WHO EXACTLY BURNED DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE?
A plaque commemorating British Maj.-gen. Robert Ross by the front gates of the Old Burying Ground in Halifax, where Ross is buried. Ross is credited with setting fire to what is now the White House during the War of 1812. British Army Maj.-gen. Robert Ross, originally from Northern Ireland, is most famous for his role in the Burning of Washington during the War of 1812.
Ross’ group of about 4,400 marched on Washington in mid-august 1814, facing 9,000 Americans.
Ross instructed the troops not to burn public property. Instead, they burned the Library of Congress, Capitol building and treasury. Then the troops went to the president’s mansion, where a victory dinner had been laid out. They ate before setting fire to the building. The story goes that to cover up the scorch marks, the Americans painted the mansion with whitewash. Ever since it’s been known as the White House.