26 August 2015:
As we reported a couple of days ago, during the War of 1812, the British marched almost unopposed into the capital, Washington City, bent on destruction and mayhem. They succeeded nicely! Only they had a problem with Mother Nature. As we earlier reported, Admiral Cockburn, after dining in the President's Mansion (the White House), set it afire, damaging it severely (as you might expect). It was late at night and other buildings around the city were also aflame.
Fortunately for the American inhabitants and business owners in the city, Mother Nature intervened, providing a monstrous storm the next morning - some said it was a hurricane - with huge winds (not so good) and torrential downpours of rain (really good!) that put out most of the fires. Then, for good measure, she threw in a mini-twister which really put the frosting on the cake! By forensic weather study, the NWS has claimed that a "strong tornado struck Northwest and downtown Washington and did major damage to the residential section of the city."
|contemporary etching of destruction of Washington|
Naturally, the rains put out the fires, but the tornado that came into the city in the early afternoon did some serious damage to the British troops; it knocked down a building in which the soldiers were taking shelter from the rain killing many, and overturned a gun carriage, killing several British Marines instantly. Roofs were torn off buildings and men were knocked off their horses. Two cannon were picked up and thrown into the air, according to eyewitness accounts. The roofs of the General Post Office and the Patent Office were ripped off and many trees were uprooted. .
The British, Gen'l Ross and Admiral Cockburn, decided remaining in the capital would accomplish nothing further and that night, using the aftermath of the storm as a distraction, began their march back to their ships, intent on destroying their next target, Baltimore. More on that later.
So that's the story of how Mother Nature saved Washington - or kinda did!
Until next time,