James Madison Papers

From James Madison to George Graham, 25 September 1815

To George Graham

Montpelier Sepr. 25. 1815

Dr Sir

I have recd yours of the 23 d. and return the papers which accompanied it.1 As it is not probable that any order at this time from the Dept of War can cure the inconveniency produced by Col. Millars departure, it may suffice to say to Genl. Jackson, that his communications will for that reason await the return of the Secy. of War.2 Shd. your information & calculations however make it presumable that an order to Miller will turn him back in time to be of material use in protecting the negociations or the frontiers, such an order may issue. In this case you will of course advise both the Genls. of Division of the step taken. It may be well, in any event, to acquaint Genl. Brown with the embarrassing occurrence.

I see no objection to filling the vacancy left by Lt. Col. Overton, as recommended by Genl. Jackson; and letting McPherson have the benefit of it.3

The brevet requested by Genl. J. for Lt. McCall may issue at once, if there be no objection in the Dept.4

Shew the letter of the Genl. answerg that of Mr. Dallas of the 1st. July. to the latter when he comes to Washington.5

I will mention the case of Bankhead to Col. Monroe. I expect him here in a day or two. He will go direct from this to Loudon, on his way to Washington. Friendly respects

James Madison

RC (DNA: RG 107, LRUS, M-1815).

1Letter not found.

2JM referred to Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson’s 4 Sept. 1815 letter to William Harris Crawford, which enclosed correspondence between Col. Daniel Bissell and Col. John Miller regarding Miller’s departure from Portage des Sioux (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, J-333:8; printed in Smith et al., Papers of Andrew Jackson, 3:380–81).

3Maj. Walter H. Overton, breveted a lieutenant colonel for gallant conduct in the Battle of New Orleans, resigned from the army on 31 Oct. 1815. No letter from Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson has been found recommending that the vacancy be filled by Robert H. Macpherson, also a lieutenant colonel by brevet, who was honorably discharged from the army on 15 June 1815 (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.; 1903; reprint, Baltimore, 1994). description ends , 1:681, 763).

4Letter not found.

5JM referred to Jackson to Alexander J. Dallas, 5 Sept. 1815 (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, J-336:8; printed in Smith et al., Papers of Andrew Jackson, 3:384–85), which acknowledged receipt of Dallas’s 1 July 1815 letter on the subject of Jackson’s recent enforcement of martial law in New Orleans (for the letter, see Dallas to JM, 1 Aug. 1815, and n. 1). Jackson wrote that his intention to provide the War Department with a complete justification of his proceedings had been frustrated by illness and preoccupation with other tasks; that he expected to travel to Washington soon, and to explain his conduct in person while there; and that he took sole responsibility for his actions but was enclosing letters from various correspondents confirming that the crisis in New Orleans had required drastic methods of intervention.

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