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Tag: US

The day a Cockburn set the White House aflame

Sunday 2 September 2012

World View: Two hundred years after the US was humbled by Britain, our leaders still pass off defeat as victory
As a correspondent in Washington 20 years ago, I received occasional calls from local television stations on the anniversary of the burning of the White House by a British force in August 1814. The reason they wanted a comment was because the raid was jointly led by my distant ancestor, Admiral Sir George Cockburn, who took a fleet into Chesapeake Bay in the last months of the war that had started in 1812.
The intention was for Sir George and his fleet to seize horses in Virginia and Maryland for the cavalry. Instead, the sailors found it far more profitable to plunder tobacco warehouses on the creeks running down to the Chesapeake.