Belfast Telegraph

Seminar devoted to man who set White House on fire


Meet General Robert Ross of Rostrevor, the man who set the White House on fire.

Looking out across the shores of Carlingford, where the Mournes stretch out to the sea, there stands a monument to General Ross (below).

But for many the reason behind his notoriety is a mystery. But a conference due to get under way later this week is hoping to uncover the story.

The story is one of a Co Down man who ended up at the centre of one of history's great clashes between Britain and the US, the War of 1814. Among his portfolio of battles is the 1814 Burning of Washington in which many of the city's public properties were set alight. These most famously included the White House and US Capitol.

As the bicentennial approaches, the conference will shed some light on this figure and the memorable era from which he hails.

Washington Post journalist Steve Vogel – who will speak at conference – has said that "there was a lot to be learned and enjoyed".

The event is sponsored by the Peace III Programme and BBC veteran Peter Snow will also be a key speaker during the events in Rostrevor. Speakers will also include a host of local and international historians and scholars.

The free three-day conference begins on Friday. To book tickets visit

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