Who burnt down the White House (Aug 23rd, 1814)

#1
Does anybody know which regiment was responsible for the White House being burnt down during the War of 1812, nowhere on the internet does it ever specify which regiments were in Washington at the time. Also does anybody know any good books (still in print) on the war in general as it seems to be one of those conflicts that's been glossed over by history.
 
#2
The Regiments at the Battle of Bladensburg were:

21st Royal Scots Fusiliers (now 1 RHF)
44th East Essex (now 2 R Anglian)
85th Royal Bucks LI (now 2 LI)
York Militia (Canadian)
Royal Marines and RN.

plus possibly a couple of others. I believe it was the York (Toronto) Militia that fired the Capitol building, under the command of a RN officer.
 
#4
Bromhead said:
Does anybody know which regiment was responsible for the White House being burnt down during the War of 1812, nowhere on the internet does it ever specify which regiments were in Washington at the time. Also does anybody know any good books (still in print) on the war in general as it seems to be one of those conflicts that's been glossed over by history.
Hmm, it's certainly not glossed over in the States, I was in the Southern States last year and in their Malls they have some awesome bookshops, Borders I think they were called, the History sections were crammed solid of both the War Of Independence and Civil War as well as the War of 1812, shed loads on the Battle Of New Orleans where the Americans totally destroyed the British, killing several thousand with the loss of something ridiculous like 11 men! no wonder we don't hear much about that particular battle! these were experienced Battle hardened British troops who had fought in the Napoleonic Wars! the Historians do say though if Britain had sent more than the 5,000 or so Troops they would have definitely taken America; hard to fathom after getting our arses kicked the 1st time around and considering at the time a large % of Americans who defeated the British were of British descent!!!
 
#5
Sapukay said:
The Regiments at the Battle of Bladensburg were:

21st Royal Scots Fusiliers (now 1 RHF)
44th East Essex (now 2 R Anglian)
85th Royal Bucks LI (now 2 LI)
York Militia (Canadian)
Royal Marines and RN.

plus possibly a couple of others. I believe it was the York (Toronto) Militia that fired the Capitol building, under the command of a RN officer.

Yes, that's quite right. The RN ofiicer was an Admiral Cockburn. The incidents are detailed quite well in an old book I bought ages ago (not sure if it's still in print) called "When We Burned The White House" by Andrew Tully. I've got a copy somewhere, if I can find it among the MFO boxes, I'll dig it out and get a definitive answer for you.
 
#6
"Wasn't it the Lancashire Fusiliers???"

I understand that in the old Regt Meuseam there is a Portrait of the LF (to be) officer who commanded the troops who burned down the White House.
john
 
#7
I wish we could claim that one, but alas we have to be satisfied with executing the 'insurgents' who orchestrated the Boston Tea Party!!
 
#8
Yeah Lancs Fusileers as far as i know. Read it in some write up by some dude. Not an actual book. Titled "dont tackle the northern hackle" or something daft like that. I'll try and dig it out. Full of interesting crap if that tickles ur ring!
 
#10
British regiments at the sacking of Washington were:

4th of Foot (Lancasters)

21st Of Foot (North British - later Royal Scots Fusiliers)

44th of Foot (East Sussex - later Essex)

85th Of Foot (Bucks - later KOSLI)

Royal Marines

General Ross was a KOSB who later commanded the 20th (Lancashires).
 
#11
GDav said:
British regiments at the sacking of Washington were:

4th of Foot (Lancasters)

21st Of Foot (Devonshires - later Lancashires)

44th of Foot (East Sussex - later Essex)

85th Of Foot (Bucks - later KOSLI)

Royal Marines

General Ross was a KOSB who later commanded the 21st.
GDav
Without wishing to sound like an anorak (and failing miserably!!) 21st Foot were Royal North British Fusiliers, later Royal Scots Fusiliers and now Royal Highland Fusiliers. General Ross was a former CO of 20th Foot, (later Lancashire Fusiliers), that'd explain his portrait in their museum. The 20th weren't in the American campaign, due to being stationed in Ireland, after the Peninsular War (some things never change!!)

LH
 
#12
I appreciate you pointing out my mistake mate. I'll go back and correct that in case I put anyone off on the wrong foot. I should point out though that Gen Ross was in several regiments before assuming a staff command:

25th
7th
20th

The 21st was indeed the North British Fuziliers, later known as the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

Put it down to my hasty reading :)

Ross was actually Irish though - he came from Rosstrevor, Co Down. a familiar place to many of us.
 
#13
Have one of the Fusilier HQ's still got a captured US flag type thing from said arson session that the septics still want back or does it not exist???

CC_TA
 
#14
the Canadians are very proud of thier part in torching the white house,

they are still singing about it today............................

