The Burning Of Washington: The British Invasion Of 1814

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The Burning Of Washington: The British Invasion Of 1814

Author: Anthony S. Pitch
Publisher: US Naval Institute Press
Copyright: 1668
Pages: 298
Cover Price: $ 36.95

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With all the immediacy of an eyewitness account, Anthony 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 sending 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.

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Background Information

The White House is the official residence in Washington DC of the President of the United States. James Madison helped draft the Constitution, collaborated on the Federalist Papers and became Americ'as Fourth President. Dolley Madison was a young widow when she married James Madison. She is best remembered for saving important items from the White House before the British burned it. Fort McHenry was attacked by the British during the War of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner. Francis Scott Key was being held by the British when he watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry and was inspired to write the Star Spangled Banner. Baltimore, Maryland, was founded in 1729 and is named for Lord Baltimore, a British peer and proprietor of Maryland colony.