U.S. Capital for a Day


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In 1814, as the British burned the capital, refugees from Washington and Georgetown poured into Brookeville and the townspeople took them into their homes.

American soldiers leaving Bladensburg and militiamen on their way to Baltimore came to Brookeville, where the citizens gave them food and spirits and a place to camp and pasture their horses. Washington’s banks sent the specie and clerks brought the U.S. Senate’s papers to Brookeville for safekeeping. And finally, after being on the run in northern Virginia for two nights, the President of the United States and members of his Cabinet came to Brookeville, taking refuge at the home of its postmaster. The town became known as the “U.S. Capital for a Day.”

A year of various commemoration events will culminate on August 30–31, 2014. Brookeville will recreate the life and spirit of August, 1814, with living historians playing the roles of local scientists, engineers, teachers, tradesmen, and craftspeople. Costumed volunteers and horses will re-enact the extraordinary events of late August, 1814, including the arrival of President Madison guarded by 20 mounted militiamen. On Saturday evening, the town will welcome visitors with a period dinner and musical entertainment. On Sunday, Brookeville will hold a 200-year family reunion for descendants of those townspeople and refugees who were there in 1814.

Find more information about what happened in Brookeville in 1814 here.

Read about the myths about what happened in 1814.

To read more about Brookeville in 1814 and the people who lived there: msa.maryland.gov/brookeville