Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Henry Dearborn, 9 April 1802

From Henry Dearborn

War Department 9th. April 1802.


The following gentleman are proposed to your consideration, as Candidates for military Agencies: (viz)

For the Northern Department Peter Gansevoort, of Albany.

For the middle Department William Linnard of Philadelphia.

For the Southern Department Abraham D.1 Abrahams of Savannah.

I have the honor to be, Sir, with high consideration, Yr. Obt.


H. Dearborn

RC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Dearborn, with an alteration by TJ (see note below); at foot of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received from the War Department on 10 Apr. and “Nominations. Peter Gansevoort &c” and so recorded in SJL. FC (Lb in DNA: RG 107, LSP).

Sometime after writing this letter, Dearborn sent an undated communication to TJ: “Sir I am now informed by Genl Jackson that Mr. Abrahams, proposed for a Military Agent in Georgia, is Abraham D. Abrahams, and not Joseph Abrahams. with due respects I am Sir Your Humbl. Servt” (RC in DLC; in a clerk’s hand; signed by Dearborn; addressed: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received from the War Department in Apr. 1802 and “Nominn. Abrahams”).

The Military Peace Establishment Act provided for the creation of the MILITARY AGENCIES, which replaced the quartermaster’s department. The agents were responsible for obtaining and transporting military stores, hospital supplies for the army, and goods for Indian annuities. An army officer at each post would act as assistant military agent (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:133, 136; Dearborn to Gansevoort, to Linnard, and to Abrahams, 5 May 1802, Dearborn to assistant military agents, 6 May, in DNA: RG 107, LSMA).

TJ nominated the three candidates on 27 Apr., the Senate approved them on the 29th, and their appointments as military agents dated from that day. PETER GANSEVOORT was an officer of New York troops during the American Revolution. In 1777, he received a resolution of thanks from Congress for his defense of Fort Schuyler. William linnard later served a number of years as a quartermaster officer. Abraham David ABRAHAMS was the military agent for the southern department until 1809 (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:422–3; Heitman, Dictionary description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, Washington, D.C., 1903, 2 vols. description ends , 1:150, 444, 634; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends , s.v. “Gansevoort, Peter”; TJ to the Senate, 27 Apr. 1802).

1First name and initial interlined by TJ in place of “Joseph.”

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