12 Facts About The War Of 1812, As Told By Doctor Who

Hop on board the TARDIS and journey back 200 years, to a strange time when British troops thought nothing of occasionally burning down the White House. Enjoy as everyone’s favourite Time Lord presents this and other facts that you possibly didn’t know about the War of 1812!

1. In the early 1800s the British Navy was the biggest in the world. It had more than 600 ships.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy only had 18 sailable ships. Neither side had any TARDISes… as far as we know.

2. The War of 1812 lasted 32 months, following the U.S. declaration of war on Britain in June 18, 1812.

That’s longer than the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, and U.S. involvement in World War I. We’re not sure how it compares to the Last Great Time War though. We’ll get back to you on that one.

3. The British army in Canada lived largely on American beef smuggled openly across the borders of New York and Vermont.


4. Right before burning the White House, British troops chowed down on some Presidential grub.

When they broke into the deserted mansion, they found a full banquet laid out in the dining room. Dolley Madison, expecting the U.S. to hold off the British, had ordered a victory feast for her husband and his aides.

5. Myth alert! The White House DID NOT get its name after it was painted white to cover up burns and cracks from the fire.

The tan-coloured sandstone exterior was already whitewashed by the time the redcoats arrived. In fact, Washingtonians had begun calling it ‘the White House’ as early as 1810.

6. You can still see the scorch marks on the White House from the 1814 fire.

This one’s not a myth. If you ever visit the White House, be sure to look for the hidden marks beneath the North Portico. Assuming the Secret Service are cool with that.

7. After the burning of the White House, President James Madison and his wife never again lived there.

President Madison served the rest of his term residing at the nearby Octagon House, a fine residence in its own right. President James Monroe was the next president to live in the reconstructed White House. He moved there in 1817.

8. While in Washington, the Brits also burned the Capitol, the War Office, the State Department and the Treasury.

You know the Brits: we pride ourselves on being thorough. It is the only time in U.S. history that outsiders have raided the capital.

9. The battle of Bladensburg in August 1814 was the only battle in American history where the President, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of State were all present.

Madison is also the only sitting President besides Lincoln to show up on an active battlefield.

10. Francis Scott Key’s ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ was set to the melody of an English drinking song.

The tune is called ‘To Anacreon in Heaven.’ Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics after he saw a huge American flag waving over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, indicating that the fort was holding out against the British. ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ became the American national anthem in 1931.

11. The rockets mentioned in the song did indeed have a ‘red glare.’

The ‘rockets’ red glare’ refers to British missiles used on Fort McHenry, called Congreves, which looked like giant bottle rockets.

12. A trip from England to Canada could take as long as three months by sea back in 1812.

Luckily for us, the TARDIS can go back 200 years lickety-split.

In the end, we’re glad that 200 years after the burning of the White House we can all be friends and be part of a very special relationship.


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