Talk:Burning of Washington

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This page title should have "(EPIC WIN)" after it... :) ΤΕΡΡΑΣΙΔΙΩΣ(Ταλκ) 01:15, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

wow british people.....i like it......

After reading this page, it appears clear that someone left the gates open at the asylum again... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:23, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Ok, this is just bad.[edit]

Clearly, some of the people who've contributed to this article haven't done much research.

First, there were no Canadian or Canadien troops in the attack on the City of Washington. Canadians in Upper Canada were mostly second and third generation exiles from the American War of Independance who had chosen to remain loyal to Britain. They had a hard life and were just interested in protecting what they had built themselves. The Canadiens were the original French Catholic settlers of Lower Canada who viewed the War of 1812 as a war between English Protestants and English Protestants. They didn't care who won as long as the victors would leave them alone. If anything, the residents of Canada were in local militia units, not the British Army Units that attacked Washington straight from the fields of battle in the Peninsula War in Europe.

Second, as to "Background", the burning of Washington was not in retaliation for the invasion of York. Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn arrived in the Chesapeake Bay in March of 1813 and started developing his plan to attack Washington long before he had heard about York (remember that, before railroads and the telegraph, news only traveled as fast as a man on horseback). When Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane and Major General Robert Ross arrived in the Chesapeake Bay in August of 1814, they were reluctant to attack Washington. Instead, they wanted to attack Baltimore, the homeport for many American Privateers who were disrupting British shipping elsewhere in the world. They didn't want to take a chance on reducing their force by attacking a villiage with little strategic significance that might be heavily defended. Cockburn convinced Cochrane and Ross that Washington would be easy pickings, so they consented. In fact, during the advance on Washington, Cochrane, still in his flagship at the mouth of the Patuxent, ordered Ross and Cockburn to withdraw, but Cockburn convinced Ross to ignore the order.

Third, as to "Occupation and Burning", the timeline is a little disrupted (no doubt a result of multiple edits.) The last sentence of the second paragraph should be the first sentence of the fourth paragraph. It refers to the episode regarding the National Intelligencer, which happened after the epidode at the President's House described in the third paragraph (What we call "The White House" today, was called The President's House or The President's Mansion back then. Though it had been painted white long before the British arrived, only a few people refered to it as The White House, usually in a overly familiar tone that bordered on irreverent.)

This account also fails to mention the other public building to be spared. Along with the US Patent Office, the Residence of the Commandant of the US Marine Corps, in the Washington Navy Yard, was spared. It is the oldest public building in the city of Washington.

Also, the last sentance is meaningless and inflamitory. It also presumes that President Madison and the rest of the government were able to prosecute the war effectively before the British attack, which has not been substantiated.

Fourth, as to "Aftermath", in addition to being a gross oversimplification of the circumstances, much of what is said in the last paragraph is just plain wrong. The attacks refered to as "Britain's three objsective" were not British Objectives but a few of the many objectives of the local theater commanders. In Upper Canada and the Northwest Territories, the objectives of the local British theater commanders were mostly to defend what they already had, which they did quite well, and to limit the ability of the US forces to advance on them, which they did with varying degees of success. Remember that the US was the agressor in this war (though not without significant provocation), so The United Kingdom didn't have any military objectives.

Also, Cockburn's plan was to attack Baltimore by land after invading Washington, a march of just 35 miles. This would have caught Baltimore's defenders off guard, but Ross saw that his men were exhausted and wanted to return to the ships. Remember that this was a hot, humid August, and the British Army uniform consisted of three layers of heavy wool. Many of the British Soldiers that died at the Battle of Bladensurg hadn't suffered a wound; they died from heat related exhaustion.

Last, a lot of well documented information has been left out of the statistics in the upper right frame.

I look forward to your comments.

Tom Cavanaugh The Road to Washington - British Army Style

indeed the attack on Washington was designed for political effect (to weaken the madison administration) and was not in "retaliation" for anything, as the British commanders explained to London. See Roger Morriss, Cockburn and the British Navy in Transition: Admiral Sir George Cockburn, 1772-1853 (University of Exeter Press, 1997), P. 104. Rjensen (talk) 09:17, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
This whole "Canadians being in Washington" discussion seems to be a national pride thing. It's funny, because that same fleet sailed down to New Orleans and got crushed, yet I don't see anybody in a hurry to edit Canada into that battle. ~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

"White House" Naming[edit]

According to the article on the White House, the story that the phrase "White House" became associated with the president's residence after it was repainted following the burning of Washington is an urban legend, "confirmed" by Snopes. Would there be any objection to removing this bit from this article?--SFBADanceDude 00:55, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

I doubt there would be an objection -- I, too, noticed the inconsistency. I say, go for it. --Stevestrange 06:25, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I disagree. The "myth" was more than that. The white paint was used to cover up the marks and the term was in wider use after that time. It made it quite an event to rebuild a building that should have been caved in, painting over the blackness with white paint and restoring the building for the President. This "myth" was not a myth. --Noitall 04:42, September 13, 2005 (UTC)
You know, Noitall, I think I'm going to have to go with the White House Historical Association on this one. --Dhartung | Talk 08:49, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

The White House Historical Association states the following:

The occupation of Washington by British troops lasted about twenty-six hours, but evidence of their vandalism survives to this day. Some of the blocks of Virginia sandstone that make up the original walls of the White House are clearly defaced with black scorch marks. They are the indelible stains from the fires of 1814.'Italic text

This section and 'Aftermath' contradict each other - was it called the white house before the war or not?-- 12:39, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

I think it's ok now --AW 13:43, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Americans don't get it, at all...... Your right it is a pride thing, Canada was easy to take over, how did that go for you. To say only British Troops did this is very false. I am Native American, and guess what, I am Canadian, I have a friend from Iran, guess what, he is Canadian. Canadian is a state of mind, not a type of people. We just went Canadian on you, kinda like the Ridge ;) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:29, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Canada should have been easy to take over and would have fallen had the U.S. been as organised at the start of the War as they were at the end (or even in 1813). They believed their own propaganda about "mere matter of marching" (as well as the legacy of the Minuteman myth) and needed to be bloodied before accepting that militia would not as a rule overcome regular troops. Natty10000 (talk) 20:44, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
What do either of these comments have to do with the naming of the White House which is the subject of this section? As for the War of 1812, it was between the U.S. and the British Empire, not Canada. In effect, the British Empire was already waging war against the United States and we decided rather than continue putting up with it to fight back - sorry if that rains on your parade. Actually, until after the Civil War, the United States weren't all that united, with regionalism or individual states rights often taking precedence over a sense of national allegiance. During the War of 1812, New Englanders were generally opposed to the war (bad for business) while those in the western states and territories, due to British interference or less politely acts of war, were more in favor of taking them (the British, not the Canadians) on. You can be rest assured that Canadians were least on the minds of the Americans at the time - just as today. As a Native American, I find it homourous as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:13, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Aftermath section[edit]

The "Aftermath" section reads as though the British were aggressors bravely repelled in the War of 1812. Here follows a line-by-line commentary of the non-NPOV paragraph. Yes, it's not blatant, and from what I understand it's what American children read in their textbooks, but it's not encyclopaedic.

Of the three objectives of Britain's invasion of the U.S., Lake Champlain, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. this was the only attack that was successful.

Perhaps "retaliatory invasion"? For those that aren't familiar with the war of 1812, this reads as though the British initiated war by invading the US. Suggested: Of Britain's three objectives in its retaliatory invasion of the United States, Lake Champlain, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., this was the only succesful attack.

Although they had succeeded in diverting the necessary attention of Washington away from the war, the field commanders proved themselves and beat back every invasion that the British launched against the U.S. for the rest of the war.

Use of the word "although" implies that there will be a point and a counterpoint; instead, we have the point that the British achieved their strategic objectives, balanced by the undefended statement that the US commanders (who weren't actually present at the burning, from what I understand) proved themselves. I am not sure that one can prove oneself at an unequivocal defeat like Bladensburg, either. It reads as if American cheerleaders are trying to pass this off as a perverse sort of victory. Suggested: Although the British had succesfully diverted the attention of Washington away from the war, American field commanders succesfully repelled every other British attack for the remainder of the war.

RE: Americans repelling every British attack? -- It was the Treaty of Ghent that made the British leave Maine, which they captured and still held by the end of the war. Would this not be considered a British attack that America did not repel? A stroke of the pen, not of the sword, gave Maine back to them. And, although it's fair to state in the Aftermath that morale did not suffer in the US to the degree that the British wanted, it should also be fair to say that it inevitably affected American confidence in prolonging the campaign: the Treaty of Ghent was signed by the end of the year. SCrews 04:55, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
It is not accurate to say that America repelled every British attack. The British held territory captured in Maine for the duration of the war. The British naval blockade of the coast was clearly another glaring action that remained in place until the treaty was signed. SCrews 15:17, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Cockburn's belief that the destruction of the capital would demoralize the American populace also proved false. The destruction galvanized thousands to volunteer for the defense of Baltimore.

