Invaders With Some Style

200 years ago the Britsh sacked D.C.

The British knew how to build a bonfire. You just stacked the furniture, sprinkled it with gunpowder and put a torch to it.

They built multiple fires inside the Capitol, immolating the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and the splendid chambers of the House and Senate.

Later in the evening, Ross and Cockburn made their way to the White House and helped themselves, amid hearty toasts, to the fabulous meal and adult beverages left by Mrs. Madison and her staff. They took a few souvenirs, and one filthy lieutenant ventured into the president’s dressing room and put on one of the president’s clean linen shirts.

Then they set the fires. Up in flames went some of the most beautiful furniture in the country, including pieces obtained by Jefferson in Paris and the private possessions of the Madisons. The fires left the mansion a gutted, smoldering shell.

The British also burned the Treasury building, and the building housing the War and State departments.

They ransacked the National Intelligencer newspaper office, with Cockburn ordering the seizure of all the letter C’s from the presses so that the editor could no longer write nasty things about him.

The Americans themselves burned the Navy Yard to keep the ships and stores out of British hands.

Hehe, I like that.

Update: Oh fer Pete’s sake: via aelfheld in the comments, evidently some delicate types on twitter don’t understand droll British humor

The British Embassy in Washington has apologized after tweeting a photo marking the 200th anniversary of British troops burning the White House on August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812.

The photo shows a cake featuring the White House, a few sparklers and the Stars and Stripes and Union Jack. Included in the caption: “Only sparklers this time!”

I think that’s pretty damned funny, myself.

7 Responses to “Invaders With Some Style”

  1. Skyler says:

    What did you like?

  2. Mr. Bingley says:

    That the British officer took all of the letter C’s from the printing presses so they couldn’t write anything bad about him.

  3. Skyler says:

    Reminds me of removing the W’s from White House key boards in 2000.

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    Ha! I’d forgotten about that particular bit of childishness!

  5. aelfheld says:

    The ‘outrage‘ over this is amusing.

  6. Mr. Bingley says:

    I just saw that aelf, what a hoot!

    I mean, seriously, the people who have got their panties in a wad are just ridiculous.

  7. JeffS says:

    HAW! On both the original article and update.

    Plus, a quiz for the historically minded who also enjoy a bit of British humor:

    “When did the British flag fly over West Point?”

    And it’s not a trick question. I’ll give the answer in a day or two….

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