Fiery Destruction

Fiery Destruction (HM1J73)

Location: Washington, DC 20002
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 53.534', W 77° 0.217'

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— Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail —

"[The British] put a slow match to the [Sewall] house ... and those rockets burst until ... they made the rafters fly East and West." — Eslaved African American diarist and eyewitness Michael Shiner.

As the British marched along B Street (today's Constitution Avenue) on August 24, 1814, to burn the U.S. Capitol, they passed this house, owned by Robert Sewall. Suddenly shots rang out. Two British soldiers were dead, several were wounded, and Major General Ross's horse was shot out from under him. the British rushed into Sewall's house but found no snipers. In retaliation, they set fire to the house, one of the city's finest. When the invasion ended, Sewall's was one of the few private structures destroyed by the British. The family rebuilt here after peace returned.

Torching the Capitol

After burning Sewall's house, the British resumed their march to the Capitol. There they planted the Union Jack and set fire to the not-yet-complete structure.

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 NumberHM1J73
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 5:02pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 326232 N 4306725
Decimal Degrees38.89223333, -77.00361667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 53.534', W 77° 0.217'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 53' 32.04" N, 77° 0' 13.02" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 200-216 2nd St NE, Washington DC 20002, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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