[The Burning of Washington, D.C. in the War of 1812] National Intelligencer, Five Issues: Monday, September 4, 1814–Wednesday, September 14, 1814].
The burning and capture of Washington, D.C. by British troops during the War of 1812 was a bitter blow to the young American Republic.
British forces under the command of Rear Admiral George Cockburn and General Robert Ross captured the city on August 24, 1814 and burned many United States government buildings including the Capitol and the White House.
The next day, Admiral Cockburn gave orders to destroy the printing offices of the Washington newspaper, the National Intelligencer —a newspaper that had attacked him as “The Ruffian”— and to destroy its printing type.
Undeterred, the newspaper resumed publication just three days later. The editors’ ardent desire to re-start publication was made evident by its quick re-appearance in the following days, printed on atypical coarse paper, a blue/gray “necessity” paper.
These scarce five issues, each printed in 5 columns, were published in early September in the aftermath of the attack on Washington and the burning of the White House and the Capitol. They present contemporary reactions to the city’s destruction and its brief military occupation. News items or letters printed within discuss temporary accommodations for Congress, U.S. Army and Navy reports of numerous battles (e.g. a battle narrative from Oliver Hazard Perry), and other news of the War (e.g. native Americans brought from Appalachia by the British to Pensacola, Florida to fight, dressed in British uniforms).
Notable letters within include: a public letter describing the scene in Washington on August 24 by William Thornton, former Architect of the Capitol and rescuer of the U.S. Patent Office Building (September 7); a letter from U.S. Secretary of State James Monroe (September 9); a defensive letter from Dr. James H. Blake, Mayor of Washington (September 9); Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard, Commodore Thomas Tingey’s report to the U.S. Secretary of the Navy on his actions in Washington City on August 24 (September 12); and a letter of William Thornton reacting to Dr. Blake’s “acrimonious attack” on him in the September 9 issue (September 12).
At least four advertisements concern African Americans: A wanted ad for two female slave servants provided they were “without the incumbrance of a child” and had no husbands; A runaway slave and reward notice for a Black man (“a little bow legged, speaks much in the negro style, not easily understood”) who escaped a Maryland jail with the help of a white anti-slavery activist; Another runaway slave of whom the subscriber notes “As no particular cause existed of his going away, and from circumstances which have since come to my knowledge, it is suspected that he intended to join the enemy…”; And the printers of the paper itself seeking to purchase a “smart NEGRO BOY, from 13 to 18 years old.”
Other brief articles or adverts inform of the Banks of Philadelphia suspending specie and the desire for the return of a horse and great cloth coat lost on the battle-ground, etc.
Description: [The Burning of Washington, D.C. in the War of 1812] National Intelligencer, Five Issues: Monday, September 4, 1814–Wednesday, September 14, 1814].
Washington City [D. C.], Monday, September 4 [i.e. 5], 1814–Wednesday, September 14, 1814. Five newspapers; printed on rectos only on pale blue/gray paper. In sequence:  pages,  page (possibly complete);  pages;  pages; and  pages. Each approx. 19½ x 12½ inches. Published thrice weekly. Removed; disbound as a group. Foxing; some minor creases; fore-edges closely trimmed on a few leaves; the second page of the final issue has a lower left hand corner loss that affects 27-lines of text in the first of 5 text columns; some closed tears; overall, Very Good.