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Washington Is Burning!: The War of 1812


Read facts about the War of 1812 and the fictional story centering on Sophie Turner and her father. The Turners are slaves owned by President James Madison and his wife, Dolley.

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Read facts about the War of 1812 and the fictional story centering on Sophie Turner and her father. The Turners are slaves owned by President James Madison and his wife, Dolley.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789158963
  • Publisher: Perfection Learning Corporation
  • Publication date: 1/1/2003
  • Series: Reading Essentials in Social Studies
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Table of Contents

(Historical Fiction Story)
Chapter 1  Worth the Fight
Chapter 2  President Madison in Chains!
Chapter 3  For All the Black Soldiers
Chapter 4  Freedom Tears

(Nonfiction Information Chapters)
Chapter 5  Battles Around the Great Lakes
Chapter 6  The Invasion of Washington
Chapter 7  Dolley and James Madison
Chapter 8  Fort McHenry and the Battle of New Orleans

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First Chapter

"Washington is Burning! The War of 1812"

Worth the Fight

    "Let's just escape from this house and run to the British soldiers, Pa," cried Sophie Turner. Tears streamed down her cheeks. "We can at least be free with them!"
    Cyrus Turner put his arm around his teenage daughter. "I can't do that, Sophie," he said. "I'm an American, and I'm going with Mr. Madison to Bladensburg to fight with the militia."
    Mr. Turner put the powder horn over his shoulder. "We have to stop the British from reaching Washington."
    "But, Pa," Sophie argued, "you're just one of President Madison's slaves. You're not a real American!"
    Mr. Turner looked down at his daughter with hurt in his eyes.
    "You could be wounded or killed!" exclaimed Sophie. "What would I do then?"
    "I'll be coming back," he said softly. "Besides, Mr. Madison is a good president and a kind master. He might just give me my freedom if I fight for our country."
    Sophie wiped the tears from her eyes.
    "Let's just think about all the good things we have," said Sophie's father. "We have our black brothers and sisters at the Madison's Montpelier home. They aren't whipped or beaten like on other plantations. Mr. Madison sees to that. And our families have been kept together for generations."
    Sophie watched her father pick up the long flintlock musket. Mr. Turner looked into his daughter's eyes.
    "We live in the President's House," he continued. "Your Aunt Tillie is Lady Madison's personal servant. You are now a housemaid in this beautiful mansion. Aunt Tillie has even taught you to read and write some."
    Mr. Turner put on his tricorn.
    "And I am the president's gardener." He smiled as he spoke. "So our lives could be a lot worse."
    "But they are a lot worse, Pa!" Anger gnawed at Sophie's insides. "We aren't free! We're just slaves! Most people think of us as property!"
    Mr. Turner took his daughter's hand and led her to a large painting. It was a portrait of George Washington. Sophie had dusted it many times.
    "When I look at our first president," he said, "I see George Washington with a black face. He stands for all the black soldiers who fought the British for our country's freedom and their own."
    "But, Pa-"
    "Listen, Sophie," her father said. "Did you know that Washington freed his 300 slaves? It was in his will."
    Her father's words made Sophie examine the painting more closely.
    "Look, he has his left hand on his sword," her father pointed out. "I believe his right hand is inviting me to fight for my freedom."
    Sophie looked at her father.
    "This morning, I prayed to this painting to help keep me safe in battle," Mr. Turner said. "I asked it to help us defeat the British a second time and give me freedom when the war is over."
    Sophie hoped her father's prayers would be answered.

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