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