George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Burgess Ball, 25 May 1799

From Burgess Ball

Alexand[ri]a 25th May 1799

Dear Sir,

The Gentlemen whom I wish to recommend as Officers (and yesterday mention’d to you) are Mr Arther Lee in the County of Northumberland, and Mr Reuben Beale of Richmond County. They are Gent. of Family, and I think will be actuated by proper principles. Those Gentlemen aspire to nothing higher than to commence with an Ensigncy or Cornetcy, provided, Officers of the Cavalry are furnish’d with Horses & accoutraments, if not, Ensigns wou’d be their Object.1 I wou’d recommend Presley Sanders of Lancaster County as a Capt. in the Provisional Army, in which Rank I think he wd be clever; and as I expect a no. of Old Officers will be applying I’ve no doubt but he will be satisfy’d, ’tho he wish’d a majority.2 I will endeavour to find out some men of respectability & Family, for the Provisional Army, takg care to observe your Information & directions respecting them, at the same time not mentiong I had them from you, wch in me might appear Vain. I am with the highest Esteem Yr mo: Obt Servt

B: Ball


1Arthur Lee, son of Kendall and Betty Heale Lee of Northumberland County, was a student at the College of William and Mary in 1798. Reuben Beale was the son of Thomas Beale of Richmond County who died in December 1799. In July 1807 Reuben Beale was one of a large group of men who pledged to form the “Northern Neck Volunteer Corps of Light Dragoons” (Calendar of Virginia State Papers, description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds. Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts. 11 vols. Richmond, 1875–93. description ends 9:607).

2Presley Saunders had by July 1807 become the first major of the “92nd Regiment of Lancaster” County militia (ibid., 9:540).

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