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tv   American History TV  CSPAN  September 4, 2014 11:50am-12:36pm EDT

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known, but also an excellent book by carol and it was published in 2005. the title of it is "august 24, 1814: flames." in both cases, you see the burning of the white house. well, there's other books as well and i can't go into all of them or we'd be here all morning. it's interesting if you go to andy tu lclly's book, "when the burned the white house," that was published in 1961. and then "the man who burned the white house" which is essentially a book by coburn. they don't talk about the burning of washington in the title. they talk about the burning of the white house and just in case you haven't had enough of that,
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there's the most recent book by peter snow which is "when britain burned the white house." all of these books are great but the question -- or maybe the point that i'm trying to make is that to the average person when they read a title like that, it's going to give them an impression that is not necessarily what really happened in washington, d.c. and i find it ironic that we have three books that talk about the white house, a very important public building, no question about it, where the president lived and it hurt the morale when you burn the president's house. no question about it. but to me, of all of the buildings that were burnt, the most significant was the capitol building. that's where the seat of government existed. and none of these books have that in their title. just interesting to me. and just so that you know they
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are all in good company, this is the title of a chapter in one of my books. "washington is burning." we all do it. almost all of us that have been talking today at the symposium have said it. but how accurate is it? this is the only eyewitness contemporary account -- i shouldn't say account -- illustration which is referred to as the burning of washington. and you can find this online from the library of congress and the first thing that i noticed when i pulled this up and took a look at it is that it was upsidedown and i'm happy to tell you that i went to the library of congress and told them that it was upsidedown and they corrected it. it's in its accurate position and for those of you with good eyes may be able to make out the
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guy that did this, william thornton, you can see his name on the right-hand side. the title of it was "the burning of washington" and i'm sure that fchl ort and himself did not give it that title. it was somebody at the library of congress who was helping people identify this and after studying this, it's very clear to me that this is not the burning of washington at all. it's the burning of the washington navy yard. you can make out, for example, the sheds where some of the ships would have been kept and if you look even closer, that building right there tells me that that's latrobe gate. that's the entrance to the shipyard. n jut of you t. you know that's what it is. and i can't be quite as sure, but when i look at this building right there, the roof line
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reminds me very much of the taney house and that house survives today as does barracks b or building number b as does latrobe gate. those structures were not burnt but almost everything else was. and so this is what it is titled today when i notified the library of congress and they now call it "waterfront fire probably burning of the washington navy yard, 1814, washington, d.c., and that's a much more accurate description of what that image represents. now, if you also pay attention, where are most of the flames coming from? right there in the center of that image. and i don't want to put more into this than maybe what thornton was trying to do, but this is a blow-up of that. and if you look very carefully at it, these do not appear to be
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buildings to me. and i say that because you can see how they are can ta leavered over on the edges. those are some of the ships, in my opinion, that were at the navy yard. and there were two frigates. these were ships no longer active but still good enough that they didn't need to get rid of them but they just kind of kept them in a mothball and they would float alongside a wharf and other times they would take them out of the water and take all of the mast and rigging down and put something over top of it to protect the decks. and i believe what we are looking at right there are two of the frigates that burned at the navy yard that night and they are probably the boston and the general green.
