The topic is the 1814 burning of Washington D.C and its importance as it is the first time a foreign force has occupied American territory. The burning of the white house is monumental event in American history as it is the first time a foreign military force occupied the capital of the United States of America. On August 24th, 1814- British troops stormed the capital and burned bureaucratic, military and economic facilities. This buildings included the White House James Madison and his wife lived in. The British attacked in retaliation for the American siege of York, Ontario on April 27th where the United States Army burned the parliament and several other legislative buildings. When the British arrived, they first killed anyone found inside a house by shooting them or stabbing them with a sword, they killed American civilians in this event.

The sky was “brilliantly illuminated” according to General Ross of the British Empire, where they burned military assets such as cannons, gunpowder stores and many various muskets found. There were little British casualties, only 1 confirmed fatality and 5 wounded, 3 of the casualties being Colonial Marines. However, a day after the attack took place; a sudden thunderstorm, potentially a hurricane, put out the fires. After the storm, the British returned to their ships, many of which were badly damage. The occupation of Washington lasted only about 26 hours. After the storm, the Americans were able to regain control of the city.

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It was dubbed the “Storm That Saved Washington”. It also caused a tornado to pass through the center of the capital, setting down on Constitution Avenue and launched two cannons several yards away, killing British soldiers and American civilians alike. This event was a key moment in American history as it was the first time a structure with high bureaucratic importance been destroyed by a foreign power as well as the only time Washington, DC had been occupied by a hostile force. It was condemned by many Americans and continental European leaders such as Napoleon.


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