George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the United States Senate, 12 March 1792

To the United States Senate

⟨United States [Philadelphia]
March 12th 1792.

Gentlemen of the Senate,

I now nominate the persons whose names are contained in the following lists for appointments in the Squadron of Cavalry, and also for appointments and promotions in the battalion of Artillery.

Go: Washington.

Appointments for the Cavalry.

Major Michael Rudulph at present a Captain in the 1st Regt
Captains John Watts1 Virginia
John Craig Pennsylvania
Lawrence Manning2 South Carolina
John Stake New York.
Lieutenants Robert MisCampbell South Carolina.
William Winston Virginia
William Aylett Lee do
William Davidson Maryland
Cornets Leonard Covington3 Maryland
Carleton Fleming Virginia
Solomon Van Renselaer4 New York
James Taylor Pennsylvania.

The Battalion of Artillery.

Information of the arrangement, as it stood 3d November 1791


James Bradford

Henry Burbeck

Joseph Savage (excepted, who resigned 15th October 1791)

Mahlon Ford


Dirck Schuyler 5

John Peirce

Moses Porter 6

Edward Spear

Daniel McLane

Abimael Youngs Nicoll

George Ingersoll

Staats Morris

Surgeon’s Mate

Nathan Hayward.

Promotions & Appointments.

Henry Burbeck Major Commandant vice Ferguson killed 4th Nov: 1791.


John Peirce vice Savage resigned 15th October 1791.
Moses Porter vice Burbeck promoted 4th November 1791.
Daniel McLane vice Bradford killed 4th November 1791.


George Demlar vice Spear killed 4th November 1791—promoted from an Ensigncy in the 2d regt to rank from 5th March 17917
Joseph Elliot vice Peirce promoted S. Carolina.
Peircy Pope vice Porter promoted Virginia.
Ebenezer Massey vice McLane promoted Maryland.

Go: Washington

DS (incomplete), DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–1793, Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Executive Nominations; LB, DLC:GW. The DS at the DNA contains only the section of this document concerning the battalion of artillery. The missing text is supplied within angle brackets from the letter-book copy.

The Senate tabled this message when it was received on 12 March. The next day the Senate postponed considering the nominations, after ordering “That the Secretary of War report to the Senate a list of the officers on the Military establishment, specifying their respective rank, and the date of their commissions.” Upon receiving the Senate’s order, Knox submitted it to the president (see Knox to Lear, 13 Mar., DLC:GW). GW apparently told Knox to provide the requisite report to the Senate, which the secretary of war did on 14 March. The Senate approved all of the nominations that day, except the one for Demlar. On 16 Mar., after receiving GW’s message of the previous day which corrected the date of Demlar’s rank (see note 7), the Senate also approved his nomination (see Executive Journal, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America: From the commencement of the First, to the termination of the Nineteenth Congress. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1828. description ends 1:112–16). In letters of 15 and 17 Mar., Lear informed Knox of the Senate’s concurrence with GW’s nominations of 12 Mar. (both DLC:GW).

1John Watts (1752–1830), who had risen to the rank of captain in the Continental dragoons during the Revolutionary War, declined the offered commission, a decision which Henry Knox forwarded to Tobias Lear on 5 May 1792 (DLC:GW). In 1799–1800, however, Watts served as a lieutenant colonel of light dragoons.

2Although Lawrence Manning, who had served in Henry Lee’s Legionary Corps during the Revolutionary War and had been wounded at the Battle of Eutaw Springs in September 1781, declined his commission, he held the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army from 1813 to 1815.

3Leonard Covington (d. 1813) was promoted to lieutenant in October 1792 and captain in July 1794. Covington resigned his commission in September 1795, but he returned to the service as a lieutenant colonel of light dragoons in January 1809, later rising to the rank of brigadier general in August 1813. He died from wounds received at the Battle of Chrystler’s Field on 11 Nov. 1813.

4Solomon Van Rensselaer (d. 1852) was promoted to lieutenant in September 1792, captain in July 1793, and major in January 1799. Having been honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in June 1800, Van Rensselaer returned to the service as a lieutenant colonel of N.Y. volunteers in 1812.

5The letter-book copy includes the following note concerning Dirck Schuyler: “In Arrest, and disqualified for promotion, upon various grounds.”

6Moses Porter (d. 1822), who had been a second lieutenant in the Continental artillery during the Revolutionary War, was appointed a lieutenant in the U.S. Army in October 1786, and he was promoted to captain in November 1791, major in May 1800, and colonel of light artillery in March 1812. Porter was brevetted a brigadier general in September 1813 for his distinguished service in the campaign of that year.

7GW informed the Senate on 15 Mar.: “Understanding that the rank of George Demlar, nominated for a Lieutenant of Artillery is, in the list transmitted to the Senate, stated to take place from the 5th of march 1791. This was a clerical mistake entirely, as it was intended that his rank should take place under the Act of 5th of march 1792” (LB, DLC:GW).

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