James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Eustis, 1 April 1812 (Abstract)

§ From William Eustis

1 April 1812, War Department. Lists, for JM’s approval, proposed appointments in the staff department of the U.S. Army: Morgan Lewis of New York as quartermaster general;1 Zebulon M. Pike, William Swan, William Linnard of Pennsylvania, Anthony Lamb of New York, and Jacob Eustis of Massachusetts as deputy quartermasters; William Jones of Pennsylvania as commissary general of purchases;2 and Tench Coxe of Pennsylvania, James Taylor of Kentucky, and Thomas Melvill, Jr.,3 of Massachusetts as deputy commissaries.

RC (DLC); letterbook copy (DNA: RG 107, LSP). RC 1 p. Docketed by JM. JM nominated the candidates to the Senate in a 1 Apr. 1812 message. On 3 Apr. 1812 the Senate approved the appointments of Pike, Swan, Linnard, Lamb, and Jones and rejected those of Coxe and Taylor. The appointments of Lewis and Eustis were approved on 4 and 8 Apr., respectively; that of Melvill was rejected on 10 Apr. (Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 2:242, 243, 244, 248).

1On 28 Mar. 1812 JM had signed into law “An Act to establish a Quartermaster’s Department, and for other purposes” (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 2:696–99). The legislation, in effect, abolished the system of supply established in 1802, centering on the offices of the purveyor of public supplies and the military agents, and replaced it with new quartermaster and commissary agencies under the direct control of the War Department (see Erna Risch, Quartermaster Support of the Army: A History of the Corps, 1775–1939 [Washington, 1962], pp. 136–42).

2Jones at first accepted the appointment, then declined it after deciding that the salary was too low and the terms of appointment too restrictive (see ibid., p. 139).

3According to Foster, Melvill, whom he described as “a gentleman who was a banker at Paris,” had been selected by Dearborn as his aide-de-camp. His nomination as deputy commissary was rejected “on account of the badness of his character as appeared on examination” (Foster to Castlereagh, 21 Apr. 1812 [PRO: Foreign Office, ser. 5, vol. 85]).

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