Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Bartholomew von Heer, 19 April 1802

From Bartholomew von Heer

Philada. 19th April. 1802


I have the Honour of Informing you that in Justice to myself on or about the 14th Inst. I addressed a Petition to the Senate & House of Representatives of the U.States, praying to be placed on the pension List and which I think myself intitled to, as well as any of my Brother Officers who have served their Country as I have done through the Whole of the Revolutionary War—

Having had the Honour of being acquainted with you at Head quarters, in the Hour that tried Mens souls, and being at present aged, infirm, & weak, on Account more especially of the wounds I received in the service of the US. & notwithstanding the commutation I recd. & which I was obliged to sacrifice at a Low Rate.—I am therefore under the Necessity of asking from Congress a pention for future support—

Permit me dear Sir, to ask your interferrence in my Favour (which if with propriety, you can grant) will ever be considered as one of the most singular, marks of Friendship & Charity due to an old Soldier—

Accept of my highest regard & due consideration

Barthw. Von Heer

P.S—My Petition I inclosed under Cover to Messrs Lieb & Genl. Heester Members from Penna—

RC (DLC); at head of text: “To Thomas Jefferson Esqr. President of the United States of America”; endorsed by TJ as received 21 Apr. and so recorded in SJL.

A former Prussian officer, Bartholomew von Heer offered his services to the United States in 1776. From 1778 until the end of the war, he commanded the Maréchaussée Corps, a troop of light dragoons that served as part of George Washington’s personal guard. Heer remained in America after the war, settling in Pennsylvania, and spent much of his time seeking compensation from Congress for his wartime services. On 22 Apr. 1802, the House of Representatives received Heer’s most recent petition, praying that he be placed on the list of pensioners in consideration of the wounds he received during the war, which rendered him “incapable of obtaining his livelihood by labor.” The House tabled the petition. The Committee of Claims rejected a nearly identical petition from Heer in January 1800 (Washington, Papers description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, Charlottesville, 1983–, 53 vols. description ends , Pres. Ser., 3:328–9; 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, 1793, new ed., Washington, D.C., 1914 description ends , 561; Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, 34 vols. [Washington, D.C., 1904–37], 28:64–5; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 3:535, 561; 4:213).

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