HomeBooksBook: Burning of Washington: The British Invasion of 1814, The

Book: Burning of Washington: The British Invasion of 1814, The




With all the immediacy of an eyewitness account, author Anthony S. Pitch tells the dramatic story of the British invasion of Washington in the summer of 1814, an episode many call a defining moment in the coming-of-age of the United States. The British torched the Capitol, the White House, and many other public buildings, setting off an inferno that illuminated the countryside for miles and sent President James Madison scurrying out of town while his wife Dolley rescued a life-sized portrait of George Washington from the flames. The author’s gripping narrative–hailed by a White House curator, a Senate historian, and the chairman of the National Geographic Society, among others–is filled with vivid details of the attack. Not confining his story to Washington, Pitch also describes the brave, resourceful defense of nearby Fort McHenry and tells how Francis Scott Key, a British hostage on a ship near the Baltimore harbor during the fort’s bombardment, wrote a poem that became the national anthem.

This is also the most complete account of First Lady Dolley Madison’s flight to Virginia and her husband’s effort to locate her in the turmoil of fleeing refugees.  The author also describes the role of George Minor in the Battle of Bladensburg–or rather the missed opportunity…

Softcover: 298 pages with end notes and index

Publisher: Blue Jacket Books, Naval Institute Press, 2000

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