James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Nelson, 11 February 1791

From John Nelson

Kg: Wm: County Virga: 11th Febry: 1791.


I have been desired by Mr: Saml: Tinsley1 who served under me as an Officer in the Cavalry of this State, to mention him to you as one extreamly anxious to get a Commission in the Troops of the United-States under the Command of Genl: St. Clair; he will take his Departure immediately for the Western-Country & means to serve as a Volunteer ’till Some thing better offers; he informs me that there are several, in this State, who will not accept their Appointments, particularly a Mr John Heth,2 who had an Ensigns Commission; should this Vacancy not be filled up, Mr: Tinsley will think himself happy to be appointed to it & I really do not know any young Man more worthy of a Commission, for since I first knew him, he has always conducted himself with great Propriety; I must therefore beg the Favor of you to speak to the President in his Behalf, as I believe all Appointments come from him.

You will be so good as to excuse the Liberty I have taken in giving you this Trouble & be assured that I am, with great Esteem & Respect—Sir, Yr: mo: obedt: hble: Servt:

J: Nelson3

RC (DLC: Washington Papers). Addressed by Nelson and franked. Postmarked at Richmond on 21 Feb. Docketed by a clerk, after JM forwarded it to the president.

1Samuel Tinsley (d. 1833), an officer of the Virginia Continental line during the Revolution, was commissioned in the U.S. Army in March 1792 and discharged as a captain in June 1802 (Heitman, Historical Register U.S. Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (2 vols.; Washington, 1903). description ends , I, 963).

2John Heth (d. 1810) received an ensign’s commission in the U.S. Army in December 1790 and was discharged as a captain in June 1802 (ibid., I, 527; Richmond Enquirer, 20 Nov. 1810).

3John Nelson (1748–1827), a major with the Virginia cavalry during the war, married Nancy Carter, daughter of John Carter of Williamsburg. He later resided at Oak Hill, Mecklenburg County, Virginia (Heitman, Historical Register Continental, p. 411; VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. description ends , XXXI [1923], 188 n.; CVSP description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts (11 vols.; Richmond, 1875–93). description ends , IV, 532–33; Susan L. Bracey, Life by the Roaring Roanoke: A History of Mecklenburg County, Virginia [Mecklenburg Co., Va., 1977], pp. 142, 156, 169; Hume, Sesquicentennial History and Roster of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia, p. 287).

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