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Flight of the Madisons: Dolley at the President's House

Flight of the Madisons: Dolley at the President's House

Credit
Library of Congress

Flight of the Madisons: Dolley at the President's House

An early 20th century artist's depiction of Dolley Madison saving the state papers just before she left the President's House.

Dolley Madison awaited her husband's return from Bladensburg Battlefield in Maryland, but as news of the rout and a note from her husband reached her, she decided to depart. She directed the president's manservant Paul Jennings, doorman Jean Pierre Sioussat (also known as French John), and gardener Thomas Magraw (or McGraw), to pack trunks of valuables such as Cabinet papers, silver, and even the red velvet draperies from the oval drawing room. Mrs. Madison insisted on having George Washington’s portrait removed, sending it off with two men from New York (Jacob Barker and Robert G.L. De Peyster) for safekeeping.

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