Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Loehmann, 11 June 1793

From John Loehmann

Philadelphia, 11 June 1793. He served as an American army surgeon during the Revolution and fell prisoner at Charleston, South Carolina, where the rigors of a long captivity added to what he had undergone during his army service left him without the use of his limbs when he was liberated. Crippled to this day, he is unable to work and lacks any means of support. He and his wife employed their remaining property and effects with the greatest frugality, but that resource is now gone. Having applied for relief several times to Congress both at New York and Philadelphia, traveling for that purpose from Carolina to here, where he has lived some years now, and made every exertion to be placed on the pension list, he procured the necessary certificates but was delayed until the passing of the last act of Congress and is now told he cannot receive the pension unless three freeholders attest to his disability and mode of life for the first two years. Since this is not now in his power, he must rely on the charity of the members of the Cincinnati and other benevolent persons for his subsistence and hopes for relief of his poverty and distress from TJ.

RC (ViW: Tucker-Coleman Collection); 1 p.; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Secretary of State”; endorsed by TJ: “Lockman John. Northern liberties near Noah’s ark.”

Dr. John Loehmann, one of the South Carolinians banished from Charleston by the British, arrived in Philadelphia in December 1781 and thereafter described himself variously as surgeon’s mate and “Surgeon in the Hospital for the Southern Department” in the Continental Army while unsuccessfully peppering the Confederation and United States Congresses with requests for a pension between 1783 and 1812. Although he was admitted to the Society of the Cincinnati during his lifetime, he is not listed in the standard historical register of Continental Army officers (Mabel L. Webber, ed., “Josiah Smith’s Diary, 1780–1781,” South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, xxxiv [1933], 81; JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, D.C., 1904–37, 34 vols. description ends , xxiv, 358; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1826, 9 vols. description ends , i, 502, 618, ii, 56, 250, 649, iii, 87, v, 471, vi, 101, 358, vii, 42, 135, 443, viii, 72, 568; Office of Finance Diary, 5, 23, 28, 29, 30 May, 13 June, 9 July, and 18, 28 Aug. 1783, DLC: Robert Morris Papers; Bryce Metcalf, Original Members and Other Officers Eligible to the Society of the Cincinnati, 1783–1938 [Strasburg, Va., 1938], 201; Heitman, Register description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, April, 1775, to December, 1783, new ed., Washington, D.C., 1914 description ends ).

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