This online exhibition marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the acquisition of Jefferson’s 6,487-volume library. On the evening of August 24, 1814, during the second year of the War of 1812, British forces under orders from Rear Admiral George Cockburn and Major General Robert Ross set fire to the unfinished United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. The congressional library, then housed in the Capitol’s north wing, was destroyed. To “replace the devastations of British Vandalism,” former U.S. president Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his personal collection of books, the largest and most comprehensive in the United States at that time. With some reservations, Congress purchased his library for $23,950 in 1815.
The Prints and Photographs Division holds many images relating to the War of 1812 and its participants. This selected list focuses on items that were created during the war and its immediate aftermath.
On December 24, 1814, the United States and Great Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812. This guide provides access to digital materials at the Library of Congress, links to external websites, and a print bibliography.
British troops landed at Benedict, Maryland, on the shores of the Patuxent River on August 19, 1814. A few days later, the British set fire to the White House, the Capitol, and many of the other public buildings in Washington.
On January 8, 1815, Major General Andrew Jackson led a small, poorly-equipped army to victory against eight thousand British troops at the Battle of New Orleans. The victory made Jackson a national hero. Although the American victory was a big morale boost for the young nation, its military significance was minimal as it occurred after the signing (although before ratification) of the Treaty of Ghent that officially ended the war between the U.S. and Great Britain.
The War of 1812 Bicentennial Web Archive is a collection of websites of various projects and events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The archive consists of over 30 websites presenting local and regional events and commemorations of this important conflict. This web archive will serve as a useful tool for researchers in studying American memorialization of the War of 1812 and its impact on American relations with Great Britain and with Canada.