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The War of 1812
Consuming Fire The Burning of Washington, Part 1



Consuming Fire The Burning of Washington, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.07

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    alarmist, cartful, jovial, ominous, splendor, tongue-lashing, unharmed, white-hot, violation, edict, inferno, invasion, respectable, fledgling, unprepared, full-length
     content words:    General Robert Ross, War John Armstrong, Ranking U. S., Stephan Pleasanton, State Department, President Madison, Dolley Madison, Gilbert Stuart, George Washington, First Lady


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Consuming Fire The Burning of Washington, Part 1
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     It was late afternoon on August 24, 1814. The British had marched many miles since morning. Then, at Bladensburg, they'd fought an intense battle. The heat of the day had caused some soldiers to collapse. General Robert Ross gave his troops a chance to recover their strength before pushing on into Washington.
 
2     Their approach had caught citizens of the city unprepared. Government officials were no more ready for the invasion than residents were. Secretary of War John Armstrong had been in charge of strategy in the whole affair. He had remained stubbornly convinced that the British target would be Baltimore. No plans were made in the event of an attack on the capital.
 
3     When the British troops landed, reality began to dawn. The city's residents panicked. Only a matter of hours separated them from the King's army! People threw belongings into whatever they could find and scurried from the city. The dusty roads had been clogged with people and carts. Now the streets of Washington were empty. Most homes were deserted.

Paragraphs 4 to 9:
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