Why "also"? What other assertions of his proved false? Also, although galvanized is without a doubt a pretty word, it is not an objective one. Suggested: Further, the attack did not have the demoralizing effect Cockburn intended. Rather, it led thousands to volunteer to defend Baltimore. Kai 20:19, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

A few weeks ago I reverted some vandalism on the article and noticed the poor word choice in the last paragraphs, but I was too lazy to do anything about it. You've raised valid issues about the wording, and your suggested improvements seem logical and unbiased. Go ahead and edit using the suggestions above; I think they sound fine. --NormanEinstein 20:41, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

British or Canadian?[edit]

The burning of Washington was largely British troops right, not Canadian? The page below says they were from Wellington's army, thus largely English. Maybe some could have been Canadian too, but if you say that, I bet some were Scottish and Irish as well.


Awiseman 19:57, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

The term "British" refers to those from Great Britain, so listing English, Scottish, et cetera separately is the equivalent of saying "Canadians and Quebecois" everytime you refer to Canada. I am under the impression that the term can refer to Irish people who were ruled by the British. If Canadian troops were involved, the question is then whether the troops from Canada should be referred to as British. Today, people from current British colonies can be referred to as British, and since 2002 can be British citizens; before then, they could not be, making the term less apt. Chances are, the hypothetical 'Canadian' troops would have thought of themselves as British, but also as Canadian. A key point is that, if Canadians were involved, they are the ancestors of many current Canadians literally and culturally, and as such their actions in the war of 1812 are as much a part of the Canadian cultural identity (or more so) than of the British. Many Canadians would fight tooth and nail to have the troops called Canadian; I'm a Canadian, and I think it would be nice, if in fact there were troops involved who lived in what is now Canada. Historical accuracy, if it comes down to it, would trump sentimental nationalism.

Of course, as the sharp readers might have picked up, a key point here is whether any of the troops involved were from Canada; as well, their status within the British army may make a difference.


Kai 05:02, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Good points all, but the reason I bring it up is because somebody changed "British" to "British Canadian," although I have always read it was mostly British regulars from Wellington's European army who attacked Washington. I haven't heard anything about British Canadian troops in Washington - they couldn't have fought their way down from Canada, so did the British troops come straight from Europe, or did they stop somewhere in Canada, maybe pick up some Canadians, and then come down the coast? Awiseman 15:23, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

I would have thought that post 1801 that any Irish participants would have also been British (as there is no adjective for United Kingdom-ish)

Canadian involvement (?)[edit]

I've just moved the following line here, from the end of the second paragraph under the first section (Background) in the article:

"This is contrary to the belief that Canadian forces participated in the Burning of Washington, as it is unlikely that any Canadian militia would have been brought to invade the first place, and if so, they would have been routed at the Battle of Plattsburgh."

The British North American command during the War was called the North American Station. It was first commanded by John Borlase Warren. As the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online says at -- with selective emphasis added:

"Warren's major North American service came during the War of 1812. As admiral of the blue he was appointed on 3 Aug. 1812 to the Halifax, Leeward Islands, and Jamaica stations, the Admiralty having unified the three commands to allow him to direct the overall naval strategy of the war. Warren's initial task upon his arrival at Halifax in September was to negotiate an end to the conflict with the American secretary of state, James Monroe. After this attempt failed, he laid out his strategy of fighting a defensive war off the North American coast to protect trade, while keeping up limited blockades of American waters with forces operating from the two main bases of Halifax and Bermuda. Writing privately in December to Lord Melville, his patron at the Admiralty, Warren argued that a series of raids on the enemy coast, and selective blockades until reinforcements were sent, would keep American military forces tied down and relieve pressure on British North America. To strengthen inland naval defences, Warren advised the Admiralty to send a force to the Canadian lakes, a recommendation which was followed in March 1813 with the ordering out of seamen under Sir James Lucas Yeo. Warren also urged Sir George Prevost, the military commander in North America, to build more ships on the lakes, and dispatched three of his lieutenants, Robert Heriot Barclay, Daniel Pring, and Robert Finnis, there."

"Unfortunately for Warren, the force at his disposal always lacked ships, seamen, provisions, and stores, even after reinforcements arrived. His incessant requests probably irritated the Admiralty, and he was reprimanded for them by its secretary, John Wilson Croker. Yet Warren's vessels had to blockade the main American ports from New York City south, watch and restrain scores of privateers, be alert for forays by the American frigates and sloops, guard the convoys from Jamaica to Quebec, protect Halifax and Bermuda, and carry out raids on the coasts of Chesapeake and Delaware bays. He was relieved in March 1814, when the Admiralty re-established independent stations and appointed Sir Alexander Forrester Inglis Cochrane to the North American one. Warren was embittered enough to protest to Lord Melville and to hold up transfer of the command to Cochrane until 1 April."

The point of this lengthy quote? From the start of the war in 1812 until April 1814, the British naval command of the eastern seaboard was based in Halifax. Even after April 1814, the commander of the Halifax Station (not the commanders of the Leeward Islands or Jamaica stations) was responsible for planning the combined operations of the navy, British Marines and British army forces. Including substantial raids on the US eastern coast.

That commander of Halifax Station was Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane. He was the senior British office in theatre command, and both Admiral George Cockburn and General Robert Ross would report to him.

A substantial portion of the raiding party, including over a thousand Royal Navy Marines, sailed from Halifax in what is now Nova Scotia, Canada. Therefore the mention of Plattsburgh (and the land campaign south from Quebec) in the line I removed should be irrelevant.

In order for Canadians (either Canadians serving in militia forces, or Canadians serving in the regular British Army or Royal Marines) to participate in the Burning of Washington, it is very likely all they had to do was walk on board a British ship docked in a harbour in what is now Canada. Given that at the time the Baltimore/ Washington raid, the War of 1812 had been in progress for two years and nearly two months, it is also entirely reasonable to assume there were Canadians in the raiding parties. Either in militia companies, or serving in the regular British army or Royal Marines.

In a war when militia companies frequently travelled long distances -- a Newfoundland regiment was present at the Battle of York (now Toronto) and at Mackinac, for one example -- to assume no Canadians were in the forces used in the Chesapeake campaign, seems to me to border on absurdity.

