James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Daniel D. Tompkins, 22 December 1812 (Abstract)

§ From Daniel D. Tompkins

22 December 1812, Albany. “The peculiarity of the case of Mr David S. Wendell of Troy, for whom I am desirous of obtaining a Commission of Lieutenant in the Army, is my apology for troubling you with this recommendation.” “He was orderly Sergeant of the ‘Invincibles,’ an Independent uniform Company of Militia in the Village of Troy,” which Tompkins sent “to the Northern Frontier” in September. “At that time Mr. Wendell was clerk and agent for the original proprieter of the Land upon which the Village is Situated, and for his services as Such clerk and agent received, I am informed, about 500 dollars per year. His employer being an inveterate opponent of the administration used every persuasion to prevent Mr Wendell from going with his Company and even offered extra compensation to induce him to refuse the performance of his duty in the Corps. He, however, went and performed his tour of duty faithfully; was with the Company under Major Young1 at the Surprise and Capture of the Voyageurs2 at St. Regis and Volunteered his Services with the rest of the Company and went up on the expidition into Canada with Col. Pikes Regiment of Regulars.”3 After serving for three months, Wendell was discharged, “& although His former employer needs his Services he will not continue Mr. Wendell in the clerkship and agency, by way, I presume, of punishing him for his patriotism.”

RC (DNA: RG 94, Letters Received, filed under “Wendell”). 2 pp.; docketed as received in the War Department on 1 Jan. 1812 [1813]. Printed in Hastings, Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, 3:213–14.

1Guilford Dudley Young (d. 1818) was a major in the New York volunteers in 1812. He received a major’s commission in the U.S. Army in February 1813 and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel in April of that year (Heitman, Historical Register description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 (2 vols.; Washington, 1903). description ends , 1:1067).

2Tompkins probably referred to the Voltigeurs, a volunteer regiment primarily composed of French Canadians and Indians under the command of Maj. Charles de Salaberry. Sir George Prevost created the regiment in the spring of 1812 to protect the Canadian border. On 23 Oct., Americans attacked and overpowered the Voltigeurs at the Indian village of St. Regis, New York (Everest, The War of 1812 in the Champlain Valley, 36–37, 67, 73; C. P. Lucas, The Canadian War of 1812 [Oxford, 1906], 62).

3For Pike’s expedition into Canada, see Dearborn to JM, 13 Dec. 1812, n. 1.

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