From James McHenry
Philad. 27 March 1800
Inclosed is a private letter to me from Col. W. S. Smith1 in which he has stated at large his claim to rank. This I apprehend is done with a view that he may stand as the first or oldest Lieutenant Colonel of the 12 Regiments. I have not time to examine the merits of his pretensions and request you to undertake it, and in case you are of opinion that he should stand before Col. Hall2 to advise me, that the necessary alteration may be made in the list.
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; ADfS, James HcHenry Papers, Library of Congress.
1. William S. Smith to McHenry, marked “Private,” July 18, 1799 (Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). In this letter Smith gave a very detailed account of his service during the American Revolution and concluded: “I have been thus minute that I may now have a fair chance in the establishment of relative rank, & if necessary can refer you to Certificates of Service, to corroborate what I have said, in addition to which I hold a brevett Commission of Colonel, under date of of 1783 Recorded in the War-Office—from hence it will appear that I have the honor of being a Lieut Colo. for near twenty three years, & of holding a Commission of Colo. by Brevet for sixteen years. Should there by any Lieutenant Colo. of an earlier date, I sincerely pity him, for he surely must have had fewer friends and more enemies, than myself.”
In McHenry to H, March 26, 1800, McHenry had sent another letter to him from Smith dated July 18, 1799.
2. Lieutenant Colonel Josias Carvel Hall, commanding officer of the Ninth Regiment of Infantry, had held the rank of colonel during the American Revolution.