“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

War of 1812

City of Alexandria Est. 1749

War of 1812 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 30, 2018
1. War of 1812 Marker
Inscription.  Few periods of Alexandria's history have been more tumultuous than the War of 1812. During the first decade of the 19th century, Great Britain's interception of American ships, impressment of U.S. seamen, and support of Indian aggression along the American frontier exacerbated its poor relationship with the United States. On June 18, 1812, President James Madison issued a Declaration of War against the British.

Fearing occupation by British forces, several townspeople met with Secretary of War John Armstrong on March 21, 1812, about preparing a defense for the District of Columbia, which at the time included Alexandria. President Madison and General William Winder were also apprise that unless funds were expended for Alexandria's defense, the town would be at the mercy of the British. Although the Common Council and area banks provided secured loans to the Federal government for the region's protection, when General Winder inspected Alexandria on July 25, 1814, he declared the town inadequately defended.

In August 1814, British ships sailed up the Potomac, and Alexandria's militias were ordered to cross the river and take
War of 1812 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 30, 2018
2. War of 1812 Marker
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up post near Fort Washington, Maryland. They took with them nearly all the arms belonging to the town, leaving Alexandria defenseless. Soon after, realizing the dire situation, the militias retreated to the Virginia countryside and the commander of Ft. Washington blew up the fortress, sealing Alexandria's fate. On the morning of August 28, 1814, a local committee rowed south to meet British Captain James Gordon to request terms of surrender.

After positioning his fleet to attack the town, Capt. Gordon offered terms which called for the removal of naval supplies, ships and agricultural commodities from the port. The town council acceded to the demands, and for the next five days the British looted stores and warehouses of 16,000 barrels of flour, 1,000 hogsheads of tobacco, 150 bales of cotton and some $5,000 worth of wine, sugar and other items. On September 2, the British weighed anchor and made their escape.

On Christmas Eve 1814, American and British peace commissioners signed the Treaty of Ghent, formally ending the War of 1812.
Erected by City of Alexandria.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War of 1812Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the
War of 1812 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 30, 2018
3. War of 1812 Marker
Former U.S. Presidents: #04 James Madison, and the Virginia, The City of Alexandria series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is March 21, 1812.
Location. 38° 48.252′ N, 77° 2.421′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. It is in Old Town. Marker is at the intersection of King Street and South Union Street, on the right when traveling east on King Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 King Street, Alexandria VA 22314, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Fitzgerald (a few steps from this marker); Alexandria Archaeology Museum (within shouting distance of this marker); The History of the Pineapple (within shouting distance of this marker); River Ferries (within shouting distance of this marker); Alexandria (within shouting distance of this marker); Plundered! (within shouting distance of this marker); Waterfront Walk (within shouting distance of this marker); Raise the White Flag (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alexandria.
War of 1812 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 30, 2018
4. War of 1812 Marker
Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians<br>by William Charles, 1814 image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
5. Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians
by William Charles, 1814
“The citizens of Alexandria, Virginia, are ridiculed in this scene for their lack of serious resistance against the British seizure of the city in 1814. At left two frightened gentlemen kneel with hands folded, pleading, ‘Pray Mr. Bull don't be too hard with us -- You know we were always friendly, even in the time of our Embargo!’ In the center stands a bull in English seaman's clothes, holding out a long list of ‘Terms of Capitulation’ to the Alexandrians. He says, ‘I must have all your Flour -- All your Tobacco -- All your Provisions -- All your Ships -- All your Merchandize -- every thing except your Porter and Perry -- keep them out of my sight, I've had enough of them already.’ His allusion is to American Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and Captain David Porter. At right, a soldier and sailor carry off spirits, saying: ‘Push on Jack, the yankeys are not all so Cowardly as these Fellows here -- let's make the best of our time.’ and ‘Huzza boys!!! More Rum more Tobacco!’” – Library of Congress
Credits. This page was last revised on January 28, 2023. It was originally submitted on April 1, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 241 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 1, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   5. submitted on August 18, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 9, 2023