Cheers, Madmagic 04:07, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

The invasion force that attacked Washington consisted of British forces from the Peninsula War in Spain, Scottish volunteers (85th Regiment Bucks Volunteers), and Royal Marines from the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. Admiral Cockburn's forces were also from the European theatre and had been ordered to conduct raids on the Atlantic coast. The Royal Marines were having manpower problems during the Napoleonic War, and it's ranks were supplemented by British army regulars, not Canadian militia.
Consider this, if the force of mostly British from Europe had recruited a few Canadians (over the more readily available freed slaves or European mercenaries) as replacements, does their presence automatically give the Canadians a substantial credit to the occupation of Washington? By that logic, the Scottish, Spanish, African slaves, and who knows what other individual nationality could have been present there, should also be given credit to the glorified vandalism of government propery. Godfather of Naples on 23:03, 20 March 2006, (UTC)
Please re-read the line I moved from the article to this Talk page, the citation I quoted, and my reasons for doing what I did. And please provide citations for your statements above.
I am not suggesting substantial credit be given to Canada, to Canadians, or to Canadian units for the occupation of Washington. I am saying the Canadian contribution to the Chesapeake Campaign and the occupation of Washington should not be ignored or dismissed out of hand -- as it was in the statement I moved from the article to this page.
Regarding what you call "the glorified vandalism of government propery" -- the destruction of US government buildings in Washington in August 1814 was in part a retaliation by British forces for the same kind of destruction done by US forces on government property -- when the US occupied and burned the Parliament Buildings of Upper Canada in the Battle of York on April 27, 1813. However, unlike the US forces in York, the British didn't pillage or loot private homes.
You might also check the geographical location of Halifax, the headquarters of the British North American Station during the War of 1812 (see citation and quote, above.) Halifax is not located in Scotland, Africa, or Spain. Cheers, Madmagic 23:00, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Again, your point about Halifax is irrevelant. Simply because a city in British North America served as a military headquarters and staging area doesn't mean the force that invaded and occupied Washington was, or had any military units, that were Canadian. All of the units available were either British regulars or marines. My point about Africans, Spaniards, or Scots was not about were the invasion was launched from, I was merely pointing out that the nationalities of individuals present at the invasion is irrevelant. Credit is to be given to the national army responsible, in this case, the British. Your point seemed to be that a few Canadians may have ended up at Washington, "by simply hoping on a British ship", though a more educated and creditable explanation is that they may have joined as replacements.
Unfortunately for the point you are trying to make, such an assumption is not only unprovable, but irrevelant as the military units they joined are British, not Canadian. There were no militia (other than American) present at the Burning of Washington. Seriously, ask yourself, would a veteran British army of over four thousand strong even need militia?
Those are the regiments in the War of 1812. The regiments present at Washington are the British 4th Regiment (King's Own), 21st Regiment (Royal British North Fusiliers), 44th Regiment (Essex), 85th Regiment (Bucks Volunteers), and Royal Marines. All of which are either British or Scottish regiments.
As for the remark about "the glorified vandalism of government propery", it was not to show that the Burning of Washington was unjustified, but rather that an event that so many Canadian "historians" not only falsely claim is credit to Canada, but fight so hard to stand by these statements when the Burning of Washington was nothing but that -- "the glorified vandalism of government propery", and overall a strategically unimportant victory which ultimately led to a major defeat at Baltimore. By your logic, Canadians could have possibly been present at Baltimore as well as Plattsburgh (of which they more likely were present at) or New Orleans. Rather than me seeing countless Canadian wiki "historians" edit their nation's pre-history involvement into these defeats, they naturally seem more concerned about stealing historical glory from the British. I guess you can't expect historical revisionism to work both ways though. Godfather of Naples on 15:46, 22 March 2006, (UTC)
Look, go back up and re-read the line I originally removed from the article. I've asked you to do this before -- see above, where I wrote "Please re-read the line I moved from the article to this Talk page, the citation I quoted, and my reasons for doing what I did."
I removed the line for good reasons. I gave those reasons in what I wrote, immediately following. And within that context, my point about Halifax was not -- and is not -- irrelevant. Read the original line and the comments.
Regarding your comments about historical revisionism, I strongly suggest you read Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not -- especially Wikipedia is not a battleground.
If you want to discuss Canadian, British or US historical revisionism, then kindly take your views to a forum where it is appropriate. Respectfully, I'd also strongly suggest you read Wikipedia:Etiquette. If you're not prepared to Assume good faith and practice civility, this may not be your kind of place. Cheers, Madmagic 19:00, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
You just keep telling me the same thing, to 're-read' your post (As if I was mysteriously able to intake literature without reading a first time). Trust me, I've read your points, debunked your points, and if you are feeling so offended by it that you need to bring up etiquette, as if I had committed ad hominem which clearly isn't the case, then you should just lay down the horn. Your original modification to the cited line was that a three way invasion was staged from Canada. Since this is a crude generalization of the invasion, the line was removed.
Claiming that Canada was involved in the Burning of Washington is like saying that America was involved in the capture of Berlin during World War 2 "because part of the command was based from there". It's simple historical revisionism. I dealt with your fallacies in this discussion without having to issue etiquette 'warnings'. You skewed history by saying, I quote, "it is also entirely reasonable to assume there were Canadians in the raiding parties. Either in militia companies, or serving in the regular British army or Royal Marines", I merely attempted successfully (until otherwise proven) to prove that Canada's involvement was less glorious, more likely non-existant.
Your next reply should show me credible sources linking to a Canadian militia, let alone national regiment, present at the Burning of Washington, not attack my writing style because you might consider something or other offensive. I know what etiquette is. Don't waste my time with replies which assume that I am ignorant towards debating values, and leave all assumptions that I'm some 'wikipedia troll' at the door. I came here to prove that Canada has no stake to claim in the Burning of Washington, not to waste my time discussing ethics, nor to let this degrade into mudslinging. If you desire otherwise, feel free to clear the discussion. Godfather of Naples on 20:45, 22 March 2006, (UTC)
If I wanted to prove Canadian militia forces were present at the Burning of Washington, or debate with you whether any Canadian forces were present, I would research and cite other references. I have no interest in proving the first point to you and I have no interest in debating with you. Nor am I interested in discussing this issue with you any further. I have already made my points above, and in my opinion you have not responded to them. Which is the reason I have twice suggested that you re-read what I first wrote.
I did not attack you or your writing style. Neither did I call you ignorant or a troll. What I wrote was: "Respectfully, I'd also strongly suggest you read Wikipedia:Etiquette." And specifically, the two articles on assuming good faith and civility. The reason I strongly suggested you read them is because, in my opinion, 1) you are not being civil, and 2) you are not assuming good faith.
Kindly stop your negative and unfriendly comments or I'll take this to dispute resolution. I'm here to write and edit articles -- I've made over 1200 edits -- not to insult or to be insulted. Madmagic 22:27, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
You claimed that Canadian militia regiments would have been present at the Burning of Washington and to think otherwise was absurd, then compelled me to find 'citations' that proved otherwise. I gave you the regiments present, two of which had no chance of having a Canadian in it, the other three may have had scattered nationalities but what difference does it make. There are no listings of any Canadian militia present at the Burning of Washington. Any Canadian militia would have more likely been spared in the Plattsburgh offensive. My statement was correct. Stop going on about your edit count and etiquette... I'm not intimited by veterancy, and if you think I'm being too hard on you then all I can say is be a man. The internet, especially online discussion, is an 'in your face' environment and I'm not even being rough on you. Instead of threatening to take it to dispute resolution (as if it's even that serious), perhaps you should convince me I'm wrong. Try to keep it one paragraph too, the posting in this section is getting cluttered as it is. Godfather of Naples 23:11, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Sort out this "Canadian" issue with the article on the War of 1812 article, which clearly states: "It is also important to point out that, when the United States attacked British North America, most of the British forces were engaged in the Napoleonic Wars. This meant that British North America had minimal troops to defend against the United States, who had a much larger (though poorly trained) military force. For most of the war, British North America stood alone against a much stronger American force. Reinforcements from Britain did not arrive until 1814, the final year of the war. The repelling of the stronger American force helped to build unity in British North America. This was most notable between the French and English divisions in Upper and Lower Canada."

Therefore, please note that it is quite likely that Canadians were involved in the Burning of Washington, and also note (Tom) that this war actually brought the French, and the English together in Canada against a common enemy (not just English Protestants versus English Protestants as you claim).

It would be nice to see some actual unbiased proof here, but almost all sources are Canadian, American, or British.

Also, as a point, where is the source for the last bit: "Of Britain's four objectives in its retaliatory invasion of the United States, Lake Champlain, New Orleans, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., this was to be the only successful attack. Although the British had successfully diverted the attention of Washington away from the war and prevented further American incursions into Canada, American field commanders repelled every other British attack for the remainder of the war. Furthermore, the attack did not have the demoralizing effect Cockburn intended. Rather, it led thousands to volunteer to defend Baltimore."?

Specifically, the last two sentences? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 17:07, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

re the comment above that the regiments were either British or Scottish - Alex Salmond will be pleased....but there was no such country as Britain until Endland and Scotland joined in a union. Scotland is fundemental part of Great Britain!

Wow. This whole discussion is very, very awkward. It sounds to me as though Americans don't want to accept 'Canadians' as having been involved in burning their capital, and are neglecting to realize that there's no 'objective' evidence of this because there's none to be had. It's a typically American thing (I see it everywhere--in the use of the word 'independence' to refer to the BNA act, for example) to interpret Canadian history through a US lens.
Put simply, there was *no official distinction at all* to be made between 'British' and 'Canadian' elements in this conflict. There simply is no basis for a distinction. 'Canadien,' for example, refers to an ethnic faction that is a remnant of the Conquest, by England, of New France. At the time of the war of 1812, the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada were governed by direct representatives of the Crown, in charge of appointed executive councils. Everyone in Canada, (English or French, or otherwise) was a British subject, and aside from the issue of representative government (as it culminated in the Patriote Rebellions, for example), had no problem with that.
If you don't want Canadians to have been involved in burning Washington, you're going to have to start looking at the event in its historical perspective; essentially, there was no such thing as a Canadian in 1812-1815. If you don't want to look at it in that perspective, then you're going to have to accept that the descendants of the people involved in that war (regulars or otherwise) now reside in Canada, a country created in 1867 from the British Province that this event was initiated from.
The answer to this apparently very contentious question lies in your definition of Canadian. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Were the people who lived in Canada British, or were they Canadian? The answer is that they were *all of them* *British* until 1867, and now their descendants (many of which are the descendants of the soldiers who fought in that war) are Canadians.
Maybe the American-oriented perspective could be put aside in an effort to actually understand the unique nature of the Canadian experience? We (Canadians) generally don't care what you think of the British, but *back then*, even when we were French, Irish, Scottish, or German we were British. We're the descendants of the British subjects of many distinct nations who lived in a *province* of the empire. In the historical perspective, the groups are one and the same. Get over it. Canadians burned Washington. Sigma-6 18:18, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Of course. Just like Californians and Kansans burned down Atlanta in shermans March to the sea. There was no distinction among residents of various parts of the union, they were all US citizens, so hopefully US civil war articles will properly credit California and Kansas for all union victories and campaigns. Simply calling them "union" victories would obviously rob Californians and Kansans of their glorious US civil war heritage.Zebulin (talk) 06:38, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, thank you for entirely missing my point, which was that the whole virulent debate is inspired by an irrational desire to exclude a people who didn't exist from an event that they never really claimed (as such) that they were involved in. Again, we didn't exist until 1867 as a nation, and the British/Canadian distinction prior to that is pretty shaky, so if you're trying to exclude us because you don't like thinking that we've ever beat you at anything but hockey, you might be engaging in ANACHRONISM, inspired by NATIONALISM. From up here, it just looks silly. Sigma-6 (talk) 04:48, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

No Historical Evidence of Canadian Involvement[edit]

