How a Tornado Saved Washington D.C.

During the War of 1812, America was once again fighting the British for the freedom that rightfully was ours. Great Britain was determined to take back the control they had lost in the War for Independence. In the last post of this series, we looked at another amazing example of answered prayer in the War of 1812 and delved further into the background of the war. Today we are going to look at yet another example of The Timeless Anchor working during the War of 1812.

America was still quite young when she found herself fighting for her life once again in this war. In 1814 the war was raging like a wildfire out of control. Great Britain had been successful in its war against Napoleon, sending him into exile and freeing thousands of British troops to come fight the war in America. The future of the fledgling United States hung in the balance between freedom and tyranny at the hands of the ruthless British forces.

On August 24, 1814, the British launched an offensive to capture the capitol city. The small band of American militia that resided in D.C. put up a fierce resistance. It wasn’t enough though. The city fell to the cruel hands of the British army. They marched into the city that blistering hot day in August, and began the task they had set out to do—destroy the capitol and burn it to the ground.

Helplessly, the citizens who remained in the city watched as torches were lit and the burning began. British Admiral Cockburn rode up to the White House and strode inside. He, and those under his command, enjoyed a meal at the White House. When they were done, they set it on fire. They rode away, flames still consuming the presidential mansion behind them.

The next stop was Capitol Hill. Inside the Capitol building, British soldiers took up residence in the seats of Congress. They held a mock meeting of Congress, and voted on whether to burn the Capitol or not. The question was answered with a resounding “aye”!

They swarmed out of the Capitol building, torching it and moving on to the next building. In all, they torched the Capitol, the Treasury building, the Patent Office, the Library of Congress, the Navy Yard, and our beautiful White House.

In the chaos and uproar of the city being burned, the British troops took no note of the fact that something unusual was beginning to happen. The sky turned a blackish, brown hue and the wind rose up with a fury. Within a matter of moments, the storm had turned into a violent tempest. A strong tornado touched down in the middle of the city and rapidly advanced toward the British on Capitol Hill. Two other tornadoes were reported to have touched down in D.C. that same day.

The storm was unlike anything seen before by those who witnessed it. Rain poured down in torrents, quenching the flames that consumed much of our Capitol. One British soldier who was there said of it,

“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.”

Eyewitness accounts say that British cannons were picked up off the ground and slammed around by the wind, as though they had no weight at all. It has also been said that more British soldiers were killed by this storm than were killed by the American resistance defending the city.

The British troops retreated to the safety of their ships anchored off the coast when the storm had finally ended. Even the ships, which lay miles off shore, were damaged. Two of them were even sent aground.

Admiral Cockburn in great distress and fear during the storm, cried out to a local lady who was nearby, “Is this the kind of storm to which you are accustomed in this infernal country?”

She replied, “No, sir. This is a special interposition of Providence to drive our enemies from our city.”

The lady was indeed correct in her statement. Storms of that magnitude and severity are incredibly rare for D.C. In fact, there have only been a handful of other tornadoes reported in D.C. to date.

The rarity of this storm, coupled with the fact that it happened to hit at the same time British troops were burning the city, make it clearly evident that The Timeless Anchor was once again moving. This was no stroke of luck. It wasn’t chance that caused a storm to arise in defense of a defenseless city. That was God Almighty intervening!

After the British had been driven from the Capitol and it was safe for our government to return, President Madison proclaimed a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.

“I have deemed it proper…to recommend… a day of…humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe.” ~James Madison

What are you thoughts on this event? Did you know that this happened? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear from you.

A. M. Watson

Hebrews 13:8

8 thoughts on “How a Tornado Saved Washington D.C.

  1. WOW, I did not know about this at all! (*going to have to scour my history book on U.S. history for this year and see if this is mentioned or not*) But that was definitely the hand of God moving! I love how the lady was like, “Nah, this is just something we prayed for; so you can go now.” LOL!
    Thanks for this post! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going to add to my comment here…I’ve heard of this story before, and it’s been in my history textbooks.
      They just never mentioned the tornado.
      *le sigh*


    • Hahaha, it’s crazy that most history books don’t include the part about the storm that drove the British from D.C. 🤔
      Amen! God was moving for sure!
      Agh, that was one of my favorite quotes!! I love it! 😂
      You are welcome!! Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts! ❤


  2. Pingback: When God’s People Prayed For Healing | Seeking The Timeless Anchor

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