A portion of the The First Assassin takes place in the Winder Building, which was the headquarters of Gen. Winfield Scott at the start of the Civil War. At the time, it was the tallest building in Washington. It still stands today on 17th Street, close the the White House. The novel explains that the building is named for William Winder, the general who failed to defend Washington from the British during the War of 1812. One of my sources for that account was The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict, by Donald R. Hickey: “Winder’s inexperience told early, and he seemed overwhelmed by the task before him.”
Says Scott, in The First Assassin: “I may sit in a building named for Winder, but I will not follow in his footsteps. On my watch, Washington won’t fall.”
Today, Hickey’s book is out in a revised bicentennial edition–and he’s also my latest podcast victim.
Next week’s podcast: Jay Nordlinger on peace.
UPDATE: Don Hickey suggests in an email that the image below probably isn’t from the War of 1812. Count the stars, he says. Methinks the professor has a point. Up to now, I thought I could believe everything I read on the interwebs. At any rate, I like the image. If it isn’t from 1812, then, by golly, it should be from 1812, so I’m keeping it posted.