The Battle of Bladensburg

330px-Private_of_MarinesToday is Veterans Day in the US, Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth. We honor those who have served in the armed forces. It seems a good day to look at one battle of the Regency period. This is 'my Regency battlefield'. Unlike Waterloo and Austerlitz, it happened near to home.

When Americans think of the War of 1812 they rather vaguely think 'we won'.


Dolly Madison

They recognize some famous quotes. The Capital got burned. Boo! And there was Dolly Madison. But they have no idea What It Was All About. Historians still scratch their heads over this question.

British people, when this 'War of 1812' is mentioned, are apt to say, "What? Oh, that." For them the war in America was a little bagatelle of a campaign, fought while everybody was concerned with Napoleon.

This indecisive and fairly pointless war crosses my own life the day the British marched into Washington and burned the capitol building. On their way in, they fought in a hamlet called Bladensburg. My home town. I learned the history of this battle in a school perched on a hill where American scouts once waited for the British.

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