I find it highly unlikely that any Canadian forces participated in the Chesapeake Bay campaign. My reasons for this are simple. All units form the order of battle are British in origin and veterans of the Napoleonic Wars(may have had Canadian members but just because Americans volunteered for the RAF during WWII doesn't mean the United States Air Force won the Battle of Britain). No need to transfer Canadian units(which were mainly militia)as it would be logistically difficult, time consuming, idea unpopular with Canadian governments(in Mar. 1814 Upper Canadian government protested that most available men of working age were on duty and thus unable to attend their farms),completely unnecessary as sufficient forces were already available. Regardless of the pride modern Canadians take in the supposed role their ancestors played in the burning of Washington it is doubtful that many if any Canadians would have greeted the idea with any joy. Canadians were mainly subsistence farmers and couldn't leave home for extended periods of time. In the end their is no current historical evidence to support Canadian participation in the Burning of Washington, and until their is factual historical evidence to support Canadian units(raised in Canada and primarily composed of Canadians)participation in the campaign. I think their supposed involvement should be at most noted but not considered factual until supporting evidence comes to light.Danwild6 06:48, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Dan, the creation of the Canadian Constitution was an Act of the British Parliament that took place in 1982. Please re-examine your perspective. There were no such things as 'Canadian Forces' in 1814. Sigma-6 18:42, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Well I don't believe I brought up Canada's constitutional history but nevertheless that is a nice tidbit of history that I was unaware of. Okay in regards to "Canadian Forces" yes and no, I was referring to units(such as fencibles)raised in British North America trained to European(British in particular)military standards.Danwild6 09:08, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Aye. My point is, you're expending a lot of effort to write out a group of people who didn't even exist from your history. It's not worth the trouble. Canadians (in my experience living here, studying the conflict) conceptualize this war as a part of Canadian military history which predates the formation of the country (in 1867 and 1982). There simply is no distinction of note between 'British' and 'Canadian' in this context. It's an imaginary, post facto invention by various types of nationalists. Sigma-6 (talk) 02:43, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Other Things[edit]

I being a long time resident of Washington D.C. was a bit disappointed that many of the legends surrounding the burning of Washington were left out of this article. A section should be added to this article discussing some of these myths since they are widespread and would help explain their origins and significance. For example, one story that may or may not be true is that the British troops, before burning down the Federal buildings, met in Congress to vote on the issue. Even though this is probably a myth, it is one of many such stories that should be added here. (talk) 14:58, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Steve D.

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 15:13, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Category disaster[edit]

I see that this article is categorised under Category:1814 disasters while the somewhat similar Battle of York has no similar categorisation under Category:1813 disasters. Is this a POV issue? Richard Pinch (talk) 20:30, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Grammar: i.e. or e.g.[edit]

The article contains the words: "they took souvenirs (i.e.: one of the president's hats) and then set the building on fire." Shouldn't this be e.g. not i.e.? "Souvenirs" is clearly plural - a class of objects is being mentioned, of which the hat appears to be a representative article, not a delineation of the single specified article.

David Corliss (talk) 12:33, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Canadians? not[edit]

Jon Latimer, 1812 (2007) ch 14-15, a thorough history by a leading British historian, shows there were no Canadian units involved whatever. Rjensen (talk) 14:11, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Canada, as a nation, was not formed until 1867. At the time of this war, Canadians were still referred to under the umbrella of "British subjects" (a term that would be used officially until the passing of the Canadian citizen Act 1946). Thus, it would be difficult to identify any unit as being Canadian. 8 characters long (talk) 07:45, 18 June 2012 (UTC)


^Really? Anyone living in Canada at the time was considered Canadian. The word "Kanata" is a native word meaning "village" or "town" and was what the land has been referred to much before 1867. Even if the Canadian government did not exist until 1867, that doesn't mean the people living there at the time, the ancestors of today's Canadians, were "British" or "French." Most had lived there for generations and while they may have had European background, so did the Americans...

Let me give you a simple example, what are British people living in Scotland called? Scots/Scottish people, right? Just because they are part of the UK doesn't mean they don't have their own nation and culture. The same goes with Canadians of both British and French background living in the land of Canada in the 1600s-1867, even under the British flag. Canada even had its own militia made up of soldiers who were actually Canadian inhabitants and not directly from Britain. They played a significant role in the War of 1812, even with the help of soldiers directly from the UK (non-Canadian) and the natives. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:08, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, but in 1813 people from the Maritimes would not have considered themselves "Canadian" at all, and for people who lived in areas which were actually called Canada at that time, any "Canadian" identity would not have superseded a British or French political or cultural identity. Units involved in the Burning of Washington were British organized and British led. AnonMoos (talk) 23:07, 13 September 2012 (UTC)


United Kingdom, not Great Britain[edit]

It was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1801 until 1922, and it says United Kingdom in the template on War of 1812. Why not on this page? --Philip Stevens (talk) 19:34, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

I've pipelinked it so clicking on it now directs to that article. Previously it was going to Great Britain which is the island, so obviously that was not right. Lord Cornwallis (talk) 19:41, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Shouldn't it say the same on this page as it does on War of 1812? --Philip Stevens (talk) 19:54, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
On the War of 1812 page it refers to the British Empire, which is a bit anachronastic as the term British Empire came later. It seems a euphemistic way to refer to Canada's involvement before the 1867 Confederation that created Canada. It really should just refer to Britain, as Canada did not become a separate military power until much later. I guess it could be argued that the article is written in American English, where usage of Great Britain is more common.Lord Cornwallis (talk) 20:14, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
"British Empire" was used at the time and is commonly used by historians. The war involved several parts of the British Empire. "United Kingdom" was not used at the time and is rarely used by historians. It's anachronistic re: 1812. British, American and canadian historians rarely use "United Kingdom" for 19th century history. Rjensen (talk) 21:50, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
I just think this page and War of 1812 should match as they refer to the same country. --Philip Stevens (talk) 20:10, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

White House[edit]

Note: This section was called "Famous Dolly Madison story is a load of crap." but has been changed to match subtitle & be more professional.

The story about Dolly saving the Washington painting has always been in dispute. Her slave, Paul Jennings, tells a different story in his memoirs. According to him, all she took was the silverware. The painting itself was saved by a frenchman and one of the whitehouse gardeners, who obtained a ladder, removed the painting from the wall, and sent it off on a cart. Here is an MSNBC article regarding the controversy. This article is used as a source on the Dolly Madison page, also. (talk) 16:23, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

This is the first time I have seen the Jennings story. It sounds plausible, but hardly enough to dismiss the Dolley Madison version as a load of crap. What concerns me is that the article now has two conflicting accounts, one in the Events section and one in the Damage to the White House section. I am inclined to delete the latter and have a short reference to both versions in the Events section. In fact, I may do so right now. The James Madison Museum reference acknowledges both versions without taking sides.--Geometricks (talk) 05:41, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
The events is not in dispute nor is "it plausable." Geometricks is not famaliar with the account, that doesn't make it "disputed". But he's correct that one section should discuss this. Now, there is plenty of evidence that Paul Jennings was an eyewitness to the events and recorded them correctly, and his story is not doubted by historians. He did say a Frenchman and another man saved the painting, not Dolley Madison. In fact, there was a White House event in August 2009 to honour his descendants for the efforts that Paul Jennings had done to save the painting. The sources are in the article, and there is more on him other places.[1]
This article and talk section need some serious clean up.Ebanony (talk) 11:20, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
But I am familiar with the account, and have been since January. I am also familiar with conflicting accounts, and that is what makes it disputed. To say that it is not doubted by historians is overstating the case. They do not become historians by taking stories at face value.
Now I believe you have misinterpreted my use of the word "plausible". I have no beef with the Jennings version of events. However, it is a minor detail that occurred during a major event. I will keep my fingers off of it, at least for now, but I would like you to consider toning down those recent changes. There are far too many quotes. The final paragraph has an unidentified NPR reporter sharing syrupy personal feelings about "a few precious minutes" in front of the portrait. The whole topic is given far too much attention. The largest section in the article now amounts to a Paul Jennings testimonial.
By the way, thank you for changing the heading of this section. We are adults here, right? Geometricks (talk) 15:52, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
My comments were in part directed to the unnamed editor.
The NPR reporter is Robert Siegel, and is named in the article. But this was also covered by the NyTimes. Madison and the White House, Through the Memoir of a Slave, August 15, 2009 by Rachel Swarns. This link: [2] They went much further than I did, and there are many more on it (CBS, Washington Post, etc). Even historians at Montpelier (Madison's home) agree that Jennings is accurate & quote him on their site see link [3]
There really is no doubt of the historical account by Jennings. There would never have been a White House ceremony otherwise. Where's the evidence that it happened otherwise? To say Dolley herself removed the painting is just not supported. Telling the slaves what to do is one thing (she did that), but she didn't do physical part. Do you have left out evidence? Who disputes this & based on what?
The section won't be so big when the article is expanded and other relevant topics are discussed (you can help with that too); you can change the part on the family's comments, but I'd suggest leaving at least mention of the ceremony to honour Jennings contribution.
I followed the link in Notes, regarding Paul Jennings memoirs and found an error. Although the author correctly quotes Jennings, the quotes are found on pages 12 and 13, not 14 and 15. Does anyone know how to update this? When I click edit, a blank page appears. 8 characters long (talk) 07:54, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
The title was wrong & that sort of rhetoric is just not helpful - I hope we're adults. The plausible word - you're right! Thanks for monitoring! Let's improve it together.Ebanony (talk) 00:29, 17 June 2010 (UTC)



