Monday, March 21, 2011

Battle of Bladensburg

Via Facebook (as I noted many museums are on here and I get their status updates now - lots of interesting factoids!), I ended up on the blog of the James Madison's Montpelier. It was recently Madison's 260th birthday and they posted a brief biography. As I was reading it, I noticed a fact I didn't know - that Madison was the only sitting president to make a battlefield appearance during the Battle of Bladensburg. This intrigued me enough to go looking some and it turned out he didn't take any real leadership role, but he was there:
President James Madison and his cabinet were on the battlefield. Madison, though he took no real part in the battle, can be credited with being the only sitting president who served as "commander-in-chief" in battle. Both Francis Scott Key, an aide to the District of Columbia's militia commander, General Walter Smith, and future president and then-Secretary of State James Monroe are credited with changing troop positions.


Anonymous said...

How does this differ from President Lincoln at the battle of Fort Stevens??


I was just reading in J. Ellis' book, His Excellency, that Pres. Washington led troops in the field as part of the Whiskey Rebellion. This wasn't leading troops into a battle, but only because the opposition evaporated.

Jennie W said...

It is probably a technicality of some sort and since I got the information originally from Montpelier, they probably were focusing on their history. I'll post on Lincoln for you next week.