Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: John Rodgers to James Leander Cathcart, 9 June 1819, enclosure no. 3 in James Leander Cathcart to Thomas Jefferson, 27 August 1821



John Rodgers to James Leander Cathcart

Navy Commissioners Office June 9th 1819—


Your letter of the 28th Ulto accompanied by a Journal of the proceedings of the Agents sent under the instructions of the Board of the 13th of Novr 1818 has been received—On a cursory perusal of the Journal, the Board discover much information respecting the object of your mission which it would be desirable for them to possess; and they return it to you in order that such extracts from it may accompany your report & plots of the grounds reserved, as you may consider relevant to the subject: and on the business being closed, they will willingly bear testimony to the manner in which the duty has been perform’d, which from present appearances, they have no doubt will be satisfactory

Respectfully &ca

(sign’d) Jno Rodgers Prest of the Ny Board

Tr (DLC: TJ Papers, 215:38446); entirely in Cathcart’s hand; subjoined to covering letter and preceding enclosures, with subsequent enclosures conjoined; adjacent to signature: “Jas Lear Cathcart Esqre”; with note by Cathcart following text (one repeated word editorially omitted): “Charts & Journals of the Survey were deposited in the office of the Secretary of the Navy—duplicates of the Charts & plots, & a summary of the Journal were presented to the Navy Board, which produced the following acknowledgment.” Tr (DLC: Madison Papers); in an unidentified hand. Tr (MHi: Adams Papers); in an unidentified hand. Tr (MiEM: Charles William Cathcart Papers); in an unidentified hand.

John Rodgers (1773–1838), naval officer, was a native of Maryland, where he studied at a local school before being apprenticed at an early age to a Baltimore shipmaster. After eleven years in the merchant marine, he was made a second lieutenant in the United States Navy on board the USS Constellation in 1798 and rose to the rank of captain about a year later. On the close of the Quasi-War with France, Rodgers returned briefly to the merchant service, but in 1802 he was reinstated in the navy and spent four years in the Mediterranean, where he commanded the American squadron three times. In 1807 he led the New York flotilla and naval station, and the following year he was tasked with enforcing the Embargo Act of 1807. In 1810 Rodgers took command of the USS President, with oversight of the northern division of United States coastal protection. He served twice as president of the newly formed Board of Navy Commissioners, 1815–24 and 1827–37, with an intervening tour of duty commanding the American squadron in the Mediterranean. Rodgers died in Philadelphia (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, repr. 1968, 20 vols. in 10 description ends ; Callahan, U.S. Navy description begins Edward W. Callahan, List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900, 1901, repr. 1969 description ends , 2, 469; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 1:264, 265, 333, 336 [8, 9 Mar. 1798, 8, 15 Jan. 1800]; Rodgers to TJ, 30 July 1806 [MHi]; DNA: RG 29, CS, D.C., Washington, 1820, 1830; Philadelphia Pennsylvania Inquirer and Daily Courier, 3 Aug. 1838; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 4, 6 Aug. 1838; gravestone inscription in Congressional Cemetery, Washington).

The journal of the proceedings of Cathcart and James Hutton described their work as timber agents between the Mermentau and Mobile rivers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama between November 1818 and May 1819 (DNA: RG 45, Report of Timber Agents Cathcart and Hutton).

Index Entries

  • Cathcart, James Leander; as timber agent search
  • Cathcart, James Leander; letters to, from J. Rodgers search
  • Hutton, James (d.1843); as timber agent search
  • Navy Department, U.S.; and timber agents search
  • Rodgers, John; as president of U.S. Board of Navy Commissioners search
  • Rodgers, John; identified search
  • Rodgers, John; letters from, to J. L. Cathcart search