Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Robert Smith, 20 February 1802

From Robert Smith

Nav: Dep: 20. Feb. 1802


I do myself the honor to enclose Warrants for

Charles Benson—of Fredericksburg

William Holmes. of Columbia

To be Midshipmen in the Navy.

Mr Benson is the Gentleman recommended to you by Mr. Mercer—Mr Page & others—Mr. Holmes is a smart young man of this place—There are Vacancies enough to admit their appt.—& if you concur, the enclosed warrants will require your Signature.

I have the honor to be, with great respect & esteem, Sir, your mo: ob: Servt:

Rt Smith

RC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Smith; at foot of text: “President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Navy Department on 20 Feb. and “Midshipmen” and so recorded in SJL. FC (Lb in DNA, RG 45, LSP).

TJ received letters recommending Charles Benson from John Mercer, dated 23 Oct. from Fredericksburg; Mann Page, dated 24 Oct. from Mannsfield; and John Minor, dated 25 Oct. from Fredericksburg. All three letters were recorded in SJL as received 28 Oct. and joined by a brace and the notations “Chas. Benson to be Midshipmn.” and “N,” which indicates that TJ forwarded them to the Navy Department. None of these letters has been found. A letter from Benson to TJ, dated 19 Nov. 1801 from Fredericksburg, was recorded in SJL as received 22 Nov., but also has not been found.

Both Benson and William Holmes were assigned to the frigate Adams. Holmes died near Gibraltar in September 1802, while Benson was cashiered from the navy in June 1803 (NDBW description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers, Washington, D.C., 1939–44, 6 vols. and Register of Officer Personnel and Ships’ Data, 1801–1807, Washington, D.C., 1945 description ends , Register, 4, 26).

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