Thomas Jefferson Papers

John P. Boyd to Thomas Jefferson, 7 May 1816

From John P. Boyd

Boston May 7th 1816


Permit me the honour of soliciting your perusal of the enclosd Documents and Facts, relative to the Military conduct of an Officer, who proudly Acknowledges your former patronage.

And has the honor to be with much respect Sir Your Obdt Ob’gd Sert

Jno P. Boyd

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 16 May 1816 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Charles Willson Peale, 17 Aug. 1816, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esq Virginia”; franked; postmarked Boston, 9 May. Enclosure: Boyd, Documents and Facts, relative to Military Events, During the Late War (Boston?, 1816; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 5 [no. 163]), in which Boyd, “anxious to vindicate his military character” (p. 1), describes his actions and decisions in 1813, especially during the American defeat at the Battle of Crysler’s Farm on 11 Nov., and includes documents to support his assertions of competence.

John Parker Boyd (1764–1830), soldier, was a native of Newburyport, Massachusetts. After serving briefly in the state militia, 1786–87, he became a mercenary soldier in India in the service of native rulers allied with the British, in recognition of which the British government awarded him £6,000 in 1819. After Boyd returned to the United States in 1798, he resided in Boston and engaged in international trade and in land speculation in Maine. In 1808 TJ appointed him a colonel in command of the 4th Infantry Regiment, United States Army, and in 1811 he was second in command during the American victory at the Battle of Tippecanoe. Boyd was promoted to brigadier general at the start of the War of 1812 and charged with the defense of Boston. In 1813 he was assigned to western New York and subsequently assisted in the capture of Fort George, a British post in Upper Canada. Boyd’s role later that year in the American defeat at the Battle of Crysler’s Farm effectively concluded his active command duties, and he was discharged when the army was reduced in size shortly after the war ended. President Andrew Jackson appointed Boyd in 1830 the naval officer for the district of Boston and Charlestown, Massachusetts (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Ronald Rosner, “John Parker Boyd: The Yankee Mughal,” Asian Affairs 34 [2003]: 297–309; Thomas C. Hansard, comp., The Parliamentary Debates [London, 1812–20], 40:1416–9 [28 June 1819]; The Boston Directory [Boston, 1803], 23; John F. Sprague, “General John Parker Boyd and Judge Henry Orne, the Original Proprietors of the Town of Orneville, Maine,” Sprague’s Journal of Maine History 1 [1913]: 43–7; Boston New-England Palladium, 17 Mar. 1807; Heitman, U.S. Army, 1:236; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:97, 103, 107, 299, 302, 4:46, 79–80 [25 Jan., 2 Feb. 1809, 9, 10 Nov. 1812, 14 Jan., 24 Mar. 1830]; Boston Courier, 7 Oct. 1830).

Index Entries

  • Boyd, John Parker; Documents and Facts, relative to Military Events, During the Late War search
  • Boyd, John Parker; identified search
  • Boyd, John Parker; letter from search
  • Documents and Facts, relative to Military Events, During the Late War (J. P. Boyd) search