Self-Destruction, a War Memorial

Self-Destruction, a War Memorial (HM1TG9)

Location: Fort Washington, MD 20744 Prince George's County
Country: United States of America

N 38° 42.741', W 77° 2.194'

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Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail

—War of 1812 —

Explosions at Fort Washington August 27, 1814, surprised British and Americans alike. A British squadron slowly making its way up the Potomac expected resistance from the well-positioned fort. Alexandrians, fearing they were next after Washington's fall three days before, expected protection from the fort.,P.

Samuel Dyson, U.S. Army captain in command, decided his 45-man garrison would be no match for the British. He ordered the fort destroyed and was later court-martialed for his decision.

Spoils of War
Defenseless Alexandria negotiated surrender, and the British confiscated tobacco and other property. As the enemy withdrew down the Potomac with their prizes, angry Americans shot from shore and dispatched fire-ships with little effect.

(Inscription beside the image on the lower right) Americans sent burning vessels into the British fleet but failed to ignite any of the enemy's ships.

"The garrison to our great surprise, retreated from the fort and a short time afterward Fort Washington was blown up, which left the Capitol of America and the populous town of Alexandria open to the squadron without the loss of a man."
British Captain James Alexander Gordon, August 27, 1814.

(Inscription beside the image in the lower left) As British ships approached, Americans destroyed
Fort Washington, leaving Alexandria without defense.
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HM NumberHM1TG9
Series This marker is part of the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail series
Placed ByNational Park Service US Department of Interior
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016 at 9:02am PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 322930 N 4286825
Decimal Degrees38.71235000, -77.03656667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 42.741', W 77° 2.194'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 42' 44.46" N, 77° 2' 11.64" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 240
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Unnamed Road, Fort Washington MD 20744, US
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