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Seeing Stars The Battle of Fort McHenry, Part 1



Seeing Stars The Battle of Fort McHenry, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   2.74

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    artillery, chucked, fisticuffs, pointed, spite, easily, command, beginning, boast, fell, commander, supplies, anger, half-hearted, attack, packed
     content words:    Chief Thunder Cloud, Private Evans, Colonel John Evans, Fort McHenry, Major General George Armistead, East Coast, If Baltimore, Thomas Evans, Major Armistead


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Seeing Stars The Battle of Fort McHenry, Part 1
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     Thomas was not happy. "Here you go, Chief Thunder Cloud," said Caleb, handing him a bulging cloth bag. "That's the last of it!"
 
2     Scowling, Thomas took the bundle from his big brother. He shoved it under the seat of the wagon. His mother sat on the seat. His little brother and baby sister sat with her. The family's things filled the wagon bed. Thomas thumped down in the back of the wagon. His frown darkened.
 
3     "Cheer up, Tommy," Caleb said. He put his hand on the ten year old's shoulder. "You'll be back soon enough, if the major has his way. But the Redcoats are going to hit us hard. We're all going to be dodging cannon balls. You need to be in the city where it's safer."
 
4     Thomas only looked more cross. Caleb chucked the younger boy on the chin. "Come on, now. You know Father's got enough to worry about. There are enemy ships on the way! He can't be thinking about little bugs like you."
 
5     Thomas's fists clenched. His face blotched with anger. He leaped to his feet in the back of the wagon. "You take that back!" he shouted. "I am not a little bug!"
 
6     Caleb grinned. "Is it fisticuffs, my good man? Very well! Take your best shot." He stuck his chin out. "Right here, tough guy." He pointed at his own chin. "Do your worst." He kept his face stuck out at an absurd angle. He bugged out his eyes. The silly face made Thomas laugh in spite of himself.
 
7     Caleb smiled and ruffled Thomas's hair. "That's better," he said. "You know you've got to go, Tommy. A soldier has to follow orders. You've been ordered back to Baltimore, Private Evans!" Caleb stood up straight. His right hand snapped a salute.
 
8     Thomas let out a sigh. He returned a half-hearted salute. He hated leaving the fort now. They had spent days helping their father get ready for the British attack. Now the British fleet was headed toward the fort. All the excitement was just beginning!
 
9     In quiet times the family lived at the fort. Thomas's father was Lt. Colonel John Evans. He was second in command at Fort McHenry. Major General George Armistead was the fort's commander. Thomas's brother Caleb was eighteen. He served in their father's artillery troop. This group of soldiers was trained to handle the fort's big guns.

Paragraphs 10 to 18:
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