And the White House Burned, Burned, Burned….

Update: As it turns out, the British definitely remember.


Admiral George Cockburn stands with Washington D.C. burning in the background.
Admiral George Cockburn stands with Washington D.C. burning in the background.

Two hundred years ago today, after soundly defeating American forces at the Battle of Bladensburg, British soldiers under command of Major General Robert Ross occupied Washington D.C., and set fire to many of the buildings. Numerous arguments imply that this action was a retaliation for the Raid on Port Dover earlier that year, and the burning of York in 1813. It was likely a combination of both. Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy in North America, planned to carry out attacks into Virginia and New Orleans as a part of a new strategy that made use of troops previously engaged in the Napoleonic Wars. Rear Admiral George Cockburn, in command of the squadron in the Chesapeake Bay, recommended an attack on Washington for political measure. In July, Cochrane gave Cockburn permission to deter American forces from such future acts of a “total” nature. He game Cockburn permission to “destroy and lay waste such towns and districts as you [Cockburn] my find assailable.”

President Madison fled the city with the government, and of course there is the famous story of Dolly Madison saving the portrait of General Washington. That story may not be as accurate as previously thought. The British moved in and set the Capital, the Library of Congress (including its 3,000 volume collection), the President’s home on fire. When the smoke cleared, the only government building still standing was the U.S. Patent Office. The President returned on September 1st, with Congress following him a couple of weeks later.  Continue reading

“Oh Captain, My Captain!”

Yesterday I learned of the tragic death of Robin Williams. This man’s comedies brought me much laughter and joy in my childhood. His improv routines were unmatched; he came like a hurricane and swept you off your feet leaving you in a laughing tizzy. In my teen and adult years, his dramatic acting soothed my soul. His portrayals inspired me, enraged me, and brought me to tears. Robin Williams is no longer with us, but the cultural legacy he left behind is astounding. Some say that the world is now a darker place without him. I disagree. He did too much in his time to leave anything but brightness. RIP Robin, you will be missed and admired.


Sunday Fun: “I’m so….”

reenactorFor those of you on Facebook, you may have notice the recent “I’m so….” trend.  Ex: Someone recently posted, “I’m so Ringgold, I’ve done burnouts out of the Chow Time parking lot.” Of course, you have to be from Ringgold, GA to actually get the reference.

Well, a couple of re-enactor friends of mine started a few “I’m so Unionist…” posts that are pretty funny so I thought I’d extend that to the broader Civil War community.  Continue reading