The 1814 British Burning of Washington, DC - A Guided Walking Tour

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Two hundred and five years ago on August 24, 1814 a British army of 4000 marched into Washington City and burned a number of the public buildings. Their purpose was to humiliate the U.S. and force an end to the war. On this walking tour, we'll see some of the sites that the British troops went to while they were here and talk about some of the causes and and after-effects of the War of 1812. The tour will start at the Newseum and end at the White House. We'll visit a number of sites and discuss:

The small battle in Washington that was one of the worst defeats of an American army

Which buildings did the British burn and why did the Americans burn some of their own buildings

How is the war remembered on Pennsylvania Avenue and what were some of the naval aspects of the War of 1812

The newspaper office in Washington attacked by a British Admiral with a personal grudge

What choice did some enslaved people make because of the war

After such a disaster how did Americans view the outcome of the war as a victory

The fifteen-star flag now in a DC museum and the poem it inspired that hold a special place in U.S. history

Our guide will be Harry who is a long time resident of Northern Virginia and has been leading tours of Arlington National Cemetery and Alexandria during the last few years


Registration: FREE - this event is open to the public and all are welcome to attend, including children and groups. Our guide Harry will accept gratuities at the end of the tour.

Weather: This event will take place light rain (sprinkles) or shine. If it’s on our calendar, then we’re proceeding as scheduled. The temperature is usually hot in late August and therefore we strongly recommend bringing fluids to keep hydrated.

Meeting Point: Meet at 6:00 PM sharp at the Newseum at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and 6th Street, NW.

Ending Point: The tour will officially end at the White House so plan your transportation accordingly. We will be walking about one and a half miles.

Additional Questions: Anything that can’t be answered by the above event description, Google, or common sense please let us know.


This program is presented by the non-profit community organization Washington, DC History & Culture:
“bringing people together to experience the history and culture of Washington, DC.”

For more fun and educational programs visit us at:


We look forward to seeing you - thanks!

Robert Kelleman

Washington, DC History & Culture

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