This was a conflict in which the County must have felt a partisan concern, since Madison and Monroe by virtue of office, were responsible for its declaration and conduct.
Though Mr. Madison was never a resident of Albemarle, he was, from youth, intimately associated with its social and political life. A long and unshaken friendship with Jefferson and Monroe had given him authority in local councils, and in a day when politics was the first interest of the country gentleman, and party feeling ran high, his name was a power in County conclaves. In later years, as President of the Agricultural Society of Albemarle and member of the Board of Visitors of the University, his figure was a familiar sight on the streets of the little town.
Monroe was born in the lower country, but settled in Albemarle in 1790, two of his brothers also making the same choice of residence. His home was a part of the house on Monroe Hill now occupied by Mr. Thornton, and the quaint brick building adjoining it to the west was his law-office. In 1793 he bought and built on the east side of Carter's Mountain, calling his estate Ash Lawn, and spending there the working years of his life. During this period he was three times Governor of Virginia, served as Minister to France and to England, and was twice President of The United States. (It is said that he rode on horseback from Ash Lawn to Washington for his inauguration.)<a href="#1" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 1
Upon the close of his presidency in 1825, he removed to Loudon County. The plantings of box at Ash Lawn are among the most beautiful in the County. In the rear of the main house is a wing in the style of our earlier architecture.">
In 1812 he was Secretary of State under Madison, and in 1814 he also assumed the duties of Secretary of War. That during these years he was not forgetful of his County friends is shown by the following extract from a letter to his brother Joseph:<a href="#2" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 2
Tyler's Quarterly Hist. and Gen. Magazine.">
"--The government is resolved, if Great Britain does not revoke her orders in council in a short time, to act offensively towards her. I have sent several friends copies of the correspondence,- yourself and Dr. Everett, Mr. Divers, Mr. Jefferson, Col. Lindsay, Mr. Watson at Milton, and to Col. Yancey. Enclosed you will find one for the use of Mr. Shelby and other friends in Charlottesville." (Dec., 1811, Washington.)
Little is now known of Albemarle's participation in this 'var. A company each of infantry and militia left the County, but their rosters are not presented, and only a few of the names have escaped oblivion. It is known that the militia was commanded by Capt. Triplett T. Estes with James Michie, Jr., as corporal, and that Wm. Wertenbaker was a private under them. The infantry was commanded by Capt. Achilles Broadhead.<a href="#3" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 3
Woods' History of Albemarle"> A company of cavalry under Col. Samuel Carr of Dunlora, with Dr. Frank Carr for Surgeon, was raised in 1813, and another, commanded by Col. Charles Yancey of Yancey's Mills, left in 1814. In this troop Wm. F. Gordon of Edgeu'orth volunteered, along with Dabney Carr, Tucker Coles, "and other genteel persons." A command was also raised by Thomas Mann Randolph of Edgehill, afterwards Governor of the State; and in the fall of 1814 Col. Carr's conipany, with the Richmond Blues and several others of the finest troops, were formed into the First Light Corps, and placed under the immediate command of Col. Randolph.<a href="#4" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 4
A. C. Gordon William Fitzhugh Gordon"> In a letter dated September, 1814, Wm. Wirt, who commanded an artillery company in camp on York River, says:
"Frank Gilmer, Jefferson Randolph, the Carrs and others, have got tired waiting for the British, and gone home."
The following hitherto unpublished letters of Col. Carr give us a glimpse of conditions with the cavalry, and of the diversions of an officer:<a href="#5" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 5
Loaned by Mr. Thomas S. Watson. From the unpublished Bracketts papers."> Norfolk April 23rd 1813
--I should have written to you before I left Richmond, but the time I spent there was entirely taken up with dancing attendance on one great man or other, or in the settlement of accts and getting the money I had advanced for the troop in our march to Richmond and in pitching the tents and procuring something for them to eat. We had scarcely time to blow after we arrived at Richmond before we were ordered to pitch our tents in ye old fields near Bacon's Branch, our horses tied to stakes and fed upon the bare ground and that wet and miry. Not a nosebag or halter. If it had been the intention of the Governor to destroy the horses arid disgust the men with the service, he could not have pursued any course niore likely to have attained that end. Governor B. seems to care little for the men or their horses-to dash on and keep moving seems to be the sort with him, he appears to do things merely to be adoing as Sam Crown said when he fit his friend. We were hurried from Richmond before we were properly equipped and all the tents we had drawn were left for the Troops which were to follow.
I have been down to Lyn Haven Bay and had a peep at the British fleet. I was one of a detachment of cavalry who attended Major General Hampton and Brigadier General Taylor. We had a very pleasant day down to the pleasure House about fifteen miles from this place near Cape Henry. From there we came up the shore about eight miles where we had a very pleasant fish dinner arid returned to town in the evening. We had all the pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war, advanced and rear guard-in fine every thing conducted agreeably to military parade and etiquette. About an hour after we left the shore a schooner from Burdeau sailed up the bay. She ran through the whole fleet which kept up a constant fire upon her without receiving any injury, was then attacked by their barges which by a well directed and constant fire she succeeded in beating off, but after running the gauntlet she had the misfortune to ground on Willoughby's point and was taken. The British fleet now in the bay is said to be nine or ten sail strong and more are expected from the West-Indies.
Accept the best wishes for your health and happiness from your friend,
(To Peter Minor of Ridgway.)
Norfolk May 18th, 1813.
My dear Friend
--It is impossible to say when I shall be able to come up as since the arrival of the reinforcements to the British squadron in Lin Haven Bay, all absentees from the army have been recall'd by a general order and no furlouglis have been granted under any circumstances whatever.
By the general orders of the 13th of May "The Commandants of corps will cause all absentees to be called in immediately." In conformity to the foregoing order you will on the receipt of this direct Lieutenant Craven and John Barksdale to repair without delay to the cavalry quarters in Norfolk.-The duty of the cavalry at this time is excessive. For some time past more than one half of the whole number of effectives have been on duty every night.-Believe me, without variation of compass or shadow of changing.
Your sincere friend
(To Peter Minor of Ridgway.)
Woods' History of Albemarle; A. C. Gordon, Wm. Fitzhugh Gordon; Tyler's Quarterly Hist. and Gen. Magazine.