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#46: British Set Fire to City of Washington in 1814

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Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION – American history in VOA Special English.

The United States declared war on Britain in eighteen twelve. It did so because Britain refused to stop seizing American ships that traded with France -- Britain's enemy in Europe.

美国1812年对英国宣战。战火的起因是,美国以中立国身份,跟英国的敌人法国做生意,美国商船因此经常被英国扣押。

Britain finally suspended its orders against neutral trade, after a change in government. But the British acted too late. The United States had declared war. Today, Larry West and Frank Oliver continue the story of the War of Eighteen Twelve.

虽然英国政府换届后,决定停止对美国的贸易禁令,但还是晚了一步,美国已经宣战了。这就是著名的1812年战争。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

The United States navy was not ready for war. It had only a few real warships and a small number of gunboats. It could not hope to defeat the British navy, the most powerful in the world. What the United States planned to do was seize Canada, the British territory to the north. Twenty-five hundred British soldiers guarded the border. And American generals believed they could win an easy victory. They were wrong.

当时,美国海军力量薄弱,只有区区几艘战舰和炮艇,想击败举世无双的英国海军,毫无希望。因此,美国计划夺取北部英国控制下的加拿大。美加边境上只有两千五百名英军驻守,美军指挥官原以为夺取加拿大易如反掌,但他们错了。

Detail of a mural by Allyn Cox in the Capitol building. The painting shows the burning of the Capitol in 1814.
Detail of a mural by Allyn Cox in the Capitol building. The painting shows the burning of the Capitol in 1814.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

An American general named William Hull led two thousand men across the Canadian border. British soldiers were prepared, and they forced the Americans back. The British fought so well that General Hull surrendered all his men and the city of Detroit.

美国将军威廉.赫尔率领两千人跨过边境,谁知英军早有准备,奋起反击,迫使美军后撤。英国军队英勇善战,最后美军大败,赫尔的部下全部投降,底特律也落入了英军的手中。

The next American attack was made from Fort Niagara, a military center in New York on the shore of Lake Ontario. A small group of American soldiers crossed the Niagara River and attacked the British. Other Americans -- state soldiers of New York -- refused to cross the border to help against the British. They calmly watched as British soldiers shot down the attacking Americans.

美军在安大略湖沿岸的纽约军事中心尼亚加拉堡开辟了另一片战场。一小批美军士兵跨过尼亚加拉河,对英军发起进攻。但是纽约州的士兵拒绝参战,眼看着英军把进攻的美军打死。

The third campaign was made by General Henry Dearborn. He led an army of state soldiers from Plattsburgh, New York, to the Canadian border. He was to cross the border and attack Montreal. But the state soldiers again refused to cross the border. Dearborn could do nothing but march them back to Plattsburgh.

第三场战役是由亨利.迪尔伯恩将军领导的。他率领纽约州的士兵从普拉茨堡出发,向加拿大边境开拔。他计划跨过边境,进攻蒙特利尔,但是纽约州的士兵再次抗命不从,迪尔伯恩没办法,只好班师回朝。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

British forces at this time were winning victories. They captured an American fort in northern Michigan. And Indians -- fighting for the British -- captured a fort at the place now known as Chicago.

与此同时,英国军队则节节进逼,占领了密西根州北部的一个美国军事堡垒。印第安人在英国的支持下,也占领了今天芝加哥一带的一个堡垒。

Instead of marching through Canada without difficulty, the Americans found themselves trying hard to keep the British out of the state of Ohio.

美军不仅没能长驱直入,占领加拿大,反而要誓死保卫俄亥俄州,防止俄亥俄州失陷。

VOICE TWO:

The Battle of Queenston Heights was a British victory during the War of 1812
The Battle of Queenston Heights was a British victory during the War of 1812

For a while, the weak little American navy was doing better than the army.

战争初期,美国海军虽然脆弱,但战绩却要好过陆军。

Just two months after the war started, the United States warship Constitution forced a British ship to surrender. Several months later another American ship, the Wasp, captured the British ship Frolic. Then the frigate the United States defeated one of Britain's most famous fighting ships, the Macedonian. The British ship was captured and brought to the United States.

战争打响两个月后,美国海军“宪法号”竟然迫使一艘英国军舰投降。几个月后,另外一艘美国军舰“黄蜂号”又捕获了英国战舰“快乐号”。随后不久,驱逐舰“美国号”又击败了英国最著名的战舰“马其顿号”。“马其顿号”被美军捕获,并被押送回美国。

There were other victories at sea. At the end of six months, the United States navy had captured six British ships and lost only one of its own vessels.

