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Exploring the News Reports of the Burning of Washington 200 Years Ago

Two hundred years ago, the nation's capital was burned by a foreign power. Explore the reactions of two newspapers, The Columbian and the Federal Republican, to this historic event with us. PDFs of the articles are included.
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We found a couple of fascinating pages out of two newspapers from the days following the Burning of Washington. Both papers, The Columbian – out of New York City – and the Federal Republican – out of Georgetown, give the news that the nation’s capital has fallen, while also issuing a call to arms to all citizens.

Since the articles are from 200 years ago, they are somewhat difficult to read, but we’ll post a couple of key sections below, and also link to PDF versions so you can explore. The articles were found using NewsBank’s America’s Historical Newspapers database.

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Federal Republican
Destruction of the American Capital, Federal Republican
Federal Republican, August 26, 1814
Federal Republican, August 26, 1814

The above text reads:

No pursuit was kept up by the enemy, who entered Washington at his leisure, and in the evening, with ONE HUNDRED MEN, destroyed the capitol, the president’s house, and the treasury office. A few of our men left at the navy yard destroyed, by order, the sloop of war Argus, the frigate on the stocks, and the public buildings there, and the arsenal at Greenleaf’s Point.

TO ARMS! CITIZENS! TO ARMS!! The Columbian, August 27
The Columbian, August 27
The Columbian, August 27

The above text reads:

Washington was dignified by the name of a capitol. The enemy has it. But we have still the charter of our independence – our free constitution; and the SOVEREIGN PEOPLE can institute their court even upon the mountains of Allegany – or Bunker Hill! Because the enemy have taken Washington, shall they also take Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York? No! Every inch of soil they have polluted should render us more obstinate in defending that which is left. Yet there is preparation to make – a spirit to encourage. Cold indeed must be the breast, that does not feel that spirit burning within. Wose than a traitor must be he who would not unite in his country’s defence.

The capture of Washington was the only time since the Revolutionary War that the nation’s capital has been occupied by a foreign power.

PDF of Federal Republican 8_26

PDF of The Columbian_8_27

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