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194 The National Music of America.
he feared that the projected attack would be betrayed by the American party, who must have seen the preparations going on in the fleet. He therefore detained the party on board his son's ship, The Surprise,1 and afterward placed them under guard on their own cartel-vessel during the night of the attack. One can imagine the feelings of a patriotic American, compelled to remain with the enemy during the important battle which ensued.2
1 It is impossible to give some of the details of the detention with historical accuracy. A writer in the American Historical Record, January, 1873, says that Key was on the cartel-ship Minden when he wrote his immortal song; Col. John L. Warner, in a paper read before the Pennsylvania Historical Society in 1867, says Key "was received with courtesy on board the Minden, Admiral Cockburn's flag-ship." Rear-Admiral Preble, in his excellent " History of the Flag," states, however, that the ship of the line Minden was not in the engagement at all, and was not one of the fleet at that time. It was evidently another Minden on which Mr. Key wrote his verses, probably his own little cartel-ship.
2 Mr. Key was at this time a volunteer in the light artillery of Major Peter.