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Home > History > The Razing of Washington

The Razing of Washington

This articles describes the Razing of Washington in the War of 1812.

The Burning of Washington during the War of 1812

The Burning of Washington

The Madisons Evacuate Washington

After the British routed American defenses at Bladensburg, Maryland, Washington was left completely unattended, vulnerable to British attack or invasion. U.S. President James Madison, his wife, and his cabinet, all fled Washington to nearby Brookeville, Maryland. It said that Dolley Madison managed to save a copy of the Declaration of Independence and a famous portrait of George Washington, just before the British set fire to the White House. Although Washington was not considered a strategic port or place of capture, British forces sought revenge on the Americans for their raid on Port Dover in May of 1814.

Iconic Buildings Burn

Under the command of Robert Ross, who would be killed at the Battle of Baltimore, British soldiers entered Washington in the area now known as Capitol Hill on August 25, 1814. The British quickly overran the city and burned the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, the Senate, House of Representatives, and U.S. Treasury.

A Huge Tornado Sweeps Through Washington

Amazingly, an incredible storm hit Washington the following day, extinguishing fires throughout the city, and spawning a tornado that resulted in the deaths of British soldiers and American civilians. The tornado was one of eight recorded in the history of the District of Columbia.

On to Baltimore

The British would next turn their attention to the port city of Baltimore to the north. If the British could take Baltimore, their Chesapeake Bay campaign would have been a complete success. Thousands of Americans quickly volunteered for the defense of Baltimore.

War of 1812 Battles

November 7th, 1811 - Battle of Tippecanoe
July 17, 1812 - Battle of Fort Mackinac
August 15, 1812 - Massacre at Fort Dearborn
October 13, 1812 - Battle of Queenston's Heights
January 22, 1813 - Battle of Frenchtown
March 30, 1813 - Battle of Lacolle Mills
April 27, 1813 - Battle of York
May 1-9, 1813 - Siege at Fort Meigs
August 15-16, 1813 - Surrender of Fort Detroit
September 10, 1813 - Battle of Lake Erie
October 5, 1813 - Battle of Thames
1813-1814 - Creek War
July 5- 1814 - Battle of Chippawa
July 25, 1814 - Battle of Lundy's Lane
August 24, 1814 - Battle of Bladensburg
August 25, 1814 - The Razing of Washington
September 6-11, 1814 - Battle of Plattsburgh
September 12-14, 1814 - Siege of Baltimore
November 11, 1814 - Battle of Crysler's Farm
January 8, 1815 - Battle of New Orleans

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