James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Armstrong, [ca. 18 June 1814]

From John Armstrong

[ca. 18 June 1814]

Referred to the President.

This letter of Lt. Col. Croghan1 is highly improper

1st. because he made no complaint of what he calls a departure from Military etiquette, to the War Dept.

2d. because the first notice he takes of it is in a letter to a Navy Officer & then without any object of business—as he says his conduct will not be the result of any chagrin produced by it &

3d. because by a letter to Gen. Harrison of the 15th. May it appears that he would not permit Major Holmes to go untill an order to that effect was sent directly to himself2 &

4th. his doctrine of etiquette is unfounded either in the practice of the land or sea service. The order was sent to Gen. Harrison. Are orders from the War Dept. to be sent to every Col. in the Army before he will consent to aid in an expedition directed by the Government? For the orders to Gen. Harrison & to Major Holmes see page 172 of the letter book.3

RC (DLC); Tr (DLC, series 3). RC unsigned; docketed by JM: “Col. Croghan’s letter with the following note thereon by Gen Armstrong,” and “recd. June 18. 1814.” Undated; dated 18 June 1814 in the Index to the James Madison Papers; conjectural date assigned here based on JM’s docket. For enclosure, see n. 1.

1Armstrong enclosed Lt. Col. George Croghan’s 26 May 1814 letter to Capt. Arthur Sinclair, complaining that Armstrong had directly notified Maj. Andrew Holmes of his selection to lead the army detachment on the Lake Huron expedition, rather than sending orders through Croghan, Holmes’s commanding officer. Croghan declared that he would not weaken his force by detaching any part of it without a “positive order” to do so. On 10 June 1814 Sinclair forwarded Croghan’s letter to William Jones, who noted on its cover: “For the perusal of the Secretary of War” (DNA: RG 45, Captains’ Letters).

2Croghan wrote to Maj. Gen. William Henry Harrison on 15 May 1814: “So soon as I may be directed to order Major Holms I shall do so, but not until th[en] shall he, or any part of my force … lea[ve] this sod” (Papers of William Henry Harrison [microfilm ed.], reel 10).

3In addition to informing Holmes that he was to lead an infantry force of three hundred men in the Lake Huron expedition, Armstrong’s 25 Apr. 1814 letter stated that Sinclair had been ordered to “communicate” with Croghan and to embark Holmes’s troops (DNA: RG 107, LSMA). For Armstrong’s letter to Harrison, see Harrison to JM, 11 May 1814, n. 2.

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