Today in Military History: The British capture and burn Washington DC

On August 24, 1814, British forces were victorious at the Battle of Bladensburg, Maryland, and marched on Washington, D.C.

The Washington Fire was a retaliatory attack for the American Toronto Fire and much of the US capital was burned down. Little has remained of the original city, including the original White House.

The United States was engaged in the War of 1812 against the British Empire for two years. The battles were tough and fierce, and it seemed like the war would never end. Then some British troops decided to burn down the White House – which had serious consequences.

There were many reasons for the war, but there were two main ones. First, there were very strict regulations on American trade and second, the UK was wrongfully imprisoning American sailors. Moreover, the British weren’t exactly happy with America pushing its borders and trying to expand in all directions.

During the battle, President James Madison took command of one of the American batteries, becoming the only sitting American president to engage in combat as commander-in-chief, but he and his wife were forced to flee the capital before the arrival of the invaders. .

British General Robert Ross and his officers dined at the White House that evening as British troops began burning the city in retaliation for the burning of Canadian government buildings by American troops early in the war. They burned down the White House, the Capitol building and the Library of Congress before the rain fell, extinguishing the flames.

After 24 hours of occupation, Ross retreated from the city, leaving behind his charred remains.

President Madison hired the original architect, James Hoban, to rebuild the White House, which was restored in 1817.