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very interesting. this is a noncontemporary drawing done by peter wadell and for those of you at the dinner last night when you came into the decater house, you may have noticed on the left-hand side there was an exhibit area. i hope you took the time to look at some of those exhibits. you may have an opportunity to do that again tonight. i'm not sure. but hanging on the wall were several other paintings done by peter. i like his work a lot. what you're looking at here is his depiction of the burning of the navy yard. so you're standing in latrobe gate and you're looking into the navy yard, which i have done myself many times, and you can make out on the left that's quarter's b or building b, whatever you want to call it. and you notice it's not on fire. the tan knee house, which is where the comma don't would have lived, it's out of the perspective of this particular image. and in the background, you can
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see the flames all about the buildings and you can also see ships in the background that are on fire. and for those of you that may not know what is standing right here in the middle the tripoli monumentzíu>ognúb(j first erected in the united states as a tribute to those sailors who fought and lost their lives in the barbery wars. tradition holds that when the british came into the navy yard not on the night of august 24th, because the navy yard was burnt by the americans, what you are looking at here was the burning that was caused by the u.s. navy, ordered by the secretary of the navy to keep it out of the hands of the enemy. the next day, the british came back and they checked out the navy yard to see if there was anything that possibly might still deserve some destruction. something that might have escaped the hands of the
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americans. and there were a few sheds and there were the cooper's quarters, whatever you want to call it, that they further burned that next morning. but at the same time, they supposedly caused vandalism to that particular monument. now, what's interesting is that monument was then moved to the west grounds of the capitol and when the capitol was expanded, it had to be moved a second time and it was moved to the naval academy where it resides today. so here's a monument that's been in three different places during its history and it has a tie to the war of 1812. this is out of the imax movie, if you have not seen it, i highly recommend it, it's called ""star spangled banner". it has wonderful illustrations as well as animations about some of the aspects of the war of 1812. and what you're looking at here
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is a still -- and i know the lighting is not very good here so you probably can't see it that well because of the extreme light that we have, but it is showing the navy yard burning on the night of august the 24th, 1814. and if you were able to look at it very closely, you would be able to see ships that were in the water, ships that are up on land, all of them burning as well as most of the structures but you can look and you can see right there that latrobe gate is not burning. the taney house is not burning. quarter b is not burning but what is also interesting is that you can make out -- there's two additional bridges that are burning and these are also structures that were burnt by the americans. they were not burnt by the british. so we're talking about the stoddard bridge, the upper bridge that would be essentially where east capitol street is located today and then this
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lower bridge is essentially the bridge that is referred to as pennsylvania avenue today or the susa bridge, whatever you prefer édyeáju have done, that bridge should be actually much closer to the navy yard. because of those of you who are familiar with that bridge, you know that it essentially exits right next to where the naval station is. just in case you wereñr wonderi, according to the u.s. navy observatory, sunset on august the 24th, 1814, was at 6:52 p.m. before daylight savings time. the stoddard bridge was set on fire by the americans somewhere between 2:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon. i don't know that it still would have been burning to the extent that you would see in this illustration. the pennsylvania avenue bridge was set on fire at about 8:20 p.m. so we're well an hour after
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sunset. and the navy yard was set on fire approximately 8:30 p.m. the reason i'm going through all of this detail with you is that when the british are marching into washington, they reach the capitol and they begin to do their first burning, which is actually a structure known as the belmont house which is two blocks from the capitol. and this takes place at about 9:00. what this means is that as the british are marching into washington, d.c., they can already see parts of the city on fire. not by them but by the americans. and i know that you cannot see this and it's not important that you can, but this is a may 1815 drawing showing the navy yard as it -- they hope it would appear as they were rebuilding it.
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this is a letter being done trying to estimate the amount of money it's going to cost to repace all of these"n5zñii str that were lost during that burning and i'm going to come back to that in a minute. this is what the navy yard looks that red bar, that separates below that bar the navy yard that existed in 1814 and then the addition to the navy yard after 1814. so the navy yard was actually bigger today than it would have been in 1814. and if we overlay the two of them, you can see how things have changed over the years. this is the tangy house and then there's building b on the right that still survived and this is latrobe gate. so at the bottom, that's what latrobe gate looks like today and up at the top, that's the design drawnings for the original for the latrobe gate
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and what i have out leaned in red is all that remains of the original gate. the rest has been incorporated into this enlarged structure that now hides the original major portions of latrobe gate. so here is that burning scene again and i would just ask you to take a look at the details of the tangy house and ask you if that does not look very similar to what you see right there. and if you lay it out, that's exactly where you would expect it to be in relation to latrobe gate in relation to the rest of the burning navy yard. up at the top it says probable cost to refurbish the following buildings and where i'm just circled is the mass shed and there it says, to be made of old
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brick. underneath of that, the rigging loft, new brick. underneath that, can't even read it. the smith shops, the blacksmith shop, for example, there it says old brek. what's going on in the mind of the u.s. navy is that they want to replace these buildings but they don't want to replace them out of wood. they are concerned about the enemy coming back. they are going to try to spend that extra money to make these out of brick. they've learned a lesson. and then the last one is the sawmill which is also made out of new brick. now, this is the navy yard around circa 1833, well after the fire. but you can still see latrobe gate right there.
