Leonard Cooper to Virginia Delegates
MS (NA: PCC, No. 163, fol. 227).
[22 June 1781]
To The Honble. the deligates for the State of Virginia in Congress
The memorial of Leonard Cooper Captain in the Invalid Regiment formerly of the 4th Virginia Regiment Sheweth,
That your memorialist having Receiv’d a wound in the month of October 1779 which has renderd him uncapable of doing duty with his Regiment ever since—and being much Embarrass’d by not having receiv’d any pay, Cloathing or other Emoluments granted to the Officers of your State, Since July 1779—and that his Sittuation being such at present which renders it impossible for him to go to that State to apply, woud be much oblidged to you if convenient that he Cou’d have Some money Advanced Untill able to get his affairs Settled as the Officers and Soldiers of that State have had four months pay Advanced in hard money or the Exchange [.]1 Cou’d the Same Indulgence be granted to your memorialist the favour Shall ever be Esteem’d by your Honors
Most obedient Humble Servant
Leonard Cooper Capt. Invalids2
2. Captain Leonard Cooper (ca. 1750–1821) of Shenandoah County, Va., enlisted in November 1775 as a private in the 8th, later designated the 4th, Virginia Regiment of the continental army and had risen to the rank of captain lieutenant about three years later. Because of a knee injury suffered in a duel on 7 October 1779, obliging the amputation of most of his right leg, he was transferred on 4 May 1780 to the Invalid Regiment (Nicola to Virginia Delegates, 22 June 1781, n. 4) and continued in the army until he was released in June 1783 (NA: PCC, No. 149, II, 81; Heitman, Historical Register Continental description begins F. B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution (Washington, 1893). description ends , p. 135; Gwathmey, Historical Register of Virginians description begins John H. Gwathmey, Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution: Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, 1775–1783 (Richmond, 1938). description ends , pp. 177–78).
Although the Virginia delegates seem to have disregarded Cooper’s plea in the present letter, his chronic need of money during the rest of his life may have been temporarily eased by a resolution of Congress on 26 June 1781, recommending that Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia furnish a “settlement for depreciation” to the soldiers of the Invalid Regiment from those states (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XX, 697, 717–18). On 13 June 1782 Congress responded to the Virginia delegates’ motion of the day before by appropriating $16.00 to help pay for Cooper’s cork leg (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXII, 328). The ban on dueling, imposed by both the Continental Congress and the Virginia General Assembly (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , V, 793; Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , IX, 38), disqualified Cooper for a federal or state pension. Yet the state in 1796 granted him a land bounty of 4,666⅔ acres in the Virginia military district in Ohio (Land Office Military Warrant No. 4745, dated 13 December 1796, in Virginia State Library), and Congress in March 1819 awarded him an annual pension of $166.66, later increased to $240 (Report from the Secretary of War, in Obedience to Resolutions of the Senate of the 5th and 30th of June, 1834, and the 3d of March, 1835, in Relation to the Pension Establishment of the United States [Washington, 1835], p. 514).