. His artwork documents many of the ships which were involved in the Great Lakes arena along with sailors and militia. This 190 page book is a record of his superb work with an introduction by Donald E. Graves and forward by Victor Suthren. Published by Quarry Press, Kingston; ISBN 978-155082-364-6.

*Museums and historic sites in the U.S. and Canada have purchased many of his paintings and his artwork is represented in part here at Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery.

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