美国海军屡战屡胜,战争进行到六个月的时候,美国已经捕获了六艘英国战舰,只损失了一艘美国战舰。

Private American trade ships had been armed with guns when the war started. They, too, were successful against the British. They captured more than three hundred British trade ships.

战争打响后,美国商船也配备大炮,奔赴战场。他们成功捕获了三百多艘英国商船。

The American successes forced Britain to bring more of its fighting ships into the war with the United States. By the middle of eighteen thirteen, a year after the war started, British ships controlled the United States coast. Not an American ship could enter or leave any port south of New England.

海上失利使英国不得不增派战舰。1813年战争进行到一年的时候,美国海岸已经被英国控制,美国船只无法进出新英格兰以南的任何港口。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

The military situation was improving in the West. William Henry Harrison, governor of the Indiana territory, formed a large force to try to capture Detroit from the British. At the same time, Captain Oliver Perry built five warships on Lake Erie. With these and four he already had, Perry met and completely defeated an English naval force.

印第安纳州长威廉.亨利.哈里森率领大批部队,试图把底特律从英国人手里夺回来。与此同时,奥利弗.佩里船长在伊利湖上建造了五艘战舰,再加上原来的四艘,一共九艘。佩里船长率领着九艘战舰,彻底击败了英国的一支海上部队。

Perry reported his victory to Harrison: "We have met the enemy, and they are ours."

佩里向哈里森报告说,“我们遭遇了敌人,他们已经成了我们的手下败将。”

Perry's victory and Harrison's large force caused the British to withdraw from Detroit, and from a British fort at Malden, in Canada. Harrison's men continued to chase the enemy. They caught them and defeated them in the battle of the Thames. Killed in this battle was the great Indian chief Tecumseh who had been fighting for the British.

佩里的胜利和哈里森的大股部队让英军不得不从底特律和加拿大的莫尔登撤退。哈里森率军乘胜追击,赢得了泰晤士河战役的胜利。帮助英国军队打仗的著名的印第安人酋长特库姆塞也在战役中丧生。

United States forces made new attempts to win control of Lake Ontario and invade Canada across the Niagara River. But none of these succeeded. Late in eighteen thirteen, British soldiers crossed the river and captured Fort Niagara. They also burned the town of Buffalo.

美军再次试图收复安大略湖,跨过尼亚加拉河,入侵加拿大,但没有成功。1813年年底,英军过河占领了尼亚加拉堡,并放火烧毁了布法罗。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

By April eighteen fourteen, Napoleon was forced from power in Europe. And the war between France and Britain was over. This permitted Britain to send many of its soldiers in Europe to fight against the United States.

1814年4月,拿破仑被迫退位,英法战争结束。英国得以调遣更多的士兵,赶赴美洲战场。

Fourteen thousand troops were sent to Canada. A smaller force was put on ships that sailed along the American coast. Another group of British soldiers was sent to Jamaica to prepare for an attack on New Orleans.

英军兵分三路:一万四千人开往加拿大;另外一些人加强封锁美国海岸;第三路人马奔赴牙买加,准备进攻新奥尔良。

The British planned to send an army of eleven thousand men down from Canada into New York. But before this, the soldiers aboard ships along the American coast were to attack the Chesapeake Bay area and threaten Washington and Baltimore.

英国计划派遣一万一千人从加拿大南下,进军纽约,但是在此之前,沿海的英军要进攻切萨皮克湾,对华盛顿和巴尔地摩构成威胁。

About four thousand British soldiers landed on the Chesapeake coast, southeast of Washington. They marched quickly toward the capital. An American general, William Winder, commanded a force two times the size of the British group. Winder was not a good general, and his troops did not defend well.

大约四千英军在华盛顿特区东南面的切萨皮克湾登陆,迅速向美国首都进发。美军将领威廉.温德尔率领着一支两倍于英军的部队防守。尽管如此,温德尔的无能还是让美军一败涂地。

VOICE ONE:

On August 24, 1814, British forces burned Washington's main government buildings
On August 24, 1814, British forces burned Washington's main government buildings

The two sides met at Bladensburg, a town ten kilometers from Washington. The British attacked and at first the American defenders held their ground. But then, British soldiers broke through the American lines, and the Americans began to run away.

英美双方在距离华盛顿特区十公里的布莱登斯堡打响了战斗。英军发起进攻,美军一开始还能有效防守,但最终被英军冲破防线,溃败后撤。

General Winder ordered his men back to Washington. A group of sailors refused to retreat with their artillery. Commanded by Joshua Barney, the four hundred sailors chose to stand and fight. The struggle did not last long against the four thousand British soldiers.

