WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) released the third video in his “Crenshaw’s Classroom” video series targeted toward students learning from home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The four-part video series provides a brief synopsis of little-known stories of American history that students may not have learned as part of their regular curriculum.
The first video in the series recounted the story of the American flag that became known as “Old Glory.” Click here to watch the first video.
The second video in the series released last week highlighted the story of Thomas Lynch, Jr., the 26-year-old signer of the Declaration of Independence. Click here to watch the second video.
The third video in the series released today tells the story of the storm that saved the Capitol from destruction by British soldiers in the summer of 1814.
Click here or on the image above to view Crenshaw’s video. A full transcript of the video is included below.
Congressman Crenshaw here with another story for you.
I’ve told you about the story of a flag called “Old Glory” and a young man named Thomas Lynch, Jr. who signed the Declaration of Independence at just 26 years old.
If you missed those stories, you can watch them on my website at crenshaw.house.gov.
This week, I’m going to tell you the story of a horrific storm that hit the nation’s capital in the summer of 1814.
The historic storm – complete with a tornado, hail, and torrential downpours – was a once-in-a-lifetime event that should have brought immense destruction to Washington, D.C. But this story has a surprising ending.
Here’s the story of the storm that saved the capital.
In the summer of 1814, British troops invaded Washington, D.C. with one goal in mind: destroy the city.
British troops set the city ablaze in a fire that consumed some of the country’s most historic buildings, including the White House and the United States Capitol.
But as the flames grew brighter and more fierce on the ground, the skies above the nation’s capital grew darker.
Now, if you’ve ever been to Washington in the summer months, you know that severe summer storms are not out of the ordinary. Sweltering days are often met with intense summer storms that rumble the city with thunder and drench the city with rain.
But this storm in 1814 was something different.
As the clouds and winds intensified, a tornado formed in the center of the city. The tornado uprooted trees, tossed cannons like toothpicks, and even killed British soldiers.
This is how one British soldier described the storm:
“Of the prodigious force of the wind it is impossible for you to form any conception. Roofs of houses were torn off by it, and whisked into the air like sheets of paper, while the rain which accompanied it resembled the rushing of a mighty cataract rather than the dropping of a shower,”
The rain that followed poured down on the city for hours, dousing the flames that consumed the city, the White House, and the Capitol.
Buildings like the White House and the Capitol are more than just a combination of brick, marble, and mortar. They are symbols of our country and our government of, by, and for the people.
What would have happened if that fateful storm had never arrived in 1814? You would not be able to visit the same White House or Capitol that were built so many years ago, buildings which hold a special place in the hearts of every American.
The next time you are in the nation’s capital, imagine the storm on that day. A twister ripping through the city. British cannons being tossed in the wind. And a torrential downpour falling upon the city on fire.
If you happen to be there in the summer months and are caught in one of Washington’s famous summer storms, you might be able to picture the scene back in August of 1814, and remember the story of the storm that saved the capitol.
Thanks for listening.