James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Melvill Jr., 12 March 1813

From Thomas Melvill Jr.

Pittsfield (Mass) March 12. 1813.


The new organisation of the Quarter Master Generals Department, opens to me the hope, that I may now receive the direct patronage of the administration.1

I therefore beg leave, to offer myself as a Candidate for a Commission of Deputy quarter Master General.

Since the month of June last, cloathed with the confidence of Majr. Genl. Dearborn & of the Quarter Master General, I have been Solely Charged with the Creation of the Military post of this place—& with the various duties of Dep: Quarter Master, & Commissary of Purchases, Forage Master, Barrack Master, & waggon Master.

They can testify, if I have merited their Confidence & that of the Government, & if in their opinion, I am capable of discharging the duties of the office, I now Solicit. I have the honor to be Sir, With great Respect Yr Mo Obdt St

Tho Melvill2

RC (NN). A note in Melvill’s hand at the bottom of the letter reads: “[…] ⟨written?⟩ […] this Statement, is Correct in its fullest extent, Morgan Lewis.” Damaged by removal of seal.

1Melvill referred to a 3 Mar. 1813 act that reorganized the general staff of the U.S. Army, making substantial changes in the quartermaster’s agency. On 1 Apr. 1812, JM had nominated Melvill as deputy commissary under the 28 Mar. 1812 law that established the quartermaster’s and commissary’s departments, but the Senate rejected the nomination. JM did not subsequently nominate Melvill for any other position (Risch, Quartermaster Support, 152; PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 4:283, 284 n. 3).

2Thomas Melvill Jr. (1776–1845) pursued mercantile and banking interests in France before serving as commissary of prisoners in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, during the War of 1812. He succeeded Elkanah Watson as president of the Berkshire Agricultural Society and in 1815 married Mary Ann Augusta Hobart, Henry Dearborn’s granddaughter, as his second wife (Merton M. Sealts Jr., “Thomas Melvill, Jr., in The History of Pittsfield,” Harvard Library Bulletin 35 [1987]: 201, 206–7).

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