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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.

1 Image Sketch of the March of the British Army under Gen’l. Ross from the... View All Images
1 Image British burn the Capitol, 1814, oil on canvas by Allyn Cox, 1973–1974 View All Images
1 Image President James Madison’s letter to the Senate regarding the... View All Images
1 Image Blodgett’s Hotel, Washington, D.C., engraving based on a photograph,... View All Images