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possible,-we may have a little specimen of that kind of government these exclusive friends of the people are advocating-mobocracy-before we leave the city."
The “ Capital-movers ” did not succeed in their project, however, although they continued the agitation for many years, and aided no little in retarding the growth of the city.
The inauguration ceremonies of President Madison (March 4, 1809) departed somewhat from the Spartan simplicity that had been observed by Jefferson. A grand procession of carriages, military, and civic societies, and citizens on foot escorted him to the Capitol, where in the presence of a brilliant and imposing company he took the oath of office. He was clad—as the Republican journals widely heralded-in a full suit of clothes woven by American looms from the wool of merinos bred in this country, -his coat from the factory of Colonel Humphreys in Connecticut, and his waistcoat and small-clothes from that of Chancellor Livingston of New York,all presented by those gentlemen for the occasion.
There was as great a change in the atmosphere of the White House, where the charming Mrs. Madison was now mistress. The levees of Washington and Adams were revived, state dinners again became the fashion, gradually a court circle grew into existence, and the ladies were gratified with an abundance of balls and assemblies; but on the 18th of June, 1812, this polite society was startled as if by a thunderbolt from a clear sky, for on that day Congress formally declared war against Great Britain. In this narrative we are concerned with that war only as it affected the fortunes of the city. It had been waged with varying fortunes on sea and land for two years before the citizens of Washington began to be alarmed by fears of British invasion.
Early in this summer of 1814, rumors spread through the capital of a great British armament preparing at Bermuda, some said for an attack on New York, others on Baltimore and Annapolis, while others asserted quite as vehemently that the national capital was the chosen object of British vengeance. How
easy it would be, they argued, for Admiral Sir George Cockburn, who had been a year with his fleet in Chesapeake Bay, when reinforced by the Bermuda armament to disembark a strong column at any point on the western shore of the Chesapeake —but forty miles distant-and by a forced march capture the city.
But by some strange fatuity, the President and his Cabinet treated these possibilities as unworthy of credence. “The British come here!” a Cabinet officer is reported to have said, in answer to the representations of citizens. “What should they come here for?” Sure enough : a provincial village of six thousand inhabitants. But then there were the state papers and public buildings, the moral effect of capturing an enemy's capital, and the satisfaction of chastising the city where a British minister had been obliged to ask for his recall on the ground of illtreatment. In reply the minister urged the extreme
. improbability of an hostile force leaving its base of supplies and marching forty miles inland to attack a town presumably well defended; and as to the Potomac, why its rocks and shoals and devious channel would prevent any stranger force from ascending it.
Colonel James Monroe, a gallant soldier of the Revolution, was now Secretary of State ; another Revolutionary soldier, General Armstrong, was Secretary of War, and acting on their advice, President Madison did substantially nothing for the defence of his capital. Fort Washington commanding the Potomac, which Major L'Enfant had planned early in the war, was hurried forward to completion ; but no defences on the landward side were erected, and no army was called out to defend it.
What was done was this. The District of Columbia, Maryland, and that part of Virginia north of the Rappahannock, were created a tenth military district under command of General W. H. Winder, a brave officer, who had seen service in the Northwest, and who had recently returned from long detention in Canada as prisoner of war.
General Winder on taking command (June 26, 1814) found for the defence of Washington detachments of the 36th and 38th regulars amounting to a few hundred men, but nothing more—no forts, no guns, no army. A force of thirteen regiments of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania militia had been drafted, but were not to be called into active service until the enemy should appear-an arrangement against which General Winder protested in vain, urging that the men should be called out at once and placed in positions between Washington and the Chesapeake, and about Baltimore, where they could be drilled, disciplined, and massed instantly at any threatened point. But in this he was overruled.
While these weak and ineffectual preparations are being made, the enemy has been marshalling his forces. Early in August Rear-Admiral Cockburn's blockading squadron had been joined in the Potomac by the fleet of Vice-Admiral Cochrane, who as ranking officer at once took command. The hardy fishermen, who had learned to watch warily the actions of the marauding squadron, soon saw that important movements had been decided upon. The Seahorse frigate, Captain Gordon, with several other frigates and tenders were seen to separate from the main fleet and proceed up the Potomac, while the remaining ships of war, with the exception of one or two blockaders, spread sail and swept grandly up the Chesapeake.
Two days later these same fishermen, looking seaward, discovered a fleet of sails beating in between the royal Capes, and watched them grow until twenty-two frigates and ships of the line had passed in and lay at anchor within the Roads. An admiral's pennant floated over one and the decks of the ships were black with men. This was the long-expected Bermuda expedition under Rear-Admiral Malcolms, and it bore, besides its complement of sailors and marines, four thousand troops of the flower of the British army under General Ross-veterans of Wellington's army, whom the recent abdication of Napoleon had released from service in France and