Evil Canadian propaganda


:wink:
 
#16
Despite spanning 1812 to 1815 the conflict is known as the war of 1812. Using this term to search will find quite alot of material websites and books. Not a conflict often, if ever, mentioned in Brit mil history but there are a number of interesting battles involved-like the use of Native American Indians in redcoats to look like Brit soldiers. Allegedly the natives had sided with the Brits after persecution by the Americans only to find that after the war was over they were basically abandoned in return!

The Canadian chocolate firm Laura Secord is named after the girl who, overhearing a remark whilst forcibly billeting Americans under occupation near Niagara, walked for 18 hrs to alert the sleeping Brit garrison at Beaver Dams that an American attack was on its way. The Brits surprised the Americans and won the day, potentially preventing American occupation of the whole of the Niagara region. Apparently the chocolate firm did not fare well when it launched in the USA a few decades ago, although this is probably an urban legend!

The linked song above under 'Canadian propaganda' is from a Canadian band (duo I think) called the Arrogant Worms who have a large number of funny songs looking at Canada and Canadians in a refreshingly self p*ss-taking way.
 
#17
CC_TA said:
Have one of the Fusilier HQ's still got a captured US flag type thing from said arson session that the septics still want back or does it not exist???

CC_TA
The 1/5th Fusiliers and 1/6th Foot served in Canada, and the 1/7th Royal Fusiliers in the Army of Louisiana, but no Fusilier battalions served in the Army of the Chesapeake.

The best history seems to be the 1/6th, who delivered a counterattack at Fort Erie and recaptured a British seige battery. That might be the best place to look for captured Colours.
 
#18
Don't have any info to hand on those colours but the Torygraph ran the article below a couple of weeks ago about captured colours (apologies if you've seen it before) during the American War of Independence. Just shows that souvenirs pay dividends!
Americans to pay millions to recapture battle flags.

LH

By Will Bennett
(Filed: 22/11/2005)

Four rare battle flags captured during the American War of Independence by a British officer have been returned after more than two centuries to be auctioned.

The regimental colours seized in 1779 and 1780 by Lt Col Banastre Tarleton, who remains one of the conflict's most controversial figures, have already aroused huge interest among American military historians. They are expected to fetch between £2.3 million and £5.8 million at Sotheby's in New York next year.


The colours of Col Buford's crushed Virginia troops
Until recently the flags had hung in the Hampshire home of Capt Christopher Tarleton Fagan, the great-great-great-great nephew of the lieutenant colonel.

Capt Tarleton Fagan, a former Grenadier Guards officer, said: "I am very sad to sell them. They are an important part of our family history and we have had them for 225 years. However, there comes a time when their value is such that one can no longer afford to insure them."

Only about 30 American revolutionary battle flags have survived, all of which, apart from the ones to be sold at Sotheby's, are in museums and in most cases only fragments remain. The ones captured by Tarleton are in excellent condition and their history is well documented. One is the flag of the 2nd Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons, raised in Connecticut by Col Elisha Sheldon, who were defeated by Tarleton in Westchester County, New York in July 1779. The other three flags were seized the following year in a still controversial battle in the southern United States.


Col Sheldon's Connecticut dragoons fell to Tarleton in 1779
Tarleton crushed a Virginian regiment under Col Abraham Buford at Waxsaws near the border of North and South Carolina. Accounts of what happened next differ. According to the Americans, Tarleton ordered his men to slaughter more than 100 revolutionary soldiers who had already surrendered. But the British officer maintained that his horse was shot after a truce was declared and pinned him to the ground.

"His troops thought he had been killed and the loyalists among them ran amok," said Capt Tarleton Fagan.

The killing of the Virginian troops led to Tarleton being called "Bloody Ban". The Americans also coined the phrase "Tarleton's quarter", which meant that no prisoners were taken.

After the war ended Tarleton took the four battle flags back to England. Buford's main flag, made of gold silk, has a painted image of a beaver gnawing a palmetto tree, while the two smaller, plainer ones would have been battalion standards known as ground colours.

While Tarleton was reviled by his enemies, the British public proclaimed him a hero. He was immortalised in a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds which depicts the captured American flags lying at his feet.
 
#19
which bring me to another question, in Which museums can you see the captured US colours now ?
 
#20
Lancashire Hussar said:
Capt Tarleton Fagan, a former Grenadier Guards officer, said: "I am very sad to sell them. They are an important part of our family history and we have had them for 225 years. However, there comes a time when their value is such that one can no longer afford to insure them."
Is that the same Christopher Fagan who used to be Platoon Commander of No 6 Platoon in the HAC's Home Service Force. Dab hand on the squeeze box and originally mobilised for Suez??
 

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