温德尔将军下令撤回华盛顿,但是一小批海军官兵拒绝后退。在乔舒亚.巴尼的率领下,大约四百名水兵誓死抵抗,但是他们面对的是四千英军。

Barney held his position for a half hour before enemy soldiers got behind his men and silenced the guns. Barney was wounded seriously. The British thought so much of his courage that they carried him to a hospital for their own soldiers at Bladensburg. Barney himself said the British officers treated him as a brother.

短短半小时后,英军就绕道了他们的背后,缴了他们的械。乔舒亚.巴尼身受重伤。英军十分佩服他的勇气,把他抬到英国的战地医院治疗。巴尼说,英军长官对待他就像自己的兄弟一样。

Once the British force had smashed through Barney's navy men, nothing stood between it and Washington.

冲破最后一道防线后,英军直捣华盛顿。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Dolly Payne Madison
Dolly Payne Madison

The enemy spent the night about half a kilometer from the Capitol building. The commanders of the British force, General Robert Ross and Admiral Sir George Cockburn, took a group of men to the Capitol and set fire to it. Then the two commanders went to the White House to burn it.

他们在距离国会大厦大约一里地处过夜。英军统帅罗伯特.罗斯将军和乔治.科伯恩上将率领一批人,先后前往国会和白宫,放火焚烧。

Before setting fire to the president's home, Cockburn took one of President Madison's hats and the seat from one of Dolley Madison's chairs. The admiral found the president's table ready for dinner. As a joke, he took a glass of wine and toasted the health of "President Jemmy."

在白宫放火前,科伯恩拿走了麦迪逊总统的一顶帽子和麦迪逊夫人座椅上的一个坐垫。科伯恩发现,麦迪逊总统的晚餐已经准备完毕。他开玩笑地举杯,祝“杰米总统健康长寿”。

President Madison had fled the White House earlier. He crossed the Potomac River and started toward his home in Virginia. He joined his wife on the road the second day. And they decided to wait with others about twenty-five kilometers from Washington. The president returned to the capital three days after he left it. The British, after burning most public buildings, had withdrawn.

麦迪逊总统早就逃离了白宫。他穿过波托马克河,往维吉尼亚老家的方向走。麦迪逊第二天跟夫人会合,决定在距离华盛顿25公里的地方静观事态发展。离开三天后,麦迪逊返回首都,英军放火焚烧了大部分政府大楼后,已经弃城而去。

VOICE ONE:

The British coastal force next attacked the city of Baltimore. But this time, the defenses were strong, and the attack failed.

英军随即又对巴尔的摩发动进攻。但是这次,美军誓死奋战,挡住了英军的攻势。

Baltimore port was guarded by Fort McHenry. British warships sailed close to the fort and tried to destroy it with their guns. But the attack did little real damage to the fort.

巴尔的摩港在麦克亨利堡的保护之下,英国战舰炮轰麦克亨利堡,但是没有造成实质性破坏。

''The Star-Spangled Banner'' by Francis Scott Key
''The Star-Spangled Banner'' by Francis Scott Key

A young American civilian, Francis Scott Key, was aboard one of the British warships during the twenty-five-hour shelling of Fort McHenry. He and a group of others had gone to the ship with a message from President Madison. The message asked the British to release an American doctor they were holding.

25个小时的炮轰过程中,年轻的美国人弗朗西斯.斯科特.克伊正在一艘英国战舰上。他和另外一些人奉命,向英方传递麦迪逊总统的口信,要求英方释放扣押的一位美国医生。

All through the night, the young man watched the shells bursting and the rockets exploding over the fort. In the first light of morning, he saw that the American flag still flew. On the back of an old letter from his pocket, Francis Scott Key wrote the words of "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national anthem of the United States.

弗朗西斯目睹了麦克亨利堡受到彻夜攻击。佛晓时,他看到,美国国旗依然在城堡上空飘扬。他在口袋里一封旧信的背面,谱写了“星条旗”一曲的歌词,这首歌后来成了美国国歌。

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Larry West and Frank Oliver. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs are online, along with historical images, at www.unsv.com. Join us each week for THE MAKING OF A NATION – an American history series in VOA Special English.

网友的学习评论(3条):
作者:xuding45
The war broke out between Britain and U.S.A in 1812. The United of State was defeated by British force. The general commander set fire to the city of Washington and they also destoried many cities.
作者:Alumni
the national anthom was born by real accident. it is moving story. say, a young man had been in the site of the campaign between Britian and the usa. he saw all through the night the shells bursting and the rockets exploding over the fort. but in the first light of morning, he saw that the American flags still flew. by the moving of it , the young man wrote the words " the star-spangled banner". his name is Francis Scott Key.
作者:郑烈波
downsun flag and union
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