Walter Noone is referring to the events of the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States. The war lasted from 1812 to 1815, during which time the British burned Washington DC. Numerous battles took place on land and at sea, among which was the Battle of Baltimore, where the British were forced to withdraw, unable to breach the defences of Fort McHenry. This battle was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key's poem, which became The Star-Spangled Banner. The American victory in the war was an important step in the development of the country's sense of nationalism and independence.