Essay on THE BURNING OF WASHINGTON DC: THE HIGH PRICE OF RETRUBATORY JUSTICE

Essay on THE BURNING OF WASHINGTON DC: THE HIGH PRICE OF RETRUBATORY JUSTICE

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In late August 1814, after two hard years of fighting America's Second War for Independence with the British, the United States scrambled to establish defenses to protect important military installations in Northern Virginia and Maryland, then under threat of the intimidating British invasion force ominously lurking in Chesapeake Bay. President Madison and his administration had difficulty determining the over-all British military and political objectives and were slow to realize Washington, D.C.'s symbolic importance to the British. Consequently they made little preparation to defend the city. As for the British force commander, Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, he did not yet have his eyes set on other valuable American military targets, such as the nearby port city of Baltimore. Instead, goaded on by a letter urging him to avenge the earlier brutal American raid on the Canadian Port Dover, he focused his forces towards the destruction Washington, D.C.. Just after sunset on August 24, 1814, to the shock and horror of the remaining inhabitants of the city, British forces descended on the U.S. Capitol with one purpose in mind: to raze it to the ground. , , Brushing aside token resistance from the few American regulars and militia stationed in the District, the British proceeded to burn the White House, Treasury Building, State Department, War Office and Naval Yard. In this primal act of wanton destruction, the British humiliated the United States, avenged the indignation of the Dover raids, dispersed key members of the U.S. Government and exercised complete domination over the capitol of their bitter enemy. In gaining a political victory in burning the U.S. Capitol, the British lost the more important strategic initi...


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....historycentral.com/documents/BurningWash.html (accessed June 26, 2010).

Jones, William. "Investigation into the Burning of Washington." Naval History and Heritage Command. http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/burning_washington.htm#burning (accessed June 26, 2010).

"Official letters of the military and naval officers of the United States, during the war with Great Britain in the years 1812, 13, 14, & 15 : with some additional letters and documents elucidating the history of that period." Internet Archive: Free Movies, Music, Books & Wayback Machine. http://www.archive.org/stream/militarynavalofficer00goverich#page/24/mode/2up (accessed June 26, 2010).

Pitch, Anthony. "The Burning of Washington." The White House Historical Association. http://www.whitehousehistory.org/whha_publications/publications_documents/whitehousehistory (accessed June 26, 2010).

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