The year is 1814, the final year of the War of 1812. With the Atlantic seaboard closed by the British blockade, Isaac Biggs, Jack Clements, and Jake Tate, fresh from their harrowing adventures in Canada, find berths with Joshua Barney's Gunboat Flotilla in the Chesapeake Bay. These swift and shallow-draft vessels have become a thorn in the side of the British fleet, and the British command is determined to destroy them. Barney's Flotilla is eventually chased up the Patuxent River to find temporary refuge in Benedict, Maryland, where Isaac falls in love with the daughter of a militia colonel. After several exciting forays against the British fleet, the flotilla must be scuttled and burned. Its men are called ashore to fight at the Battle of Bladensburg in an futile effort to halt the invasion of Washington, then are sent to defend Baltimore against the British siege of the harbor. Isaac, Jack, and Jake witness the historic and horrifying bombardment of Fort McHenry from the outer harbor, aboard a British warship in the company of Francis Scott Key.
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