Dolley Madison to Mary Latrobe, December 3, 1814

Two hours before the enemy entered the city, I left the house where Mr. Latrobe’s elegant taste had been justly admired, and where you and I had so often wandered together; and on that very day I sent out the silver (nearly all) and velvet curtains and General Washington's picture, the Cabinet Papers, a few books, and the small clock - left everything else belonging to the public, our own valuable stores of every description, a part of my clothes, and all my servants' clothes, etc., etc. In short, it would fatigue you to read the list of my losses, or an account of the general dismay or particular distresses of your acquaintance.

I confess that I was so unfeminine as to be free from fear, and willing to remain in the Castle! if I could have had a cannon through every window; but alas! those who should have placed them there fled before me, and my whole heart mourned for my country!

I remained nearly three days out of town, but I cannot tell you what I felt on re-entering it "such destruction" such confusion. The fleet full in view and in the act of robbing Alexandria! The citizens expecting another visit - and at night the rockets were seen flying near us.

[Source: Anthony, Katharine, Dolley Madison: Her Life and Times, p. 230]


*Please use browser's navigational "back" button to return