Was there really a tornado storm that allegedly thwarted the British in the 1814 'Burning of Washington'?

NowhereMan

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The story of a tornado saving Washington from the British has always seemed a little too much like a convenient fairy tale to me to explain away the situation.

From Wikipedia:

16231

I was curious about the particulars and want to see what I could find in the oldest history book about it that I could find. With a copy of A History Of The United States, by John Frost, 1841 in my hands, I looked to see what I can find about the tornado in question.

16232 16233 16236 16237

In a nutshell, I didn't find anything in this book (written 27 years after the fact) about a tornado at the time of the British burning Washington. I understand this is just one book and not in anyway definitive, and so I will continue to look through more history books in search of the earliest instance of the tornado reference. I'm also willing to accept I have the only history book covering the British burning of Washington that simply forgot to include the storm and tornado. My search continues.
 

KorbenDallas

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To get a better grasp on this story we would need contemporary sources, i.e. newspapers, books similar to yours, or something of that matter. By figuring out when they first mentioned these two-day tornadoes, which were lifting cannons, we could hypothesize on authenticity.

You are on the right track questioning these coincidences which appear to good to be real.
 
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NowhereMan

NowhereMan

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In searching for the elusive Storm that saved Washington, I turned to the Library of Congress for the earliest records that I could find regarding the War of 1812 and the Burning of Washington in August, 1814:
Here we have several accounts of of the british capturing of Washington, and not so much as a single word on the weather that day, much less a destructive tornado running the British off.

This leads me to wonder, at what point did the tornado and the 'Storm that Saved Washington' enter the history books, and why?
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I've had a little time to continue research on this matter. Could the "Storm that Saved Washington" during the War of 1812 be a work of fiction as recently as 2002? In going through their sources, I think I pinpointed where Wikipedia's story of the tornado that hit when the British were burning Washington, DC.

Using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, we find an account on NOAA.gov's website from June 12, 2002 by a Barbara Watson regarding the Tornado and a description thereof.

Wikipedia lists a second source as the Roanoke Times. An article dated August 26th, 2006 by a Kevin Myatt titled ''Did tornado wreak havoc on War of 1812?' In it, he references a book called "Washington Weather". There is an excerpt titled The Tornado and the Burning of Washington, August 25, 1814 from said book, of which both the writings of Roanoke Times and NOAA seem to reference directly.

A third source references an episode on the History Channel; The War of 1812, Scene 5 "An Act of Nature" from 2005. I am unable to find an episode listed by History Channel on the War of 1812 dated to 2005. There is a small series from 2009, but the part the British burning Washington, DC is glanced over and no mention of a storm or tornado.

In searching several historical books about the War of 1812:

...not one of them mentions anything about a tornado in Washington, DC on the day the British invaded it, nor so much as a single storm. I am inclined to believe that the "Storm that Saved Washington" is fiction and an example of modern-day historical revisionism.
 
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