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you can see the capitol, you can see what we would call pennsylvania avenue bridge and then over here on the left you can see what's known as the lawn bridge. that actually existed in 1814. that's the bridge that connected washington with alexandria. the reason i'm showing it to you, this is the only structure that i know of that was burnt by most the americans and the british at the same time. the americans burnt side of the bridge over in alexandria and the british burnt the side in washington, d.c. that was the following day. i'm going to read this to you. it's a little bit long but i think it will help to give you an understanding. this is by the comma don't of the navy yard. "the buildings destroyed by the yard were the mass shed, the boat builder shops, mold lchl of tchl, the block maker shop, the sawmill and the block mill where
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their whole apparatus tools and machinery, the combustible parts of the machinery and materials, the rigging lchl oft, of all the furniture, the gun carriages, makers and painters shops with all of the materials and tools therein at the time, also the halls of the old frigates, boston, new york, and the general green. that's a lot of destruction there, folks. this is a list and i'm not going to go through the whole thing because it would take me 15 minutes to read it to you. but on the right-hand side under blue is everything that was burnt by the americans. and on the left-hand side under red is everything that was burned by the british. and the important thing that i'm trying to point out to you here is that if you look at what the americans burnt, most of it is in the washington navy yard. and every one of those things that you read there with one
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possible exception, they were all made out of wood. now let's go and take a look at what the british burned and we have the u.s. capitol, which is made out of stone and brick, we have the white house that's made out of stone and brick, we have the treasury, which was made out of brick, we have the belmont sole house made out of brick, the georgetown -- george washington townhouse on capitol hill which was accidently started on fire by a spark by the capitol, that was made out of brick. the tomlinson's hotel, we don't have absolute proof that this was burned. there is contrary information there. that was also made out of brick. now, these other buildings that you see below it that says "houses that were possibly burned," this is based on newspaper accounts. and there's only one reference and these are in various different newspapers. i can't honestly tell you if
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these are houses that actually burnt or whether it's mistakes that the newspapers made because just like we've heard over and over today, newspaper accounts are not necessarily the most accurate thing in the world. but if these had been supported by other information, primary documents, i'd be more likely to believe that they also burned but i can't find any of that. i just want to remind you that the americans were very upset about what was going on and when they talked about what had happened to washington, they tend to em bell lesh the true facts. and then if you go down below, these were the things that were burnt after the evening of august 24th. so a better way to look at this is to compare what was burned during the evening of august 24th, during that night. you can see there's a very, very big difference there. and when we talk about the british burning washington, we're leaving the average citizen with this impression
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that the british came in and they burnt the entire city of washington, d.c. and if you look at this, you can see that the americans burnt a heck of a lot in the city but you don't hear anybody talking about the american burning of washington, d.c., during the war of 18 12 and i understand that. if you're being looking at the burning of the city after the british have come in and gotten to the capitol around 9:00, gotten to the treasury building, got to the white house at about 11:00, where are the flames going to be coming from? are they going to come from these brick and stone buildings where fire is probably coming out of the roofs and windows and doors or is mostly going to be coming from a navy yard that is almost entirely made out of wood along with a whole bunch of
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stuff like hemp rope, canvas sails, tar, pitch, all of these things that are very, very highly flammable. i'd like to remind you to go back to the thornton painting and it's actually the burning of the washington navy yard. and so what i'm trying to get across to you is that i firmly believe that most of the red sky that was seen by people, whether it be in leesburg, virginia, 35 miles away or in baltimore or on the patapsco river where they reported in their logbook that they could see a red glow 40 miles away, i think it was primarily the navy yard which was set on fire by americans. the fires from the public buildings that the british burned and the few private buildings that they burnt because resistance came from them certainly added to that. but the flames coming out of
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those buildings, i would argue, would be minuscule compared to what you would see at the navy yard. i don't want to go into a lot of detail here. i'm getting hungry. if you look at the census of 1810, it's estimated that there was a total structures of about 400. there's other references that say in 1814 there's possibly 800 to 900 truck sturs. i find it hard to believe that you'd have that many new structures being built. i'm showing you how inaccurate a lot of this information is. but no matter how you slice and dice it, if we take the maximum numbers of british structures that were burned or i should say structures that were burned by the british, that was 19 and
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that represents about 4.8% of the total structures that existed in washington at that time if you use the lower number of 400. and when you consider that most of those structures that the british burnt were the stone and the brick, that represents only 5.5%. i misstated here. so it's -- if you take all of these structures that were burned, it would represent 5.5. if you only take the other, it would be 1.4%. i've gotten more conservative since i put this particular power point together because we had to do this about ten days in advance and i think it's always better to be conservative than to not be. and so when i talk about the americans burning 22 buildings, i'm having second thoughts about that and the reason for it is that i honestly believe that although there's 20 different things that are mentioned by tingey that were burned, i believe many of those were
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probably in the same building. so it's not really fair to think that each one of these were necessarily a separate building. so based on that, i'm going to revise this when i actually do the paper so that you'll have a chance to read that. but the percentages are still going to be relatively small. so the important thing i want to get across to everyone here is that if you take a conservative approach to this and you combine the united states and the british and what they burned in washington, d.c., it's going to be less than 10% of the city. i don't think you can say that burning less than 10% of the city somehow represents the burning of washington. if you want to be even more conservative and say that maybe there were 450 buildings there by 1814, maybe 500 buildings in 1814, if you want to lower the number of buildings that the americans burnt, you're going to come out with a much smaller percentage. you're talking more about a
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total of between 4 to maybe 5% of all of the buildings in the city that were burned. and if you notice, many of the speakers yesterday and today, most of them tried to be very careful when they talked about this issue. and many of them said things like the british occupation of washington or they would say the british burning of public buildings in washington to try to stay away from what i essentially call a myth. i'm going to pass over this very quickly. the red circles are british, blue circles, american. none of these are contemporary and you can imagine that if someone was not there, they are going to, in their minds, imagine all kinds of wild stuff and there's nothing here that is probably close to what happened. this one is particularly interesting. steve already showed it to you.