I think the burning of Washington can be called a sack, as some looting (of the White House and Alexandria, at least) occurred during what was (apparently) mostly an arson event, but "burning" seems to be a better description for what occurred. Nonetheless, it's potentially interesting to compare the burnings/sacks of Washington and Toronto with those of Rome. (talk) 17:35, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Well, the execution of war has generally been getting to be a kinder, gentler undertaking as the years have progressed (overlooking the excesses of Genghis Khan :) ). And comparing the burning/sack of Washington vs. that of York is kind of apples and oranges insomuch as the Centre of the Universe© was more of a defensive afterthought at that time. The burning of Newark would be more of a kind. Natty10000 (talk) 02:12, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Only foreign occupation of US capital?[edit]

I see a reference has been added to the citaion request about this being the only time a foreign power occupied a US capital, but I still fail to see how that can be correct given the fall of Philadelphia forty years earlier. I understand the government fled Philadelphia at the approach of Howe's forces and temporarily set up the capital elsewhere during the occupation, but historians of the war seem to almost unanimously refer to Philadelphia as the capital. For instance Osprey's book on the campaign is called "Philadelphia 1777: Taking the Capital‎". Lord Cornwallis (talk) 00:47, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

That was before the founding of the United States, i.e. ratification of the Constitution and formation of the actual nation. When Philadelphia was occupied, the United States was still a collection of colonies fighting for independence. -OberRanks (talk) 05:03, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Defining the exact date the United States was created is problematic. 1776 tends to be the most common date although 1783 and the Treaty of Paris when it was recognised by Britain and other countries also has a strong case. However, I'm not sure I've ever seen any later date given as the date of the actual creation of the country. Was the Constitution the actual creation of the country rather than the creation of the current political configuration? Given the 1776 date of independence is so common, and that most accounts of the British taking of Philadelphia in 1777 refer to it as the capture of the capital, the current sentence could be seen as slightly misleading. Lord Cornwallis (talk) 17:10, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I completely agree. Someone familar with how to add "note links" may be able to add a line that specifies that the sentence does not take into account the Philiadelphia occupation (or just rewrite the sentence or even remove it). It really does come down to the view upon when the United States actually became a country. Some sources even state the 1760s due to the rise of rebel feelings! -OberRanks (talk) 19:18, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
I've tried to rewrite the sentence to take note of the Philadelphia thing. It might need a bit of tweaking, but I think it covers it. Lord Cornwallis (talk) 20:56, 23 January 2010 (UTC)
i think what was there was correct, as during the revolution the gov. was on the move alot, and had no official capital. for a large part of the revolution there wasnt even an offcial gov. as the second continental congress was originally just too tell britain what we wanted and grew into an unofficial gov. Joesolo13 (talk) 22:47, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

The burning of Washinton[edit]

Historians assert that the attack was in retaliation for the American burning and looting of York (now Toronto) during the Battle of York in 1813, and the burning down of the buildings of the Legislative Assembly there. The British Army commanders said they chose to attack Washington "on account of the greater political effect likely to result,".

The White House had been set ablaze causing extensive damage; only the exterior walls remained, and they had to be torn down and mostly reconstructed due to weakening from the fire and subsequent exposure to the elements, except for portions of the south wall. A legend emerged that during the rebuilding of the structure white paint was applied to mask the burn damage it had suffered, giving the building its namesake hue. This is unfounded as the building had been painted white since its construction in 1798. (Thats how the White House got its name.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:54, 3 May 2010 (UTC) A tornado caused them to retreat? come one what BS!!!!!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:01, 25 October 2010 (UTC) A hurricane and tornado certainly DID cause the British to retreat!!!!!!!! No American military forces were even in the vicinity. This 'biblical action' is attacked by atheists who want explain everything as being "random". - 2601:589:4705:C7C0:35C4:6B67:A2EF:921E (talk) 22:12, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

File:US Capitol 1814c.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:US Capitol 1814c.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on August 24, 2010. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2010-08-24. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page so Wikipedia doesn't look bad. :) Thanks! howcheng {chat} 18:47, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Picture of the day
Burning of Washington, 1814

In the evening hours of August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces attacked Washington, D.C., setting fire to the White House and the unfinished Capitol Building (damage to latter shown here), among other buildings. This was the second and last time in United States history that a foreign power has captured and occupied the United States capital.

Artist: George Munger; Restoration: Lise Broer
ArchiveMore featured pictures...

You're going to do it on the anniversary? Ok, well I can say that the article needs some work because it is too short. So if you want you can add relevant info to some of the sections. I've already done some work, so perhaps others can contribute more, particulalry if they have a lot of knowledge in some areas. Sounds like a ok change. Thanks for your work on the article. Ebanony (talk) 09:44, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Hi, I'm Devin and new to this, so please be nice when you correct me. I'd like to make a suggestion dealing with the interpretation of the information presented and interpreted here.

Early the article says: **Historians[who?] assert that the attack was in retaliation for the American burning and looting of York (now Toronto) during the Battle of York in 1813, and the burning down of the buildings of the Legislative Assembly there.**

At the end. ***The burning of the capitol and other buildings at Washington shocked the nation and was denounced by most of the continent of Europe. According to the The Annual Register, it had "..brought a heavy censure on the British character..", with some members of Parliament joining in the criticism. However most of Britain felt it was justified for American incursions into Canada and because it was the United States who had declared and initiated the war.***

One minor point. How does anybody know what most of Britain felt? Parliament represented a sliver of the population. Letter writers were drawn from those who could write. Nobody did random sample surveys.

Major (IMO) point. If the Brits had such a great rational for burning Washington, then why did those Europeans (who made their opinions known) react negatively? I think we need to consider the possibility that the rational doesn't hold water and take a closer look at it.

A possible answer. Washington, DC, was the capital of a sovereign nation that signed treaties, sent and received ambassador, and declared and made war. In terms of population it was a small country, but in other ways it was greater than it is today. It produced the Declaration of Independence and three great men who were admired again by those Europeans who made their opinions known -- Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson. Franklin and Jefferson were Renaissance men who had served in Europe and been observed first-hand. Washington and Jefferson between them had served as President for most of the existence of the country.

This was just the first string -- Adams and Madison rounded out the Presidents. Adams had served abroad.

What was York? The capital of one piece of absolutely non-sovereign Canada? If the Brits wanted to retaliate for the burning of York, they could have burned Chillicothe -- that would have been more comparable. If we want to think about nasty things to do a provincial capital, what about the nasty threat that Brock delivered to the women and children of Detroit? What is implicit in his message -- scalping, rape and murder of women and children while the Brits watch? All the Americans did was burn a few buildings.

So the justification for the burning of Washington is simply the rationalization of an act that drew condemnation from Europeans??

Last question. Why did Prevost ask? Were he and others in the command structure always honest and honorable? Am I wrong, or was he part of the British cover-up of the massacre of sick and wounded prisoners at French Town? Men who had surrendered after receiving assurances from Procter that they would be protected.

So I think -- again this is interpretation -- that there is no reason to accept Prevost's communications at face value. If you were Prevost, what happened in Upper Canada not that long ago that would be upsetting? The burning of York? Or the recent smashing defeat* of the 41st Foot at the Battle of the Thames, and not so incidentally, the embarrassment of the command structure.

  • One ineffective volley and then British regulars surrendered, died, or threw down their muskets and ran. Procter, with an escort of dragoons, ran first.

Someone might say that interpretation has no place. Ok, but the existing article has exactly the opposite interpretation assuming that people tell the truth. That is a questionable interpretation at best and even worse when applied to dishonest men. It is assumed without any presentation of any reasons to think Prevost was honest in general or in this matter. If we are accepting interpretations as we seem to be, IMO, my interpretation is ahead.

And if we accept the further interpretation that Prevost's request led to the burning of Washington -- then we open up the reasonable thought that it was in retaliation for the Battle of the Thames.

