From Samuel Smith1
Philada. 14. Jany. 1800
Some Years past I had the pleasure to recommend Mr. W. Wilson to the secy. of War & he Obtained a Commission in the Artillery, in which he Conducted himself with honor & propriety.2 A Bad State of Health Compelled him reluctantly to resign. With A restoration of health his desire to a Military Life has again returned, permit me to recommend him to your Attention & to flatter myself that he may thro: your friendship obtain a Company in the fourth Battalion of the Second Regiment of Artillery. Permit me to Add that It is desirable to secure the services of young gentlemen of liberal Education & families respectable as that of Mr. Wilson.
If I thought I had sufficient Influence with the Government—I believe I would take Leave to Ask an Ensign’s Commission in One of the four Old Regiments for a Nephew of mine Robert Carter Nicholas3 of Kentucky the son of my much respected Brother in Law Colo. George Nicholas;4 as I have none I will decline the Application & subscribe myself in truth
your friend & servt.
ALS, Columbia University Libraries; ALS, letterpress copy. James McHenry Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Samuel Smith, a Maryland Republican, was a member of the House of Representatives from 1793 to 1803.
2. William Wilson, a resident of Maryland, was appointed a lieutenant in the Corps of Artillerists and Engineers during the recess of the Senate on July 17, 1794. His name was submitted to the Senate on December 29, 1794, and his appointment was approved on January 7, 1795 (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 167, 169). Wilson resigned from the Army on September 24, 1799 (Heitman, United States Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, From Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 (Washington, 1903). description ends , I, 1048). On October 16, 1799, in a letter listed in the appendix to Volume XXIII, Wilson wrote to H seeking reinstatement in the Army. On December 3, 1799, H recommended to James McHenry that Wilson be reinstated, and on the same day he wrote to Wilson and told him of his recommendation to McHenry (both letters listed in the appendix to this volume).
3. Robert Carter Nicholas was only seven years old in 1800. He served in the Army during the War of 1812 (Heitman, United States Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, From Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 (Washington, 1903). description ends , I, 746).
4. George Nicholas, the husband of Mary Smith, Samuel Smith’s sister, was a colonel in the American Revolution, a member of the Virginia legislature in 1778, from 1781 to 1783, and again from 1786 to 1788, and the first attorney general of Kentucky. He died in the summer of 1799.