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Tag: hurricane

Archives Spotlight: National Archives in Boston

The National Archives holds millions of cubic feet of permanently valuable records relating to the Federal Government. Laid end to end, the papers in our holdings would circle the Earth more than 57 times.

But they are not kept in one place. Instead, we have archives in different regions of the United States. The records held there are related to the geographic area. Each of these archival facilities has a research room, where you are welcome to get a researcher card and do some work in our records.

The National Archives at Boston holds about 30,000 cubic feet of records dating from 1789 to the 1970s. These documents were created or received by the Federal courts and over 90 Federal agencies in New England.

If you are interested in maritime history, this is the place for you. There are records from the Boston Navy Yard and Portsmouth Navy Yard as well records on lighthouses, life saving stations, and other coastal facilities. Researchers can find information on private vessels by looking into the U.S Customs Service records; descriptions and measurements, names of owners and masters, and mortgage information may be in these documents.

Researchers interested in World War II can delve into records on arms manufacturing and research at the Watertown Arsenal and the Springfield Armory, or look at research projects from Harvard University (Harvard Radio Labs) and … [ Read all ]

Tornado saves capital, scares British

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 ]