From Callohill Mennis
Soldier’s-rest, Bedford county, 2d June 1797
Such a length of time having elapsed since I had the pleasure of seeing you last, that I shou’d not be in the least surprised, if you had entirely forgotten that you ever had such an officer as myself under your command in the late continental army. But were I to be assured that I still lived in the remembrance of my old commander, the reflection wou’d communicate to me the most pleasing & agreeable sensations imaginable.
Yet highly as I honor & venerate your person & character, Sir, and as much as I conceive myself to be bound to you in gratitude in common with every real American, for the eminent services which you have rendered our country, both as a consummate general and as an enlightened statesman, and also as much as I wish at all times to hear of your tranquillity & happiness, I shou’d scarcely have taken the liberty of troubling you with a perusal of this letter, were it not that I had a favour to solicit of you in behalf of a particular friend; and perhaps the present situation of our affairs may be a sufficient apology for my doing so. In thus applying myself to you, I shou’d naturally have approached you with a kind of awe & diffidence, were I not assured that the name of an old soldier, and the recollection of the many dangers which such as he have shared with you in the glorious struggle for liberty, intitled him to draw towards you with a manly confidence of meeting with an ingenuous friend.
As there appears at present to be the great probability (which Heaven avert!) of our entering into a war with the republick of France, I wou’d beg leave to recommend to your patronage Mr Hum[phre]y Brooke, son of the late Col. Robert Brooke, of the county of King-William, a young gentleman of merit & abilities, and one who has been always firmly attached to the government & constitution of his country. He is very desirous of entering into the service of the United States in the capacity of captain of marines, on board one of the frigates to be fitted out by congress.1 I flatter myself, Sir, that the young gentleman will upon every proper occasion support the character of an American officer with becoming dignity & spirit; and that any steps which you may please to take in recommending him to the notice of the executive will ever be most gratefully acknowledged by him, as it ever will be by, Illustrious Sir, Your most obt servt
Callohill Mennis (Minnes) served throughout the Revolution in the 1st and 7th Virginia regiments, reaching the rank of captain. GW corresponded about Mennis with John Marshall in June 1799.
1. Col. Robert Brooke, the son of Humphrey Brooke (d. 1738), lived at Brookefield in King William County. Col. Robert Brooke’s son Humphrey (c.1752–c.1840) served in the British navy before the Revolution. At the outbreak of hostilities, Humphrey Brooke resigned from the British navy and joined the American army as a private, eventually becoming a captain. He married Sarah Walker Page and moved to Frederick County (later Clarke County) where he lived at Oakley, at the Cottage, and near the end of his life with his daughter at Gaywood.