Thank you for your patience. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Abigpainintheass (talkcontribs) 17:53, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

"How does anybody know what most of Britain felt?". I don't think your point is wrong insomuch as the historical response we have would most likely be that of the merchant and upper class of the time. However, I don't think that the general feelings of the other classes would've been significantly different though it may have been more of a 'what fresh Hell' kind of response.
"If the Brits had such a great rational for burning Washington, then why did those Europeans (who made their opinions known) react negatively?" From the Wiki entry:
"At the time, it was considered against the civilized laws of war to burn a non-military facility and the Americans had not only burned the Parliament but also looted and burned the Governor's mansion, private homes and warehouses"
Sauce for the goose.....
Also when combined with the U.S. actions at Newark in December of the same year, I think the British response as laid down in history is supportable. As for Brock's message to Hull, he was merely playing on a known weakness of his enemy (Hull's correspondence having been captured previously and his daughter and granddaughter being at For Detroit). It prevented bloodshed and I think you're being disingenuous if you try to portray it in a more sinister light.
"Why did Prevost ask?" Quite simply because he didn't have the resources under his command to effect that response. Also, there may have been factors afoot that he wasn't aware of that would palliate against such a tack. It's called CYA. And yes, honesty and honour were more meaningful then to men of a certain stature than they are in these days.
"Am I wrong, or was he part of the British cover-up of the massacre of sick and wounded prisoners at French Town?" You're wrong
"And if we accept the further interpretation that Prevost's request led to the burning of Washington -- then we open up the reasonable thought that it was in retaliation for the Battle of the Thames." You're applying today's speed of communication against two centuries ago. It just isn't on. Relatively speaking, the Battle of the Thames was small potatoes against the principals violated in York and again in Newark. Natty10000 (talk) 22:22, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Canadian Issue to rest?[edit]

Whether of not we (Canadians) were there is a moot point. Clearly we must have had some involvement, but Canada had almost no control over their own affairs until the Dominion Acts of 1867, and even after that the British still did most of it for us and could overrule whatever they felt like. Over 100 year later they still TOLD us we were in WW1. A distinction should be made as to whether, as a completely non-autonomous member of the British commonwealth, any involvement we had could even be called Canadian involvement, rather than just an extension of the British. I do think a couple of inflated Canadians had a hand in the article, "we burned down the white house" etc etc.

I would also like to add that the article mentions a housekeeper who saved a portrait, and in brackets mentions he is still living. Is he 108 years old? I'd imagine he must have died since that was written. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:43, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

What you refer to is the quote from Paul Jennings, the African slave in the White House that belonged to Madison and later wrote the name of the man who had saved Washington's painting. That incident pccured in August 1814, and the man would be far older than 108, but that's not the point. Jennings wrote his memior in 1865, and it was at that point that the other man was still alive. The brackets were not added by an editor, they are a direct quote from Jennings book on pg 13. The source is in the article, and the book is available online. I encourage you to compare the quote below with the url. There is no error.

"John Susé (a Frenchman, then door-keeper, and still living) and Magraw, the President's gardener, took it down and sent it off on a wagon"Ebanony (talk) 15:01, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Reasons for attack: source Morriss[edit]

In the section Reasons for the attack, Mediatech492 (talk · contribs) removed a [who?] tag against a weasel word "Historians claim ..." with a claim that a cite at the end of the paragraph covered the "Historians". When I read the text of the cite, and replaced the tag on the grounds that the "Historians'" view was not in the cite, he replaced the wording with the very definite claim that "According to British Admiral Sir George Cockburn, the attack was in retaliation for the American burning and looting of York (now Toronto) during the Battle of York in 1813, and the burning down of the buildings of the Legislative Assembly there", using the same cite (Roger Morriss, Cockburn and the British Navy in Transition: Admiral Sir George Cockburn, 1772-1853, University of Exeter Press (1997), p.104) as support. I maintain that the source does not support this very specific view. I attempted to discuss the matter on Mediatech492 (talk · contribs)'s talk page. User Mediatech492 replied that "I have referenced to a verified source, while you have offered nothing but your own unsourced opinion. The citation DOES support my position, and your attempting to suppress it is a clear violation of neutral point of view.". The user has reverted my edits as vandalism, a serious and unjustified charge. I am in the position of arguing a negative here, that the source does not support User Mediatech492's point of view. I would like uninvolved parties to read the text (of pages 86-121, covering the period in question, of this source only please, don't bring in other sources to confuse the issue) and comment on whether it supports User Mediatech492's point of view or mine.HLGallon (talk) 06:22, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Went through the entire section (at least as much as will display online) and the citation doesn't back up Mediatech492's assertion. The mention on page 109 of the the destruction at York and at Washington is clearly a parallel of the author's and not a citation of any kind. Natty10000 (talk) 16:13, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I have also gone through the chapter in Morriss:
  • Page 103 says that in retailiation for American atrocities on the Canadian border, he ordered squadron commanders to 'destroy and lay waste' towns. This is clearly a quotation from Cockburn's orders. It is not clear to me what "atrocities" are alluded to.
  • Page 109 has a commentary on the destruction of Washington, referring to reports to British govenrment. This mentions the burning of the legistature at York, but it is not clear if this is Morriss's own comment or is in fact a summary of Cockburn's dispatches, since quotation marks are not used in the relavant passage. However, I suspect that it is the latter, as the whole paragraph reads to me like a summary of his report. Unforatunately notes 102 and 103 on page 295 on which Morriss's passage is based are not avaialble to me in Google Books, so that I cannot see what he is citing. However, I note that elsewhere he is citing NMM, COC, which sounds like Cockburn's own papers desposited at National Marimtime Museum, Greenwich. The passage does not read to me like a histroriographic discussion of the subject, as no historians are named in the passage, as they wouls be if he was discussing rival views on the subject.
In conclusion, I consider that the passage as it now appears is justified by the source cited. However, I have expanded the citation to take account of what I have just written. Peterkingiron (talk) 17:32, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Writing as an uninvolved editor, Natty10000 and Peterkingiron have made some good points which seem to make sense. There is no historiography that I can see in the passage cited and it can therefore not indicate alternative points of view; as far as I can see (admittedly with a fast read-through) it does not appear to discuss the reasons for the attack beyond a vague nod in the direction of the earlier attack on York. To go beyond the original question, I think there should be a recognition in the page of what part the attack on Washington played as part of the wider war going on at the time. Put it in context please. The book cited seems to be a solid narrative re-telling of the events. A more thorough and analytical work would be a better source with which to improve the passage. Ben (Major Bloodnok) (talk) 21:00, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I think the shortcoming of the 'retribution for York' assertion is that quite simply, it was not by any stretch then-recent having occurred nearly 16 months before. There had certainly been actions in the interim that were far more outrageous to the mind insofar as 'civilised' warfare was concerned: the burning of Newark the previous December and the various attacks that were taking place in what is now southwestern Ontario would have been much more likely to be front-of-mind as opposed to York. I'd suggest that the latter would much more likely fit the bill of the "atrocities" that Peterkingiron refers to in his pg. 103 citation as while York may have been many things, it would take some histrionics to qualify it as an atrocity. Natty10000 (talk) 23:44, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Just as an addendum to the above, just having read through Raid_on_Port_Dover#Aftermath and the Cruikshank citations, I think the 'retribution for York' canard can be laid to a well-deserved rest. Natty10000 (talk) 16:44, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: I've not gone through the actual sources, but assuming that both involved users have reviewed the RFC summary and would have objected to any inaccuracies and per the comments by other users above, I would say that only because you have a reliable source doesn't mean that you have all rights to get the content in as you (or even your source) phrase(s) it. Per WP:NPOV any claims that can be objected to should be clarified inline and phrased neutrally. Having a source for it only covers the basic inclusion criteria. NPOV, which is another core policy should definitely be observed. If your source uses a weasel word, then you should find more sources to make up for that or phrase it in a way that you don't have to use weasel words. WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV should also be considered for this matter. --lTopGunl (talk) 01:10, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  • You don't need Morriss to cite this; Pierre Berton will do fine. That this retaliation should have taken over a year is not surprising; consider how long it would take, by sailing ship, to get the news to London, reach a decision, and organize a campaign. By that time, you've come to the end of the campaign season, and have to do it next year. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:01, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
You needn't bring Berton into this; Cruikshank will do. York was small potatoes compared to the more recent and much more egregious issues that happened at Newark and Port Dover. As much as some seem to desperately want to frame Washington as returning York's fire, the paper trail just doesn't bear this viewpoint out. Morriss compared the two events; nothing more. Really, unless someone has something more substantial to bolster the 'York revenge' position, this should be put to bed as the unsubstantiated parlour talking it is. User:Natty10000 [Stop me before I edit again!] 01:59, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Damage to the dockyard[edit]

One of the sources in the article is:

Rod Powers and the website on which he write does not seem to meet the requirements of a reliable source as described in WP:V -- PBS (talk) 23:10, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

The sources:

make explicit statements about the Gates surviving the British attack (on page 5 of the Joint Committee on Landmarks document "The Main Gate ... is one of the few structures to have escaped the fire in 1814 when the British invaded Washington".) but while the "Adams & Christian" document states the age of the buildings (some of which pre-date the British raid), as far as I can see it does not explicitly state that the buildings survived the raid largely intact, they could for example have been gutted and remained as shells until rebuilt at a later date. So I think that some of the information in the sentence they support falls foul of WP:SYN, and so I think that a source that specifically mentions that the buildings survived the raid is needed. -- PBS (talk) 23:10, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

How about adding a new section to the article page regarding popular myth?[edit]

In going through the article, a recurring theme of edit wars has been:

1) Canadians were responsible for the burning
2) The burning was a retaliation for the burning of York

Since it's been agreed (I hope) and demonstrated with sources that these two cherished beliefs are in fact canards, as a way of preventing future edit wars wouldn't it be an idea to mention them as such on the article page? Just a thought User:Natty10000 [Stop me before I edit again!] 17:06, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

'White House, US Capitol, and Library of Congress'[edit]

I added Library of Congress to opening paragraph. - Brad Watson, Miami (talk) 12:28, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Biblical Hurricane and Tornado[edit]

I rewrote this part, created a new section Biblical Hurricane and Tornado, and provided a very good reference...