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this is the alan cox fresco that actually appears in the capitol halls today. and it's an interesting image because it attempts to show and you can even see the title "british burned the capitol." the problem with it is that to the right you can see the brick house, the sole belmont house. that's the house that survives today although probably partially rebuilt if not majorly rebuilt because the british burned it because the shots were fired from it as the british were approaching the capitol building. that building was burnt before the capitol. so this fresco is inaccurate. you would not have the capitol behind it your honoburning. the sequence is wrong. also, notice how alan is showing the burning there. he's got a british soldier holding up a torch and then down below you can see where they are piling up combustibles and this
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guy is trying to start a fire to it. i really doubt that the british attempted to burn the sole belmont house from the outside. now, this is a quote -- remember, i told you there's a couple other accounts of how these buildings were burnt. this was by margaret buried smith. you already heard about her when holly gave her presentation. "each carrying a long pole to which was fixed a ball about the circumference of a large plate. when arrived at the building and i honestly believe she's talking about the president's house but i can't be absolutely sure --" each man was stationed at a window, interesting, with its pole and wildfire against it. at the word of command -- you see some similarities -- at the same instant the windows were broken and this wildfire thrown in so that an instantaneous
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configuration took place and the whole building was wrapped in smoke. the city was light and the heavens reddened with a blaze. and down below you have samples of what the fireballs would have looked like. the one on the left is made out of clay. the one on the right is actually macrame covered with canvas. inside of there would be a material that would be very, very prone to being lit to help start a fire. so there's some similarities to this account, to the first account that i gave you with the javelin business but they are also very different and i suspect that the truth is somewhere in the middle here and i couldn't tell you which one is better. and this is another one. this is an image that came out of one of the books that i did and it is showing the british
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piling up material and this is in the capitol building. and if you'll notice, the guy on the left, on the back, he's carrying a backpack that would carry two cases for a congreve rocket and if you'll notice the man standing on top of the pile, he's literally taking the projectile material that would have been inside of that rocket and he's sprinkling it over the top and then that's how they would light that fire and here is the actual account and this is by benjamin henry latrobe. there was no want of material for the con figration. the old platform was left in its place giving an additional quantity of dry and loose timber. all of the stages and seats of the galleries were of timber and yellow pine. the ma hog knee desks, tables, and chairs were in their place. at last, they made a great pile in the center of the room of the
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furniture and retiring said fire to the quantity of rocket stuff in the middle. it was soon ablaze and the glass of the lights was melted. i love that rocket stuff. obviously americans didn't know much about these rockets and they didn't know how to describe them but that would have been the propel lent that would send the rocket through the air. now we have three different accounts as to how the british burned these public buildings and it's possible all three might have been used. i suspect it's more likely that maybe two of those three were used and one is a slight alteration of the other and it's already been mentioned and so i can save some time and go through this that parts of these buildings were saved. they weren't completely destroyed. this is the old chamber. these are the columns that don talked about. if you ever have a chance to
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look at it, do. and then "the ruin of the capitol i assure you is a speblth kell but many parts are wholly uninjured and the picturesque entrance of the house of representatives with the handsome columns, the great staircase and all of the vaults of the senate chamber are entirely free from any injury which cannot be easily repaired." myth number two, is the white house so-called because it was burned by the british and they needed to cover the scorch marks? how do we get rid of that? there we go. these are some of the images. in fact, the one in the upper left is of tom free man. the poster for that is available at the gift shop right here and tonight at the reception there's going to be a little booklet that's been written about that. this is what the white house
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looked like after. i told you that i only know of one image of the actual burning of quote/unquote the city. there's many depictions of what happened afterwards but that's the only one that i know of the actual burning. and these are examples of the scorch marks. and this is what the white house would look like if it were not painted white. and that's because it's made out of a quiet sandstone and you can go to the quarry. it's not that far from here. and it's streaked -- very heavily streaked with iron oxide and the color of the sandstone itself is kind of a sandy color with a little bit of a hint of a pinkish tint to it. but when the stone gets wet, it turns into a dull gray. not particularly attractive. and because the stone is relatively soft, when the
