William Winder in Trail of GloryEdit
William Winder was in command of the defenses of Washington, D.C. in August, 1814. With British troops marching on the capital, Winder rode out to meet them near the town of Bladensburg. When the British made use of their Congreve rockets, the units under his command broke and ran. Winder also ran, leaving the rest of the American forces vulnerable. The Battle of Bladensburg was a rout.
Winder ordered that all troops regroup at Georgetown, and evacuate the capital. No one could see the value in this, but most troops followed orders. Some, however, stayed in the city, under the command of Captain Sam Houston.
That evening, news of Houston's plans came to the government officials who'd regrouped in Georgetown. This group included most of President James Madison's Cabinet. William Winder was immediately furious at having his authority undermined, and called for Houston's execution by firing squad.
However, without his knowledge, Secretary of War John Armstrong and Secretary of State James Monroe began to quietly plot to support Houston. Armstrong, who'd somewhat carelessly appointed Winder to defend Washington and had already come to regret it, but had no interest in undermining the chain of command, agreed to distract Winder while Monroe returned to the city.
Winder grew tired of planning Houston's execution. When President Madison returned to the tavern, Winder attempted to speak to him, but Armstrong intervened, suggesting Winder be detached to Baltimore to help defend it. As Baltimore was probably no longer under direct threat, this move was purely to get Winder out of the way. Madison realized this, and ordered Winder to Baltimore.