Less than a day after the attack began, a powerful hurricane suddenly appeared and its heavy thunderstorms put out most the fires.<ref]The War of 1812, Scene 5 'An Act of Nature', History Channel, 2005,</ref] It also spun off a tornado that sheered through the center of the capital that killed and injured more British troops than did the Americans. The tornado tossed cannons into the air and spooked the British soldiers, including their officers. After the storm cleared, the battered and bewildered British troops returned to their ships, many of which were badly damaged. The occupation of Washington had lasted only about 26 hours. The Royal Navy reported that in the attack, it lost one man killed and six wounded, of whom the fatality and three of the wounded were from the Corps of Colonial Marines.<ref]"no. 16939". The London Gazette. September 27, 1814. pp. 1942–1943. Retrieved 22 Dec 2010. </ref]

President Madison and the rest of the government quickly returned to the city.[citation needed]

A separate British force captured Alexandria, on the south side of the Potomac River, while Ross's troops were leaving Washington. The mayor of Alexandria made a deal and the British refrained from burning the town.[1] - Brad Watson, Miami (talk) 13:04, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Hi Brad, I removed the section you added because it was adding an unnecessary slant to the article both in the naming of the new section and the description of the British troops return to their ships. Unless there's a reference to the storm in a particular book of the Old or New Testament, your heading by implication invokes an intervention by the Almighty on behalf of the States. This opens a can of opinionated worms to say the least as virtually every combatant in every war has claimed the Almighty as a backer. Also, your changed link is less accessible (and has a potential for hyperbole) than the one that existed. Natty10000 | Natter 13:57, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Natter, Your action is unacceptable! One of the definitions of 'biblical' is any significant event that shows God's involvement and is comparable to a significant event(s) from the Bible. Your comment, "Unless there's a reference to the storm in a particular book of the Old or New Testament" is possibly the most ridiculous statement I've ever encountered from someone who places themself in a scholar's position of authority! A hurricane suddenly appeared that put the Washington fires out and a tornado came down Constitution Ave that killed and injured British troops, flung cannons into the air, and ultimately drove the British out of the US Capital without any US troop actions. There certainly was "an interventiontion by the Almighty on behalf of the States" and this was a quote by the Mayor of Baltimore in the History Channel program/DVD. I quoted a very reliable source that has reached thousands, if not millions of people. Your actions appear to have an anti-God agenda and were very wrong. You should regret your actions and change it back! - Brad Watson, Miami (talk) 03:39, 13 September 2012 (UTC) Note of synchronism: Right after posting this, a very strong thunderstorm suddenly struck my neighborhood! - Brad Watson, Miami (talk) 04:02, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Brad, The Mayor of Baltimore and you are welcome to your opinions. But the operative word there is "opinions". Bear in mind that as much as topics permit, Wikipedia is concerned with fact and as such tries to maintain a reasoned balance, a balance that is neither pro nor anti (ie God for one example or the U.S. for another). Nobody was disputing that the storms happened. Where things veer off into the bushes is when the intervention of the Almighty is invoked as having favoured one side or another (or by a Wiki editor such as yourself) in a conflict. As such, it has no business here.
One other thing? The name's Natty10000 not Natter. Your misunderstanding seems to have come about as a result of you stripping-out Wiki mark-up code instead of just doing a proper cut-and-paste.
That said, I'll delete this conversation from the article's talk page and return it to where it began on your user talk page later today (as long as that doesn't contravene a Wiki rule)  Natty10000 | Natter  14:03, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Just want to make sure that it's kosher to remove this from this talk page as this was copied from the user's talk page where it began? TIA  Natty10000 | Natter  14:23, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Just did! I dream of horses (T) @ 23:10, 13 September 2012 (UTC)


  1. ^ Landry 2009, p. 255.


Is it worth noting that this event is referenced in Dylan's song Narrow Way, from his most recent album, Tempest? (talk) 16:18, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Is it a clear reference? If so, I would think it'd be fair game as Canadian singer Stan Rogers' tunes are mentioned in the entries about John Macdonell and the Battle of Stoney Creek.  Natty10000 | Natter  20:58, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

"The Marylanders: Without a Shelter or Crumb" - unbiased source or not?[edit]

Full title is "The Marylanders: Without a Shelter or Crumb - A Saga of the Fascist Repression of a Family During the American Civil War" By Stephen D. Calhoun

Wiki editor Stephendcalhoun (talk) has made some edits recently sourcing the above-mentioned book with the truncated title as in the topic line and give its full title, I'm wondering whether on its own it qualifies as an unbiased source for Wiki use  Natty10000 | Natter  15:04, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

It seems unlikely to be a reliable source. I suggest you take it to the Reliable Sources Noticeboard for their opinion. (Hohum @) 15:01, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Hohum. That's my sense too though I wasn't aware of the RSN. I'll do that if it's used again  Natty10000 | Natter  16:08, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Removed purely argumentative section, per WP:NOTAFORUM HLGallon (talk) 15:35, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Date of burning of White House[edit]

This evening, NPR is reporting in a history-reconstruction piece that this date (1814 August 21) is the 200th anniversary of the burning of the White House and the Capitol by the British.

However, this date is not given in the article, nor can I find any citations to the date on the web (admittedly a cursory look).

Shouldn't the date of this incident be reported, with authenticated reference? Bill Jefferys (talk) 03:05, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Mention the attack on the Pentagon on Sep 11, 2001?[edit]

The second paragraph of this page places the Burning of Washington (1814) in the historical context of attacks on Washington throughout its history, yet fails to mention the attack on the Pentagon on Sep 11, 2001. I recently edited the second paragraph of the page to include the Pentagon attack, but my edit was promptly undone by another editor who explained that "(Al Quaeda is not a 'foreign power' (aka country) ergo the changes are incorrect and reverted)." If the topic of the second paragraph is attacks on Washington DC "throughout the history of the United States," then why should only attacks by 19C European nation-states be mentioned? This is anachronistic and fails to consider the changing historical conditions of international conflict experienced "throughout the history of the United States."

The article would be more accurate if it at least made some mention of a significant attack on a US Federal Government building in Washington DC that has occurred since the 1814 event that is the subject of this page. I would suggest doing these things to correct this problem:

1) Revise the sweeping, absolute language of the second paragraph (e.g. "Throughout the history of the United States"; "the only time"; "the only country") to make it more careful and qualified, and...

2) Mention the attack on the Pentagon on Sep 11, 2001, or...

3) Eliminate the second paragraph of this page altogether.

