The Washington Navy Yard disaster
Meanwhile, the burning continued throughout Aug. 25, 1814, with the Long Bridge over the Potomac River fired at both ends by panicky British and American soldiers, each fearing that the other side was about to cross!
In 1868, noted American author/illustrator Benson J. Lossing estimated the damage in 1814 dollars at $ 2 million, quite a sum for that time.
But the work of destruction wasn’t without its attendant risks, as a party of 200 soldiers found out at the US Navy Yard on the 25th when powder, shot, and shell dropped down a well was accidentally set off by a dropped, lit match.
The explosion also detonated a nearby powder magazine that rained down debris onto the heads of the incendiarists, killing 12 and wounding more than 30.