The Darkest Day: The Washington-Baltimore Campaign During the War of 1812

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Overview

In the first two years of the War of 1812, the young American nation suffered setbacks at the hands of its British foe, but the most humiliating defeat occurred in August 1814, when the British navy sailed up the Potomac and landed troops near the city of Washington. The British routed the Americans at the battle of Bladensburg on the city's outskirts and then proceeded to sack Washington, burning the White House and Capitol building, and forcing President Madison and other politicians to flee. The town of Alexandria fell next, but the reeling Americans finally made a stand outside Baltimore, led by the spirited resistance of Ft. McHenry. The war ended with the Treaty of Ghent in December 1814, restoring the relationship between the U.S. and Britain to prewar conditions. This was the first severe test of the new American nation and confirmed that the country would retain the independence won a quarter-century earlier.

In The Darkest Day, Charles G. Muller explains the political crisis that precipitated America's "second war of independence" and then provides an accurate and colorful account of the campaign's land and naval engagements, using official documents and eyewitness reports from both sides.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Action-packed, well-balanced, and well-written."—Library Journal

"With precise and well-researched detail, Muller tells the story of the Washington debacle in 1814 and the successful defense of Baltimore. His writing is clear, interesting, and suspenseful."—America

Library Journal
LJ's reviewer found that this "first full account of the skeleton in Uncle Sam's closet" was "action packed, well balanced, and well written" and "should be on the shelves of all large libraries" (LJ 5/15/63). The volume covers the War of 1812 generally, but the "darkest day" refers to the sacking of Washington, DC, by British troops. President Madison and his staff fled for their lives while the White House and the Capitol Building were torched. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812218435
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/15/2003
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 839,413
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles G. Muller (1897-1987) was a writer for several national magazines and newspapers. He is the author of Hero of Champlain.
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