Archive for '- Revolutionary War'
One hundred and ninety-six years ago today, the British sacked the District of Columbia. They were, in turn, sacked by a tornado.
In 1814, the British wanted revenge. U.S. troops had burned the legislative building, government structures, and private warehouses in the Battle of York (modern-day Toronto), and the Brits were inclined to teach their former colonies a lesson in how to properly sack a city.
Their charge on the American capital city was led by British Maj. Gen. Robert Ross and Adm. George Cockburn, who burned the Capitol, the White House, the Treasury Department, and plenty of other government buildings without losing a single soldier.
Cockburn was, well, a cocky fellow. Aside from burning much of the District, he did it with an unapologetic gusto. He supped on the dinner that had been prepared for President James Madison before burning down the White House.
While marching back through the city, he also made a stop at the National Intelligencer, where the editor had been “telling some tough stories” about him, and later had all the c’s removed from the press so the editor could no longer spell his name. As a testament to Cockburn’s ego, when he returned to camp after burning much of the District, he left a single soldier to guard the captured city overnight.
Unfortunately for Cockburn, day two of sacking the U.S. capital did … [ Read all ]
Posted by Rob Crotty on August 24, 2010, under - Revolutionary War, Myth or History.
Tags: american history, battle of york, burning capitol, burning white house, cockburn, hurricane, NARA, national archives, National archives and records administration, odd history, Pieces of History, prologue blog, Prologue magazine, random history, sacking DC, tornado, treaty of ghent, war of 1812, washington dc attack, weird US history
On New Year’s day in 1776, Gen. George Washington and the Continental Army were laying siege to the British-controlled city of Boston. From Prospect Hill, General Washington ordered the Grand Union flag hoisted “in compliment of the United Colonies,” accidentally ending the Revolutionary War.
Or so the British thought.
In Boston, a speech by King George that offered favorable terms of surrender for the colonialists was making the rounds. Loyalists in the besieged city were elated when they saw what looked like the Union Jack flying above General Washington’s encampment at Prospect Hill, taking it as a sign that the Continental forces has accepted the terms and were calling it quits.
Washington remarked on the event in a letter to Joseph Reed on January 4: “By this time, I presume, they begin to think it strange we have not made formal surrender of the lines.”
That the Grand Union flag was so easily mistaken for the British Union Jack made it clear that, certainly, the 13 colonies had a flag problem.
Thankfully, on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress took up the problem and declared “that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” … [ Read all ]
Posted by Rob Crotty on June 14, 2010, under - Revolutionary War.
Tags: betsy ross, flag day, grand union, history of us flag, june 14, king george, NARA, national archives, presidential proclamation, prospect hill, revolutionary war, siege of boston, stars and bars, union jack, woodrow wilson