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building was being built, the workers were immediately applying whitewash to help to seal the stone so that water would not penetrate it. the white house has been white since it was first built. this is an example of the sandstone. i wanted to throw that one in because it has great graffiti that dates from 1814 to 1815. there's many examples of the stone throughout the washington, d.c., area. and this guy would not get out of the way when i was trying to take these pictures. but if you look very carefully, this is the entrance to the kitchen down in the basement area and you can clearly see the scorch marks but i'd particularly like you to look at the left-hand side where the scorch marks suddenly disappear and what that shows us is that obviously those stones, for whatever reason, were replaced
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over time. exactly when that took place, i do not know. but not all of the original stones that make up the white house nor the capitol were there. many of them were damaged. and then this is just a detail of the same thing where my hand is pointing, that's what you would look if you could get a close-up of it and then just below it, right after all of that scorch you can see good, clean stone. and this is just another example. and you can see this in many places. this is a quote that i took right out of don hick key's book. there's many other examples but i like this one because it's a british quote and i'll read it to you or, in part. "francis james jackson, former british minister of the united states wrote in the spring of 1811 that his successor, ajust stus jay foster would act sort of a political conductor to attract the lightning that may issue from the clouds around the capitol and the white house at
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washington." so here's a british statement written in 1811, clearly talking about the white house. so i think we can now put to bed pretty much this myth that the white house was called the white house in 1814 because the british burned it. and then the final myth, because i'm running out of time, did the great storm put out the fires? and i have no illustrations of the great storm. surprise, surprise. but down below are some examples of some tornadoes that have hit the city of washington. one in 1928 and one in 1973. the first thing we have to make clear to everybody, many of the accounts claim that this was a hurricane. no way. anybody that knows anything about weather knows that this was not a hurricane. this was a severe line of thunderstorms, almost certainly accompanied by tornadoes. and folks, for those of you that live here, we've experienced this this year, this summer.
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we experienced it many, many summers. maybe not to the level of what happened in 1814, but this was a severe line of thunderstorms that came through washington. it was not a hurricane. and this is a description of this great storm by george robert gleg, one of the junior officers in the british army. roofs of houses were torn off by it and whirled into the air like sheets of paper, resembling the mighty of a the darkness was as great as if the sun had long set and the last remains of twilight had come on. occasionally relieved by flashes of vivid lightning streaming through it which together with the noise of the wind and the thunder, the crash of falling buildings and the tearing of roofs as they were stripped from the walls produced the most appalling effect i have ever and probably ever shall witness. the storm lasted for nearly two hours without intermission.
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think about this. if the lower eastern branch bridge was set on fire at around 8:20 p.m., if the washington navy yard was set on fire at about 8:30 p.m., if the capitol building was set on fire about 9:00 prk m. and the white house and treasury was set on fire about 11:00 p.m., that means that between 17 to 15 hours had passed before the great storm comes into washington at about 2:00 in the afternoon. and i want to just ask you, after burning that long, how many of these buildings would likely still have greats amount of flame? and i would argue that there was probably hardly any flame at all. there probably was still smoke. there were probably embers. might have been some minuscule amounts of flame but nothing tremendous at that point. the only places that might still have been burning with open flame at that time would be the buildings that the british set
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on fire the following morning. and that would be the executive office. that would be the rope walks, more of these private structures but the reasons they were built was because they had contracts to the navy to supply rope. those buildings might have had still had fire when the great storm came through. a so is it fair for people to say or to believe that the great storm came through, put out the fires, and saved the city of washington, d.c.? based upon the quote i just read you from glegg, it's evident to me that the storm contributed to the city. it did additional damage it blew down buildings. it blew the chimneys off of some of the brick buildings in washington, d.c. they were probably some of these tornadoes that were part of this great storm that came through. so i'm dashing another one of these myths. and i'd just like to summarize,
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the british burned significant public buildings in washington, including the capitol, the president's house, the treasury, and the executive office. the british did not burn washington city but, in fact, showed restraint and you've heard that from some of the other speakers up here already. the u.s. military burned more structures -- and you know i'm going to be a little more conservative now when i actually do the paper. i'm going to say maybe as many but certainly a significant number of buildings than did the british. the president's house was called the white house prior to the british burning. and the great storm was not a hurricane. it did not save the city from additional damage. in fact, it added to the destruction. so with that, i will close. [ applause ] i see patrick is quickly up to the mike. we'll take some questions.
