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Thomas Jefferson to William Eustis, 2 May 1812

To William Eustis

Monticello May 2. 12


Among the candidates for commission in the army now to be raised, Mr Archibald C. Randolph proposes to offer himself. he had a commission of Captain in that which was to have been raised in 1799. and I have no doubt that the testimonies of his merit on which that was granted are still to be found in the War office. to these he will be able to add others equally respectable of the present day. mr Randolph is of a family of the first standing in this state, and is brother to the gentleman of that name who fell at Tippecanoe. he possesses personally and eminently the bravery and bodily powers which constitute a good soldier, and qualify him to discharge his duties with honor to himself and advantage to his country. should he be so fortunate as to succeed in his present application, I have no doubt that he will avail himself of every occasion which offers to justify the confidence of his friends and the favor he may recieve from you. with these assurances accept those of my great esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “The Secretary at War”; endorsed by TJ.

Archibald “Archie” Cary Randolph (1769–1813) was the son of Thomas Randolph (b. ca. 1728), TJ’s uncle, and Jane Cary Randolph. TJ took an interest in his education at Edinburgh, 1784–87, where his cousin Thomas Mann Randolph (1768–1828) was a companion. One of Randolph’s teachers commented on his “open, generous and candid turn of Mind.” He served as a captain in the 7th Infantry Regiment, United States Army, 1799–1800. Randolph bred and invested in thoroughbred horses, but recurring financial problems obliged him to sell his ownership share in Sir Archie before it won fame as a racehorse. Although TJ confidentially warned President James Madison that Randolph was a “quarrelsome” Federalist, he was quickly nominated for a captaincy in the 12th Infantry Regiment, confirmed on 11 May 1812, and died holding that rank (Robert Isham Randolph, The Randolphs of Virginia [1936], 109, 115; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 34 vols. description ends , 8:687, 9:58–60, 15:640; William H. Gaines Jr., Thomas Mann Randolph: Jefferson’s Son-In-Law [1966], 12–3, 20–1; Blanchard W. Wellman, The Life and Times of Sir Archie: The Story of America’s Greatest Thoroughbred, 1805–1833 [1958], 17–24; Jonathan Daniels, The Randolphs of Virginia [1972], 224–5; Washington, Papers description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, 1983– , 49 vols.  Colonial Ser., 10 vols.  Confederation Ser., 6 vols.  Pres. Ser., 13 vols.  Retirement Ser., 4 vols.  Rev. War Ser., 16 vols. description ends , Retirement Ser., 3:477–8; Heitman, U.S. Army, 1:815; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 1:298–300, 303–4, 2:264, 265 [31 Dec. 1798, 8 Jan. 1799, 5, 11 May 1812]; Richmond Enquirer, 13 Sept. 1808; TJ to James Madison, 2 May 1812; Richmond Virginia Patriot, 26 Nov. 1813).

Thomas Randolph (1760–1811) represented Amelia County in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1803–07, before becoming attorney general of Indiana Territory. He was killed at the Battle of tippecanoe while serving under William Henry Harrison’s command (Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends ; Randolph, Randolphs of Virginia, 113; John B. Dillon, A History of Indiana [1859], 471).

Index Entries

  • Eustis, William; letters to search
  • Eustis, William; recommendations sent to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation from search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation from TJ search
  • Randolph, Archibald (Archie) Cary; identified search
  • Randolph, Archibald (Archie) Cary; seeks army commission search
  • Randolph, Jane Cary (TJ’s aunt); family of search
  • Randolph, Thomas (1760–1811); and Battle of Tippecanoe search
  • Randolph, Thomas (b. ca.1728) (TJ’s uncle); family of search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); family of search