Downtown in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
White House Ablaze
Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
President James Madison sent word to his wife, Dolley, to flee the President's House. As the British approached the city, the first lady, with the help of her aides and enslaved workers, escaped with as many treasures as they could.
The British arrived at the White House about 11 p.m. After nearly an hour of eating and taking souvenirs, they torched the structure, leaving only a roofless stone shell.
"In the [President's House] not an inch, but its crack'd and blacken'd walls remain'd. That scene...which when I last visited it was so splendid...was now nothing but ashes..."
—Margaret Bayard Smith letter, August 30, 1814
The iconic portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart was among the treasures saved from the British attack on the White House.
Scorch marks from the White House fire are still visible
Nearby places to learn more about the War of 1812:
✶ Lafayette Park — Get an optimal view of the White House and see the equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson, American War hero of the War of 1812.
✶ U.S. Capitol Visitor Center — See artifacts from the war and a model representing the Capitol in 1814.
✶ Smithsonian National Museum of American History — View the original Star-Spangled Banner flag on display in its special gallery.
✶ Dumbarton House — Visit a museum at the site where Dolley Madison fled when she left the White House.
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Location. 38° 53.653′ N, 77° 2.059′ W. Marker is in Downtown, District of Columbia, in Washington. Memorial is on 15th Street Northwest north of Constitution Avenue Northwest (U.S. 50), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 610 15th Street Northwest, Washington DC 20230, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Boy Scout Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Original Patentees Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); South Side (about 300 John Saul (about 500 feet away); The National Christmas Tree (about 600 feet away); William Tecumseh Sherman (about 600 feet away); Bulfinch Gate House (about 700 feet away); Zero Milestone (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Downtown.
Categories. • War of 1812 • Women •
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Credits. This page was last revised on February 28, 2019. This page originally submitted on February 26, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 70 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 26, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.