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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Escape Across the Potomac

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail

 
 
Escape Across the Potomac Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, August 19, 2016
1. Escape Across the Potomac Marker
Inscription. As war with Britain wore on, some U.S. military leaders believed the nation's capital, with its inland location and military defenses, was safe. So Washingtonians were cruelly surprised when the British invaded on August 24, 1814. As the enemy burned some of the public buildings, people gathered what they could carry and fled. Many crossed the Potomac River to Virginia on the Long Bridge, a wooden drawbridge on the site of today's 14th Street Bridge.

Bridge on Fire
The next day, the British captured this end of Long Bridge while the Americans held the Virginia side. After a fierce thunderstorm crippled the drawbridge mechanism, each army set its end of the bridge on fire, reducing the Potomac crossings to either the Georgetown ferry or Chain Bridge, five miles upstream.

"The streets were...crowded with soldiers and senators, men, women, and children, horses, carriages, and carts...all hastening toward a wooden bridge which crosses the Potomac. The confusion...was terrible, and the crowd upon the bridge was su;ch as to endanger its giving way."
Lt. George Robert Gleig, British soldier.

Left Illustration
A British engraving dated October 14, 1814, shows the destruction of Long Bridge (letter H) among other key events.

Right Illustration
A historical illustrator later imagined the British

Escape Across the Potomac Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, September 5, 2016
2. Escape Across the Potomac Marker
The marker is along a metal railing near the corner of the Sydney R. Yates Federal building, seen here between a woman walking a dog and a parked taxi.
watching the Capitol burn.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail marker series.
 
Location. 38° 53.229′ N, 77° 1.928′ W. Marker is in The National Mall, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on 14th Street SW. Click for map. Marker is just north of the Holocaust Museum. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20227, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The General Dwight David Eisenhower Plaza (within shouting distance of this marker); Smokey Bear Blue Spruce (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Raoul Wallenberg Place (about 400 feet away); Jean Hillery and Thomas Quadros (about 500 feet away); Why is the Washington Monument Temporarily Closed? (about 800 feet away); Steven Thomas Stefani IV (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bradford Pear Tree (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Tree (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in The National Mall.
 
Categories. War of 1812
 
Escape Across the Potomac Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, September 5, 2016
3. Escape Across the Potomac Marker
The marker is seen in this view to the left of two taxi drivers, looking south on 14th Street in the direction of the bridge.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 166 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.   2, 3. submitted on , by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. This page was last revised on March 4, 2017.
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