Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Isaac A. Coles, 15 March 1808

on or before 15 Mar. 1808

Dr. Sir

It has long been my determination if ever the U.S. should be engaged in a war to take an active part in it—In a peace Army I would accept of no commission whatever, but if the forces now about to be raised are destined, in the event of a rupture with Great Britain, for the invasion of Canada, there is no situation however subordinate which I would not be pleased to fill. entirely ignorant of military Affairs & of all the duties of a soldier, I have no higher pretensions than, those which are founded on my Youth, the strength & activity I possess and a Zeal which nothing can abate

The Cavalry service is that, that I would prefer, but I would serve any where rather than not be employed. this passion for a Military life is not the effect of any sudded caprice; it has grown up with me & has now become a sort of mania which is impelling me in a course that my cool judgment would perhaps disapprove and is certainly the only thing which could induce me to leave the situation I have so long occupied in your family—a situation in which every painful sensation I have felt has arisen from a consciousness that I was much less useful to you than I might & ought to have been—Presuming on the Kindness which I have ever received from you, I take the liberty of troubling you with this Subject which I have much at heart, & of asking your advice as to the course which it will be proper for me to pursue.

I am very respectfully &c

I. A. Coles.

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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