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Today in history: August 23
In 1814, President James Madison dared to visit a battlefront
 
President James Madison faced British troops as they closed in on the capital during the war of 1812.
President James Madison faced British troops as they closed in on the capital during the war of 1812. Geoffrey Clements/Corbis

Aug. 23, 1814: As British troops closed in on Washington during the War of 1812, President James Madison became the first commander-in-chief to visit a battlefront — just miles from the White House. Madison asked his wife Dolley — among the greatest of First Ladies — if she had the "courage or firmness" to wait for him. She did, scanning the Eastern horizon for hours with a spyglass from the top floor of the executive mansion waiting for his return.

But U.S. troops were unable to stop the British advance towards the nation's capital. Find out what happened... tomorrow. It was one of the darkest days in American history.

Quote of the day

"Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none." -Thomas Jefferson

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