From Peter S. Marks
Louisa County 20th May 1801
The inclosed is a Coppy of the proceedings of the Court Martial by which I was tryed I have also forwarded Coppys of Mr. Nicholases Letters to me on that Subject—you will find by one of his letters that he Advices me to wait on you at the Seat of Government—which I should do, but am prevented by indisposition, if after examning the Testimony, you should be of opinion I have not deserved the Sentence, that has been passed on me, I hope you will give me some appontment by which I may be of service to My Friends & Country, I mentioned a wish to Mr. Dexter of being appointed agt to the Chickasaw Nation of Indians, he promised to use his influence with the Secretary of War, who succeeded him, whether he has or not I cant undertake to say—but I am verry sure from my acquaintance with Nation of Indians I could give general Satisfaction—when you return my papers please direct to me at Louisa Court House—
I am Sir with Great Respect your Obedt Humble Servt
RC (DLC); addressed: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 May and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures not found.
Peter S. Marks was a nephew of TJ’s brother-in-law Hastings Marks, the husband of TJ’s sister Anna. Peter’s parents, Albemarle County residents Peter Marks and Joanna Sydnor Marks, both died in 1795. In 1792 Peter S. Marks received a commission as ensign of infantry in the regular army. He advanced to the rank of captain shortly before his dismissal from the service in August 1800 (Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, Charlottesville, 1901 description ends , 262–3; Heitman, Dictionary description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, Washington, D.C., 1903, 2 vols. description ends , 1:689; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:155, 347; Vol. 2:7, 9, 128; Vol. 20:669; Vol. 23:34n; Vol. 28:111, 112n, 249, 450).
Court Martial: in March 1800, Marks killed another officer, Major William Kersey, at Fort Adams on the Mississippi River below Natchez when an argument escalated into a fight with swords. The Mississippi Gazette printed an account of the “affray” that received widespread distribution through other newspapers (New York American Citizen and General Advertiser, 26 May; Connecticut Gazette, 28 May; Massachusetts Spy, or Worcester Gazette, 4 June; Jenks’ Portland Gazette, 9 June 1800; Heitman, Dictionary description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, Washington, D.C., 1903, 2 vols. description ends , 1:594; Dunbar Rowland, Encyclopedia of Mississippi History, 2 vols. [Madison, Wis., 1907], 1:728).
Letters to me: possibly from Joshua Nicholas, who was Marks’s brother-in-law (Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, Charlottesville, 1901 description ends , 262).
TJ did not reply to Marks himself and instead had Meriwether Lewis return Marks’s papers with a cover letter that held open the prospect of some federal appointment (Marks to TJ, 17 Nov. 1802).