As British soldiers approached Washington, DC in August, 1814 during the War of 1812, Marines from the 8th and I Barracks joined with sailors from the nearby Navy Yard under the command of Commodore Joshua Barney to help fight them. In the midst of the hurried preparations, two Sergeants were given of guarding the Marine Corp's funds and payroll. As this was of course in the days before a reliable national currency, much less automatic bank deposits, this took the form of a wooden chest filled with gold coins.
Obviously, this posed a problem. How were they to guard this gold against the might of the British Army, especially when they would have to join the rest of their unit in the fight? Unwilling to simply abandon it to the British of looters, the carefully hid it on the grounds of the Marine Barracks.
Unfortunately, in the stout defense put up by the Marines and sailors at the Battle of Bladensburg, both Sergeants were killed and the location was lost to history. However, they remain on guard to this day. Folks have seen the ghostly figures of the two Marines wandering the grounds, looking for the treasure. Some say they are searching for it, unable to remember where it was last seen. Others insist that they are luring treasure seekers away from the real hiding spot, standing their post in death as they did in life.