During the War of 1812, the British forces attacked and burned our new National Capital, Washington DC. They burned both the White House and the Capitol Building.
Other buildings were burned but the British occupied Washington DC for only a day. They soon retreated to the Baltimore area, where another famous battle was fought and our National Anthem was written (by Francis S. Key).
Before the White House was burned, President Madison and his wife, Dolly Madison, worked to save as many of the artifacts and treasures as they could. The famous painting of George Washington was among the most-prized items saved from the British in the attack (August 1814).