It was 200 years ago today that the British burned Washington as part of the War of 1812.
Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane departed Bermuda on August 1 with a fleet and with 4,500 veteran soldiers under the command of Major General Robert Ross. They headed toward the Chesapeake where they met up on August 14th at the mouth of the Potomac with Rear Admiral George Cockburn and his flotilla.
Cockburn and Cochrane spent a few days doing recon to see if the capital was protected. Rather amazed that it was not, they marched their troops into the city, meeting only token resistance. By this time, President Jame Madison and wife Dolly had fled to Virginia and the White House was quickly occupied, looted, and burned, as was Congress and the Library of Congress.