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go ahead. >> well, i applaud you for everything you said and i agree with everything and i'm saying that from a researcher and also a local person but i'm from oklahoma. so when i came in, i hear all the myths. i don't know anything about the war of 1812, even the civil war, especially the american revolution having growing up and reading our history books. so i'm glad you said it was not a hurricane. it was like del retro. terrible storm that came through. everybody can associate with that. with the glow in the sky, talking about the time frame of the navy yard, one of the british bomb vessels down on the potomac river at 9:30 p.m. their time, and i don't know -- 9:30 their time, they first report the glow in the night sky. so that might help with that
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concept. >> that's a good point, patrick. the problem with the ship's logs is they don't record simultaneously with the events that actually take place. >> right. >> and we do know that some of the ship's logs are off by several hours from the time it was kept locally. so it makes it very difficult. we also know that some of the ship's logs are actually off by a single day where someone screwed up the dates. so all of these things enter into the complexity of trying to determine what really happened. but you make a good point. >> so my question is, when we talk about the white house -- first off, in my book "the battle of the white house" i say after the burning of washington, i don't say the british burned it. i say "after the burning" so am i okay with that? >> you're all right. >> okay. so with the use of the white house -- and my question is not about whether it had ever been called the white house by august 24th, 1814, but how prevalent
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was the use of it when ft. washington -- everybody still even now, park service didn't stop until three or four years ago and at the time it was burnt and it was only ft. washington after pierre lafont came down to redesign it. >> i have some references to -- >> okay. but generally speaking, it was ft. washington, even the british on their ships called it ft. washington. so my question is, how prevalent is the use of the white house? >> it's not prevalent. i only know of three instances. but it's the point -- the point is it was known as the white house before. >> sure. >> and it really didn't become popularized, as you know, until much later, until the 1930s. >> us ba the real white house was down on the potomac. >> okay. i think we're going to cut so we
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have enough time to have lunch. thank you all very much. [ applause ] >> to all the presenters from today and yesterday, if you will meet with leslie in the back -- oh, right over here. and finally, we've heard a lot about benjamin henry latrobe, let me as a teaser read this short quote, something he wrote less than two years after the burning. "a greater benefit could not have accrued to this city than the destruction of its principle buildings by the british." well, we'll find out this afternoon why he said that and be back in your seats by 1:15. thank you.
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live coverage here on c-span 3, conference commemorating the war of 1812 and the burning of washington. this is day two. another day-long series of presentations by scholars and authors. the event will resume at 1:15 eastern time. this afternoon's session features william seal and appearing together andrew burstein and nancy eisenberg. first up at 1:15, kenneth bowling talks about his book, the idea and location of the american capitol. and a programming note, tonight at 8:00 eastern, we'll reair all of today's conference here on american history tv. while we wait for the event to
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resume, we'll show you a portion of day one from the conference from yesterday. catherine allgor talks about her book, "a perfect union, dolley madison." welcome back, everybody. for american under fire mr. madison's war and the burning of washington city." for those of you who may be just joining us, if you have one of these little devices, if you can make sure it's turned off or in the silent mode, that would be fantastic. so i have the pleasure now of introducing dr. catherine allgor and she's going to tackle james madison's other half and some might say his better half, dolley madison. catherine has written "a perfect union: dolley madison" and she edited an important memoir written by dolley madison's
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niece. she's director of the art collection and botanical gardens and professor of history at the university of california riverside. today she will discuss the republican queen's identity during the war. this time when dolley madison's drawing room and her events became known as squeezes, they were so popular, i've also heard that she's going to mention the role of snuff in the war of 1812 and i would encourage all of you later on to take a look at dolley madison's snuff box which is over at the decater house. we just brought that up today. go take a look at her snuff box. and with that teaser, please join me in welcoming dr. catherine allgor. [ applause ] >> thank you so much for that lovely introduction. i'm tempted to say forget about mysp


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