British burn the Capitol, 1814, oil on canvas by Allyn Cox, 1973–1974
Flames leaped from the House of Representatives and Senate chambers in the Capitol as British troops attacked another building. This modern mural is in the Cox Corridor of the Capitol’s House wing.
Architect of the Capitol
The British Burn Washington
On August 24, 1814, British forces entered Washington, D.C., attacked the Navy Yard, and burned the major federal buildings: the U.S. Capitol, President’s House, War Department, and Treasury. The Capitol fire destroyed the chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court, along with irreplaceable records. Congress reconvened in the only remaining public building, the Patent Office, which President James Madison secured as its temporary quarters. In March 1815 Congress authorized the rebuilding of the Capitol and President’s House.