I've had quite a few readers ask me if the prologue in A Hand in Love and Murder really happened? Did Washington D.C. really get burned and was there a tornado?
The answer is YES!
Not only was this the only time in history that the American capital was held by an occupying foreign force, the burnings as well as the storm are all historically documented. Also documented, is the fact that Dolly Madison saved a portrait of George Washington during the mass exodus from the city by the American military.
While there is much speculation regarding the storm and whether it was a thunderstorm, hurricane, nor'easter, or a tornado, there are varying accounts that could attribute to all. Here are some of the site's I've used in terms of ferreting out information to use.