Menu
Image 1 of
Zoom In
Zoom Out
Fullscreen

Sketch of the March of the British Army under Gen’l. Ross from the 19th to the 29th August 1814, map by D. Evans, 1814

A British map traced the route of the invasion of August 1814. On August 24, after overcoming American forces on the Patuxent River and in Bladensburg, Maryland, British troops under Major General Robert Ross and Rear-Admiral Sir George Cockburn entered Washington, D.C. Finding the city nearly abandoned, they burned federal buildings but spared most private property.

 

Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

Sketch of the March of the British Army under Gen’l. Ross from the 19th to the 29th August 1814

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.