The Capitol in Flames

The Capitol in Flames (HM1J71)

Location: Washington, DC 20003
Country: United States of America

N 38° 53.243', W 77° 0.135'

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— Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail —

The U.S. Capitol was the British troop's first target when they arrived in Washington on August 24, 1814, only hours after their afternoon victory at the Battle of Bladensburg. The invaders fired rockets through the Capitol's windows. When the building's iron-plated ceiling prevented the fires from spreading, the attackers burst inside, piled up the furniture, draperies, and other combustible, and fired a rocket into the mess. The result was a fire so intense that it melted glass light fixtures.
Temporary Quarters
The burning of the Capitol, where Congress had voted to declare war on Great Britain in June 1812, left the legislators homeless. So they reunited at the Patent Office, at seventh and F Streets, NW. On February 16, 1815, Congress ratified the Treaty of Ghent (and the war's end) at the Patent Office.
"I had no objection to burn[ing] arsenals, dockyards, frigates building, stores, barracks, etc.... but we were horrified at the order to burn the elegant houses of Parliament." — British Captain Harry Smith

In the summer of 1814 the United States had been at war with Great Britain for two years. Battlefronts had erupted from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. On August 24, following their victory over the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, Maryland, British troops marched on Washington with devastating results.

The Star-Spangled Banner Historic Trail reveals sites of the War of 1812 in Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland. Visit or download the Chesapeake Explorer App.
HM NumberHM1J71
Series This marker is part of the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail series
Placed ByCultural Tourism D.C
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 at 5:01pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 326339 N 4306184
Decimal Degrees38.88738333, -77.00225000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 53.243', W 77° 0.135'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 53' 14.58" N, 77° 0' 8.1" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 245-299 Independence Ave SE, Washington DC 20003, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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