Stacyted (talk) 01:06, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

The shortcoming of what you propose is that you're comparing an apple and an orange. While the British had the wherewithal to effect occupation afterwards (assuming desire to + success later at Fort McHenry), not so Al Queda with their one-off attack by a small group of terrorists with death-wishes. If we start going down that road, we open up the can of worms of how minor a terrorist act or plot is sufficient for mention and inclusion? Natty10000 | Natter  12:21, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
We agree on this Natter. They are both attacks on Washington DC that have occurred "throughout the history of the United States," but they were designed by different kinds of attackers. If the article is going to continue to claim to summarize all attacks on DC "throughout the history of the United States," it should mention all of the attacks, and acknowledge that there are differences among them. Otherwise it should eliminate the second paragraph of this page altogether. Stacyted (talk) 16:16, 28 September 2014 (UTC)Stacyted
You're missing my central point. To equate the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon to that of the War of 1812 is to cheapen both the significance of that particular attack as well as the British attack. They are utterly dissimilar in intent and outcome hence the apples-and-oranges reference. Had the 9/11 attacks been completely successful to the full extent their designers intended, there was no possibility of Al Quaeda occupying US territory; not so the War of 1812 attack. Had the British had the inclination (and a populace not already weary from decades of war with France), extended occupation was a definite possibility. That is why I pointed out that your equating the two represents a slippery slope.
Oh and my user name is Natty 10000; the "Natter" is a link to my user talk page  Natty10000 | Natter  20:07, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree entirely with Natty1000; an act of modern, stateless terrorism cannot be equated and should not be linked to with a 19th-century conflict. The context, motivations and results - all are completely different, among other things. 20:58, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the attacks are different. But they are both attacks. And they are both attacks on Washington DC. And they both involve burning federal government buildings. And they have both occurred within the time-frame of "throughout the history of the United States." Failing to mention the other attack on Washington DC makes the second paragraph inaccurate. You could correct this inaccuracy easily by simply acknowledging the existence of 2001 attack. I'm not sure why you seem to be going to such great lengths to avoid doing this obvious thing, but if it is important to you to avoid it, there are other good ways to solve the problem that do not obligate you to mention the existence of the 2001 attack. Remove the entire second paragraph. It is not essential to the page as it deals with events far beyond scope of the 1814 Burning of Washington. Revise the second paragraph to eliminate the sweeping and absolute language. Either of these edits would correct the problem while simultaneously allowing you to avoid acknowledging the 2001 attack here. Stacyted (talk) 15:23, 29 September 2014 (UTC)Stacyted
Yes, they are both attacks - as is a mugging, or shelling, or bombing, or assassination. Simply because two things are "attacks" does not make them related, or worth mentioning on each other's articles. A terrorist attack using a hijacked plane is a totally, fundamentally different thing than an amphibious assault, as is deliberate arson for a military purpose different from an attack meant to spread terror. It is simply not logical to equate two such totally different things. The paragraph remains accurate; Al Qaeda is not a foreign power, an amphibious assault involving thousands of men is not a hijacking and crashing, and the explosion of a plane is not deliberate destruction of military supplies. Frankly, I'm not sure why you insist that these things are related; they simply are not. In similar fashion, we don't mention Bombing of Dresden on the article Siege of Dresden or the USS Cole bombing on the Aden Emergency page. Rwenonah (talk) 19:18, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Right. This article is about one particular attack, the 1814 Burning of Washington. Why doesn't it stick to that topic? Instead, the second paragraph attempts to account for all the attacks on DC "throughout the history of the United States." Stacyted (talk) 04:22, 30 September 2014 (UTC)Stacyted
It DOES stick to that topic. You're misrepresenting or misunderstanding the very clear wording of the second paragraph ["this was the only time since the American Revolutionary War that a foreign power captured and occupied the United States capital"] and wanting to stretch it like Silly Putty so that you can include a mention of 9/11. That's like comparing apples to oranges because they're both fruits, Rottweilers to rabbits because they're both mammals, Magnolias to Marigolds because they're both flora; it's an attempted equation so broad as to be meaningless and being meaningless, adds nothing to the article. As I said in my first response "how minor a terrorist act or plot is sufficient for mention and inclusion?" If we go down the 9/11 rabbit hole, logically we should likewise include mention of the Beltway Sniper as that was also an organised attack conducted by a small group that struck terror into Washingtonians. Then, of course, muggings should be included because the size of the attacking organisation shouldn't limit their rightful inclusion alongside the 9/11 terrorist attacks, should they?
Obviously, this is over-the-top hyperbole however it does point out the can of worms that can be opened by changing a clear and specific paragraph to include an eminently malleable word like "attack". Natty10000 | Natter  12:58, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Is Al Quaeda a "foreign power"? Was its attack on the Pentagon an act of war? Some might say yes, and some might say no. It is ambiguous. It is difficult to say. But the second paragraph pretends that it is not ambiguous and not difficult to say. Why raise questions and controversy in an article that is supposed to be an objective account of an event that happened in 1814? Stacyted (talk) 15:08, 30 September 2014 (UTC)Stacyted
I'm sorry but is there a part of "a foreign power captured and occupied the United States capital" that has you confused? Certainly it seems pretty unequivocal and amending it so that equivocation can then be added is a slippery slope that doesn't improve the entry. That way lies madness. Natty10000 | Natter  19:13, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
The paragraph would be less misleading and raise fewer questions if the phrases "Throughout the history of the United States," and "or Washington, D.C.," were omitted, and if the phrase "foreign power" were changed in every case to "country" or, even better, "nation-state". It would be even better to just omit this potted history of attacks on DC (paragraph 2). But if must be there and it somehow also must avoid discussion of the 2001 Pentagon attack, then it should be made clear that it is restricted to attacks by nation-states involving the burning of a particular building (i.e. The White House), or buildings that are not the Pentagon. This would at least make it accurate in letter, if not in spirit. Stacyted (talk) 14:48, 1 October 2014 (UTC)Stacyted
The paragraph isn't "misleading" in the slightest; it's just inconvenient for you because its clarity doesn't permit you to shoehorn-in a 9/11 false-equivalency reference where it doesn't belong. Recognise when you're urinating upwind. Natty10000 | Natter  19:07, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
It is accurate. Al Qaeda did not capture or occupy the US capital, nor did it burn the White House. There is no basis for arguing that any entity has done so since that time. The sentence is both clear and specific; it needs no further modification. The two attacks, furthermore, are simply so totally different that even categorizing them as the same thing is wholly inaccurate. As Natty1000 said, you seem to want to shoehorn this reference into the article in a context where it is irrelevant and has no place. Rwenonah (talk) 19:53, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Also, the Pentagon is not in Washington, DC. It's in Virginia. So the addition was also wrong on the basis of geography. Rwenonah (talk) 19:55, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
As long as the second paragraph is in there in its current form, it remains misleading. You all could easily fix this (without having to mention 9/11) by taking out some of the sweeping language or just cutting the paragraph. I tried to fix it, but when I did you undid my edit. I won't waste my time or yours trying to re-edit the paragraph at this point. Just know that there is at least one reader out here in the world who, when reading the second paragraph, wonders "but what about 9/11?" You could continue to dismiss or discredit readers like me, but it would be better to imagine and anticipate how your text might raise these kinds of questions for readers and revise it to ensure that it does not raise them. Stacyted (talk) 16:24, 2 October 2014 (UTC)Stacyted
Sorry but did you not understand Rwenonah's clear, concise reminder that the Pentagon is in another city, another county and another state? The paragraph is clear and concise as is; it just isn't framed in a way as to make a facile false equivalency easy. Natty10000 | Natter  20:34, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Thank you to for your edit on 24 July 2015. That edit revised the sweeping, absolute language that had previously marred the second paragraph of this article (e.g. "Throughout the history of the United States"; "the only country"), making it more careful, qualified, and accurate. Stacyted

Major edit removed[edit]

My edit was removed when it was indeed referenced. I spent two hours finding the source (written by BBC Peter Snow) for free on Google Books, see page 140 for the incident I described. I'm not going to change it as I don't want further trouble but here you can see it for yourself just remember page 140. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2604:2000:8161:C100:1DE2:8E9E:5B6A:2662 (talk) 06:50, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

My apologies for overlooking your citation which was there. I've reverted the article to your last entry and please accept this mea culpa.  Natty10000 | Natter  11:50, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
Alright thank you plus you wrote it way better than me in my fast paced tired state. Perhaps I should've also written it to the quality you have, great job with that. User:2604:2000:8161:C100:1DE2:8E9E:5B6A:2662 (talk) 02:50, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
T'weren't nuthin'! I wuz the one with the reading comprehension issues. :) In all seriousness, you should consider registering as a Wiki editor. Whenever I see an entry edited by an anonymous IP address, I assume vandalism afoot which (especially with this particular entry which is the subject of much national myth making) is usually the case. Obviously as this particular back-and-forth has proved, that's a dangerous working assumption to make as a global just as its opposite is. Your call in that regard.
Two small addendums that will help on talk pages. It's easier to read your responses if you indent them. If you click to edit this entry, you'll notice that each new response has an additional colon which the Wiki markup language uses to move text in an incremental amount. Also, when you're finished adding to a talk entry, typing four tildes (~) in a row will 'sign' your entry.
Just a small helping hand. Keep up the good work!  Natty10000 | Natter  03:51, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

A Hurricane and Tornado put out the Fires and drove out the British[edit]

I tweaked the article to read... Less than a day after the attack began, a sudden very heavy thunderstorm - possibly a hurricane - put out the fires. It also spun off a tornado that passed through the center of the capitol, setting down on Constitution Avenue[1] lifting two cannons before dropping them several yards away and killing British troops and American civilians alike.[2] The storm spooked the British troops and forced them to return to their ships, many of which were badly damaged. The British occupation of Washington lasted only about 26 hours. Despite this, the "Storm that saved Washington" as it became known, did the opposite according to some. The rains sizzled and cracked the already charred walls of the White House and ripped away at structures the British had no plans to destroy (such as the Patent Office). The storm may have exacerbated an already dire situation for Washington DC.

An encounter was noted between Sir George Cockburn 10th Baronet and a female resident of Washington. "Dear God! Is this the weather to which you are accustomed to in this infernal country?" enquired the Admiral. "This is a special interposition of Providence to drive our enemies from our city,” the woman allegedly called out to Cockburn. "Not so, Madam," Cockburn retorted. “It is rather to aid your enemies in the destruction of your city", before riding off on horseback.[3]. Yet, the British left right after the storm completely unopposed by any American military forces. - 2601:589:4705:C7C0:35C4:6B67:A2EF:921E (talk) 22:04, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

Regardless of content, the title of this section definitely has to change. The current title goes against the flow and comes off as unencyclopedic. Dustin (talk) 19:02, 29 November 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ The War of 1812, Scene 5 'An Act of Nature', History Channel, 2005
  2. ^ NWS staff 2011.
  3. ^ Peter Snow "When Britain Burned the White House" 2012