From the point of view of a naval officer, one of the most interesting naval campaigns in any American war was the capture of Washington by the British, in 1814, during the War of 1812. Although a brief campaign, partaking largely of the nature of a raid, it is worthy of study as it exemplifies the supreme importance of the command of the sea in war and the opportunities offered through the command of the sea to harass seriously an enemy with little risk to the attacker. The principles involved are applicable in any war, even in the present time, although the types of ships and the weapons may be utterly different.
Again, the methods of the commanders who were skilled in their profession are worthy of study and comparison with those who were unskilled and unprepared, revealing the reason for the success of the British. No campaign in the military or naval history of the United States reveals more clearly the value of training and discipline of personnel than this unfortunate episode. Hastily organized military or naval forces cannot compete with disciplined and trained regulars, and this applies with equal force today as in the raid upon Washington.