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The Sole American Killed in the 1814 Burning of D.C. Was Related to George Washington | Smithsonian Magazine |

The city of Washington was overrun with British soldiers. In an act of retaliatory vengeance for the burning of Canadian settlements, the invading army set fire to the American capital; flames shot into the sky from the destroyed U.S. Capitol building. President James Madison and his cabinet fled the city, and U.S. troops perched on a hill northwest of the city watched the conflagration.

The British military commanders aimed only to destroy public buildings and threatened their soldiers (on pain of death) not to hurt civilians. General Robert Ross was even upset that in burning the Capitol, they had destroyed the nascent Library of Congress. "I make war neither against Letters nor Ladies," he said. The few Washingtonians who stayed behind described the invading British as "perfect gentlemen."

How America and the British have changed for the worse in 200 years ...

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 14th, 2021 at 03:30:41 PM EST
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