August 20

Regarding Jonathan Yardley’s Aug. 17 review of the book “When Britain Burned the White House” [“Attack on America’s power center,” Outlook]:

The arsonist, Maj. Gen. Robert Ross — an ancestor of mine — was shot and killed in the battle for Baltimore less than a month later. His remains were shipped off to Halifax, Nova Scotia, embalmed in a cask of rum. I can see his tomb in the Old Burying Ground next to the Halifax Court House; it is used by the homeless as a shelter of last resort. It would appear that the general is still providing a service to his country.

Del W. Atwood,

Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada