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Battle of Bladensburg, Burning of Washington, USMC Commandant's House

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

Unit/ Formation: Royal Marines

Location: North America

Period/ Conflict: War of 1812

Year: 1814

Date/s: 24 August 1814

Colonel Charles Waterhouse's painting of the U.S. marines manning their guns at Bladensburg

A British force of army regulars including a Company of Royal Marines routed a combined U.S. force of Regular Army and state militia troops at Bladensburg, Maryland, 8.6 miles (13.8 km) northeast of the federal capital of Washington, D.C.. U.S. defeat resulted in the capture and burning of Washington.

A company fought at the Battle of Bladensburg, and the other two companies including a rocket detachment from the Royal Marines battalion took part in the burning of Washington.

One of the firing parties was led by Second Lieutenant Lewis Agassiz (1793–1866); for his part in the battle, his family was later granted a coat of arms depicting a torch.

The Burning of Washington in 1814 by British troops, as depicted by Tom Freeman (White House Historical Association)

Casualties suffered by the Colonial Marines during this action were one man killed and three wounded.

Few buildings were spared but of those were the Marine Barracks and Commandant's House, left untouched as a mark of respect for the bravery shown by the US Marines at the battle of Bladensburg.

Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. is located at the corner of 8th and I Streets, Southeast in Washington, D.C. Established in 1801, it is a National Historic Landmark, the oldest post in the United States Marine Corps, the official residence of the Commandant of the Marine Corps since 1806, and main ceremonial grounds of the Corps

The Marines had brought heavier field guns and artillery to support Commodore Barney’s troops, which likely would have been able to hold their ground had they not then been peppered with cannon fire.

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