George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Claiborne, 15 June 1792

From William Claiborne

Richmond June 15th 1792


My Son Ferdinand Leigh Claiborne has a great desire to become a Millita[r]y Man, and has been honord with a Letter from The Govr of Virga & Colo. Carrington in his favor, which Letters, with the Recommendation of my freind The Honr. Samuel Griffin I beg leave to refer your Excellencey to, for his Character1—I think it Necessary for me to say that it is with my Consent & indeed wish, that he makes an Application for an Appointment—& Should he be so Luckey as to gain his wishes I trust he will make a Valuable Officer—I have the honor of being personally Acquainted with your Excelly. But least you May have forgotten me I beg leave to inform you that I am the Son of Nathl Claiborne who lived upon Pamunkey River in Kg William and if you can provide for my Son, I shall Esteem it a favor Done.2 Sir, Yr Mo. Obt very hblest

Wm Claiborne


1Although the recommendations from Col. Edward Carrington and Samuel Griffin have not been identified, Gov. Henry Lee wrote GW from Richmond, Va., on 15 June that he could not “resist the importunity of several respectable gentlemen to ask your attention to Mr Ferdinand Leigh Claiborne a youth of genteel manners and good character, and who is desirous of entering into the army. I am well assured that applications of this nature ought to be presented to the secretary of war, but on this occasion I have been obliged to deviate from the general will in compliance with the solicitation of Mr Claibornes friends” (DLC:GW).

2Nathaniel Claiborne (died c.1756) of Sweet Hall, Va., operated a ferry on the Pamunkey River during the 1750s where GW sometimes crossed on his way to Williamsburg (see Memorandum, 15–30 May 1755, note 4). Ferdinand Leigh Claiborne (d. 1815) was appointed an ensign in the U.S. Army in February 1793, and he was promoted to lieutenant in the spring of 1794 and captain in October 1799. He resigned from the service in January 1802. During the War of 1812 Claiborne led a force of Mississippi volunteers.

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