War of 1812 Bicentennial Observance: The Burning of Washington

Let’s not confine ourselves to looking back just 150 years at the Civil War, but also remember that 2012 starts the bicentennial of the War of 1812. On Sunday, March 4, Balch Library hosts a presentation titled “The Burning of Washington: The British Invasion of 1814,” by Anthony Pitch.

With all the immediacy of an eyewitness account, Anthony Pitch tells the dramatic story of the British invasion of Washington in the summer of 1814, an episode many call a defining moment in the coming-of-age of the United States. The British torched the Capitol, the White House, and many other public buildings, setting off an inferno that illuminated the countryside for miles and sending President James Madison scurrying out of town while his wife Dolley rescued a life-sized portrait of George Washington from the flames.

The author’s gripping narrative–hailed by a White House curator, a Senate historian, and the chairman of the National Geographic Society, among others–is filled with vivid details of the attack. Not confining his story to Washington, Pitch also describes the brave, resourceful defense of nearby Fort McHenry and tells how Francis Scott Key, a British hostage on a ship near the Baltimore harbor during the fort’s bombardment, wrote a poem that became the national anthem. Anthony S. Pitch is the author of a number of books ranging from biography to travel guides to anecdotes about Congress. A former journalist in England, Africa, and Israel, Pitch was also Associated Press broadcast editor for Pennsylvania and a senior writer in the books division of U.S. News and World Report in Washington, D.C. In addition to writing, he gives anecdotal history tours for, among others, the Smithsonian Institution Resident Associates, which sponsored a tour of his based upon the manuscript of The Burning of Washington.

Books will be available for purchase.

Please see the Library’s website for more details.

Event time: 2pm

Admission Fee/Ticket Price: Free

Location:  Thomas Balch Library
Lower Level Meeting Room
208 West Market St
Leesburg, VA 20176

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About Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.
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One Response to War of 1812 Bicentennial Observance: The Burning of Washington

  1. Pingback: The War of 1812 and Relocating the Nation’s Capital « Ghosts of DC

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