When Britain Burned The White House

Episodes

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0120130902

August 1814. The United States wakes to find the Royal Navy moored in Chesapeake Bay.

Nearly 200 years ago, Britain attacked the heartland of the United States. The President and his wife had just enough time to pack their belongings and flee the White House before the British army entered and set fire to the building. From here, the British army turned its sights to Baltimore.

Peter Snow tells the story of this extraordinary confrontation between Britain and the United States, the outcome of which inspired America's national anthem. Using eyewitness accounts, Peter describes the colourful personalities on both sides of this astonishing battle - from Britain's fiery Admiral Cockburn, to the cautious but widely popular army commander Robert Ross and the beleaguered President James Madison whose nation was besieged by a greater military force.

In the first episode, the American watchman at Chesapeake Bay wakes one August morning to find fifty ships of the Royal Navy at anchor. The British have arrived to end, decisively, the war of 1812. In Washington, President Madison waits nervously to see where they will attack first.

Read by Jamie Parker

Producer: David Roper

A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.

0220130903

Six days after landing, the British defeat the Americans at Bladensburg.

Nearly 200 years ago, Britain attacked the heartland of the United States. The President and his wife had just enough time to pack their belongings and flee the White House before the British army entered and set fire to the building. From here, the British army turned its sights to Baltimore.

Peter Snow tells the story of this extraordinary confrontation between Britain and the United States, the outcome of which inspired America's national anthem. Using eyewitness accounts, Peter describes the colourful personalities on both sides of this astonishing battle - from Britain's fiery Admiral Cockburn, to the cautious but widely popular army commander Robert Ross and the beleaguered President James Madison whose nation was besieged by a greater military force.

In episode two, the British invaders confront the American militia at Bladensburg, eight miles from the Capitol. The Americans are defeated and scattered. The road to Washington lies undefended.

Read by Jamie Parker

Producer: David Roper

A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.

0320130904

The invading British enter a deserted White House, feasting before setting it ablaze.

Nearly 200 years ago, Britain attacked the heartland of the United States. The President and his wife had just enough time to pack their belongings and flee the White House before the British army entered and set fire to the building. From here, the British army turned its sights to Baltimore.

Peter Snow tells the story of this extraordinary confrontation between Britain and the United States, the outcome of which inspired America's national anthem. Using eyewitness accounts, Peter describes the colourful personalities on both sides of this astonishing battle - from Britain's fiery Admiral Cockburn, to the cautious but widely popular army commander Robert Ross and the beleaguered President James Madison whose nation was besieged by a greater military force.

When the British enter the White House they find it deserted. They feast on President Madison's food and wine before setting they building ablaze. They then turn their attention to other important symbols of American government - and the city is saved only by a timely thunderstorm.

Read by Jamie Parker

Producer: David Roper

A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.

0420130905

Nearly 200 years ago, Britain attacked the heartland of the United States. The President and his wife had just enough time to pack their belongings and flee the White House before the British army entered and set fire to the building. From here, the British army turned its sights to Baltimore.

Peter Snow tells the story of this extraordinary confrontation between Britain and the United States, the outcome of which inspired America's national anthem. Using eyewitness accounts, Peter describes the colourful personalities on both sides of this astonishing battle - from Britain's fiery Admiral Cockburn, to the cautious but widely popular army commander Robert Ross and the beleaguered President James Madison whose nation was besieged by a greater military force.

In episode four, two weeks after their successful invasion of Washington, the British turn on Baltimore. But this time the Americans are prepared and more resolute.

Read by Jamie Parker

Producer: David Roper

A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.

0420130905

The invading British decide to attack Baltimore - with devastating consequences.

Nearly 200 years ago, Britain attacked the heartland of the United States. The President and his wife had just enough time to pack their belongings and flee the White House before the British army entered and set fire to the building. From here, the British army turned its sights to Baltimore.

Peter Snow tells the story of this extraordinary confrontation between Britain and the United States, the outcome of which inspired America's national anthem. Using eyewitness accounts, Peter describes the colourful personalities on both sides of this astonishing battle - from Britain's fiery Admiral Cockburn, to the cautious but widely popular army commander Robert Ross and the beleaguered President James Madison whose nation was besieged by a greater military force.

In episode four, two weeks after their successful invasion of Washington, the British turn on Baltimore. But this time the Americans are prepared and more resolute.

Read by Jamie Parker

Producer: David Roper

A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.

05 LAST20130906

The British assault on Baltimore fails. They retreat and the invasion is over.

Nearly 200 years ago, Britain attacked the heartland of the United States. The President and his wife had just enough time to pack their belongings and flee the White House before the British army entered and set fire to the building. From here, the British army turned its sights to Baltimore.

Peter Snow tells the story of this extraordinary confrontation between Britain and the United States, the outcome of which inspired America's national anthem. Using eyewitness accounts, Peter describes the colourful personalities on both sides of this astonishing battle - from Britain's fiery Admiral Cockburn, to the cautious but widely popular army commander Robert Ross and the beleaguered President James Madison whose nation was besieged by a greater military force.

In the final episode, the British attack on Baltimore has failed and they retreat to their ships. To celebrate victory, a young American poet Francis Scott Key writes a poem - The Star Spangled Banner.

Read by Jamie Parker

Producer: David Roper

A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.