Precisely at sunrise on the morning of March 4, 1845, the roar of cannon shattered the dawn's early quiet of Washington, D.C. - twenty-eight big guns fired in rapid succession. Thus did the American military announce to the nation's capital that it was about to experience the country's highest ritual of democracy, the inauguration of the nation's executive leader and premier military commander. James Knox Polk was about to become that leader and commander. On this morning he was ensconced along with his wife, Sarah, at the National Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, known popularly as Coleman's, just ten blocks east of the White House. That night the two of them would be residing at the presidential mansion.
- From A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the Conquest of the American Continent by Robert W. Merry