James Madison Papers

William H. Winder to James Madison, 28 March 1834

Philadelphia 28th March 1834


The only apology I have to make for trespassing on your time, is the occasion which induces me to address you. I have frequently since the death of my lamented Parent, Genl. W. H. Winder, had my feelings deeply wounded by insinuations against his character & conduct at the Battle of Bladensburg. I know that a court of Enquiry was held to ascertain the true circumstances of the case, & that he was honorably discharged, & exonerated from all blame by it. Never the less there are many, who appear to doubt the propriety of their verdict, & think there was occasion for blame. I was too young at the time of my Father’s decease, to be sufficiently interested distinctly to learn from him the exact state of the circumstances. I know of nothing that would more certainly assure of the injustice of all charges against him for his conduct on that occasion than your approval of his measures. You were fully acquainted with every thing connected with them, & of your ability correctly to judge no man can doubt. The high regard & esteem my Father ever entertained for your Character & for you personally give me great confidence in believing, that his conduct did not meet your disapprobation. In making of you the request I have done, it is with no intention of making use of it, further than the confidence with which it will inspire in regard to the merits of my parent, & the assurance it will give me of the total injustice of all censures on him. While I ask as a son, the favor of your opinion of the case referred to, I feel confident I appeal to feelings in your bosom, which not permit me to be disappointed. I am Sir with sentiments of highest regard & esteem your very Obt Sert

W. H. Winder


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