The Day Washington Burned

Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 08:03 am
A few days old, but a good read.

DCist wrote:
August 24, 1814 -- the day that the British came to Washington and lit it ablaze. Certainly the most memorable moment of the War of 1812, the Burning of Washington was conducted by British forces in retaliation for Americans' burning of the city of York (now Toronto) in 1813, and remains the only time since the 1780s that the American capital has been occupied under a foreign flag...

Full Blog Article: DCist

Lots of cool stuff. Enjoy. If ever in Washington, if you know the right local person, you can go find the ruins of the old Capitol Building. Very cool.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 1,463 • Replies: 12

Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 08:45 am
@failures art,
We actually "won the peace" in this war.
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 11:47 am
@failures art,
Knew about Dolly Madison saving the Washington portrait. Didn't know about the tornado.
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Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 11:49 am
I hope there are no Church of England buildings in the area. It would add insult to injury.
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Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 11:59 am
Not only that, we burned York three times.
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Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 10:34 pm
This is the Ross monument, in Rostrevor, Co. Down, N. Ireland. It was erected in memory of the man who burned the white house down.
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 10:44 pm
Wow, new to me.
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Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 10:47 pm
the Burning of Washington.

Now theres a thought.
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 10:55 pm
Been done.
Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2010 04:15 am
the british also fired on Lewes Delaware and St Michaels Maryland during these campaigns

1In Lewes Delaware, they expended a great number of shells and bombarded the village causeing great concern and anxiety among the stock. The battery vfrom the flotilla managed to hit a building. (A facsimile of the cannonball was later plastered into the building where it had become somewhat of a tourist attraction.
Apparently the British had shown that their marksmanship was nothing of which to be concerned,

2In ST Michaels, although their ships were parked not far from the shore, they were unable to even hit the town with any accuracy. People actually came out and went down to the docks to cheer the British on and make wagers about what would be hit. It turned out that a cow was hit and had to be bandaged to prevent infection .

Not exactly "shock and awe". I think it was Lord North who, in the Revolution said of America
"How can you conquer a map?"
Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2010 11:59 am
farmerman wrote:
Not exactly "shock and awe". I think it was Lord North who, in the Revolution said of America
"How can you conquer a map?"

Before the English reached Washington, they were opposed by several thousand Virginia and Maryland militia, a few hundred sailors and somewhat fewer than 200 Marines. The American records account for about 7,000 militiamen. The English claim there were 9,000 of them. Whichever number you accept, the militia behaved just as they almost always have in American history--they threw down the guns and ran away before the Brits had even fired a gun in anger. The English force was about 2000 Peninsular veterans. When the militia ran away, the sailors using muskets and artillery they wouldn't allow the militia to take with them, and the Marines, fought the English until the sun went down. The Marines then marched back to Washington, taking all of their dead and wounded with them. The English were full of praise for the American Navy and Marines. That battle enabled Dolly Madison to do her thing, and for the government to evacuate their archives and specie. The battle has long been accounted a shameful defeat by American historians, who apparently expected a few thousand unwilling, ill-equipped and untrained American militia to turn back thousands of Brit veterans who had fought the French in Spain for five years or more.

In fact, given that the real fight was between fewer than 500 sailors and Marines, and the 2,000 or so Brit infantry, the Americans did amazingly well. British commentators noted that the militia "ran like sheep chased by dogs," but that the sailors and Marines fought like demons, in the words of one officer's letter: "They continue to serve their guns even after we had shot down all of their officers and were among them with the bayonet."

Of course, the greater lesson is that burning down Washington does no long lasting material damage to the United States. It was kind of like invading Russia and burning Moscow.
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Reply Wed 4 Sep, 2013 04:27 am
I seem to recall that part of the problem was that President Madison had poor advisors, including a Secretary of War who refused to believe the British were coming.
Reply Wed 4 Sep, 2013 06:42 am
The British are always coming.

Apart from Syria, of course.

Oh, and Vietnam.

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