James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Tayloe, 9 March 1812

From John Tayloe

March 9th. 1812

My Dear Sir,

Having frequently called—for the purpose of knowing your decision—on the Petition of the Cavalry officers of this District1—& finding you—so much engaged I am induced, in their behalf—to address you this letter to know your determination. We are very anxious to make a speedy tender of our Services to the Government—which we are precluded doing—in consequence of the present state of things—with the militia. As no Infantry will Volunteer probably—except the two light Companies, we ask to be added to us—its very desireable to know as soon as Can be—If you will form us into a separate Regiment (which power the militia Law certainly vests in you) & if you will give to the Infantry—one major—& to the Cavalry another. Tho’ I am the Senior Officer—& aught to succeed to the Command of the Regiment—yet if a better Commander can be selected—I will chearfully yeild my Commission tomorrow such is my zeal for the prosperity of the Volunteers particularly at a Crisis like the present. May I ask the favor, of a reply—that we may—or may not—as the case may turn out—make a tender at once, of our Services to you. I have the honor to be with great respect & regard Your friend & Obedt. Servt.

John Tayloe


1Petition not found. Militia forces had been organized in the District of Columbia as early as 1802. In May 1811 the four cavalry troops of this militia were united into the Columbian Horse and placed under the command of Maj. John Tayloe. No further reorganization of the district militia, however, was to occur until April 1813 (Frederick P. Todd, “The Militia and Volunteers of the District of Columbia, 1783–1820,” Records of the Columbia Historical Society, 50 [1948–50]: 398–400).

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